With thrilling disregard for the unwritten rules of a mixtape, Primal Scream front man Bobby Gillespie’s new compilation album, ‘Bobby Gillespie Presents Sunday Mornin’ Comin’ Down’, features three Beach Boys tracks in a row. We asked him about the stories behind the melancholy but weirdly uplifting record, while the conversation also turned to the acid house that inspired the band’s classic, recently rereleased 1991 album ‘Screamadelica’. Don’t know about you, but all this got us pretty excited for Primal Scream’s upcoming tour and forthcoming new album ‘Chaosmosis’.
What’s the idea behind the compilation?
I make tapes to play in the dressing room before going on stage to get Primal Scream in an amped-up, high-energy mood. I also make tapes for my hotel room – something more soothing for later on in the night. That’s where the idea came from. I was trying to get a beautiful record that creates a spell – this dark, beautiful, sad mood. But at the same time it’s uplifting.
Why did you name the album after its ninth track, Kris Kristofferson’s ‘Sunday Mornin’ Comin’ Down?’
I love the sentiment, lyric and mood of that song. It unified the mood of the album, which is sad and reflective but also powerful and strong. It’s a late night/early morning record, a loner’s record.
In the album’s liner notes for the 13th Floor Elevators track ‘May The Circle Remain Unbroken’, you say the band “believed that through psychedelicism and taking LSD they would liberate mankind”. Did you ever share that belief?
Yeah, there are parallels there with Primal Scream. Acid house and ecstasy was like a second psychedelic revolution. Between ‘88 and ‘91 there were possibilities, there was a little crack of light in the sky that shone through the darkness. An opening of consciousness that was definitely facilitated by people taking ecstasy; it opened up a lot of people’s minds and sensibilities to connect with other people and be creative.
The comic book writer Alan Moore once said that rave culture collapsed and failed to deliver on its promise of transcendence
But nothing ever delivers on its promise! The hippies didn’t deliver on their promise, the punks let us down. But you know what? It’s up to the people to take that inspirational light and create something beautiful with it and enlighten other people.
There are some unusual song choices on ‘Sunday Mornin’ Comin’ Down’ – such as the instrumental theme from the 1969 film Midnight Cowboy
I like duality in music. That track evokes a feeling of loneliness and solitude, but it’s also very uplifting. I feel like that a lot of the time, so I wanna make music that reflects how I feel. It’s not always about melodies; it’s about feeling and emotion and atmosphere. I hope other people can feel that when they listen to it. Maybe that’ll touch the loneliness in them.
– ‘Bobby Gillespie Presents Sunday Mornin’ Comin’ Down’ is out now on Ace Records