MTV Interview With the Living End
Local lads The Living End have managed to achieve what few Aussie bands accomplish - longevity, credibility and scores of unwavering fans worldwide.
The trio first rose to prominence in the late 90's after their double A-side single, 'Second Solution/Prisoner of Society' blasted the bejesus out of our stereos. Ten and a bit years later, The Living End show no signs of slowing; they've scored a swag of awards, a couple of number one spots on the Aussie music charts and notable success in the United States and Europe.
With a national tour inked in the diary and an arsenal of new tracks from their forthcoming album 'White Noise' due out on July 19th, the boys are keen as the proverbial mustard to get out and show their handiwork to the nation.
We sit down with vocalist and guitarist Chris Cheney for a chat on the secret of success, writers block and advice for the young fellas.
MTV: You've been around 10 years which is no mean feat in the fickle Australian music industry. What do you think has been the secret of your success?
Chris: I think it's been a few factors, but one of them is that we've played a lot of shows and built up a strong live following. I think we've always done really good gigs and always put a lot of emphasis on trying to write the best songs that we can. We've never really had gimmicks or been over publicised, and of course there's been luck involved but we've also stuck to our guns, and I feel like we've always tried to improve.
MTV: I read that you felt some pressure when writing this album, especially after the success of 'State Of Emergency'. How did you overcome this?
Chris: It's pressure I put on myself rather than from the industry. I've always been of the mindset that whatever we've done previously, there's always room for improvement and I didn't feel there was anything on the last record that couldn't been bettered. It wasn't something that I stressed about too much, I had writers block that went on for two months and that got pretty difficult to deal with, but it just meant that I had to remove myself and approach it in a different way than just sitting down with my acoustic guitar to unlock creativity. It was probably the biggest hurdle in making this album, but once ideas started to flow, the songs were coming out better than ever.
MTV: You just did a nine date Victorian tour to road test the set of new cuts for the album. Is crowd response a big part of choosing the songs that are going to work for you?
Chris: Usually we record first then go out in tour, but this time we thought we'd go out on the road then hopefully by the time we'd get into the studio the songs would feel worn in and we'd know how they'll transverse live. The audience reaction was huge and gave us the confidence boost that we needed. We knew we were on the right track.
MTV: 'White Noise' is an exciting new phase for you guys, what exactly did you hope to achieve with this new album?
Chris: This record was selfish in a way; it was all about pleasing Scott, Andy and myself in the rehearsal room. With our old American label we weren't forced into doing things, but certainly directed in terms of what we released and who we should work with it was a bit heavy handed for our liking and our opinion was swayed more than we liked.
We were burned out from making our last album and touring, so we thought if we're going to make another album it's going to be for ourselves, we didn't listen to anyone and did just what felt good. In that way it's slightly different direction from what we've done before, we've some very epic, emotive songs on there which is what we were trying to achieve - shivers down the spine! We were really getting a buzz from the songs that we've written and if we're happy our songs then our fans are going to be happy because they can see through the bull shit.
MTV: Do you get nervous before the launch of a new album? Is there any anxiety as to how it will be received?
Chris: No I'm not nervous at all. The first single 'White Noise' had such a good reaction, it's been our most successful song on radio since our first album, and it's not even the best song on the album. We're really proud, and I can't wait for people to hear it. If you like what we've done in the past then you'll really dig it, and hopefully people who haven't heard us in the past will dig it too.
MTV: You did this tour with MTV Kickstart winners Yves Klein Blue. As a band that has had success in the local market, what would be the main advice you'd pass onto the young fellas?
Chris: Give up! (laughs) Gees I dunno, we have always been pretty hungry and ambitious to better ourselves, you have to play every gig like it's your last, and we've always been big fans of music. We've always just tried to prove ourselves and keep bettering ourselves. You have to find what you do and what your good at and stick to it, and try not to be strayed by trends or opinions. When we first started playing, we had a vision of what we wanted to be and it's the band that we still are.
MTV: Your are about to launch on another massive tour throughout September and October, what's the most satisfying thing about going on tour?
Chris: It's the shows! Everything else I could take it or leave it, the airports and the monotony Our shows have gotten better over the years, with bigger and bigger audiences and the novelty has never worn off and I don't think it ever will. That's what we are first and foremost, a live band rather than a studio band. I can't wait to get out there and start playing.
MTV: You've also had success in the states, do you think this has affected your Aussie fan base at all?
Chris: We've never had any sort of backlash, when we tour in Australia we really do the hard yards. Last time we toured it was eight weeks which is unheard of, we played every venue you could play and in areas bands don't usually play and people were genuinely appreciative. I know tall poppy syndrome exists but I've never seen it and no ones ever said it to us. I'd hate for that to happen. We do plan on getting back to the States and Europe and Japan but they'll be plenty more touring of Australia to be done because this is our number one market, this is where our biggest audiences are and people appreciate us the most.
MTV: If you hadn't found success with The Living End, any idea what you'd be up to now?
Chris: Probably a roadie or something, pushing someone else's gear around! Maybe an artist, but maybe not. We've worked pretty hard but also had quite a lot of luck. I don't like to think what would have happened so pretty glad this has paid off!
The Living End release White Noise on July 19.