Modcast #181: Liars

Back in 2003, we toured Liars with Yeah Yeah Yeahs off the back of their seminal debut 'They Threw Us All in a Trench and Stuck a Monument on Top'. Since then, the LA art-ensemble have continued to deviate from our expectations across the six records - story albums that explore witchcraft, wrestling with drums spirits, living in the city of angels and recording with Daniel Miller - before arriving at the pummelling industrial pop of 'Mess'. These efforts have always been communicated with progressively techy album campaigns, bold videos and compelling artwork.

Ahead of their Modulations show with HTRK at Carriageworks on Friday June 6 (tickets available here), frontman Angus Andrew has prepared a mixtape for your walkman. Press play and read on as we discuss their tendency to make such visceral albums, film and his connection to Australia.

You guys have been in the game together a while now. Have your respective roles in the band changed at all?

Not really. We never were the kind of group to define our roles too particularly.

Is making such visceral music something you set out to do or an unconscious result of your process?

It changes between albums. With Mess it was definitely a conscious decision to make everything much more immediate and instinctive than the previous record which felt almost cripplingly cerebral.

Is there anywhere remaining that Liars would like to go stylistically you haven't yet ventured?

Most certainly yes.

You have an exceptional track record with music videos. How involved do you get in their production and direction?

Thanks. We're very careful about who we choose to work with and the ideas that are presented to us. Generally once we've agreed on a treatment and a director that we trust we're happy to relinquish control to our collaborators.

Who are your favourite film makers?

Wo - tough question. Tarkovsky, Kubrick, Coppola, Cuaron, Paul Thomas Anderson...

The multicoloured mess of string seems to be a platform for endless applications. Have there been any ideas too ambitious to realize?

Yeah - not really...we were somehow able to figure out the things we anticipated being the most difficult. Like putting the string inside clear vinyl - that was uncertain for awhile. I suppose there was a photo shoot idea that involved hiring 32 kittens that got shutdown for many reasons.

I would imagine that signing to Mute Records off the back of your debut album was an enticing proposition, having that direct relationship with Daniel Miller (producer of The Soft Cell, Depeche Mode, Yazoo and his project The Normal). Beyond producing WIXIW, what impact has Daniel had on Liars?

Oh man, mentor, brother, friend, confidante. Everything really. He's the only musical opinion we trust. We're super lucky to have been brought up in the Mute family.

Having left Australia as a teenager, are you still engaged with what's happening here in terms of politics, art etc?

As much as possible, sometimes more, sometimes less. Australia is still home even though i haven't lived there in eons. I have pangs of nostalgia - my brother sends me packages of violet crumbles...

What was the last book you read?

REAMDE by Neil Stephenson


Andy Stott - Lost and Found
Basic Channel - Octagon
Holly Herndon - Dilato
Smegma - Can't Look Straight
The Associates - The Associate
Bones Brigade - Animal Chin News Clip
Silent Servant - Invocation of Lust
Riskay - Smell Yo Dick
Madlib - Another Gateway
Quixotic - Martal Mirror
Flux Information Sciences - Charlotte Rampling
Trans Am - Access Control
Gil Mellé - Wildfire
Matmos - For The Trees
OMD - Time Zones
OMD - This Is Helena
Dead Prez - Hip-Hop
High Places - Sonora
Can - Millionspiel
Willie Wonka - Wondrous Boat Ride
Benga - 3 Minutes
The Dream - Used To Be
Burial - UK
Oneohtrix Point Never - Replica

May 22, 2014 at 3:18pm in modcast



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