So, Drones. I remember when people first started talking about drones. And everybody was fascinated by drones, you know. There was this story about a pizza delivery with a drone, and GoPro, you know, filming beautiful… and everybody loved the drones. But then it became that drones, you know, killing people in the Middle East. Did you see this coming when, you know, people first started talking about drones?
Matt: Uh, yeah, I read a book couple years ago called “Predators CIA Drones”. It was all about, obviously, drones in war, you know. And I kinda found it to be so interesting how much, how common it is, you know? It’s being used all the time, you know, but we don’t really hear about it, but what I became really interested in was the future of inventions of drones, which are basically… they’re making new ones with like artificial intelligence, which can kind of like make their own decisions. It makes me think we’re living in like The Terminator or something. It’s like [laughs]
Right. So would they decide on their own to deliver pizza or to kill people, maybe?
Matt: Exactly, yeah. We’re living in this moment in time where this intelligence is really starting to have an influence, you know yeah.
Right. What about Drones the song? Will you perform that a capella? Will everybody—
Matt: Yeah, Dom’s practicing the soprano part.
It’s tough, right?
Dom: It’s a tough one, yeah. But we’ll see if we can do it, yeah.
Matt: We need a fourth person though. It’s four parts, you know? So maybe Morgan. Maybe Morgan can do the alto.
Dom: …That would be embarrassing.
Matt: Chris obviously does the bass part. I'll do the tenor.
Well you have the good drones, though, during the tour, right?
Matt: Uh, well actually, we don’t know if we’re actually gonna use… we wanna get one that look like more like the military ones, but we’re gonna get them sort of made in a way where they’re either like, I don’t know, inflatable, or on cables or something. We’re gonna try and create the more like menacing look, the more kind of like scary drones. Or maybe like futuristic drones. The future of artificial intelligence drones, you know.
Alright, but they’ll still be filming the show and, you could see maybe—?
Matt: I’m talking about the indoor shows, like the arenas. Because the festivals, we might be using the friendly ones. You know, that film? But the problem is we—health and safety, you know? Especially here. You can’t be allowed to do anything here. What was it? I remember it was in, what, Rome? We had a, we couldn’t go on stage for like say, 20 minutes, because health and safety is very serious here.
Right. Maybe it’s the bureacracy that it’s–
Matt: Yeah, something like that.
Anyway, I’m always very impressed by the live shows, you know. You guys play for two hours and it’s unbelievable. You know, like, the last time, I remember the show in Torino, not only Matt is playing guitar and singing at the same time, at one point you’re playing an amazing guitar solo and running on the… So do you guys go into physical training for, or is it just performing becomes the training?
Dom: Uh… you know we try and… you kinda build up to it. It takes a few shows to kind of get into your groove and get like figure out how to find enough energy to kind of perform for two hours. But two hours is a long show. So um…
’Specially with the music you guys play.
Dom: Yeah, yeah, you need to try like, try and stay vaguely fit to be able to do it. To be able to run and do a guitar solo at the same time is pretty tough.
But would you do that on the first show or does that become, ‘Nooo’?
Matt: The first show is always a shock. When you’ve not played for a long time, you go on stage and think you can do everything, and like after the fourth song you’re like, *pained breath* I can’t believe it. So actually for me, being on tour is where the fitness happens, you know?
You know most people would say like, you know every time we hear like Matt, Dom, and Chris talking, they seem like so positive and optimistic, but then again, if we look into the lyrics of the album, you could think that, you know, paranoia or depression maybe, even. It’s a big, you know, inspiration.
Matt: Yeah, well I think you know I think for anybody experiences any hard times, I think you know sharing those experience, or talking about them, expressing yourself is like… People do it with their family, with their friends, you know, but I do it, I like to do it in music. So I express all sorts of feelings good and bad, you know? So uh, music’s always been a powerful sort of therapeutic experience for me, you know, because I love it.
Sure. And that’s also kind of called ‘empathy’, right, when you… and the whole album is about losing empathy, right?
Matt: Yeah, there’s like a journey on the album, like it starts with ‘Dead Inside’ and it ends with ‘Aftermath’. It’s kind of a person like avoiding feelings and choosing to go down this robot dronelike path, but becoming used and manipulated by different powers, oppressor systems, and by the time you get to like, ‘Defector’ and ‘Revolt’, the person kind of finds their strength and that’s where it becomes more positive. The person regains control of themself, and kind of allows themself to regain kind of be positive, and then obviously ‘Aftermath’ is a love song. So you know I think the album, if you look at one song maybe, you can get an impression of it being very dark feeling, but I think if you listen to the story of the album overall it’s kind of a positive message.
Right, at the end of it. So you said, you’re saying that each individual can kind of like control the people that try to control him.
Matt: I think you can’t do that, but what you can do is control yourself, you know? You know these people that find themselves in military or religious extreme groups or whatever that might be, you know? They, rather than, you don’t have to take orders you know? You can just take orders from yourself and nobody else.
Nice. The last time we talk about um, you know we were talking about the song ‘Unsustainable’ and sustainability in a, in rock music. There’s a lot of trucks, you know, people drive to the show. I remember you guys telling me about a weird inventor, maybe Belgian, that came up with a system… you didn’t know at the time if it was gonna work or what, but it sounded very Tesla, you know. He came up with a device that could create energy.
Matt: Energy! Yeah, yeah, I think it turns out that he was a con man. [laughs]
Matt: Actually, I don’t know for sure, but whatever happened it didn’t come to be. There’s lots of people who have these inventions. You don’t know what’s real and what’s not real. But uh, you mentioned Tesla, you know. Interesting, Nikola Tesla, you know, he had some interesting inventions. Really interesting ones that never got used. He had this invention of like, shooting electricity into the ionosphere, you know? And trans—, so electricity would be free from the sky, integrated with lightning and everything like this, so then everybody would have free electricity. But uh, nobody ever tried this idea. I think it should be done.
But I think also sometimes there are con artists, and sometimes it’s really the lobby of electricity trying to—
Matt: Yeah, you never know, you never know. I think Tesla was definitely not a con man. He was a genius. [laughs] I hope so, anyway. But uh. Yeah, but yeah you’re right. You never know. I think basically we live in the oil age. And the oil age, that’s what’s dominating everything. So I guess at some point we have to transition away from that.
Hopefully. So, Drones is a more stripped down compared to the last, is more like ‘power trio’ as they say. You know, like bass, drums, and guitar. But you still recorded some extra instruments, like the strings. And you did it in Milan, right?
Dom: We did.
Why was it in Milan?
Dom: We’ve done all of our strings in Milan over the last few years.
Matt: Yeah, I guess it’s, zhzhzhzh....
Dom: What’s the studio called?
Matt: Officine Mecca…
Officine Meccaniche, yeah?
Matt: Yeah. We worked there a lot in the past. And actually, Tommaso Colliva, he’s uh…
He’s your man.
Matt: Yes, he is our man. But we met him on, which album is that? Black Holes and Revelations, maybe?
Dom: Black Holes, I think.
Matt: Yeah yeah, we met him. He was an assistant at that studio. And he actually helped us build studios and he’s been engineering all of our albums and helping everything. So really we wanted to go back there because he knows his studio so well and he knows the string finder, Edoardo, So he has good contacts. He knows how to find the best string players and all that kind of stuff. So we thought coming to Milan was the best choice.
Cool. And an extra instrument, and I don’t know if you can define that as an extra instrument, but the way that whistle on ‘The Globalist’ sounded very Morricone-esque, you can say. Was that a tribute to Ennio Morricone? I know you’re big fans.
Matt: Yeah, I guess it’s a tribute to, kind of western films and that whole genre and obviously, whenever anybody whistles, it’s always gonna be Morricone. Because he is the king of the whistle, you know, so. So I guess it’s kind of like, I guess it suited that song where you know the song is a person going on this journey into the unknown, journey into the lonely sort of landscape you know? It kind of suited the feeling of a western.
Right. And the last time we also talked a little about Italian food. I remember you guys, you know. And again this goes with sustainability, because it’s nice to eat local when you’re somewhere. So I remember you guys being very enthusiastic about pizzoccheri. Is there anything new that you’ve discovered in Italian menus?
Matt: In Italy? I like the strangled priest. You know?
Stranged Priest? Oh! Strozzapreti
Matt: Yeah yeah yeah, that’s my favorite pasta now.
With what sauce?
Matt: Just simple, simple tomato basil.
They're green, right?
Matt: No no, it’s like a twisted, twisted, I dunno, like a thick linguine twisted.
I love the uh, how it sounds in English. ‘Strangled Priest’.
Matt: Such a dark name, you know?
It goes with Drones, especially the first part. Do you know?
So, looking at the live schedule, I’m thinking like, I’m almost anxious for these guys. You play St. Petersburg and then Asia, and then Los Angeles, and then Rome. How do you guys, you know, when you look at the schedule, what’s your, you know, uh, impression? Do you ever get that feeling like, ‘My god, how are we gonna get through this?’
Dom: Yeah, initlaly right at the start it’s like, really, have like the whole you know, year and a bit really like planned out, penciled out pretty much. It’s like Jesus. But you know, but it’s exciting at the same time. When I see the dates, you know, I’m like, cool, we’re gonna go there. And we’re going to a few places we haven’t been to for a little while, like southeast Asia. We haven’t been there for a few albums. And around Europe, South America as well. So it’s just gonna be a fun tour. But when you’re facing it in the beginning it’s a little bit like, daunting. Like Jesus, it’s a year on the road. But the… it should be good. It’s gonna be great.
Is there gonna be some time in Devonshire during the year or when you guys leave home, it’s just for good?
Dom: We actually just played there.
I know, I’ve seen it on Instagram.
Dom: Exactly yeah. We did like a little tour around the UK of like slightly smaller theatres.
Dom: Yeah, and it was amazing. It was kind of great to reconnect a little bit with kind of our roots, you know? Our rock roots in some ways and the audiences were mental; they just went crazy and it was a good chance just to kind of uh play some new songs. But yeah we played in Devon, we played in Exeter, which is where we’re from, and it was… We haven’t been down there for years. It was great to see some family and friends.
There’s a legend that talks about the first – maybe it wasn’t the first ever – show that you guys played. But it’s like some battle of the bands concert that somebody says has been their highlight for a long time. Just the energy of that show. Right? How long ago was that?
Matt: 10, 20 years?
Dom: Who said that? That that was their highlight?
Matt: I’m not really sure that’s what he means, that that was what… that was obviously a really important moment for us. ’Cause I think—
You trashed the stage and smashed the —
Matt: We were actually called Rocket Baby Dolls at this time. We, it was still Dom, Chris,
It was still the three of you.
Matt: It was the three of us, but I think we didn’t take anything seriously then. We were just kind of having a chaotic time and being a bit mental and uh, and it wasn’t until. We actually accidentally won. We won the battle of the bands. And after that we kind of thought, maybe we should be more serious. We changed to Muse and became very miserable.
Matt: I’m joking. But it’s um, we basically, we kind of, that inspired us to actually, it made us believe we had a chance, you know?
Right. So would that be an advice to a young band? Like, it’s 20 years later, so it’s a different time and age. But if a band really wants to break through, should they like participate in all this?
Matt: I mean battle of the bands is bit of a cheesy idea.
Dom: It’s a bit lame, isn’t it?
Matt: ’Cause we can’t really have a competition between music. But I don’t know. Advice for young people today. I mean, I don’t know. I mean we toured so much. I think that that was the one thing that made us what we are, you know? We just played live all the time. Everywhere. We went everywhere, anywhere that would want us, we would play you know, for about 5–10 years. And i think that’s really what made us what we are, is just endless touring and playing.
So it’s really like better to go door-to-door than just like have 3 minutes of fame in a talent show or…
Matt: Yeah, of course. You wanna make connection with people, you know. Like you wanna go and see them in their town. Through the television, it’s a very superficial connection.
Cool. Alright guys, thank you so much as everything really. As all the time, you know?