Interview with The Cinematics

Back in the days when Funky Mofo was still alive (2005) we had had the chance to talk to an up-and-coming band from Scotland, The Cinematics, who at the time were touring with Editors and We Are Scientists and were halfway through recording their first album “A Strange Education”. We were so excited to hear they were back with a second album and a UK tour that we jumped at the opportunity to speak with them again. Their tour took them via Cardiff where we caught up with them… eventually. We hit the Barfly at the agreed time only to be told the gig was now talking place at the Clwb Ifor Bach. Luckily it was only a short walk away and we finally managed to grab Scott Rinning and Larry Reid for a friendly chat.

Cat On The Wall: What have you been up to since we last spoke to you, what is it, four years ago now?

Scott Rinning: Yeah it’s been a long time! Well, we toured around the world playing our amazing music to folks that we could get to. Our guitarist Ramsay Miller got married, happily! We went along to the wedding in Glasgow, it was a bit of a mad one. I nearly fainted!

COTW: Too much emotion?

SR: [laughs] No, unfortunately it had nothing to do with emotions at all! We’d been on tour in America for about 3 months and the second day that I came back he got married so the first day we came home we went out with all our mates and got really really drunk so I woke up for his wedding next day at one of my friends’ house… I went to his wedding in the clothes I was wearing out the night before… it’s not really nice but I was dressed very well on the night I went out so I still looked good. Then over the last year and a half Larry’s joined the band and we’ve been settling in and writing music and completing our new album which we recorded over Christmas and springtime.

COTW: Did you know Larry before?

SR: Not really. Divination, that’s how we found him. We kind of walked around Glasgow with rods.

Larry Reid: I was in the band for about 3 weeks before they actually found out I could play guitar! They liked my shoes and me playing guitar was a real bonus.

COTW: So your first album was recorded in Bath, in Peter Gabriel’s studio. How did the recording for this new album compare with your previous experience?

SR: This time around we got a new record company, our previous label was bought out and from the take-over, we seized the opportunity to gain more control over how we wanted to do things, like where and how we wanted to record our music, the album artwork, all aspects of the band. We recorded this album partly in studios, partly at home, around Glasgow, trying to keep control of it. Every single noise, whistle, bang, pop, it’s down to The Cinematics.

LR: I produced the album, there’s no external producer.

COTW: Did you prefer producing yourselves?

LR: (to Scott) Did you prefer that?

SR: Yes, I think so. Working with a producer can be great. When I started making music, I was using basic equipment, recording on one tape machine, then recording on another tape machine, playing along to the first tape machine. It was fine for a while but it got a little bit ridiculous eventually. So when you’re in a band, you had to go into a studio and pay the money and pay for a producer. Whereas now, you can pull up some pretty decent recordings yourself, with the right equipment. There are some extremely talented producers out there, that you can put your own ideas to, a producer can come handy at times. This time around I don’t think we were really lacking inspiration, I don’t think we really needed a producer, whether I enjoyed it more or less… I think Larry would have said it was extremely stressful.

LR: It was stressful, I mean we may use another producer for the next album, it depends how this goes down, how well this one is received.

After a brief detour in the interview we reached the subject of promoting your band and how tools like Twitter and Facebook can be very rewarding for your own use, but ultimately would drive anyone insane if they had to treat this type of advertisement as a job for a third party. And then, swine flu gets mentioned…

SR: It’s nice to hear of fans around the world. We get messages from people in Tokyo, South Africa, Mexico, Chile, it’s kind of cool.

LR: Although we had to cancel a tour in Mexico, didn’t we?

SR: Er, what… yes! (starts coughing with Larry in tow) The swine flu… (more over-exaggerated coughing from the pair) We think Ross has definitely got it.

LR: He’s in quarantine at the back of the tour van.

SR: He’s stuck there at the back with all the equipment. He started coughing after Manchester so I think he’s got it.

LR: He’d eaten some blackberries and it said “packaged in Mexico” on it…

SR: Really?! (general laughter from Larry and COTW) Oh shi… I started washing my hands with TCP. (it turns out Scott is quite the worrier)

LR: He comes into my room to do it. He’s got my hotel room stinking of TCP!

SR: It’s a good smell, it makes you feel safe.

LR: It’s reassuring. Much laughter was had by all and we decided to rein Scott and Larry into seriousness…

COTW: The first single ‘Love and Terror’ is download only.

LR: Yes, but we’re thinking of releasing it on vinyl, a limited edition type thing, for super fans. Now, the album will definitely be physically in the shops.

SR: The vinyl is kind of a memento for super fans, something to mark the single release so we’d like to make it special.

LR: The good thing about downloads is that it is a lot quicker to distribute your music. With physical CDs it can take six months between the moment of recording to the moment the music reaches the shop shelves. We’re quite into the idea of writing some songs and get them out really quickly.

COTW: Can you talk to us about the new album?

SR: It’s called ‘Love and Terror’ and it was approached differently from the previous one. It’s a little bit more raw, a little bit more emotive rather than it being so clean-slick-and-polished like it was the first time. I think we’ve been more experimental, structurally, not trying to stick to any formulated pop structure.

LR: This time around The Cinematics aren’t expected to become ‘The Biggest Band In The World’, however with the next album we expect to be ‘The Biggest Band In The World’! We wrote 17 songs which we thought were amazing and we picked the best 10 and put them on an album. There are some bum notes – the current trend right now is to use a ‘beat detector’ so everything is completely in time, there’s none of that happening on this album because people see through that, people hear that, if it’s too perfect it’s a turn-off for them. We wanted to make an album that sounded like the bands we really liked, one of my favourite bands is Jesus and Mary Chain, so there’s a lot of that type of guitar sound.

SR: It’s a pure honest album and it’s been recorded in a pure honest way. There’s a song on it called ‘Hard for Young Lovers’ which I think really sums up what the album is all about. ‘Wish (when the banks collapse)‘, it was written before the banks started collapsing though it’s not really about banks collapsing but more about rich people turning around to you and telling you what you should be giving money to… Not that I don’t think you should give money, I’m not against charity but it’s that kind of standing up and going “you should do this”…

LR: We’re talking about bands who protest against the music industry, people making money from the music industry… people that lend their weight to all sorts of causes and that’s quite easy for you to do that when you have a hundred million in the bank or twenty million in the bank… I don’t have twenty million, I don’t have much money in the bank, I’m not sure whether that’s £20 or £30 but I don’t have enough money to give away my record for free. This album sounds quite dark because when we were recording it the record company was going out of business and we thought we might never make an album, we might be writing these songs as an end to nothing, it might go nowhere. I think the album is very honest as a result of that, the songs are about hard times, about the hard times we faced when writing this album.

SR: There is some happier things too…

LR: There’s some comedy on it.

SR: There’s some definite bits that will make you laugh.

LR: My guitar playing will make you laugh…

SR: Yeah, it’s just terrible (trying to contain a laugh) it’s a joke, it’s a joke, his guitar playing is amazing! What else can we say about this album… (thinks) it’s amazing, you should buy it when it comes out!

So there you have it, a darkly comedic album with terrible… we mean, amazing guitar playing that’ll make you laugh and you should all be buying it. Honestly though, this album is a labour of love in a time of depression, it lends realistic optimism to some not-so-happy days and we should all be grateful to The Cinematics for keeping the flame. As COTW set up for a photoshoot, we realised our camera battery had given up on us and we promptly rushed home to grab our spare camera… We later met up with the band in the pub opposite the venue and proceeded to have some burger and beer with the guys. More laughter was had and we eventually managed to grab the fourtet for a quick pose-but-do-not-smile-smiling-is-for-losers (quote Larry) before the support act, Hip Parade, hit the stage. The Cinematics went on to delivering an intense and passionate set to a disappointingly sparse audience. Where was the Cardiff indie scenesters on that night? It didn’t stop the band though and we were glad to be part of the evening in our own little way: we returned home that night with two Cinematics tee-shirts as a way to get Larry on his way to gaining £20 million on his bank account.

The band’s new single release has been delayed and should now be available sometime in June 2009. The album should follow at the end of summer. We’ll keep you informed whenever we get more information.

When The Cinematics are playing in a venue near you, make sure to see them, you will not be disappointed!

Visit The Cinematics on Myspace!

Interview by Jo Whitby and CB Lux

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