pre-Guilfest interview

Echo & the Bunnymen

published: Sun 19th Jun 2005

Friday 15th to Sunday 17th July 2005
Stoke Park, Guildford, Surrey., England MAP
w/e £75, with camping £85; days £35; c/vans £50; under-16s days £20, w/e £40 & £50; under 12
last updated: Tue 12th Jul 2005

Echo and the Bunnymen are back with a new album called Siberia and they're coming to a festival near you this summer including Guilfest. eFestivals had a quick chat with their guitarist Will Sergeant.

What's your first festival memory?

First festival memory? We played a festival called Smogrock in Sweden quite early on (laughs). But it'd probably be a small one in Leigh near Manchester, it was in a field and Factory meets Zoo. It was early doors, 80 or 81 around there, Joy Division were playing and so were Certain Ratio and Orchestral Manoeuvres in The Dark. It was small only about 300 people. I remember watching Joy Division come on as it was getting dark and there were loads of fires dotted around because there weren't many people in the field. People had just gone off and got wood and stuff to burn to keep warm.

I remember when I was a kid I went to see Pink Floyd at Knebworth. I must have only been around 16 or 17. I think it was the Wish You Were Here tour. We spent the whole time the band were on queuing for some dodgy fish and chips because we were hungry, starving. I think that was the first festival I went to.

Which festival are you most looking forward to this year?

Probably has to be Glastonbury - it's the big one isn't it.

Do you all actually like festivals? I ask because of some of Mac's comments when on stage.

(laughs) yeah we all do. Really. That's just Mac being Mac.

Have you played Guilfest before?

Yeah I think so [you think right - Ed], that's the friendly one isn't it? I think we played there a while back with New Order [you think wrong - Ed], enjoyed it.

It's nice to play festivals as opposed to gigs, as the pressure is off, that's great, there's no sound checks or waiting about you just get on and play and you're not just playing to your fans.

Do you wander about festivals like Guilfest?

Oh yeah definitely, I like to wander about the hippy shops, the tacky little shops looking for a bargain. Plus I like to go to the record shops too, there's always good stuff in them.

When we play European festivals there's none of that there. I miss that. Plus there's that token thing where you have to queue up to get tokens for beer and then queue up again for beer and miss the bands.

Do you tend to stay on site?

During the day yeah, with the tour bus but we go and come away. I like to get home.

Do you get to know other bands on the festival circuit each time or is there little chance to get together?

Yeah we get to know a few, we were on tour in America with Ban the Bravery so we got to know them and Coldplay are at Glastonbury we know them too.

Gigs or festivals?

I like festivals because there's less stress and it's a greatest hits set primarily.

Would you take your family to a festival?

Well they're still a bit young to take them really.

Do you ever read eFestivals?

Well I don't like the internet, I use it, but it frustrates me. It's only half finished. Half done, things just don't work properly and it drives me nuts. What was the name of your site again? I'll have a look later. If I can get the internet to work!

So are all the band internet literate?

Well Mac isn't but the rest of us are. Paul definitely is, he could probably build his own site and Simon, the bass player is too. I do my own website There's loads of stuff on there.

How is the new album Siberia going?

It's nearly finished, it was supposed to be done in three weeks. But it's taking a little longer, well six weeks, which for an album is still pretty quick.

So will you not be playing tracks off the new album?

Well we've been playing one live track off the new album, called 'In the Margins' so we'll possibly play that. Actually were having the picture taken for it tomorrow.

How do you like DJing as opposed to the band?

I love it. I've been into music ever since I was a little one. It's a chance to play my own records. I play mostly Northern Soul, Electro and Synch plus 60's Psychedelia loads of stuff. You can see what I play on the site. I'm at Friction in Liverpool every Thursday. Love it I've played for six hours before quite happily.

Do you make films and photographs too?

Yeah I'm well into all that. I like to put projections and lights and stuff behind it. Me and Peasy (the band's manager) do it all, we'll a lot of it is Peasy. We play culty films and underground films. My recent favourites have been Ivan's Childhood by Andrei Tarkovsky and a black and white version of Alice and Wonderland by Jonathon Miller, the guy who did a sixties TV show on the BBC. Plus loads of other 60's cult programmes. You know, The Prisoner, Adam Adamant stuff like that. We like to open people's eyes to what's about. On the photographic side, we've just helped organise a photographic exhibition for a bloke who took early pictures of Cream. They've never been seen and it's at the Tate. (Running at Liverpool's Tate Gallery from the 27th May until 25th September - Summer of Love is a ground-breaking and visually spectacular exhibition exploring psychedelic art from the 1960s and early 1970s.)

Thanks to Will for his time.
interview by: Scott Williams

Friday 15th to Sunday 17th July 2005
Stoke Park, Guildford, Surrey., England MAP
w/e £75, with camping £85; days £35; c/vans £50; under-16s days £20, w/e £40 & £50; under 12
last updated: Tue 12th Jul 2005

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