archive interview: Archers of Loaf

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This interview with Archers of Loaf drummer Mark Price dates from Autumn 1997, and was published in Weedbus fanzine #13, March 1998

The first line up of the Archers of Loaf was hatched at the University of North Carolina, and more or less grew out of that college scene. Do you think your music has changed a lot since then?

“I would like to think so. I'm a lot happier with the stuff we are doing now, but I don't know if that's because it's different from the other stuff or if I feel it really is better. I think it would have been a lot less exciting for us if all the records had sounded the same. I'm glad that we're able to keep doing different stuff, but it stills sounds like us, if you know what I mean.”

So are there any good bands around that part of the world now?

“There's a band called Coal from Chapel Hill that's really very good. There was another band called Capsize 7 that have recently broken up, I liked them a lot. Most of the stuff we listen to when we're travelling like we are now, is generally stuff that sounds nothing like us, it's good to give your ears a break and listen to softer mellower stuff. I'm a huge Magnetic Fields fan, but that has nothing to do with us really!”

When you first emerged people compared you to fellow Americans like Pavement and Superchunk. Now you seem to be getting frequent comparisons to Brit-punk like Wire, Gang of Four, XTC, etc. What do you make of that?

“I think those recent comparisons are a little more accurate in that I think you could compare Pavement to those bands also. We get asked about that fairly often and Eric made a good point – it's not that we sound like Pavement, it's more a case of them having the same influences as us. We're about the same age, so we've grown up with the same music, and listened to the same bands – Wire, the Replacements, whoever, and I think you would find that our record collections would overlap.

Your name seems to have been punned a lot in various other press coverage you've had. Is this a problem?

“Well I suppose we could be difficult to promote. We're not camera darlings so that doesn't work, I've only seen two bits of press from Britain and they were both pretty comical, one was entitled “Baguette a Life!” As bread puns go that's pretty sharp, definitely one to file away. AS for the name of the band – well, just think about some of your favourite bands and tell me how many of them have sensible names. The name has stuck and we don't find it particularly silly, it just takes a bit of getting used to!”

After four well received albums, why did you decide to bring out a live mini-album at this stage?

“It was something we had wanted to do for quite a while anyway. We felt it was so hard to produce on record the atmosphere you have at a live show. I don't know if that's a different reason from most people, but we wanted something out there so people could hear what the show sounded like and realise that when we record we try to make it as close to what it is like live, in that there aren't any overdubs put on the record which we couldn't reproduce live. Not that gimmicky stuff and effects are bad, it's just that we record the records live. Basically we just wanted to do it just for us, if no-one buys the damn thing that's OK! I've got a copy and I can play it to my kids when I have some”

Time wise it has come out quite quickly after the 'All The Nation's Airports' studio album, and there are even a couple of tracks remixed from that release. Why did this happen?

“We had always been against the idea of remixes from the start, we just didn't like the idea of someone going into it without us being involved. Brian Paulson, who produced the original tracks, changed out attitude to a degree, and he's had guys remix his stuff all the time. It's not as much that they're saying it was done wrong, but a lot of times they can pull out different things in a song that maybe we can't. We thought, well, it's not going to go on the record, there's no harm in hearing what someone else can do with it, and if Brian isn't insulted by it then why should we be.”

People tend to see you as a noisy pop band with weird bits added. Have you ever been tempted to move towards the mainstream?

“I don't think anyone has tried to do that really. The reason the band continues is that we like what we play. If we want to have any kind of stamina as far as a rock n roll career is concerned then we need to make ourselves happy first. It sounds selfish but it's the only way to look at it when it's what your life is. I think we've always been a pop band – we write pop songs, and maybe there are a lot of pop songs that are considered 'mainstream'. Hopefully we still write songs that make people tap their feet or hum along to.

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