Ahead of their return to London to honour the fifteenth anniversary of their label Constellation Records with a performance of their now-classic Goodbye Enemy Airship The Landlord Is Dead in full, Do Make Say Think’s Adam Marvy was kind enough to answer a lot of questions about the past – and one about the future.
You’re about to play Goodbye Enemy Airship The Landlord Is Dead in full as part of ATP’s Don’t Look Back series. Is it the record you’d have chosen from your back catalogue to perform in its entirety, if given the choice?
Yes, this is the first album we did as the fully realized version of Do Make Say Think. It represents a kind of coming of age for most of us as musicians. We’d all been in different bands and had been playing for years but GEATLID had a unity of vision that we hadn’t previously felt. Also, it being CST’s 15-year anniversary, we wanted to touch on the first record we truly recorded for Constellation. And besides it’s a fine record, a really fun one to play song for song.
Do you spend much time listening to your old records? If you do, what goes through your mind?
From time to time I like to listen to our old records. It’s like looking through an old photo album. Really, it can sometimes transport you back in time to a state of mind that is very specific. And that’s kind of an amazing thing, to have an emotional photo album. Instrumental music and emotions both share an ability to transcend concepts and literal interpretations. So when they mirror each other and end up pressed onto vinyl discs that can be put on a shelf for years and years, it can be quite a visceral experience when you listen back.
What effect did recording much of Goodbye Enemy Airship… in a barn have on the sound? Did you deliberately decide to record there, or was it born more out of necessity?
We enjoy giving ourselves the space and time to focus on making our records. There’s something inspiring about packing up all your equipment and rolling into a unique place away from the city and all its distractions. Being able to have the sound of the environment spill into the music has helped in keeping us motivated and creative.
Goodbye Enemy Airship… is 12 years old now. How does being in Do Make Say Think today compare with what it was like in 2000?
We’ve been through so much together now – tours, celebrations, arguments, resolutions, troubles, boredom – that we are more like brothers in a slightly dysfunctional family than just good friends. There’s a new maturity to the band but there’s also the challenge of knowing, understanding and accepting each other’s artistic differences.
This year also marks the 15th anniversary of Constellation Records. How would things have been different for Do Make Say Think if it weren’t for being involved with the label?
It’s impossible to say, of course, but being on a label that encourages exploration and eschews blatant attempts at commercialization has been a very healthy thing. Maybe if we were signed to a different label we’d have written shitty music and gotten rich.
If you were asked to pick one band to play a whole record live, who’d you pick, and what album would they play? Why?
Would love to hear Talk Talk’s Laughing Stock. This remarkably powerful record has meant much to the band. It’s informed and inspired us. Also I don’t think it would ever happen which is why it would be so special if it did.
Looking to the future rather than the past for a moment, can you shed any light on whether we should expect any music from Do Make Say Think in the near future – and what form it might take, if so?
We’re currently thinking about talking about making something doable.
Do Make Say Think perform Goodbye Enemy Airship The Landlord Is Dead at London’s Electric Ballroom on Tuesday 27th November as part of ATP’s Don’t Look Back. Tickets are available here.