"I would consider the band circuit as being akin to concentric circles. To progress to the central circle, one would have to serve as a catamite to those bands who inhabit the loftier central ring. Petitioners into the mysteries of the music would suffer degradation upon degradation. In essence they would be tested and essentially striped of ego. This would result in the wheat being separated from the chaff. And, to boot, a heapful of sad souls who must opt for some employment more gainful to society."
This month we speak to thee most talented Politburo, a band whose dark, epic nature and Baroque sensibilities have thus far been undiscovered outside the confines of their native Manchester. It's time that this heinous fact was in some way redressed. We spoke to lead shaman Nick about life, loves and barbers...
IN: Nick, tell the Dutch public about Politburo. We know next to nothing.
N: Politburo are a rock band from Manchester? And.....and.....
I despise people who take themselves too seriously... a trait I inherited neatly from my father; which is ironic considering the monumentally high regard he holds himself in. Its ironic also because I take Politburo quite seriously. To me, it's very far away from a joke. It's the most personal treasure I possess... when I offer our band to the people, it's like a sacrifice of the souls labour. But it is also a celebration. I believe that we hold every myth, every half-truth, every part-legend, rumour and mysterious eon in our music. It is a key. A key that unlocks the shadows beneath the rail bridge. Choice is an implicit and ignored factor in our perception of reality. Politburo is a way to begin a change. No-one in Holland knows who we are... and a very few English people, but what we will eventually do will shake the foundations of modern living.
My goal (for the band) is nothing less than a complete re-ordering of perception on a mass scale. Every song is a code....not often a difficult code... but there is a 'puzzle' within. To me, we are attempting magic. Dabbling... offering up mantras to an indifferent cosmos. Politburo is a kind of banner for the weary, the frustrated and the aimlessly excited. People however, require the larger than life... require a hero. Within the sorcery of the band, we can become just that. With true strength - even founded upon illusion - there is enough for a human being to grasp. In turn they can empower themselves, create their own myths if you like. Sometimes I think the band is like the ark, and the Deluge is coming. I want to save every soul I see, but maybe saving your own spirit is task enough. The flood waters are drawing closer, but the doors to the great ship are open. For now.
The very make-up of Politburo is beyond the ordinary. It is rock legend projected in microcosm onto uncaring streets. It lives and breathes as its members eat, drink, fuck, get high, shit, piss and die. It is the Golem beneath the Synagogue, waiting for activation. Everything is less, but finally more. I can say it no clearer than that. Here's to concentrating on your homework....
IN: I have to ask, (though you can ignore this question, just wondered if you fancied a rant) does your band name get you compared to Interpol, and does that (ahem) piss you off?
N: Indeed, the name has been compared to Interpol, but it doesn't piss me off terribly. The band name is (in it's most obvious sense) a reference to a supreme body of power -not necessarily relating to the Soviet regime. Politburo are the 'men in the know'. They stand behind the houses, inside the broken pram, afloat on the river. The name was chosen with a full and complete knowledge. If one intends to provide something, one has to be seen as a provider. Politburo can only be conceived as an epic concept. Interpol mean nothing to me. The similarities in name come only in the sound of the words. Their (musical) exercise is one I find singularly tiring... and unique amongst exercises, their regimen adds rather than burns mental calories.
IN: You have a feel for glamour and style as a band. Very reminiscent of Neu! - or Klaus Dinger's later outfit, La Dusseldorf. No Manc laddisms for you then I take it?
N: Oh, I'm very much a 'Mancunian lad', only one cursed with a vocabulary and a comfortable bedroom that seems far more appealing to me than kicking the bus shelter. I've never been lonely because of it, since I've always felt a vague sense of superiority. At the same time, I wish I could do my background justice....
I am not a 'common man'. When I was a child, I did not set out to be a 'common man'. Briefly I sampled the broth and it was not to my taste. When I finally understood what we (Politburo) could do, the first need was to shed any old skins and pursue the child's vision with fervour. It is not our lot to be unseen. Any role we take must be larger than life. Style and glamour is nothing more than inspiration to the painter of the future. Fuck Reebok. Fuck short sleeved shirts. The portraits of the future will show only gods.
IN: You have a reputation as a forward thinking band. What is it that drives your music?
N: Forward is back. All I really want is a good myth. New stories for the campfire. I think we're rather running out of them, don't you think? Sometimes I feel as if I am being hounded by someone. A shadow from my childhood that hates me and wants me to fail. I hear it in the sound of the train yard outside my window. I hear it by the green pond where the idiots come to ride their scramblers. I am always waiting for the kettle to freeze at boiling point. Perhaps the music makes me feel strong enough to meet my old friend in the darkness.
IN: The city of Manchester and its environs has always thrown up bands who prefer to express the dark side of things. It can't just be the miserable weather, can it? (I am from Accrington, so I do have prior knowledge in this)
N:Darkness and light are two coffees, one for the morning, one for the night. When its morning, you'll see the light. When it's night, you'll feel the dark. The weather in my town is beastly, but I've always liked the rain. On a quiet day, if it's raining pretty hard, you can find yourself a bus shelter and listen to the sound of the water on the roof. To me, that's light. That's the morning.
You might add that Manchester's architecture has a lot to answer for. A Mancunian grows up knowing slate grey skies true enough, but more importantly, he or she is surrounded on every side by the relics of an Imperial age. Factories and mills, our modern castles, breaking up the skyline. I wish I could be flippant and say : "Yeah, I'm a miserable sod. I'm a bit depressed". But it's just not true. Manchester didn't create us, we created Manchester. We shouldn't forget that. All of its grimness, all of its much vaunted ugliness...it's insufferable weather...it's part of the dream.
Those fuckers...those cunts that want to change that, want to re-imagine the city...they're the nightmare. Sooner or later, we're going to realise we're at war. But too late?
IN: When are you thinking of playing over here? Any ideas?
N: I want us to play all over Europe. Sometimes I suspect that the continent will understand first. It's a theory I'm waiting to test. As for playing in Holland... it will happen, once we've amassed a little cash. Playing abroad on a shoestring budget is difficult. More so if the band in question are relative unknowns. I have few in the way of contacts, so I guess we'd have to take what was offered. Truth has a way of biting the artist. My personal dog takes shape in the dole office, chases me down the street, barks at me whenever I try to pet him and ultimately corales me into the hands of the local dealers. Holland or the dealers? Europe or oblivion? I suppose the choice should be simple. Without requisite support, we'll get to Holland eventually. Hopefully, I can change our circumstances so as to prevent Politburo earning the title of 'sick man of Europe'.
IN: Any good books that you could recommend? Incendiary are reading John Milton's Comus in a vain attempt to raise the literary bar. It isn't working, let me tell you...
N: You will attempt to run before you can crawl.... The opening to Comus... oh take us to the starrie threshold of loves court. That's where I crash. 'A Guardian spirit, or Dæmon Before the starrie threshold of Ioves court my mansion is, where those immortall shapes of bright aereall spirits live insphear'd in regions mild of calme & serene aire' The Situationists had it half right: 'Under the pavement; the beach'. Favourite books are ones which yearn. The Ginger Man by JP Donleavy, Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad, Blue of Noon by Georges Bataille, Le Mort D'Arthur by Thomas Malory, I Am Legend by Richard Matheson. Fuck it, but I love adventure stories that may or may not be true... Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas is an obvious choice. I am a mark for a good drug tale. Officer Factory by Hans Helmut Kirst (blessed are the rats)... that's an easy read for sure.
N: I am currently convinced that there are too many bands about. I often wonder why they all bother. Would you agree? I wondered if there is anything else we could make them all do instead of being in a band. I had thought of some useful occupation like nursing, but band members can be quite bad at waking up before 12 noon. Maybe night porters. What do you think?
N: It is a conspiracy of barbers. One only has to glance at the sea of modern sculpture in the dressing rooms of the holy venues. People yearn for adventure, and a band seems the obvious way to go about embarking upon one. The trouble is, it's a vocation... one not to be taken lightly. People don't join the priesthood for fun, do they? And yet it seems so arbitrarily cruel to wipe the slate clean for all the girls and boys who are having 'so much fun'. I would consider the band circuit as being akin to concentric circles. To progress to the central circle, one would have to serve as a catamite to those bands who inhabit the loftier central ring. Petitioners into the mysteries of the music would suffer degradation upon degradation. In essence they would be tested and essentially striped of ego. This would result in the wheat being separated from the chaff. And, to boot, a heapful of sad souls who must opt for some employment more gainful to society. In order to make a human being strong, you must prey upon their weakness. Do I really believe this? Well.....