“This feels like a good time to do a proper retrospective” - hmv.com talks to Placebo
Placebo look back at their 22-year, seven studio albums and sales of 11 million LPs across the world this week with a brand new collection.
A Place For Us To Dream (which you can preview and purchase on the right-hand side of the page) is a 36 song collection, mostly comprised of the band’s hit singles, but also with some fan favourites and a new track titled ‘Jesus’ Son’.
As it hit shelves we chatted with bassist Stefan Olsdal about why they decided to look back now, how they choose the tracks and their problem with drummers...
How did the idea to do this collection come about?
“We’re stretching the 20th anniversary of Placebo over quite a long time. We started all that in 2014 because that was 20 years since we formed and we’re going until this year because that’s when the first album came out. This feels like a good time to do a proper respective, our last one was all singles and this time we wanted to do a mixture of the songs that have been the most commercially successful and the ones we feel have most artistic merit. It’s not a Greatest Hits.”
Was it difficult to choose which songs made it and which didn’t?
“It was difficult. Placing songs from 1996 next to songs from 2016 is a big leap when it comes to Placebo, but there is a thread. We wanted to start on a high and end on a high and then it goes up and down in between. It’s a journey with a lot of despair, but a bit of hope.”
Were there any tracks you were particularly sorry to leave off?
“We’ve not included ‘20 Years’, which I think is a classic Placebo track. We had to be a bit cruel this time.”
You’ve got a new song called ‘Jesus’ Son’ on there too...
“There are some new versions on there too. We’ve re-recorded ‘36 Degrees’ for this, it’s us covering ourselves, just a little something for the fans.”
How do you find looking back at those early days? Is it a fun experience?
“I do have to divorce myself from myself at that age. It was very well documented and we were photographed a lot so there’s a lot to look back at, a lot of which I don’t like, including some of the songs. You just have to think of it is as a different person, someone who was doing the best he could.”
How are you progressing with new music? Is it a new album in the offing?
“We’ve been so busy with this, the re-release of the first album and getting ready for a big European tour. This tour will take us well into 2017, probably until the end, so however much we love studio time we won’t back there for a while. You don’t get a gold watch at 65 in music, so we’ll always be working, fortunately I still love Brian and what we do…”
You’ve got a big tour booked for later this year, what can fans expect from the shows?
“It’s a going to have a celebratory feel. We’ve promised ourselves that even though we’re playing old songs that we don’t like, like ‘Pure Morning’ and ‘Nancy Boy’, we’ll play them with as much gusto as we can. There’ll be a few surprises as well. It’ll be a bit longer than we normally play too.”
You changed drummers in 2015 for a fourth time with Steve Forrest leaving and Colour Of Fire’s Matt Lunn filling in, how’s that working out?
“It’s working out really well for the moment, we approach drummers with caution now, we’ve been through three of them, but Matt is one of the nicest people that I know, he’s very solid, I don’t walk onstage and worry about anything being out of whack. He’s in place for the foreseeable future.”
It’s a real contrast given how solid you and Brian have been through your career...
“I don’t know what it is with drummers and us. Is it us? Or is it them? I haven’t figured it out yet.”
“I have, it’s the drummers…”