Sunday, 7 March 2010
Noah and the Whale Interview
Do you think the name Noah and the Whale reflects life- in a very strange parallel to the biblical stories…I thought, there is Noah and the Ark, and I don’t know whether you intended it to mean this, but he was leading people on to a better life...rejuvenation, cleansing...blah blah blah…and then Jonah and the Whale, who is stuck in a whale. So do you think the band name is a kind of very strange parallel to the fact that you’re leading people on through your music yet we’re all stuck in the big whale of the world, society and mortality?
Charlie: Well it wasn’t the initial reason behind the name...but it’s much better (chortle chortle)
Urby: We might nick that for other interviews!
Charlie: I think the beautiful thing about words is that no matter what you mean to say, you’re always going to link to something. So if that’s what it means to you, then that’s what it means. Do you know what I mean?
Do you think it’s a concept that applies to life as well?
Charlie: Do I think that concept is true? What’s the main jist? That we are leading people…
To better things, new directions. But at the same time, inevitably we are all just stuck.
C: that’s interesting
Urby: It’s quite a big thing to put on our shoulders.
Well maybe not just musicians…everyone in life
C: well part of what I try to say I guess is to look beyond the ‘whale’ in an unconventional way. For example, a lot of stuff that comes up is about death. So essentially we are trying to escape from this whale…I don’t know, I’ve always been terrified of death- I’m not a religious person but I’ve heard a song that talks about the physical continuation of your body, in its most base as fertiliser or whatever to this.
U: but I don’t think we’re stuck, time is just continuous.
Well kind of what I meant by asking was do you think there is a whale or do you think we’re not stuck at all?
C: umm, I just don’t care, to be honest. I think it’s interesting, but it’s just so abstract… I don’t know. If we’re talking about OUR music, then it’s probably more humane than that.
Fiddle: We wouldn’t want to lead anyone in any direction…
I didn’t mean it like you personally are leading them, but the concept of the arts as something to guide.
C: the light in the whale’s dark stomach.
F: Well music and art are the only sort of abstract things we have, that can sort of guide you in your journey of life.
U: are you asking us about the meaning of life basically? Because we don’t know! (Chortle)
Well I needed to start with that abstract one, as I’m now going to use that idea through the rest of my questions. Sorry, I didn’t mean it to be so demanding!
U: don’t worry, it’s probably the best interview we’ve had so far.
Well ok. If you had your own ark, what would you be sailing towards?
C: hmmm, I think I’d just sail. An ark’s a pretty amazing thing. It would be pretty self-sufficient. If you got hungry you could just eat some giraffe…
As long as they’d already bred…hahahaa.
U: I would be great to do a tour on an ark. Because we’ve got this tour bus now that’s a bit like an ark on wheels. It’s very self sufficient. It’s got beds…TVs…
C: hahaaa is that what you call self-sufficient, beds and TVs?
U: it’s got a toilet…and all your friends there. Tour by ark would be cool.
Ahh well that kind of leads onto my next questions. I’ve got lots of ark questions. In fact, they are all ark questions.
If you had a destination, would it matter if you ever reached it, or would it just be nice to kind of roll along.
C: I think once you’ve reached one destination you’re going to want to find another destination anyway.
U: you never get there and keep trying, or you get there and look for a new destination.
F: it’s always ongoing; you’ll never actually reach your destination.
C: it would be pretty good to be sailing anyway...so…
Would you have every animal on board, as is the tradition of arks?
U: I don’t think we’d discriminate.
C: we could get logical here…I mean there are a lot of tiny crabs that live in caves in Thailand…when are we going to go pick them up?
Well I am imagining it to be like the Men in Black locker, you’d just have one on board full of an animal world.
C: Oh ok, yeah. (Looks of relief all round)
U: Donkeys would be a lot harder to get onboard, because of their stubbornness.
F: what’s a mule?
U: a donkey and a horse
F: well you wouldn’t need a mule then, just a donkey and a horse.
U: but then you’re damaging the chance of procreation…
Is that a good attitude to have in life though- because they might be stubborn and difficult to manoeuvre, you won’t have them on the ark?
U: but you’re asking us to collect a whole world full of species, I’d rather save some than none.
Well it’s not really saving them as it isn’t in the context of a flood. You’ve just got a massive ark of some kind- that being a very ambiguous term for…something.
U: well I’d like to look after things if we were going to take them onboard.
C: would you save any of the damned humans? Like say you’ve got your pool-buddy
C: I don’t know, whatever…But god’s like, you’ve got this ark, you can take your family and a bunch of animals, but Steve can’t come. What would you do? Would you try and stash Steve away somewhere?
You could put Steve inside a whale?
U: I’d do what Odysseus did; he escaped the Cyclops’ cave by clinging underneath a massive ram.
F: did they escape?
U: yeah, all of them did. Other than the ones that got eaten. So yeah, I’d probably try and smuggle Steve in like that.
Well that was one of my questions actually…
C: about Steve? How do you know Steve?
U: are you pool-buddies as well?!
He’s been lying to you. We play snooker together.
U: surely not!
He doesn’t really like pool…the whole concept of it disgusts him. Sorry. But yes, if you could each bring one person with you, who would it be? Would you in fact bring anyone at all?
F: are us three going to be there?
F: so the whole of Noah and the Whale is there, all five of us.
And all the animals in the world…
F: all the animals in the world, and we can bring one other person...
C: for me it’s good, because my brothers in the band- so I’ll bring mum and he can bring dad. Whereas you guys are going to have to decide which parent.
C: or brother or sister?
Well it’s not really saving them though…the ark is whatever you want it to be. Everyone else in the world isn’t going to die.
C: so this isn’t the biblical story, we’re not actually Noah and family. So what’s the ark doing?
That’s for you to decide…
C: Ah well then I wouldn’t want to bring my mum and dad.
U: I’d bring a musician. Someone respected.
C: They might not want to come!
You can make the rules…
C: Maybe someone like Ray Mears, if you didn’t know where you were going to go. I’m not a very hands-on person.
C: Have you seen Into the Wild, the film?
F: I’d probably bring a zoo keeper.
U: a zoo keeper?!
C: That’s true actually. Someone to look after all the animals.
U: someone to shovel all the manure.
But would you pay them?
F: they get room and board.
U: do we get to keep one animal at the end of the tour? Like our favourite one? It’s a tough one. I’d probably take a really good chef. Jamie Oliver.
C: but he’s so annoying! You need someone who’s good at cooking loads of different foods.
Surely you should take a woman chef.
U: Why a woman chef?
Because then you can breed onboard.
U: well when you put it like that…I’ll go with you. You probably cook much better than I do.
C: you should bring Nigella Lawson
F: I’d bring Scarlett Johansson. That’s just top preference.
C: she wouldn’t want to come! She’s busy.
But this is a crazy magical ark that could be taking you up into the skies…or underwater…anywhere you want to go!
C: But would she be into that?
She might be?
C: I think she’d be a drag. She’d just be doing her makeup and whinging.
Couldn’t you lie? Bribe her in, like in King Kong. ‘It’s for a film…yeahhh errr…’ And then just take her on some crazy trek.
(Small dispute over the colour of daffodils. Apparently they would look good in ‘yeti blue’. Mmhmmmm….)
What music would you play to the animals on the ark, to nurture them, help them grow up strong…?
C: I’d play something soothing. If you played prodigy or something they’d get really…
F: I’d probably play something classical, just to get them calm.
C: or that animal collective EP that they recorded in the forest, it’s called cabride? Songs. They recorded it in the woods so there’s loads of background noise on it.
So it would be quite homely for them. But you’ve got quite a lot of animals there…if you played rainforest noises, polar bears wouldn’t really…
C: they’d be freaking out. They’d be like, ‘what the hell is that’.
What would the ark be? Would it be a boat? A magical ship-plane…
F: A surfboard. It would be a surfboard.
C: would it be a surfboard with a…what do you call those things for holidays when it’s on top of your car…
U: I’d like a Swiss chalet.
U: no no no, on water. (As if this was the obvious norm?) A massive crimson Swiss chalet with lots of wood and open fires, open plan…
F: you could water-ski out the back.
I had a vision like that, strangely. When I was about ten we went on holiday to Italy and I spent the whole two weeks drawing pictures and pictures of this big house thing that flew, and the stockrooms and all the things on it… Very fun indeed for a ten year old.
I could have been immersing myself in the culture…
C: maybe it’s more like a giant peach
I’m actually fulfilling my life dream in this interview. (chortle) Ahh…yep. So, a massive surfboard storage thing, crossed with a chalet…
C: with some peach as well
Made out of peach?
U: You’ve got to really use your mind…but when you get there it’s great.
C: Maybe a giant orange, because the surface would keep fresh for longer than a peach.
U: it would be cool to have some extra fruit trees on board as well. And a cabbage patch.
C: if this is complete fantasy, why not just have a proper garden? Just a big house and acres of garden
U: an orchard.
F: so it’s basically an island.
C: yeah, a floating island. There was that TV programme with that island you could steer and a polar bear?
Ahh yeah, that used to really freak me out. The animals were all quite creepy. On that note, we’ve got a bit of an environmental theme that sometimes comes out…So in terms of what you would eat- would it be self sustainable, and do you think that’s a good thing?
U: a very interesting question.
C: I want to bring a McDonald’s on. (hah)
U: I always prefer eating healthier foods. I feel better after doing it…and they taste better.
C: we all agreed the other day that our favourite food type was Italian food
You could have your own wheat field and make your own pasta?
U: and bring an Italian chef?
F: cheese, you’d need cheese though.
You could have cows and goats?
F: but what are they going to eat?
C: Italian food? Pasta? Seeds?
And it would have to be vegan Bolognese and stuff; otherwise it would defeat the point of saving the animals.
C: unless there was one particularly bad cow.
You’ve been really naughty! Munch munch…
U: or if it told really bad jokes.
When you’re on the ark, what would you be doing to pass your time?
U: well Charlie would be playing with stuff that I wouldn’t be happy about.
C: just to clear that up, that’s playing play station games.
I think if we’d got a garden I’d probably walk about, write some songs, make pasta, and pick fruit…
You probably wouldn’t have that much spare time actually, what with looking after all the animals.
C: we’d be very busy.
[ (Now moves to drawing talk. See www.myspace.com/cbmagazine )
U: I’m covering happiness and my aspirations too.
C: if you wanted, you could add this to the kid’s category, as I’m drawing like a ten year old. This is why I started playing guitar instead.
That’s why modern art is invented. ]
Interview & Words- Ali Hewson