For almost 15 years Liars have been continually reinventing and creating a modern sound without isolating fans or ever feeling passé.
Since 2001 Liars have been making challenging, intelligent music that is becoming increasingly hard to define. The Los Angeles based three-piece shift genres the way other bands shift feet, exploring noise, dance, electronic, and punk - they’ve been a lot of things but never stagnant.
While many millennial bands burned out or began to feel stale they’ve always stood apart as an outfit that has shown continual reinvention and create a modern sound without isolating fans. Seven albums in and they show no signs of fatigue with this year’s release Mess, embracing sequencers as the band admits they’re learning to use computers. We’d suggest their next unexpected creative turn be a self help book titled How To Be In A Band.
How do you maintain a band successfully for almost 15 years?
Angus Andrew: I think it’s worked for us by just being true to our creative interest. We never obliged ideas of what we “should” be making, instead we’ve followed our instincts and that’s kept things fresh and interesting. We tend to support each other through change rather than being suspect of it.
Is a band or a relationship harder to maintain long term?
They’re similar but different beasts: both require effort but I think in a creative/working relationship there’s more room for error.
You've been active during a period where a lot has changed in the industry - recording, promoting, being discovered—do you think it's harder or easier for young bands to break out now?
It’s hard to say. Certainly it’s easier for young bands to promote themselves via the splendors of social media, but I’m less certain this is necessarily a good thing. It may be easier to break out, but equally easy to fail.
The 2000s are almost far enough away to be able to view objectively, what do you think the legacy of 2000s music will be?
Oh dear, nostalgic? I don’t know, but it seems to me the 2000s were quite retro. It was the beginning of free music, and I think of it as a similar scenario to seeing a broke friend win the lottery and observing the change in perspectives or values. Will they become lazy? Will they use the freedom for self cultivation? Will they burn up in a week? Or will they keep their day job and grow old unnoticed? All options have accurately occurred.
In 20 years time what will be the first/obvious thing that comes to mind when people hear "2000s music"?
You formed in LA, moved to NY, lived in Berlin, recorded in the woods and abandoned office buildings - how have different locations shaped the band?
I think it’s been an important part of our process: ideas of exploration and stepping out of our comfort zone. To me this kind of thinking applies not only to our music and the band, but also to us as individuals.
I've always wondered, what was the motivation or catalyst for Witch Hunting?
It was spookily intuitive. We kind of blindly relocated from NYC to the woods and when we got there Aaron had an idea of a broken witch—this triggered a whole run of eerie research and freak coincidence.
We were really pushing ourselves to further the idea of our band and what it’s output could be. It was a bit frightening, and these serendipitous occurrences would have a higher importance to us as our sole guidance in such an isolating project.
When you play live, what is the track people always want to hear?
It kind of differs from country to country and crowd to crowd, but in general it’s really hard for us to put our finger on what songs “work”. If we knew the answer to that I might say we wouldn’t spend so much time trying different performances out. Our music can never sound the same to us, which is both sad and inspiring.
Maybe the better question is what do you enjoy playing live the most?
It really always is the newest material, that is the most exciting to play.
Is continual reinvention realistic?
I don’t know if reinvention is the right word. I think it's realistic to expect that we continue to learn and grow. If you’re not in our immediate peripheral, you miss gradient shades of change in our way of working. it’s a natural, though very resolved, commitment to try to keep in not repeating successions or failures.
Aren't you tired?
Touring can be tiring, but making records isn’t.