As the band release ‘More Light’, their tenth album, Gillespie speaks out about the fragile state of the cultural nation in our exclusive interview

Words By James Brown

Bobby Gillespie, the willow thin front man of Primal Scream, is not a guy who will go quietly to the grave. As the band release ‘More Light’, their tenth album, Gillespie is becoming more riled with the state of the cultural nation.

The first single from the new album, entitled ‘2013’, Gillespie describes as “a critique of youth culture”, and it’s a theme he feels strongly about, the album is running live with anger. Talking to us at the bands tiny North London recording studio he explained further.

"We're living in very extreme times, but that doesn't seem to be reflected in the music that I hear or the art that I see. It seems that people are kind of asleep or they've anaesthetised or they just don't care. It just seems that there's no sense of revolt or resistance in art at the moment, whether it be music or the visual arts. Hollywood - it's like a propaganda machine for the USA, but the thing is; we're not writing albums against America or anything like that. Our country is heading towards being more right-wing and countries all around the world are getting more and more right-wing. There's less rationality, less liberalism, less love around. There was always a lot of love around, but it seems to be we're heading towards unenlightened times and nobody's talking about it or writing about it or even noticing it. It's like people are asleep or anaesthetised."

More Light is a powerful record with band challenging themselves to go in previously unexplored musical areas. Two or three of the tracks, like the new single ‘It’s Alright, It’s OK’ stand out as immediately identifiable Primal Scream dirty blues, but beyond that many of the tracks on More Light change structures and moods as they progress. Gillespie calls it ‘free rock’ and much of the albums cinematic soundtrack feel is credited to producer David Holmes (Oceans 11 series and Bond).

Gillespie explains, “We worked with David Holmes at the end of the 90's on a couple of solo records and we've been friends with David since then. He's got a cinematic vision, but I've got to give (Primal Scream guitarist and co-songwriter) Andrew Innes credit for a lot of the sounds and instrumentation and the layers of sound and I think working with Holmes lent itself to working in that way. We always knew it wasn't going to be a straight ahead, balls to the wall, high energy rock 'n' roll, two guitars, base and drum record. It's more sophisticated, layered, cinematic and orchestral and obviously working with Holmes we were hoping to make a record more in keeping with that vision. Credit to Holmesfor allowing us to play like that and think like that but David also brought in some great musicians like horn players, the drummer, the bass player and the percussionists.”

The sleeve for ‘More Light’ was created by Turner nominated Glaswegian artist Jim Lambie. “He’s also a friend,” says Gillespie, “a world renowned artist. He shows his stuff in art galleries and museum spaces all over the world and he's a great artist and kindly said he would do a cover image for us. He continues, “The name ‘More Light’ came to me last year, last summer.  I've just got a thing about light. I love it in the morning when you open the big curtains or shutters and light pours in. I'm quite sensitive to light. I guess it's also about shining light on areas that are normally dark, things that people don't want to talk about."

“I like that feeling and I think it's like a regenerative thing, an inspiring thing and it's positive as well because some of our album titles like XTRMNTR or Vanishing Point and Evil Heat are quite intense and I think this album's intense, but I think it's forward thinking and it's beautiful. I wanted something that was a bit like coming out of a dark time and into a good time. I guess the world is a dark place and we could do with more light in it, I dunno. It sounds a bit cliched, but I don't know what else to say.”

More Light is released 13 May. Single ‘It’s Alright, It’s OK’ is available now. 

Primal Scream play Benicassim 18-21 July 2013. For more information and to buy tickets visit: www.fiberfib.com