Until the Ribbon Breaks
WITH an eponymous album out in the world…
it was a good time to speak with Until the Ribbon Breaks. Pete and Elliot discuss the album and the themes behind it; how they connect visuals/cinema to their music; why personal struggles and addiction played a role in the music – and created a challenge for the guys.
They talk to me about getting exposure and what tour dates they have coming up; a new act we should keep our eyes out for; the music they were both raised on; a fond musical memory that sticks in the mind – we get a top-notch track to end the interview.
Hi, guys. How are you? How has your week been?
Hi, hello; hi. Very well, thank you. We’ve just come off the back of playing KCRW, which was a wonderful experience. If you don’t know it; KCRW is L.A.’s best radio station…and, yes, I am biased.
For those new to your music; can you introduce yourselves, please?
Indeed. We are a band of two - once three – and we are Pete and myself, Elliot. Pete is the singer and I am the drummer. We work together in the studio - but mainly Pete is the visionary for the amazing ideas we come out with.
How did Until the Ribbon Breaks get together? Were you all friends from way back?
Until the Ribbon Breaks was born out of many failed attempts at bands. Pete and I have been working in bands together since high-school. We had an amazing music department that we spent the majority of our time at. (Props to Mrs Richards who always had my back; even when I was badly-behaved). Pete and I first met over my first MP3 player - I think it could hold around three songs.
Anyway; I had Mos Def's Ms. Fat Booty on it -and the rest is history.
Your eponymous album is dusted and out. What are the themes and ideas that influenced the songwriting?
Pete here; hello! In retrospect, almost entirely the record seems to be about finding a way out; overcoming through adversity and strength. It was never written to have an overarching theme – but it certainly ended up that way.
Pete. I believe addiction and personal struggles played a part. Was it hard putting that sort of honesty onto the page?
No. I find it harder to write songs that are not honest. Writing seems to be my only real way of expressing how I really feel. Again, it is never intended - and often I learn things about what has been troubling me sub-consciously, through putting my thoughts onto paper.
You have also released a statement online. Tell us more about that…
The last thing I wanted was to use my experience as some kind of marketing tool…
However, it seemed disingenuous to not address the reason that we had been away for so long. Also, if that statement and our story identifies, and can potentially even help one person, then I'm glad it is out there.
It seems, as a band, you have a cinematic and visual mind – that goes into your videos. Do you think images/visuals and music are closely linked?
To me, inseparable. Some of my earliest memories of music are of watching my father’s copy of Pink Floyd’s visual interpretation/movie of The Wall. I have always listened to and loved film scores - and it is inevitably what I would like to end up doing.
Give me a window into your musical tastes. Which artists inspire you as musicians?
Unlike Pete; I don’t really have much of a musical family: I think my mum was playing M people to me as a kid which, if you haven’t heard them…you probably don’t need to. I found my way to Michael Jackson’s Bad and I was on my way. I spent many a trip drumming on the dash of the car to it. Also, there was a Welsh band called Stereophonics who kind of paved the way for me wanting to play music to people.
These days, I’m playing Kendrick (Lamar) a lot - probably too much.
Can we see you tour soon? What gigs do you have coming up?
Yes, please! I don’t think Pete will mind me saying…we went into this album campaign kind of cautious about the live thing; both of us wanting to play again but also aware of his recovery and what a big challenge the live would be. After playing a couple of small shows at the end of last year, and us both really loving being back up there; I think I’m going to say yes, for sure.
Watch this space...
How important is the stage to you? Is being there where you all feel at your very best?
For me, the stage is the most important part: playing live is where my heart is at.
There were many years where I didn’t enjoy the studio and detached myself from that process – but, during our time between records, I’ve found myself working on production. I find the process of working out how we’ll play the complicated productions live a stressful but exciting process. It can take weeks of programming and figuring out who’s playing what - but the payoff is great. I do sometimes wonder what it would be like if we were a guitar band…
IN THIS PHOTO: Lo Moon
Which new artists do you recommend we check out?
I’m loving Lo Moon at the moment. I think they released their record the same day as us. Go check them out...
What do you hope to achieve, personally, in 2018?
I’m getting married in April - don’t they say it’s all downhill from there?
Have you each got a favourite memory from your time in music – the one that sticks in the mind?
Definitely; (I) will always remember a show supporting our friends London Grammar in Montreal. I’ve never heard an audience make so much noise (good noise; not the throwing rotten fruit type of noise). They made so much noise we couldn’t start the last song of the set. It brought us all to tears - and something I will certainly never forget.
What advice would you give to new artists coming through?
Work hard as fu*k and expect not get paid for it. BUT, keep going: there’s nothing more fulfilling than following your passion.
Do you all get much time to chill away from music? How do you unwind?
Time spent away from music usually consists of something dog-related. My wife-to-be runs a dog-walking and boarding company, Wolfpack LA, so there’s, quite often, pups everywhere - and probably some poop to clean up.
Finally, and for being good sports; you can choose a song and I’ll play it here (not any of your music - I will do that).
Well. Seeing as I mentioned them earlier, let’s get on Lo Moon - Loveless
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PHOTOS CREDITS (except the album cover):
JAI SHAW (ATC NY)