REDISCOVERING THE HUNGER Tindersticks

Frontman Stuart
Staples on inspiration and maturation.

 

BY KENNY HERZOG

 

It had been five years since Tindersticks, one of Britain’s
most charismatically moody ensembles, unveiled a full-length of their
theatrically moving melancholy. But finally, The Hungry Saw (CST) came
along earlier this year, providing yet another feast of baroque eloquence. And
while many thought they’d disbanded as the years passed on and frontman Stuart
Staples dabbled in solo ventures, it was merely an imperative time apart. Like
any relationship, the participants needed a break to rediscover the magnetism
that initially drew them to one another. But much has still changed in the 15
years since their self-titled debut. Below, Staples breaks down the motivation
and muses that first sparked Tindersticks’ chemistry, versus the creative fires
that were lit in preparation for The
Hungry Saw
. (The band will be doing some rare tour dates in the U.S. this spring; itinerary follows the interview.)

 

 

***

 

 

What
was the motivation for getting together and making music?

 

Then: “Playing music was our escape from reality. Gradually, making
music became the reality. This was probably one of the hardest things we ever
had to get over, like having something precious slowly stolen from you, with
only yourself to blame.”

 

Now: “In making The Hungry
Saw
, I think we found that feeling of escape again or just appreciated the
sense of freedom, and even magic, that can come from making music.”

 

 

 

Who
were your chief creative muses?

 

Then
as Now:
“Songs come from ideas and feelings
that itch inside and can’t be soothed until they have been realized. Sometimes
it feels as if there are no choices involved.”

 

 

 

Did
you have an idea of the sound or mood you were seeking to craft?

 

Then: “Our first album took us all by surprise. We had some idea,
but not to the depth and power of what we were making. This brought a feeling
of total elation, and to be honest, a feeling I have not experienced since.
Like you are only allowed that feeling once.”

 

Now: “With this album, it was the first time since maybe our
second album that we didn’t have to talk about music or what we wanted to make.
It was all just about getting together with some kind of desire, being open and
seeing where that took us.”

 

 

 

What were
your primary outlets for non-musical recreation?

 

Then: “Our first album was fueled by Holsten Pils, vodka and
eating the hottest curries on the menu.

 

Now: “These days it’s more about wine and cooking for each other
(though the vodka still has its days)… We have always had a laugh. And now we
live in different parts of Europe, so it makes
our time together feel even more precious.”

 

 

 

Was there
a goal in mind beyond the music itself, or was it the means to its own end?

 

Then
as Now:
“I suppose it’s always been about a
sense of progression, about going further into something, and getting closer.
Though when we were young, we would throw ourselves at walls to achieve this.” 

 

 

 

***

 

 

Tindersticks 2009 Tour Dates:

 

 

Feb 5 2009  8:00P

          La Carene, Brest       Brest

Feb 6 2009   9:00P

          L’Olympic, Nantes    Nantes

Feb 7 2009   9:00P

          Krakatoa, Bordeaux Bordeaux

Feb 8 2009   9:00P

          L’Auditori, Barcelona           Barcelona

Feb 9 2009   9:00P

          Teatro Haagen Dazs, Madrid         Madrid

Feb 10 2009 9:00P

          Teatro Victoria Eugenia,
Donostia-San Sebastián   Donostia-San
Sebastián

Feb 13 2009 9:00P

          Coliseum, Lisbon       Lisbon

Feb 16 2009 9:00P

          Teatro Cervantes, Malaga    Malaga

Mar 4 2009   9:00P

          World Cafe Live       Philadelphia,
Pennsylvania

Mar 5 2009   9:00P

          930 Club       Washington DC, Washington
DC

Mar 6 2009   9:00P

          Masonic
Temple, Brooklyn    New
York, New York

Mar 7 2009   9:00P

          Somerville Theatre     Boston,
Massachusetts

Mar 9 2009   9:00P

          La Salla Rossa          Montreal,
Quebec

Mar 10 2009           9:00P

          Opera House, Toronto         Toronto, Ontario

Mar 12 2009           9:00P

          Epiphany Episcopal
Church, Chicago        Chicago, Illinois

 

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