When reflecting on the prestigious career Bush has had prior to this interview taking place, it’s awe-inspiring to list the achievements the band accomplished since their initial conception in 1992… Yep, three decades ago!
On the brink of Friday’s release of their ninth studio album, The Art of Survival (our review here), we sat down with frontman extraordinaire, Gavin Rossdale, for a look into their new and noticeably heavier record, crafting an emotional connection before a song’s conception begins and how this album serves to be a somewhat standalone release in comparison to their back catalogue of releases.
Gavin joined the chat via his hotel room in North Carolina where the conversation led to discussing how the band have stayed on top of what’s expected of them over the 30 years they’ve been a household name, to which he opened up, revealing:
“I/we have a love for what we do and as long as you keep learning and keep staying open, it’s quite amazing what you can do. This record, for example, it’s the first record that I have ever made where I could sit in my studio and imagine some of the songs; obviously, there’s lots of collaboration that goes on as songs progress and certain songs get a lovely, lovely contribution from people that really make a song way better. But in terms of bare bones… It’s been an amazing process. To work a guitar to get certain [sounds] is where it got to musically [with] what I’m sort of experimenting with, and the singing too, is me just trying to get better all the time at what I do.”
Striving for the best with everything he does is certainly not new ground for Rossdale, but how does he get into the mind frame of sparking that emotional connection with the listener? Well, as he further explained:
“You think as a songwriter, ‘what is amazing?’ What constitutes amazing when someone goes ‘fuck me!’ You know, [and the music] blows them away. What is that feeling? I want that feeling so [it can] dictate the kind of song I want to make with the emotion first. The first thing I think about is what effect do I want this to have on someone. Is it going to blow them away? Is it gonna be like, run like Forrest Gump? Will they weep; like for their lost love? What is the emotion of the song?”
The end result can be heard throughout the entirety of The Art of Survival, which is boasting a stack of grungey, hard rock and moody/sexy jams such as ‘More Than Machines‘, ‘May Your Love Be Pure‘, ‘Kiss Me I’m Dead‘ and ‘Human Sand‘ for example.
A band’s history tells the story of how they came to be and a band’s back catalogue serves as the vision for their journey from humble beginnings to, in most cases, the large names they either set out to be – or stumbled upon being in the right place at the right time.
It’s hard to believe it’s been 26 years since the release of the band’s highly acclaimed radio-anthem ‘Glycerine‘, which was followed by their Grammy-nominated thumper ‘Swallowed‘ a year later in 1996. Follow that up three short years later and we’re at the peak of the late 90s alternative music movement, where Bush were flourishing alongside the likes of KoRn, blink-182, Hole, Foo Fighters and Limp Bizkit (to name a few). They also shared a stage with the nu-metal mad men mentioned above at the infamous Woodstock ’99 – which was ceremoniously brought back into the spotlight thanks to the Netflix Trainwreck: Woodstock ’99 mini-series and HBO’s noteworthy addition Woodstock 99: Peace, Love, and Rage.
But certain things should be kept in the past, especially when it comes to reflecting on where one has come from as Gavin shared his thoughts about looking back on the band’s successes.
“People remind me of certain places or [ask] do you remember this or that, or someone will say something that reminds you of something. But I think that I’m pretty low-key about it, it’s a combination of being English and low-key about things, and also not wanting to look too much in the rearview because I’m having so much fun in the present moment.”
In the current state of the world, we’re constantly chasing that nostalgia high to remind us of times when the world wasn’t so messed up, and that can take away from the progression a band has had throughout their careers and how they’ve changed over time.
With The Art of Survival, in particular, Gavin hopes fans (both old and new) will be able to take in their new material, even though it’s quite heavier in comparison to their previous releases.
“You know, I am really proud of this record, I’m so excited for people to hear it. And it’s just so stupid that it’s that heavy and that good in a way (not necessarily my bits), but the record as a whole, it just makes me smile because I just respect people who learn their craft and whatever it is; From artists to people doing anything… or anyone who does a job really with passion and focus.
I chose to be in rock music which sometimes I’m like ‘aww mate, of all the things, why the dying industry that no one knows if it’s live or dead. Why that?’ And the truth is, is that I find such release in all this music, it’s soothing to me. I’m a furnace, I have furnace-like qualities and this is a brilliant outlet for so much emotion. I don’t know what I would do if I didn’t have this.”
“The point about the record is… It’s like a fuck the catalogue record… And it’s been an evolution for the band and I think this is a really cool step for us.”
Interview by Paul ‘Browny’ Brown @brownypaul
The Art of Survival is out Friday. Pre-order/save here
Bush – The Art of Survival tracklisting
1. Heavy Is The Ocean
2. Slow Me
3. More Than Machines
4. May Your Love Be Pure
5. Shark Bite
6. Human Sand
7. Kiss Me I’m Dead
9. Creatures of the Fire
10. Judas Is A Riot
12. 1000 Years
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