Interview !!!: ‘Anything Can Happen’

Ian Paterson talks ‘THR!!!ER’ with dance punk-ers, !!!.

With more past members than current, !!! is a rare beast; a musical project not only able to survive a revolving door membership, but creatively, thrive from it. “There’s definitely more of a collective spirit to it. Anyone can get involved and everything goes through everybody,” singer Nic Offer tells us. “Sometimes I would rather it was a dictatorship, but we feel that this kind of spirit is important to us and that kind of openness is important to the band’s creative process. That way, anything can happen and things don’t get too bogged down into one person’s ideas. “

Of all the group’s line up changes however, the most impacting must have been the untimely death of their drummer, Jerry Fuchs. Fuchs – who had also played live with MSTRKRFT, Massive Attack and LCD Soundsystem – died in tragic circumstances in 2009. The final LCD Soundsystem album, ‘This Is Happening’, was dedicated to his memory.

In the aftermath of Fuchs’ passing, and as !!! prepare to release the Michael Jackson referencing ‘THR!!!ER’ - their fifth studio effort - there’s indication that the collective have made an album of renewed passion. “Over the course of many long van rides and post-coffee verbal riff sessions, ‘Thriller’ didn’t merely come to represent the selling of a lot of records…it became synonymous with an artist(s)’ and/or genre(s)’ artistic high-watermark.” Guitarist, Mario Andreoni has said of the concept. “Nic drew ‘THR!!!ER’ on a napkin and I liked it… then we made our ‘THR!!!ER’.”

Quantifying this, Nic tells us; “It’s a really varied record. Every record you make, you try to make sound different from the last and you try to make it sound different from itself. We’ve tried it in the past but in the end people have been like “no, it all sounds the same”. This is the first time people have been coming back to us and saying ‘it’s really different’, so we feel like it’s successful in that.”

In contrast to their last album - the self-produced ‘Strange Weather, Isn’t It?’ - !!! brought in Spoon drummer and producer in his own right, Jim Eno, to work with them on the new record. As well as producing Spoon’s records, Eno had worked with Gayngs and the associated Poliça on last year’s highly rated ‘Give You The Ghost’.

“I think they [Spoon] have got a real attention to detail in their songwriting and also the space in their records. Space is something that’s really important in dance music – one of the most important things – so even though they haven’t made a dance record, we thought that Jim would get excited in trying to work with a new sound, focus us on our songwriting and help us get something original sounding. I think it was a pretty magic pairing.”

With a European tour lined up for May, they’ve also been invited to play the forthcoming All Tomorrow’s Parties at Camber Sands, curated by TV On The Radio. “Those guys are ‘New York’, so we’ve known them a while. The others knew Kip before he was in the band, so at some point they were like, ‘Kip has a band and they’re doing really well, oh wow!’” Nic explains. “So, as far as I know, they might not even like the music and might just like us as people. They might just want to see us at the after-party, but we’re looking forward to it.”

Modesty aside, the energy injected into their shows with Offer’s striking dance moves is reason enough to see the band live. As !!! has grown, so has the outlandishness of the routine, culminating in a fitting live performance trademark for a ‘dance’ band.

“Well, the singer is front and centre at a show and is supposed to command attention. I’ve definitely always been inspired by the great frontmen,” Nic says. “It’s grown fairly organically – trying to get better and better at it and be an engaging performer – and I’d go to a dance class here or there and try and pick-up something new, but even that has barely helped me. When you’re up there and the adrenaline is flowing, you’re pretty much just doing anything you can!”

There’s a palpable sense of coming-of-age building, as we approach the release of ‘THR!!!ER’ – whether self-proclaimed or otherwise - and it certainly has all the ingredients required to become an album that would feature as a career high. What’s most certain and clear after my conversation with Nic Offer however, is that after 16 years and four albums, they’re a band to have never lost their passion for what they do.

!!!’s new album ‘THR!!!ER’ is out now via Warp Records.

Taken from the May 2013 issue of DIY, available now. For more details click here.

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