Interview: British Sea Power

Miz DeShannon chats to British Sea Power ahead of their gig with Lost & Found at The Ruby Lounge about shipwrecks, being Poseidon, ending religious divide and musical priests.

Jayne Robinson

Date published: 3rd Nov 2010

Renowned for being an environment loving well-rounded bunch, British Sea Power talk to us ahead of their gig with Lost & Found at The Ruby Lounge about some pretty world changing events; shipwrecks, being Poseidon, ending religious divide and musical priests.

There’s also a little bit about their career and things too, like their new release The Zeus E.P, the extravagant and unusual gigs the participate in, and celebrating a whopping ten years in the business.

Your name then, we have to ask how it came about. Are you all environmental activists on the quiet, promoting wind farms and such like…?

It is partially to do with ambiguity. The name British Sea Power is from the bad old days when Britain had one of the most powerful Navies in the world, and we colonised, and bastardised many weak and innocent nations. As a band are not nationalists, and we have no imperialistic lust. The name is kind of ironic, like Interpol’s name is perhaps...  It's a name we wanted to brush out of history and then replace it with a Rock Group.

You’ve been compared to some pretty epic bands, Joy Division, Arcade Fire amongst them. Who do cite as your influences, or what; poetry, politics, love…?

Love is something we've discovered more over the years. It's something that is ok to give away for free. We are inspired by many things. On this record we have library love, sex protests, Francis Bacon, Ray Bradbury, visible panty lines, Glam Rock, screaming, krautrock, Lou Reed, observatories, nuclear power and the sound of Thor, The Musical Saw and all things Braw.

About the new release – The Zeus E.P – what do you know about Zeus and Greek mythology…?

Zeus is the god of all gods. It is also the name of a cheap beer in Sunderland, and the name of both a dog and a transit van. Zeus also liked Calypso, the nymph godess, and perhaps the music of Grenada. I can see Zeus in the Valhalla Dancehall dancing with Calypso, to Calypso music.

If you could be a mythological character, who would you be?

Err. Posiedon? I like his 3 pronged fork, and he could make islands and calm the seas, or if he was fed up he caused shipwrecks and drownings. Such power!

You’re renowned for choosing amazing and unusual locations for gigs - Traena festival and Scotland’s Away Game festival sound like the most amazing experiences. What’s been your favourite gig in your career so far…?

It's hard to pinpoint a specific gig. But Traena, Eigg, Mull, Scilly Isles have all be ace trips. Being able to play shows in places you dream about going to on holiday are special. These remote places speak to you and change you. There is always a different mentality in remote places and that rubs off on you.

You’re returning to Manchester after playing Unconvention (which is actually in Salford) for a birthday party gig. Did you enjoy playing in the iconic church and how are you celebrating your birthday, ten years in the business…?

The church was incredible, and the vicar is a great music fan. He goes to shows all the time, and not just in his church. He knew we were a wholesome bunch, and God/Bible aside, we're on a similar page. The acoustics are amazing in churches. Designed in part for choirs and group singing. Heavenly almost! We released our first single on our own label in July 2001 so we're going to be having some celebrations next year. It will take place in the Valhalla Dancehall.

If you could carry out one Mother Earth style wish, what would it be? (and you’re not allowed to simply say “save the whole planet”…!)

I'd redistribute wealth, stop people killing things, and get religions to stop being stupid and insular. I sound like an atheist Bono.


British Sea Power play at The Ruby Lounge, Manchester on Friday 5th November.

Interview by: Miz DeShannon

Britsh Sea Power news, events and info

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