Interview: Until The Ribbon Breaks
Tue, 01 Apr 2014 10:50:16
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Now, there's absolutely nothing like Until the Ribbon Breaks. Sonically and visually, the brainchild of Peter Lawrie is the singular work of a musical mastermind. He seamlessly siphons elements of alternative, R&B, hip-hop, soul, electronica, and indie into a veritable Pulp Fiction of musical styles on The Other Ones EP. At the same time, there's a distinct visual component that's both seedy and sexy playing upon all the senses masterfully. You've really just got to hear Until The Ribbon Breaks, and you'll love it.
In this exclusive interview with ARTISTdirect.com editor in chief Rick Florino, Peter Lawrie of Until The Ribbon Breaks talks The Other Ones EP [iTunes link] and so much more.
What threads The Other Ones together for you?
Well, it's nothing, and that's the point. The point of Until The Ribbon Breaks is it's genre-free, I hope. The project works in the way the name works. We wanted it just to be about music we love on that day. It's supposed to be like an old school cassette mixtape where it's fine to leap from genre to genre as long as you still enjoy the music. That was our raison d'être. If there is a thread, it's a lyrical thread. I think that's the only thing that ties through our music. It's a style of writing. Sonically, I don't think there's anything.
How do you bring those genres and elements together? What makes them click? What's your process like for making everything meld?
It sounds like a copout, but I genuinely try to not consider that at all. Maybe that's the thread. I really don't go into a song thinking, "How will this fit with the last one we did?" It's genuinely whatever feels right and good and sounds good in the studio that day. If you go into something with a pre-conceived notion of what you should do or what's come before, you're just making something that's already been made or is a version of something already made. I try and go in with a clear mind. My attitude is, "Oh, that sounds good or this sounds good". It's always fresh and new, and we're not repeating ourselves.
What's the story behind "Spark"?
That was an interesting one. It's a really important track for me. I did a project before Until The Ribbon Breaks when I was younger. I ended up making some music I have no love for, and I compromised a lot. I was signed to a record deal, and I listened to other people too much and made too many compromises. That song is about that period ending and rediscovering what it was I wanted to do and then being excited that there was new music. I guess that's what informs, "I just found my spark". That's exactly what it means. I'm excited. I just found exactly what it is I want to do.
It's about capturing that inspiration in the moment.
Exactly, and it's about being surprised in a good way that you're back. It's like, "Alright, I'm back".
How does the song "Until The Ribbon Breaks" converge with everything?
I haven't really thought about it. I suppose it is a strange thing. It's like The Foo Fighters having a song called "The Foo Fighters" [Laughs]. There was a moment when I was writing it in the first verse where it ends with the words "Until the ribbon breaks". It was just what I wanted to say at the time. My original plan was that it was going to be the last song on the album, which is why I wanted a song called "Until The Ribbon Breaks". I felt like it was a nice comma until the next thing we do. That might still be the case. It's the last song on this EP so it works. I just wanted to say that really.
When did you come up with the title The Other Ones?
Well, when we did our first EP, A Taste of Silver, it was fun. It was a bit of tease in some ways because we left off the song "A Taste of Silver" and put it on the new EP. Then, there was a song called "The Other Ones" that I left off The Other Ones EP. It was really an inside joke. God knows what I'm going to call the album because I'll have to write two new songs [Laughs].
What inspires you outside of music? The songs feel very cinematic. There's a visual element. How much does that figure into the music?
These days, without it, I'd be much less interested in music. My university degree was in filmmaking. I don't have the patience to make a film, basically. The best part of that for me was always when you put the music to visuals. It's the step when you're choosing the music for whatever it is you just shot. I think music gives more power to the image, and the image gives more power to the music. I think they're one in the same, and they're both stronger with each other. It's a happy marriage.
If The Other Ones were a movie or a combination of movies, what would it be?
That's a great question. Well, this EP in particular jumps around like crazy. It goes from happy to sad in three seconds. What's the most bipolar movie ever? Oh, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest is probably the most bipolar film I can think of [Laughs]. For that reason, I'd say that film. You cannot lose with Jack Nicholson.
What artists shaped you?
My parents were classical musicians. That's their job. Rather than classical music—the last thing they wanted to do when they got home was more of their job—they'd wind down or not think about work with their version of pop music. On my dad's side, that was very English music. Think Pink Floyd and the weirder side of The Beatles. He was a big fan of The Police. For my mom, it was more soul and Motown. It was Nina Simone, The Supremes, and The Temptations. She loved Stevie Wonder. The record that really stuck out for me was Paul Simon's Graceland. That's when I first fell in love with what you can do with words in music. As much as I love the music on that record, the words are what moves me. That's my favorite album of all time. That's probably been my biggest influence because I love working with words so much. The production is amazing, but writing words comes most naturally to me.
Have you heard Until The Ribbon Breaks?