Interview: Having a Gossip.
About two weeks ago I was lucky enough to have a chat with Nathan from the Gossip. The band, whose amazing new album Music For Men is out now through Sony, worked with the legendary Rick Rubin on the new record; something we discussed during our little gossip. Skins, homophobia and the highly debated MP3 war also feature; here’s the Q&A transcript…
Hello Nathan, how are you?
Hello Adem, yeah really good, how’s it going?
Well thanks! Now, You’re just about to release your fourth studio album this month, Music For Men… how long have you guys been working on that?
Um, we’ve worked on that record for about two months. Well, two and a half months actually, yeah.
You worked with seminal music producer Rick Rubin on the record… how was that?
Oh, really amazing. It was the perfect match I think, I mean, I don’t think we could have worked with anyone cooler you know. He’s such a legend, it was a real treat y’know.
Were there any moments of difficulty in the studio with him at all?
Not at all! We never had any moments of difficulty which was crazy you know, I mean, it went so smoothly to be honest with you, and we were actually really sad when it was all over.
“MUSIC FOR MEN” is an interesting album title – how did that come about?
(Laughs) Well it was Beth’s idea. It’s kind of a feminist inside joke (laughs again.)
What sounds have you worked with for the new record?
Well, we’ve done four records in the past with just a guitar, so on this one we mixed it up and we have bass, guitar, synthesizer, piano, lots of stuff. We wanted it to have the feel of a Gossip record but sound unique to anything we’d done before.
With 23 days (at time of interview) left until the album release, are you at all surprised the record hasn’t found its way online in full?
Oh God yeah, I’m totally surprised it hasn’t leaked yet! But it’s a great sign, I’m just really surprised it hasn’t yet. I just assumed that everything leaked nowadays (laughs). I mean, leaking is just apart of the record release…
It’s become just as much apart of the promotion for a record than anything else really…
(Laughs) My God, exactly!
Do you think leaks hinder the album sales?
Look, it all depends on how good the record is, if a record leaks and it’s good, people will still buy it. They’re maybe gonna want the package. (Laughs) Maybe.
Or, at the very least, go and see you live.
Yes, exactly! Live music is still thriving and people still want to see bands perform live no matter whether they bought the CD or downloaded it illegally.
And then of course there’s in the internet blog revolution; blogs posting MP3 files and the like… they definitely help, don’t they?
Oh yeah, I think we’re at a point now in the world that, to try and fight it or argue that would make you a dinosaur (laughs). I think blogs and online downloading is just a part of the music industry now, it’s almost the way forward, and I have no problem with our remixes floating around on blogs. I read those blogs all the time and get songs from them all the time too so. I think it’s just a part of industry now.
You’ve got the first single “Heavy Cross” out there now, but have you already sat down and worked out what the follow up singles will be?
Yeah, I think “Love Long Distance” might be the next single, maybe that song or “Pop Goes The World”, we aren’t entirely sure yet but they’re the two big guns.
This is the first studio release for your new label MUSIC WITH A TWIST, which focus on GLBT music acts… how did that deal come about?
Well that is no longer around! That label no longer exists anymore so we’re just on Columbia.
Yeah, unfortunately it didn’t end up working out.
The first single is the ace Heavy Cross; was that always going to be Music For Men’s first single?
The Fred Falke remix is monstrously epic and probably Falke’s best remix to date…
Oh yeah he did such a great job. Master Prince House. I was really happy when I asked him to do that because, I’d felt like he’d been off the train for a while and I hadn’t really heard anything that was super amazing, but yeah, boy he did us great justice, he really did.
You guys have had a great run with remixes; really ferocious stuff from Falke, Soulwax, Tommie Sunshine… what’s the process in finding someone to remix your track like?
Um, I deejay a lot so I try to keep in touch with what’s happening so, I always tell the label… I usually just give the label names and tell them “contact these people, we want them to remix the single”, and people usually say yes (laughs).
Any remixes that you’ve knocked back because they’ve been a bit rubbish?
You know, there’s been… um… the Tiga one was kind of weird, he did one for us that was kinda strange, but I mean, yeah, it’s been pretty consistant. They usually do a pretty good job for us.
So a lot of people associate The Gossip with “Standing in the way of control”, with a lot of generation Y associating you with the TV show Skins… was that association a blessing or a curse?
You know, it was definitely a blessing because, I don’t think it affected us negatively, but the interesting thing about that story is that our old label actually did that without our permission.
Yeah! It was really weird. They did it without our permission which was really a kind of bogus deal, but I don’t think it impacted us negatively. You know what though, we haven’t even seen the show and I have no idea what the hell it’s about (laughs).
The song was originally written in response to the US government’s decision to deny gay people the right to marriage, wasn’t it?
Yes it was actually!
Did you find it at all surprising that the youth adopted the song then as a sort of rebellious anthem, taking a look at the lyrics from a completely different angle?
I think it’s kind of funny, Beth actually pointed this out to us, it’s kind of funny, you hear the song in a club and you get these kinda jocky, homophobic guys dancing to it when it, essentially, is a political gay anthem (laughs). It’s hilarious, it’s like homophobic football players singing “We Are The Champions” (laughs).
Nathan, you’ve got your own stuff in the pipeline; you DJ, you have novels… anything of your own coming out soon?
Um, not really. I’ve been so busy with Gossip right now I just haven’t had the time. I’m currating an art show in Berlin later on in the year, and I might be doing some remixes, but just more so working on Gossip which is so time consuming.
So with the new album on the way, tell me there are plans to tour and that you’re coming back to Australia?
Yes definitely, well we’re on tour now, we go back home, then we’re on tour again. I think we’ll be heading towards you guys in Australia soon, probably towards the end of the year. I mean, Australia’s amazing. Just for the landscape alone it’s beautiful, it’s ridiculous how amazing it is. Hopefully we might get asked to play Big Day Out actually, because we’d really love to do that. I hear that the Big Day Out is one of the best festivals ever.
It’s a fairly important day in Australia’s rock calendar…
Yeah that’s what I’m told. Awesome.
Here’s hoping we get you down here for the Big Day Out, all the best with the album release and everything coming up mate, really appreciate the chat.
Thanks for the interview man, take care!
Cheers Nathan, bye!