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And Also The Trees
Shaletown

Shaletown: Articles - 1985

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Abstract Magazine  1985



    Worcester based And Also The Trees have stumbled relentlessly through a year of blind journalistic prejudice to emerge feeling healthily refreshed. The Cure comparisons, inevitable after twice accompanying them on tour and having Lol Tolhurst produce some of their releases, are silently drifting from their identity. A more prevailing direction, a new lease of life and some vaguely warm coffee brings them to the meat market at Charing Cross.

 Simon and Justin told of the one departure from the group in their six year history:

"It was a big fight at a nightclub in Nottingham. The place got wrecked with broken bottles flying everywhere. At the time the group was at a bad stage, it was like somebody was bending a stick which broke there. Nick's brother, who was playing bass with us then, was saying that we weren't going to get anywhere, he attacked Justin and I tried to stop him, that's where we left him".

Ironically it was soon after the split that they signed to Future(Later re-named Reflex). Even though their association with the Cure has led a lot of people to brand them as plagiarists, AATT themselves are quick to acknowledge the Cure's contribution to their careers:

 "They were our biggest fans, the first people who came up to us and said 'we think you're great'. Even our friends hadn't said that! It was just amazing that someone liked us, and so encouraging".

This influence seems to stretch both ways, the drumline from "So This Is Silence" inadvertantly winded up on the Cure's "Strange Days".They've admitted it to us and say :

" it's a shame that AATT get likened to the Cure all the time because they're as influenced by us, as we are by them."
 

Now however, the Trees plan to start afresh and break links with the Cure after a dissapointment over Robert Smith not producing the "Secret Sea" single. But this doesn't seem to have dented an increasing enthusiasm within the camp.

"It feels like we're a new band just lately, like we've been in two bands and we're now in a band that's becomming successful. People showing interest makes a hell of a lot of difference, and getting good press. People can say 'Ha! We got a real slating but we don't care' and laugh about it. But it really does bug you if you keep getting slagged off when you're trying hard. But because  we're getting some good press, I think it's linked; We're starting to write new numbers, we've written as much in the past  month as we wrote in the year before and we're getting really excited about them.
People are writing to us who are absolutely obsessed with our music, it makes it all seem worthwhile because we really do understand it and they get something out of it."


Understandable then that Simon sounds somewhere above cloud nice; they put a great deal of effort into their music and are very careful  concerning its  quality;

"I find writing very, very difficult. It takes me immense concentration and a hell of a long time. I write about particular scenes or atmospheres, exact descriptions of where I've been and what I've felt -though it seems that a lot of people have trouble understanding it."

Atmosphere seems very important and went some way to inspiring the track that appears  on the accompanying soundtrack.


"I write in a room in the oldest part of the house which is ancient, it's beamed and all the walls are bulging in. It's a great room, freezing cold, there's gaps between the beams where the wind comes in. So I built a tent for myself out of sheets and put my desk inside it. It's a good atmosphere in there and I tried to summarise it. The track comes from there, the atmosphere I tried to create inside the tent one  night. But I'm not me, it's really an old woman writing."


Macabre and strange psychic events are common in both their lives and music. They explained the unexplained and went on to divulge some secrets about things that go bump in the studio.

"I think when you have a tense atmosphere things are likely to break, particularly electrical things. Like neurotic housewives who are cracking up, their hoovers will break all the time when there's no reason for it. Our single "Shantell" had a whole verse and chorus that had to be cut out of it because a mysterious bump appeared in the recording over all 16 tracks."


So was it something to do with the single, what was it about?

"I'm concerned I don't make a big deal out of this, but it was something that happened when I was out  for a walk. I was waiting for the drummer to take his driving test, so I dropped him off and stopped in a cemetary on a very nice summer afternoon. I just sat on a bench and was trying to do some writing.
I started to walk around and saw this strange, new grave. it had lots of toys and things on top of it and  little cards, it was a young girls grave and on one of them it had, written in baby writing: "Shantell we love you". it was really eerie, I felt profoundly sad that it was such a beautiful day and she couldn't see it.
Then there was something magical that happened and the trees around the cemetary were whispering  things and suddenly I thought she probably was in the day as much as anybody else."

More strange tales...."A Room Lives In Lucy", the recent single, has another facinating  background:

"It was inspired by a girl who writes to me from Bristol.The band was going to split up in the summer because I had lost interest after putting so much in. Around the time when I decided to quit, this girl  wrote about 25 pages to me; it seemed our music meant so much to her and was a vital part of her life.
She was so into it, it made me think that if our music makes just one person feel like that, then it must be worth it. She's not so much mixed up, but things are traumatic for her. She wrote things about; " Ice lying on the floor in my room and it's just so good I must get up off the floor. There are a lot of nice places we can go, there are.... tell me there are as lot of beautiful places". And those letters left me shaking- Jesus Christ she thinks that much! A lot of the atmosphere in "A Room Lives In Lucy" comes from me trying to be her, trying to drift into that situation."


So things are looking bright for this caring quartet, new inspiration, hours in the recording  studio and an LP by the summer?

" We don't want our second LP to be a rushed affair. If it's not ready by summer then it's going to have to be winter. We've got to think that everything is just about the best thing we've ever done before we include it. We've never written a b-side and we've never written an album filler."

 

Looks like we've got another single on our soundtrack....

 


 

Special thanks to.
Cielbleu

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