What's your favorite placebo song

Enemy "Placebo in an Interview", Oct'13


We met Steve Forrest from Placebo for an interview in a hotel on the Vienna Ring. We talked to the charming drummer about the current album Loud Like Love and had the debacle of the Frequency Festival 2012 explained to us again!

Hey steve! Are you doing well?

Yes, I'm still fine! Even after four full days of traveling around and giving interviews.

You've been in the band for almost six years now. Do you feel like a full member, even if the band existed a long time before?

I have that from the start. The guys had a great manner that made me feel welcome. When I joined, I didn't know how big the band was or that it even existed! So for me it wasn't like coming across placebo. I was more looking forward to making music with some guys! Musically, the right chemistry was there from day one. Brian and Stefan also had a personal connection, after all, they have known each other for ages! I knew they had their thing and I had to get used to it and to them. But we've been through so much in recent years that has welded us together. Especially the recordings for the album now. You can hear that in the songs, this unity that we have become. We are like brothers now.

Your new album is called Loud Like Love and is the most positive album title so far. Where does it come from?

We had a good time during the recording! You can't always write about negative things! Life is not only negative, it also has beautiful sides! Loud Like Love was the first track on the album that we wrote. When we were jamming, Brian came up with the phrase ‘Loud Like Love’. We were immediately enthusiastic and then took a closer look at it to make it a recurring topic. But we didn't want to make typical I love you, come back ’songs. We wanted to write about love in all its facets. For us, ‘Loud like love’ is an orgasm, a crying baby, a football match or a beautiful painting that you stare at for days - an abstract work of art that yells at you but cannot be heard. Or how you feel when a family member dies. We found it exciting to look at it that way.

So you didn't go to the studio and decided to write about relationships between people? A lot of your old songs were more about the relationship between people and drugs.

It still does! No joke! On the last couple of albums and EPs I've done with the guys, we never sat down beforehand to discuss what exactly we were doing. It always depends on how you feel while writing.

Why did you choose Too Many Friends and Loud Like Love as single releases?

As soon as we wrote Loud Like Love we knew it was going to be a single. We couldn't stop playing or listening to it! It's still my favorite track on the album! I love them all, but the song is something special. It's sexy, cool, and fun! So that was a clear choice. Personally, I didn't think Too Many Friends was going to be single. But then I was the only one! The label came to us and wanted to come out with it, and so did the guys.

Too Many Friends is about social media platforms, but also about the new types of communication. Isn't it ironic that you presented the record to your fans around the world via an internet livestream?

The song doesn't want to spoil the internet, not even Twitter or Facebook! The internet is a wonderful tool that has made many things possible. But all the social networking sites are supposed to bring people together - do they? Kind of sure, at least people like you and me can chat and you can listen to my band, that's cool! But in the meantime it has gone so far that none of this happens anymore. So many people are lost in screens that we lose the human touch. That's what the song speaks to.

Loud Like Love was produced by Adam Noble. Would you do another CD with him? That would be a premiere because you've never recorded more than one album with a producer.

That's good too, it gives you a different vibe! But I would be happy to work with him again. He has great ideas and is great in the studio! He gives each individual as well as the group the right attention and also the tracks. His influence on the album was huge, he became the fourth member of the band! It was different with the producer of Battle For The Sun, David Bottrill. With some you get along really well and with others you don't. I would work with Adam again at any time.

You have already revealed which is your favorite song on the album. Which song would you say has the coolest lyrics and which one has the best background music?

Exit Wounds as far as the text is concerned, we worked on that for weeks. Brian came into the studio one day and said he had an idea for the chorus: "Want you so bad I can taste it." We knew right away; that's it! You can identify with it like that! When I hear the lyrics, I immediately think of seeing my ex-girlfriend with a guy and that bad feeling in my stomach! In terms of music, I like Purify, as well as Begin The End. I could spend all day explaining what I like about each number! But Purify is very cool. Brian does these harmonic chords and the drums are great fun too!

Live you often change songs. Is there a song on Loud Like Love that you think there is no other way to play it?

Right now I would say that about most of them! We arrange the songs differently live because we've been playing them for so long and it becomes natural at some point. Depending on the mood of the concert, you change something. Often you wish the song, as you play it at the end of the tour, was on the album! Because you had the time to really fine-tune it. But that's nice too. When you see a band you don't want to hear the album - you want to hear it live! I was once at the concert of one of my all-time favorite bands, Death Cab For Cutie, and that was a huge disappointment! I was really looking forward to them and they were fantastic, but they sounded exactly like the CD! The same sounds, everything! When I got to Placebo, Brian and Stef said I could do whatever I want with the tracks. We now have five versions of Teenage Angst or Meds. That keeps it interesting and fun! When you've been on tour for so long and playing one gig after the other, the songs can easily leave you cold. But by changing, we have just as much fun at the concerts as the fans and these are the best shows!

Last year you headlined the Frequency Festival and had to cancel the gig due to Brian's illness.

Oh God!

That was a shitty situation, of course, but of course your fans understood that too. What confused many, however, was that you played again in Switzerland one day later. Can you briefly clarify the situation ?!

That wasn't my decision ...

You stayed on stage for a long time. Did you know what's going on

I knew what was going on, yeah. And it was a tragedy to have to leave the stage! We were thrilled to be there and watch bands. The Cribs, Wilco and Noel Gallager were really good. After the great performances, we were looking forward to putting on a great performance ourselves! It was really disappointing to be told to get off the stage now and I was very angry afterwards! But things like that happen unfortunately, things that are out of our control. When we are back in November, we will really let it rip!

I am sure you will! What can the fans particularly look forward to?

It's gonna be damn exciting! We can finally play the new songs! Especially because of the last time, the concert will be full of energy and a lot of fun! Last time we kind of made you hot and this time we're doing it right! (laughs)