Four Electric Picnic 2012 performers tell LAUREN MURPHYwhat they’re up to at the moment
ORBITAL: (Phil Hartnoll)
You last played Electric Picnic in 2009, not long after youd reformed.
Yeah, we’re very much looking forward to going back there – it’s one of my favourite festivals; very creative, just lovely. I had some free time the last time, and I was wandering about and looking at all the impromptu stages where people get up and do poetry. It’s very cultured. Mind you, we’d just come back from doing Creamfields and playing to a load of people off their heads in a massive car park . . .
You’ve played your fair share of big gigs at festivals over the years – how much does your set change with the size of the crowd?
Well, it’s all about the energy and the atmosphere. We improvise with the structure of the song, so we can make a song last a minute, or an hour. We’ve got a small studio set-up on stage, actually, so every instrument has got its own button. It all means you can change the overall sound; if they’re really enjoying a bit you can sustain the energy, take it away from them and build it up again. There’s so much you can do when you’re feeding off the audience. It’s a unifying thing, really; they do play quite a large part in how we perform, really.
Is it annoying to still have to play crowd-pleasers such as Chime and Halcyon after all this time?
Nahhh . . . they’re like our children, arent they? Theyve helped us along. We put them out to work for us at a very early stage and they got us where we are [laughs]. So no, not at all. I understand it. I mean, if The Cure don’t play Let’s Go to Bed, I will kick [Robert Smith] up the arse! Our set is gonna be splattered with quite a lot of the new album, but we are gonna play the old favourites. It’d be rude not to?
What’s the first thing you do when you get to a festival?
Well, it really depends on if it’s raining, or who’s on . . . but I’m hoping to get over there on the Friday as well, so I’ll get a chance to muck about and maybe tuck into the rider early [laughs]. No, I normally go on stage pretty sober, actually – how things change! Well, that’s the party line, anyway!
Where are you in terms of material for your next album?
I think I’m halfway. I have one project with a friend which has been in the works for about a year, and that’s about 10 songs... and then I have my own album. The dilemma is trying to figure out which one I should focus on to bring out next! I guess it’s time for a new one of mine.
I did go to a cabin in the woods for about a month with the dogs, to write. It started out really good, but then it descended into terrifying murder ballads about people in the forest [laughs]. I decided after the last album that I only wanna do really uplifting songs for this next album. In terms of arrangement, I suppose most of them are closer to Tales of Silversleeve – a little more lighthearted. But itll be next year, for sure.
What’s the first thing that you do when you get to a festival?
Oh, I’m a real pig, I go straight to the canteen. I’m one of those people that piles up two platefuls of stuff – I just get so excited about free food! I just love food so much, and I’m so excited about that because there’s always loads of different types of fish, and different types of cake, and . . . oh my God. That’s the best thing about Electric Picnic, it’s like a huge school cafeteria but with better food.