Up, up and away with Guy Garvey

Elbow’s latest album, `The Take Off and Landing of Everything', sweeps and soars in all the right places. At the band’s Blueprint studios in Salford, Guy Garvey muses on the ups and downs of a band that refuses to remain earthbound

Fri, Feb 28, 2014, 00:00

And engaging with that level of reality for Elbow – for a band of your status what’s that like? Liberating? Frustrating? Garvey hums and haws, and takes a long sip of his pint, closes his eyes. He is clearly about to slip into some kind of reverie. Here we go . . .

“Well, when we started all those years ago, it was all about home taping is killing music, and then it was internet piracy is killing music. It’s still a bugbear for me that some people just don’t buy music anymore. It’s okay for us – we’re fine in that regard, because we can survive on gig ticket sales, but it’s a crying shame for young bands whose members can’t quit their jobs because people listen to their music on the likes of Spotify rather than buying it. These guys can’t go and do it for a living – to me, that’s what really killing music.

“Another thing is something we’ve never questioned – that, for us, the artform we work towards all of the time is the album, not the live performance. Yes, of course we aim for great gigs all of the time, too, but ultimately, I think we make music for people who own speakers.”

It’s an odd thing to say in an era when most people listen to music via earphones the size of fingernails, but Garvey is one of rock music’s wise guys (as opposed to just a wiseguy), and a spokesperson for Elbow, one of rock music’s most considered, intelligent and broadly romantic bands. “Big soft lad?,” Garvey ponders for all of a second. “Yes, that’s me.”

As for the new album? Well, it’s a beaut, as well as a distinctive step (a little bit classic time-signature prog rock, a little bit archly emotional, a lotta glorious, sweeping melody) in Elbow’s ongoing development.

“It has to be, doesn’t it?” notes Garvey. “And it’s exploration, which, quite simply, is crucial to us – that and wanting to mix things up a bit, to make the working dynamic just that little bit different. Keep the process interesting and love the results? Oh, yes, that’s our motto. Now, are you gonna have a pint, or what?”

The Take Off and Landing of Everything is out on March 7th. Elbow play the Marquee, Cork, June 24th, and Royal Hospital Kilmainham, Dublin, June 25th

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