The Pineapple Thief

With their new album “Dissolution” The Pineapple Thief shows that they are having their best time on their music career so far. Grande Rock had the chance to talk with the band’s mastermind, vocalist and songwriter Bruce Soord and the exceptional drummer and songwriter Gavin Harrison about the new album, the songwriting part and many other interesting things. Read below for more…
The Pineapple Thief band pic
Hi Bruce and Gavin, I’m really glad to have you on Grande Rock, Congrats on “Dissolution” as well… it’s a captivating album on the whole.
B: Thanks a lot – we are all very proud of it.
G: Yes we are very pleased with the outcome of the record.
This is the first time that Gavin contributed to the songwriting, right? How about that? What are the new elements that Gavin added to The Pineapple Thief’s sound?
B: Actually I would say Gavin contributed quite a bit to the “Your Wilderness” album too – that was when we realized our creative partnership had something special. Even though ‘it was just a session’ for Gavin, he still came up with loads of ideas regarding arrangements and the feel of the music. And of course, his approach to composing his drum parts transformed the songs. So, we took that relationship further with “Dissolution”. Gavin would take my ideas, chop them about, add new parts and send them back to me.  We would continue that cycle until we were both happy with the composition. I was more than happy for my ideas to take a different and new path with Gavin involved.
G: I don’t think I’ve changed their sound – but I had a lot of input with writing the record together with Bruce – so maybe there’s a little bit more of my influence on “Dissolution”.
Hence, is it better for a band to have several songwriters than one or not?
B: Absolutely. I’ve been writing songs all my life and if you can meet someone that takes those songs and ideas and makes them better then I’m all for it. The sum is definitely greater than the parts with TPT.
G: I don’t really know, however when you write with someone else it takes you to places that you wouldn’t have gone on your own – which in my opinion is a good thing. It can make you explore things outside of your comfort zone.
Bruce said that “The Pineapple Thief is a different proposition with Gavin”… do you agree with that? Do you feel that you have brought something different & special (a “new fresh air”) to the band?
G: Whenever you change a member in a band it will have an influence on all the other band members (for better or worse) but it will be different.
So which are the main differences & similarities between “Your Wilderness” and “Dissolution” according to you?
B: Similarities lie in the focus on songs and melody over musicianship for musicianship sake. Personally I think “Dissolution” is a much more focused and refined record. We worked hard making it exactly how we wanted. “Your Wilderness” was a bit of a wilder ride as none of us knew what was happening at the time!
G: I think they are a good progression from each other.
Where does the album title “Dissolution” refer to and what’s the deeper meaning behind it?
B: For me it is about the dissolving of society’s norms. The way we live our lives in this hyper connected world is incredible. And incredibly new. It’s changed who we are and having a profound impact on the new generations coming through. Nothing is shocking any more. The songs throughout “Dissolution” are about that.
Is the cover artwork connected with the album title and the album’s concept in a way?
B: Yes – the guys at Stylo Rouge, who we commissioned to do the artwork had carte blanche creatively. I had a long discussion with them about the meaning of the album and they took that and made the ‘glitch’ effect on the man and the woman that feature throughout. In fact, the glitches were created by feeding the audio of the album through the art. I’m not sure how they did it...
Please give us a hint about each track:
B: “Not Naming Any Names”: Internet trolls…
“Try As I Might”: Addiction…
“Threatening War”: Depression and reconciliation…
“Uncovering Your Tracks”: Betraying yourself darkness online…
“All That You’ve Got”: The nasty side of hyper connection…
“Far Below”: The ruthless pursuit of ambition and validation…
“Pillar of Salt”: Knowingly taking part in it all…
“White Mist”: A public breakdown…
“Shed a Light”: Remember what it is to be human…
Do tell us also about the bonus track “Am I Better Now?” that is featured on the album’s DB edition.
B: It was a track that we never really finished, so it didn’t make it to the record. When I was putting the bonus disc together I played it and really liked it, so I mixed it up and put it on.
Why did you decide to release some acoustic takes on 6 out of the 9 tracks of the album?
B: It’s something I’ve been doing on TPT releases for years. It’s an enjoyable thing for me to do at the end of an album cycle. To deconstruct the songs I have been obsessing about for so long and producing stripped down, acoustic interpretations.
You’ve been quite some time on the road and the touring will start again the New Year (2019). Do you prefer to be on the road or in the studio?
B: For me personally, it’s now exactly 50/50. The two absolutely co-exist in my life. Now we are much more successful on the road, it’s a very special feeling connecting with so many people who have been listening to our music. That’s not to say that playing to 50 people at the beginning of TPT wasn’t a nice feeling – but in those days, the studio took precedence over the live world.
G: I prefer to have a nice balance of the two, but it’s almost impossible to achieve. If you just work in the studio all the time you miss playing live and vice versa. I think you also need to balance that with having a family life and having time to practice and develop your own playing of the instrument.
What are your expectations from the new album “Dissolution” and what are those things that you wanna achieve with TPT over the next years?
B: I never really expect anything. I hope that everyone who could ever like TPT get to hear it and come to a show. As for what I want to achieve – I just want to continue to make music I am proud of. If you focus too much on goals, I think there is a danger that making music becomes too much of a business. Don’t get me wrong, I am very happy that the band has become so much bigger over the past few years, but it’s not something I obsess about.
G: To go out and play it live and let people hear how good the band is. After that we should start to make another record and concentrate on writing and developing a new sound for the future of TPT.
Some say that The Pineapple Thief, especially after Gavin’s addition, are trying to be the new Porcupine Tree. What’s your opinion on that?
B: Ha ha, well I know for certain we are not trying to be that! Obviously Gavin being such a big part of the band is bound to draw comparisons, but anyone who listens to TPT will realize our approach and sound is completely different.
What are your personal music future plans?
B: I’m going to write and record a second solo album. And I’m enjoying mixing and producing bands who approach me and I feel a connection with.
G: There will be more touring with King Crimson in 2019, as well as The Pineapple Thief and there may be other interesting projects along the way.
Which are these things that inspire you to write music and lyrics in general?
B: Everything that surrounds me in my life.
G: I don’t write lyrics, but musically I look to the outside world for inspiration rather than just other music.
It’s time for our “weird questions”!!! What is the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the words:
B: Rockstar: Mick Jagger!
Prog Rock: Knives in hammond organs!
Sci-fi: Star Trek (the original series!)
Eurovision: Bucks Fizz!
Music Realities: Hours confined in black dressing rooms with no windows!
Fill in the phrase… “Prog Rock music wouldn’t have evolved the way it did, if it hadn’t been for…”
B: … the legions of fans who still want the stuff!
Which are the best 3 Prog Rock albums of all time according to you?
B: “Crime of the Century” (Supertramp), “Wish You Were Here” (Pink Floyd) and “Tales of Mystery and Imagination” (The Alan Parsons Project).
If you had the opportunity to invite any famous person, living or dead, over for supper whom would you choose and why?
B: Beck!
Which is that band that you’d like to be part of (any time & era)?
B: Supertramp (pre “Breakfast in America” era)…
If you could be any historical person, which one would you be and why?
B: George Martin. To be a man in such a revolutionary time (music wise) with so much influence and so many new things to pioneer (stereo drums!). Amazing.
Were you obliged to give just one album to extraterrestrials that would represent the whole human music, which album would it be and from which band/artist?
B: “Abbey Road” (The Beatles)…
That’s all for now guys. Thank you very much for talking to Grande Rock. Wish you the best for the future to come. Take care dude!
B: No problem – until next time!
G: Thanks!