WLUW got a chance to chat with Angus Andrews of the experimental noise rock project, Liars. His album, TFCF, was released this past September and commemorates the split of his band mates via harsh electronic and grunge layering.
*This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
M: How’s your day?
A: Not bad, hot as hell
M: How do you feel about your set?
A: It was fun, yeah. Nearly killed me but it was still good. I like to think of the crowd in these situations because I don’t think they know who we are. So it’s fun. You think of what they’re listening to at home and then you’re like ughhh they’re not gonna like this.
M: What do you like about performing?
A: Complete freedom, you know? It’s just that idea of losing consciousness. I like to think of sports players who just do things naturally and that’s kind of how I feel. Things happen and I love that space.
M: When did you decide you wanted to do music?
A: I was at art school and the music students would play the art openings and they played this horrible, really technical jazz and stuff like that and I was like, f--k, I’m just gonna play noise. So it’s always been from my art side. I was at Cal Arts and they were super into cross-contamination.
M: What are your musical influences?
A: At the moment, vaporwave. It’s like people who make records and don’t really want to sell them. I don’t know I like the idea of people making things without really thinking they need to be praised for it.
M: Like the anonymity of electronic music?
A: Exactly exactly. You know Vektroid?
A: Check it out it’s this girl who makes so many records, and she’s super young, and I don’t think she sells them (I don’t know maybe on band camp).
M: How do you feel about separating yourself from your music? Is it an alter ego or is it you?
A: Me is not one-dimensional, like everyone else. Everyone has different sides to them and you know, obviously music or art is a place where you can let out a certain side of you that you don’t get to let out everyday, and that’s the best thing about it, right?
M: How is this album different, I know that your band mates split up. Did you feel like it was cathartic writing the album it or was it a relief (being on your own)?
A: Interesting word. You know people have asked me in the past if writing records were cathartic, or if making art was cathartic, and I never felt that way. I always felt like it was magnifying my feelings, just more intensely. But this is the first record I actually will say it was cathartic. I went through some shit, and it was dark, and I made it a really personal record and now I’m talking to you and I feel like it’s changed. You know I feel really good.
M: How long were you together with your band members?
A: Oh my god, Aaron who was my partner basically, my husband, my wife, for you know… 15 years. Our whole relationship was not really on collaboration but more the idea of like critiquing each other, so I always worked alone but I always had him to tell me if it was good or not. So now instead you just gotta go, okay I made it so that’s gonna be what it is. And it’s really scary, but then again I always thought that the scary, creative decisions are the best ones. You know, you shouldn’t feel confident, you should always be like, oh my god I’m really nervous about letting people see this.
M: Thanks for sharing that. What’s one song that you wish you wrote?
A: Oh god. What I’ll tell you just jumped in my head but it’s a horrible thing, “pour some sugar on me”. That’s horrible but that’s what got in my head so I’m going to stick with that.
M: Hahaha. Do you have any pre-show rituals?
A: Oh yeah, I mean I’m all about being alone, and I like to have loud music. Those two things are really important to me.
M: How did you go about writing? Where were you?
A: I was in the bush, in Australia, living in a national park where you can only access by boat. So I was super isolated and just in a little shack in the woods, and yeah I mean it’s paradise basically, yeah.
M: Damn, what was your day-to-day ritual there?
A: Boating, a lot of boating. And maintenance, you know you gotta catch your own rainwater for everything, so you have to always be like making sure your tanks are working. You don’t spend a lot of time hanging out.
M: You have phone service or internet?
A: Yeah, slow ass internet. As slow as you can get. And so things that were important before, like knowing what’s going on in the geopolitical world suddenly begins like well I don’t know, I actually don’t miss knowing whether or not Trump is doing something. It’s interesting, I used to be a super fan of the L.A. Clippers, and I’m still a fan but I actually don’t care anymore, you know which is weird. I used to go to games when I was living in L.A. and be really into it, and then I moved there and it’s like, well the tides are really important to me.
M: Interesting, yeah I’m sure that shifted your perspective a lot. How is it being in civilization again?
A: It’s weird. I stay in hotels, big hotels, and I sit there in the bathroom and I think about all the water that’s running through the hotel at any one time and it blows my mind, because at my house, you really have to think about how much water you’re using.
* Co-interviewer Frankie then arrived
F: Who did your cover art for your newest album?
A: Oh you know it’s funny, my wife styled the shoot, and her best friend shot the photo but it was my idea.
F: I love it, it’s so seductive and it draws you to the album.
A: Yeah, I did an interview with someone from France and they were like, ‘you know, if people can get past the album cover, then they might like the music.’
F: Do you find any inspiration from that Bowie cover? That’s what drew the reminder for me
A: Oh cool. Well the thing that’s good with any artwork is that it’s iconic. With an album cover that’s what you’re trying to shoot for. The last album cover I did was the Mess one, which was a lot of colorful strings. It’s a branding thing. I don’t want to put it in those terms but it’s an idea that your pairing the album with a visual image, it’s important.
M: Do you have advice for musicians, or anyone?
A: If you’re trying to be a creative in any sort of form you got to make a lot of stuff. Don’t feel like you’ve made 8 songs and then cool, like you just got to keep doing it.
For more info on Liars hit this link https://www.musicglue.com/liarsliarsliars
To hear his music go here https://open.spotify.com/artist/2z78AlkdwE2Ghj9EB50M6z