Razorlight are back with their new album, ‘Olympus Sleeping’, so Lee Allcock caught up with frontman Johnny Borrell to speak about the current state of music, social media, and playing in record stores.
Your new album, ‘Olympus Sleeping’, is your first release in 10 years. Why did you feel that now was a good time to come back?
I’ve only made music and released albums when I’ve felt like it was time to do it and when the creative process was there. I wrote three Razorlight albums and I toured around the world and I always knew that I was going to write another Razorlight album one day.
This is straight to the point, but what have you been doing for the last 10 years?
I finished touring with Razorlight in 2011 – that was the end of our third world tour – and then I wrote my solo record in about 2013 and then I wrote another solo album in about 2015. It takes about another 2 or 3 years to make a record, so I’ve kind of been making a record every few years.
What do you think about the current state of music and the charts in general?
I really like going to watch live bands, you know? With no backing track and no laptop and that kind of stuff. I did a Razorlight show and my friend came down and he said it was interesting because it’s just 4 guys playing live without these backing tracks and/or a laptop. We don’t have clip tracks or backing tracks live and we just kind of improvise and we make music – and I think that kind of music is really important.
I know you personally don’t use social media, but what impact do you feel social media and streaming has had on music?
I’ve never had a Facebook page or Instagram page or anything like that and I’ve never had any interest in it either. I think, because of social media, people now have a shorter attention span; I know people don’t like to say it, but every person I’ve said that to has agreed. When I’m speaking to people in passing they think it’s a really good idea that I don’t bother with social media. There’s a plus side for music, however, as you can reach people internationally and your music is always available.
And finally, you played a special, intimate gig at Sound it Out Records in Stockton on Halloween. What do you like about playing intimate gigs?
I love performing so it’s really fun for me to be back playing with Razorlight on the big stage with the whole band but, equally, I love playing a couple of acoustic tracks in a record shop because you get a closer contact with the audience and I love that intimacy.
Razorlight play 02 Academy, Newcastle on Monday 17th December. Tickets, priced at £22.50, are available from seetickets.com.