Band Interview: 1919

Mark, Rio, Mick, and Karl in Angouleme, France, 2015 - Photo by Ashe Bataille

This is our first band interview in over a year that we have published. What an honor that it is with the legendary 1919 who in December just had their anniversary! 40 years of making and creating us amazing music! This interview is very special and is dedicated to one of the founding members of 1919 -- Mark Tighe on this day January 28th in 2017 Mark left the world and moved on to another journey. We honor him as well as Steve Madden who played on bass on Wolf/Dream and Kev a dear friend of the band and roadie for 1919.

There will be a few more photos added later sometime on January 29th/30th 2021.

Interview by Morticia Batz/Graves & Hexable

Hey guys! I just want to start by thanking you so much for allowing us to interview you. Thank you for being so patient! I know originally we did a poll asking the fans they would prefer a video or written and you guys had decided to do both types! Your fans are spoiled!

Rio: No worries! If you look back at our original response to you, that was quite a big update, but we’ve got a couple of really exciting updates to give you since then. You might have seen already that Karl departed at the start of the pandemic, and we have announced our new bass player as Ding Archer. Ding was already a good mate and having been a member of The Fall and current member of Red Lorry Yellow Lorry, we always knew it would be a good fit. Although it’s weird now that he’s been in the band for several months and we’re yet to perform together (we really can’t wait to get back out there again!) He also has a great pedigree as a producer and engineer, so we’ve been making the trip across the hills to his studio in Manchester to record and mix the new album. It’s sounding spectacular.

With the Visa issues you guys had, you were unable to come and play in the United States – You left a heart-warming letter to all of us. With all the hard work, time and money you guys spent on trying to get here, we saw how heartbreaking it was for you guys. We can’t wait to have you here! That being said we now stuck in this pandemic. When the pandemic is over; do you guys feel optimistic of being able to tour again?

Rio: We really hope so! You know, technically we’re still waiting for our 60-day response from January 2019? The Federal shutdown was really the death knell for our US plans. Sam did all the paperwork so we didn’t lose as much as we would have with lawyers involved. Friends of ours with deeper pockets went through exactly the same thing at the time and their overheads were much higher. So hopefully in the future USCIS will… um, FEEL THE BidERN‼!? This was a fully DIY tour and there were a number of people stateside who put their own time and money into arranging everything with us. Jesus and Tony in LA, Gina in Oakland, Tyler and the St Vitus crew in NYC, and everywhere inbetween. We’ll try again when the apocalypse slows down a bit. With lawyers this time. I mean that’s the American way, right!? It wasn’t all bad though. We pressed ahead and went to Mexico anyway, and Costa Rica, and although we lost some money we just fell in love with central America. So you have a lot to live up to when we make it over the border!

The album “Futurecide” was released April 12th 2019! I myself listened to it about 7 times when it first came out. My two favorites are “Stop now” and “Radicals.” My question is how long did you guys work on the album? And do any of you have a favorite song from it?

We started working on the album with Mark. We had to cancel the last leg of a tour when he got sick, so from then we were just writing and rehearsing. Then when he was too unwell we just put everything to one side for a while. Stop the World in particular is special, because it has his guitar on it from the demo, and Isolation is special too because Steve’s on there. There’s Where are you now?, which is a straight-up letter to Mark. There is a lot wrapped up in that album. It’s funny, but we hadn’t really seen the two you mentioned as potential singles but they seem to be some of the most popular. You have great taste!

Morticia: I thank my Papa for that! Wow I did not know all of this thank you for sharing this with all of us. Haha well you guys make great music!

In the Summer of 2020, 1919 and Then Comes Silence had a tour planned together called Machine V.S. Machine, though I don't see much about it after the initial announcement on your website. What happened with that tour and is it going to be rescheduled?

Rio: Yeah it’s a huge shame. Naturally it went the same way as everyone’s plans did last year. TCS are good friends of ours and they toured the UK with us in 2019. This time, there are 2 legs planned. One here, and one on the mainland (mainly Germany). Things have been rescheduled a couple of times, but it’s pretty much impossible to re-book the dates here because we don’t know which venues will make it through. Not only that, we now have Brexit to contend with. The plans are still the same, but how and when this will happen up to Zeus.

Listening to Futurecide with tracks like “Radicals” and “Speak Now”, it seems inevitable for one of you to get into politics. Has Rio running for mayor of West Yorkshire affected the band at all?

Rio: Ha! No, not at all. The race was over for me pretty quickly. I should explain for the American audience here. This was effectively a primary for the Labour nomination. So it's the equivalent of Democratic primary, except the process is way more bureaucratic and less open. In order to even get on the ballot for the primary, which is only open to party members, the candidates have to get a certain number of nominations from local groups/unions etc. I did make it through this stage, which was really cool. But then there’s just a committee who decides who goes on the ballot. So the nominations don’t actually serve a purpose other than to weed out the least popular people, and in reality my campaign only lasted a few weeks. There was some nice coverage but it would have been great to have more opportunities to push the issues. If I run for anything again it will be on a much more local level.

You guys put together a video for the Goths for Sanctuaries event in September. Was this your first online event, and what was the experience like compared to a live event?

Rio: There’s no comparison there really! It’s just making a music video. We tried to have fun with it, and it was for a good cause. But the four of us have talked about it and we won’t be doing any live stream gigs. Maybe we’d do something for a small audience with an additional livestream, but playing without an audience doesn’t feel right to us. It’s all or nothing, otherwise it’s just gig methadone.

Sam and Rio are in another project called The F.U.X. Is F.U.X an acronym, if so what is it?

Rio: Nope, no acronym! The pandemic really messed with The F.U.X… We’d done one show, opening a night in Leeds a lot of 1919 fans frequent. The idea was just to see if there would be crossover in the audience (it’s quite different – kinda shoegaze/pop/garage rock) and it went really well. But lockdown hit before we’d been able to film the first video. If you’re an established band at the moment you have stuff you can get on with. But launching a new project? Fuck, it’s difficult!

Can you talk a little bit about the philosophical and political connection between 1919's First album Machine and the album you are working on Citizens of Nowhere?

Mick: Resistance.

Rio: Yeah, I think what Mick said in a recent interview (I think it was the VLR Goth annual) is totally true. The political situation in the UK now has a lot of parallels with when they started the band at the dawn of the ‘80s. I like to reference the early 1919 material in my lyrics: Bloodline has a nod to Tear Down These Walls, and there’s a track called Borders on the new album which is written as a kind of sequel to Alien – exactly the same subject, unchanged, 30 years later (I originally wanted to call it “Alien 2” or even “Aliens”, but that was vetoed pretty fucking firmly!)

Morticia: Resistance! Nuff said Mick! I am so excited to hear the new album Rio this is so cool!

Are there any songs you are excited about on your new album Citizens of Nowhere? How does it differ from Futurecide?

The extremes are more pronounced. There is more chaos and more beauty. More synth. More strings. Honestly any track could be a single, but we’re going big with the first one. We’re very excited!

With Futurecide, of course there’s a political edge as you say. But it’s all kind of wrapped up in this great sense of loss. On Citizens of Nowhere, there are still some moments of reflection, but it’s very direct otherwise. You’ll barely have time to catch your breath.

As a band and as friends you all have faced many losses throughout the years. The most recent losses notably Mark Tighe, Steve Madden. How have these losses affected the band and the music that you have produced?

None of this would have happened without Mark. He brought me in, he picked things up with Mick. His sense of unfinished business will always be what brought us here. As for Steve, well, strangely enough the first time I met Steve was at Mark’s funeral. They’d stayed friends for this whole time and were actually neighbors too! Had it not been for Steve’s health problems, he’d have been right there when the band kicked off again. It was at the funeral that we came up with the idea of getting him on the next album. By the time we were recording it he was sick again, but he really wanted to do it so we recorded him at his house. It’s funny how life works out. He’s an important part of the band’s history and I’m proud to have known him for that short time. We always want to look to the future whilst staying true to the past. It meant a lot to have Steve and Mark on their last 1919 album together. I just wish Mark could’ve heard it.

All of you have watched the scene grow and change over the years, do you feel like your fans approach you differently now?

Mick: No. I think they always knew we were in for the long haul. I had a few years out of performing... still touring, but not with my own band. The difference is we have an history now But when we kicked 1919 off again it was the same mindset as when I was 20. We're there to win hearts and minds, and the seeds we’d planted back then had grown in our absence.

What say you when someone says “Goths and punks don’t belong in politics.” Often online people seem to stake claim that goths and punks are apolitical. My Papa having been around for it all -- I know that is farther from the truth. What wisdom can you shed on the children of goth and punk music!? Haha

Rio: This is a strange and confusing claim! Music and politics are inseparable, and this is as true for Punk and Post-Punk as it is for Jazz, Folk, and Blues. Even the blandest, shittest, algorithmically-composed trash you could find tells us about the way music is produced and consumed. It is impossible to remove art from its historical context.

Morticia: Yes I agree! So true! I love asking this question as so many people (especially online) love running around with the claim. Most of the music I listen to at some point has political lyrics.

This pandemic has been crazy all over the world. How has it been for each of you? What have you all been doing to remain sane during all of this? Has anything changed? I notice that some things have gone back to a norm but then rescind back to lockdown.

Mick: At my age the last thing I want is a year or two off. Keeping your fitness levels up without drumming is no joy (except I spend a lot of time with the dog, but then I always did!) Practicing alone is no substitute for performing and rehearsing with a band.

Rio: Nothing has gone back to normal here! It’s pretty much been one long lockdown since last March. Being able to meet up in the studio – sat apart from each other, of course – to work on this album has been really valuable. But what I’d give for a song and a dance…

1919 in Berlin, 2017 - Photo by DJ Cyberpagan

Is there anything you would like to leave us with?

Here is an open space to talk about Mark, Steve, and Kev….

Mick: They'll never be forgotten. I had a lifelong friend in Kev and Mark and I made some serious history together. Steve was the nicest guy you could ever meet and it was great to reconnect with him after so many years.

Rio: I can’t say much more than that. Just that I can’t believe I’ll never be on the road with Kev again. He really did break the mold.

Reed, Tighe, Goldhammer, and Donner in 2015

Links to all things 1919

Click here for 1919 website

Click for 1919 on Facebook

Click for 1919 on Instagram

1919 on Youtube

1919 on Spotify

1919 on Bandcamp

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