Pete Lawrie-Winfield: “[We’ll keep going] Until The Ribbon Breaks!”

– Read our album review here

If you haven’t heard Until The Ribbon Breaks’ new album by now, you really need to. From the looks of things, they seem to have a clear agenda to shoot out of the shadows and shake their unknown persona. If they continue with what they are doing, they absolutely will.

I have never had such an overwhelming experience listening to an album like I had with A Lesson Unlearnt. I made sure frontman, Pete Lawrie-Winfield, knew this when I interviewed him last week. Even though I only had 15 minutes, I was able to get a grasp of the different components that came together to create this masterpiece of an album.

You’re having a bit of a break from your tour at the moment. How’s that going?

It was such an amazing tour, the best we’ve ever done. But it’s incredibly difficult to adjust to normal life. What day is it today? It’s Wednesday. We got back on Sunday. And I still don’t feel quite right. I mean, touring and travel, you’re in a touchy little bubble. When that pops, I suppose it’s a cliché, post-tour blues or certainly post tour kind of weirdness, is definitely a real thing. You find yourself being restless. You don’t really know what to do with yourself. As soon as [the madness of touring] stops, it’s kind of like okay, it’s back to reality for you. It comes to a bit of a bang.

What are you doing while on your break?

We never really take breaks, we’re always making something, otherwise we’d go completed mad. We’re working on a remix with a UK band called Faceless. We’re doing a bit of writing, some video editing. The list of things to do never goes down.

Your parents are also musicians, right? Did they influence your decision to switch from film to music?

I think it was always the music first because it’s always been a part of my family and always been there. They never influenced me or pushed me into a particular area. I think the reason I went with the decision to go with music instead of film was you get a quicker process with music. You can write a song in a day and then record it the next day, whereas film is such a long process. Sometimes, by the time you finish what you are working on you don’t love it anymore. There’s ways of channeling music. There are feelings that you get from music than you can’t get with anything else.

You have a unique sound that doesn’t really fit into a specific genre. How would you describe it?

That’s a difficult one. The only way to describe it is the name, Until The Ribbon Breaks. The name comes from making cassettes or cassette mixtapes. It didn’t matter what genre the songs were, it just mattered that you loved the songs. You would just keep playing and playing them until the ribbon broke. So the name comes from not having one specific genre. So I’m never sure what to call it.

So basically, there’s no rules?

Yeah, I would never want to be restricted by genre or a certain set of instruments. There should be no restrictions. So it’s just about how we’d want to be creative on the day that we are being creative.

How do you decide what sounds good together and what doesn’t, in terms of the different layers of music with the combination of the lyrics?

I think the key is to never think about it because if it sounds good to you and the chances are it might sound good to somebody else. I think if you just started overthinking what sounded good with what, you would hate it. It’s the process of elimination. I just keep throwing stuff at it until something sticks, and then when we start developing layer upon layer, it sort of builds up.

I read somewhere that you had a film projector running with the sound off while you were recording the album.

Yeah, we had a projector in the studio to create the mood. It definitely gives me inspiration of where I can go lyrically or musically because it’s bigger than my own life. That was my creative choice, you know, just using film and music together to complement each other.

I know this is a difficult question. Which song on the album means the most to you? Why?

Orca, because it’s the most personal song on the album. I don’t think I’ve ever told anyone this before, at least in an interview. I lived in New York after making this album, without the band, for nine months. I didn’t know anyone in America and it was kind of an intense period. I just moved in with a roommate that I didn’t know and he became my best friend in New York and became the only person I knew after that. Unfortunately he passed away while I was living with him and I found him. It’s about that experience. The main lyric is ‘there’s nothing quite as black and white as you,’ meaning that there’s nothing kind of final as death.

There’s always pressure on artists with their debut albums, but I think you’ve done such an amazing job! What does the album say about you as a band?

That we can’t wait to make another one. I think it’s kind of all over the place, kind of intentionally. It definitely something that kind of restlessness creatively and how we’re always wanting to move on the next thing so it says about us the way we work and about the time in our career. We’re proud of it but it’s not like we listen to it anymore. We have a lot of fun touring and recreating it live but in terms of the record it sort of chronicles the period in our lives where we’re always trying to push forward and move on.

I hope you do make another one. Soon?

[laughs] Oh, for sure! Until the ribbon breaks!

The album name is A Lesson Unlearnt – what was the lesson?

The lesson was every kind of the technique, every process, that we wanted to use meant being creative and having concepts. The lesson was how to be creative and being something new.

Will there be an Australian tour anytime soon to celebrate your album?

We were only talking about that today, so fingers crossed it’s going to be soon.

So it’s still in the early stages then.

Yeah, but for sure, as soon as we can.

To finish off, what can we expect from you for the rest of 2015?

Well, you know, it’s the beginning of the year. We’re excited. We just started the tour with London Grammar, and then we have Coachella. We start our European tour next week, just five shows. Berlin, France, London; we’re just keeping busy. As many new shows, as much writing as we can, and I’d like to put another record out actually. So we need to kind of write one.

You can be sure we are going to hear more from these guys this year, and from the sounds of things, they are keen to visit our shores soon! We’ll keep you posted! But for now, we shall have to make do with their spectacular album alone. After reading this interview, we suppose you’d want to start with Orca.