“If there were 10 thousand me’s, it would be great… I would bust the shit out of the world, but it would be great. There are just a lot of things I want to do that will never happen.”
Performing as The Brian Jonestown Massacre for the better part of 26 years, Anton Newcombe is a musical icon in a league of his own. Being the primary songwriter and multi-instrumentalist for BJM’s impressive catalogue, as well as running multiple record labels and production studios, it is not surprising that Anton feels as if he is constantly rushed for time.
“I work a lot,” he laughs, “This year I’ve produced The Limiñanas record and a Vacant Lot record and two Brian Jonestown records and a single as well as a Tess Parks And Anton album and EP. Pretty soon I start production for an album for Roman Polanski’s wife, Emmanuelle Seigner and then I go immediately on tour, so, I work six days a week but it’s still not a commercial studio. It’s tough though because I’d like to do a lot more.”
Speaking of what he has been working on, Anton touched on his unique ability to write songs in different languages, a skill that has become more prevalent over more recent BJM albums.
“I’m really interested in writing in other languages and giving it back to the people of that culture and making people focus,” he explains. “I’ve had arguments with French musicians who I am friends with because I say they have to contribute something to their culture but they all respond, ‘French isn’t like English, you can’t make it rhyme so easily’ and I don’t feel like it has to be written like that. You can sing like Mozart, you can chop the syllables up, and sing them like they are notes; it doesn’t need to be so literal.
“In the future I will connect to so many different things purely through the ways that people find it and share it. It’s silly to think that everybody is going to speak English in the future, so if I write in Danish I hope that it will inspire more people from Denmark to sing something in Danish instead of trying to be the next Stone Roses of Denmark.”
Expanding on the notion of his bands future, Anton expanded, “Do people care about that Outkast ‘shake it like a Polaroid picture’ song any more? No, because it doesn’t matter if it was the biggest song in the world and it won a Grammy, it doesn’t matter nothing (sic). No body cares about anything, so it’s really important to have a vision about where you are heading.
“[My music] is really long term and it proves itself when we play songs from 1990 that fit seamlessly with what I’m doing now. And the same isn’t true for U2, they play something off their first record and it doesn’t fit seamlessly or stylistically, they’ve changed for popularity.”
When asked if there was a final end goal to Anton’s plan, he excitedly responded, “I’m hoping that I find more people to make films with because it is such a great way of telling a story even just as a silent movie.
“People forget that for the first 30 years of films there was no talking, music was the thing that led you through it,” he says. “I mean 30 years! That’s a long time! I feel people forget that you can do some incredible things with film and music if you’re not chained to the business.”
The Brian Jonestown Massacre are scheduled to release two albums later this year.
When & Where: Theatre Royal, Castlemaine – June 13 & The Forum, Melbourne – June 14.
Written by Alex Callan