The The are releasing a new one-sided 7" single for Record Store Day in the U.K. titled "We Can't Stop What's Coming." The U.K. only release is limited to 2000 copies and will not be released online (at least in the short term). BBC Music 6 host Steve Lamacq interviewed Matt Johnson and debuted the single on his radio program today. The interview and song are available to stream here (interview starts ~ 1:13:45, the song starts ~ 1:21:29).
Items of interest from today's interview:
"We Can't Stop What's Coming" is the song taken from Johnson's Radio Cineola broadcast last May. The single is the live recording Johnson performed on the broadcast, although some elements/instruments were later added. It's an incredibly impressive recording. This was done live -- all in one take -- for the broadcast, with the added pressure of this being Johnson's first live performance in 15 years.
Some time after the Radio Cineola broadcast was over, Johnson got in touch with some former and current members of The The to add some instruments to the recording. One of the musicians on the track is the legendary Johnny Marr, who was a member of The The for a span of time after the Smiths broke up. [Johnson revealed that he was having dinner with Marr one night and played the song for him. Marr and Johnson's brother Andrew, who the song was written for, were fans of one another, so Johnson was glad to include Marr on the recording.]
"We Can't Stop What's Coming" was inspired by and written about Johnson's brother Andrew (Andy Dog, graphic artist for The The's sleeves) who died in January 2016. Johnson reveals he wrote the song while Andrew was dying -- he'd spend time by himself playing music...he'd sit and reflect and play, and he came up with a melody that helped get him through the difficult period. The melody eventually became a full song. Johnson says "the words are about Andrew, for Andrew, the whole thing is dedicated to Andrew." Additionally, the sleeve for the 7" was taken from a drawing found in Andrew's sketchbook.
This is the third time Johnson wrote a song for a close family member that's died -- "Love Is Stronger Than Death" off 1993's Dusk was written for his brother Eugene; "Phantom Walls" (off 2000's Naked Self) was written for his mother.
"We Can't Stop What's Coming" is featured in the new documentary The Inertia Variations, which recently premiered in Copenhagen and will debut later this summer in Edinburgh.
Johnson confirmed what he's said in previous interviews: he's working on several other projects associated with the film, including a book of collectible interviews, poetry, and other music (including a collection of The The covers - other bands covering The The songs). And though Johnson says "We Can't Stop What's Coming" will not be released online in the near future, he is planning to release it as part of his larger project, which he hopes to "come to fruition in the summer or autumn."
For more on Matt Johnson and The Inertia Variations, check out an excellent (long read) interview here.
Finally, in case you haven't seen it yet, Matt Johnson is one of the stars in the video for Marc Almond's new single "A Kind Of Love." Johnson rocks a mean mustache in the video!
Published April 18th, 2017