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...hang the dj

...hang the dj is a music blog. Old school, shoegaze, psych, and darkwave are featured genres.

Legal disclaimer: This blog is my personal, independent website. It is not affiliated with Bell Media, nor does it represents the thoughts, opinions, desires, etc of Bell Media

For music submissions, press releases, or questions/concerns:

hangthedjmag (at) gmail.com

Or hit me up on Twitter: @CristinaRocks

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2018/06/13


The The performed an exclusive live session at the Maida Vale studios in London for BBC Radio 6 Music. The The performed four songs -- "Global Eyes," "Flesh and Bones," "Soul Catcher," and "Infected" -- plus Matt Johnson talked about returning to the stage after a long absence, his father's recent death, how he went about creating the Comeback Special setlist, The The's new biography, and more. The interview portion hosted by Steve Lamacq is streaming here. The session including the full performance and interview is streaming here (begins at 2:11:00). Interview highlights from the session are posted below:

On the recent passing of his father Edward Charles Johnson:

"We were very very close. Me and my brother Gerard would speak to my father every day, literally every day and we'd see him as much as we could. So I arrived in Sweden in Stockholm to perform a concert, he had just celebrated his 86th birthday and his health wasn't great, but his death was still unexpected. And I got the phone call while I was waiting to collect baggage. Luckily I had my band and some of my crew members around and they stood around me and really helped me through it.

And we managed to support each other through it and then I had to get on stage within a few hours, which was very very difficult. Because you've just got to be professional put everything out of your mind and just get on with it, couldn't cancel the concert. It's been very very tough because it stirred up a lot of memories and he was going to be sitting in the box at the Royal Albert Hall watching me play for the first time in 16 years or 18 years. And that was hard you know. I was on stage looking up at the box where he was going to be watching me."

On playing London's Royal Albert Hall:

"I actually said on stage, it's the musician's equivalent to a tennis player playing Wimbledon really. And this was my 4th time playing there and probably my favorite despite these sad circumstances because the intensity and to see people dancing in every part of the wonderful venue, it made it very very special...Tim Pope came down to direct a film of it, so there will be a release of that at some point."

On creating The The's Comeback Special set list:

"The original idea was divided into three sections so there's political start, emotional in the middle, and metaphysical at the end like a three act play, and then there's obviously the encore. It gave the set more of a feeling of a three act play.

I wanted it to be career spanning setlist but I also had to bear in mind the lineup that I have, that I've chose for this choosing a member from each of my three world tours. And with this lineup I didn't want any sequences synthesizers samplers, click tracks, it's just 5 musicians playing. And that meant that there were certain songs that weren't suitable -- things like "Giant" and some of my most well known and favorite songs didn't suit this lineup.

The other consideration was that there were certain songs that were undroppable, like "Uncertain Smile" for instance. There were some songs that were just lyrically very pertinent like the political songs. And there's other songs that don't really resonate that I really felt important to do that still have great meaning. Like "This Is The Day," funnily enough although it's my best known song, I wrote it when I was 20 or 21 had more meaning for me now than it did then in some ways. "Heartland" is still very pertinent, I mean who would have thought? We've got a female prime minister and a reality tv show star in the White House and nothing's changed has it, really? So we were really pleased with the way it worked."

On returning to the stage after a long absence:

"The funny thing is, I'm more comfortable now that I've been away for 18 years 16 years, whatever at this stage, I'm more comfortable with being on stage than I was then. Because I'm lucky I'm one of the people who doesn't get stage fright so I don't have nerves when I walk on stage. I feel very very comfortable. And I'm more chatty now than I was because I'm obviously since I was last touring I'm a middle aged dad, I've been through so many messy life events and I'm very very relaxed and I like talking to the audience. And it was surprisingly easy."

The The's Comeback Special plays North America in September. Meanwhile the band's first authorized biography Long Shadows, High Hopes: The Life and Times of Matt Johnson & The The was released on June 9th. Read more about the biography here and obtain a digital copy here. Hardcover editions are not available in the U.S. yet, however you can obtain an import copy here.

The The - North American tour

Sep 14 -- Boston, MA @ Orpheum Theatre
Sep 16 -- Brooklyn, NY @ Brooklyn Steel
Sep 17 -- New York, NY @ Beacon Theatre
Sep 19 -- Toronto, ON @ Sony Centre For The Performing Arts
Sep 21 -- Royal Oak, MI @ Royal Oak Music Theatre
Sep 22 -- Chicago, IL @ Riviera Theatre
Sep 24 -- Los Angeles, CA @ Ford Theatre
Sep 25 -- Los Angeles, CA @ Hollywood Palladium
Sep 27 -- San Francisco, CA @ The Masonic

Published June 13th, 2018