Archive: «We do crosswords together»

Interview with Archive
Pressebild / © Brian Cannon

On November 29th the British Trip-Hop Band Archive played at the sold-out X-TRA in Zurich. Band founder and keyboarder Danny Griffiths took time for an interview.


You are on Tour with your Best-Of «25». How long have you been on the road?


We are coming to the end of the tour. We have done two and a half month so far. After the show in Zurich we’ve got seven shows left. We head to Austria tomorrow, after that to Italy, to Spain and back home. It has been brilliant and very eventfull.


When you are on tour, do you get to notice what is going on outside of the Tourbus or do you shut off in order to fully concentrate on the music?


It’s sixteen of us on the bus so it is a lot of people to be with. Thankfully we work together since a long time and we get along very well. Personally I don’t really leave the backstage aera. I spend a lot of time working or reading books. It’s a kind of bubble you get into after a while. I like it like this cause if I think to much of home it can be distracting.


You guys have some kind of ritual you do before a Gig?

We don’t have much of a ritual but we have a strange thing happening on this tour. We get together, not all of us, but most of us, and we all do crosswords together. It is waking the mind up a bit and it’s fun as long as the internet works. We meet half an hour before the show and everyone who wants gets involved.



The Best-Of «25» leads the listeners through your musical career and offers new tracks as well. I picked out my favourite songs - which was difficult, because I actually like all of them - and I got more involved with the lyrics. Out of this some questions arose I would like to ask you. First of all: How do you create your songs? Could you describe the process?


When Darius and me write, we do things seperatly, then get together and talk about stuff, for example, talk about a piece of music he has written. That gives me an idea of what he is imagining. Me and Darius we come from the same background. We are both producers. It just happened that I’ve started to write lyrics as well and today it is one of my favourite things to do. Dave and Pollard, both writers as well and Holly writes a lot too, but she is in Australia right now – sometimes it is all of us sitting in angles and writing, sometimes it is just one of us. Dave and me have hardly written together, whereas Pollard and me write together all the time. The writing process is very open. You never know where it comes from and where it takes you to.


Do you feel free as an artist to express what you want with your music?


In general, as writers and musicians, we do have a lot of freedom. We don’t hold back, we don’t listen to record companies, we do write how we feel. So yes, there is a certain amount of freedom. Sometimes you just don’t want to get to personal either. That’s why I like to write stories.


Are there any political topics that touch you particularly?


I am not massivley political and I don’t consider us as a political band either. I like to understand politics but I don’t really trust anyone who is involved in it. Fuck you for example works perfectly now as it worked when I wrote it. And it works not only in political fields. I consider Archive as more observational. The album «Controlling Crowds» for example is very observational too.


You produced the soundtrack to the movie Michel Vaillant. Did you enjoy this experience and would you do film music again?


That was an amazing time for us. We were quite blown away when we were approached cause we never thought doing anything with film. Originally they wanted to use some of our old songs but we decided to write a totally new score for it. It was really fascinating like looking into a new world. It was hard for us having other poeple telling us what to do in the studio. You write a bit of music for two minutes of film and the director points out, that is to sad, that is to noisy or whatever. So a lot of people were giving their inputs. We were not used to this kind of work. We got to stay in Luc Bessons Village in Northern France for a month and worked with orchestras the first time. Maybe producing music for series would be interesting as well… So Yes! It was a great experience and we would definitly do it again. It was great fun.



A song line from «The Hell Scared Out of Me» reads as follows – I know there is only so much I can take. Were there things happening in your life you thought you could not handle?


Yes, a few. There are certain things I’ve handled and I do wonder how – like when my mum died. I was only twentyfour years old, just before we started Archive. I was DJing one year in Australia and got home to late. She had died two days before. I remember taking lots of drugs and drinking to much. That was the way to escape the pain. It was the way I was dealing with it and it worked for then. A bit more clear headed you wonder what the hell happened then and you start writing.That’s the beauty about writing – you get all this shit out. I do not even drink anymore because I really want to focus, especially on tour. Not drinking anymore was a challenge too and sometimes I did not know if I could do it. So, the death of my mum hit me really hard.


Do you have family and kids?


No, but I have a cat. I love my cat. I asked my tourmanager yesterday to tattoo the name of my cat on my arm – it is called PINKY. My girlfriend wasn’t very happy to hear this though … but I could have worse things tattooed than my cats name, don’t you think..? Most people of the band have families. I am about the only one who hasn’ got kids.


Soon the Advent season begins – do you celebrate Christmas?


I am not a very christmassy Person, I hate the consumers and all stuff like that, BUT I look forward to Christmas anyway cause there is a group of friends, about ten of us, we all just get together, everybody brings some food. But we don’t do a very traditional thing, sometimes we have Chili con Carne, a Mexican Christmas or a Curry Christmas, but we will not have a big Christmas tree and lots of decoration, we just get together and have a good laugh … I will stay in Madrid for four more days after the tour ended, relax a bit and get back to reality. This is quite close to Christmas and the band members will probably not see each other anymore this year.


So, I hope you are looking forward to the show in Zurich tonight as I am?


Our truck with all the equipment got stuck at the border, this always happens when we come to Switzerland. So we usually would have soundchecked by now but this pushed everthing. So I feel a bit bad for the support band. But I hope that if the truck is here now that we get everything sorted out in time.


Thanks a lot for your time, and the interesting interview.


Archive - «Erase»



Yolanda Gil / Di, 03. Dez 2019