Anton Newcombe Interview: “I am 100% against disposable global culture”

anton newcombe

Newcombe will appear as leader of Pure Phase Ensemble 6 at SpaceFest! on 3 December. The festival runs from 2 – 3 December in Gdansk, Poland.

Anton Newcombe, long time song writer and front-man of psychedelic rock group The Brian Jonestown Massacre, has always been a bit of contrary fellow. His star turn in the music documentary Dig!, which chronicled the fortunes of his own band contrasted with that of friends The Dandy Warhols, helped to depict Newcombe as somewhere between an unreasonable dictator and inspired genius.

In reality, he’s not quite as ornery although hardly a shrinking violet either. Ahead of his appearance at this weekend’s SpaceFest! in Gdansk as leader of Pure Phase Ensemble 6, Newcombe took a little time to tell us what drew him to the project and why he despises global culture.

Overblown: You will lead Pure Phase Ensemble 6 with Emil Nikolaisen at SpaceFest! How did you get involved in the project?

Anton Newcombe: The simple answer is that I was asked via Twitter by an individual that I respect very much. However, the plans seemed to change the more we spoke about making this all happen.

O: What is the appeal of a project like this?

AN: Personally, I am interested in writing in other languages and interacting with artists. I am 100% against the dominant urban contemporary temporary bullshit disposable global culture. I’m happy you came from the housing estate and now you fuck hookers and release the videos online and make 100,000$ to DJ for Jose Cuervo tequila in Ibiza but seriously, I don’t give a fuck about you. I want to write a song of 3 in Polish while I am in Gdansk and hopefully it will mean something to some people in 30 years. There isn’t a single Polish DJ that will be remembered in 30 years. Fuck FM culture.

O: Have you listened to previous iterations of the ensemble in preparation for the project?

AN: No, I’m not interested in that – I platoon bringing Emil and taking this project higher. We want to raise the standard somehow, create a subculture for that moment and a legend that can be built upon… hopefully we can talk Ebbot Lundberg into being the director next year.

O: Have you worked with Emil before? How did you come to collaborate on this project?

AN: Well, I love Emil’s band and his music… and we just recorded a little for Third World Pyramid but we have plans to do great things.

O: You’ve said that you wish to speak to all the musicians involved to stress the importance of silence. Why is silence important?

AN: Well, because the ear naturally chases a sound as it decays… and once you hit the loaded volume where do you go? What I am talking about is control. I don’t want to walk off for one hour playing one note and go okay. I want it to be great. Even if I have to make everyone wait until the last 5 minutes to play.

O: In the last two years, The Brian Jonestown Massacre has released four albums. What sparked this period of creativity?

AN: I have always been extremely productive. I don’t share everything.

O: After such a burst of creativity and activity with The Brian Jonestown Massacre, does is it feel refreshing to focus your energies on a different project?

Yes indeed. I will be pleased if we write a few songs in Polish and I make some friends.

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