Shadowed reflections and bright legacies: embracing the heart of 1919 with Vocalist Rio Goldhammer

Photo by Carl Arnfield

Bloodline is an album which is destined to not only leave a striking creative fingerprint on the year but the decade as a whole for not only post punk/gothic rock, but simply rock ‘n’ roll. The new outing from 1919, a band inspiring generations of artists from their emergence in the late eighties, Bloodline is not only one deeply rousing slice of musical adventure and imagination but also a major last triumph from founding member and guitarist Mark Tighe who sadly passed away virtually days before its release. It is a stunning part of the legacy the musician left global music. With deep thanks to vocalist Rio Goldhammer and also drummer Mick Reed, we had the pleasure to talk about Mark and also delve into the future of 1919, the fabulous Bloodline and much more…

Hi Guys and thanks for taking time out to talk with us.

A pleasure.

Before we talk about your album, could you please just say some words about band founder and guitarist Mark Tighe who so sadly passed away recently; about him as a musician and friend.

It’s hard to put into words really. His legacy will be one of sound… it already is. He was an artist and trying to explain his craft in a few words would do it an injustice – it took him a lifetime to do what he did. If you look through his old online posts (something it seems we all do quite regularly), his words are very few – usually to punctuate an image. He lived and breathed art. His eulogy reflected this well. It was mainly music…Exactly what he would have wanted.

As a friend… well, he would have been blown away by the tributes that came for him. From the music press, from fans, from bands we’ve worked with and many that we haven’t. He was a humble guy who always thought of others first. He’d bring chocolate to rehearsals, even when his illness meant he couldn’t eat it himself. He looked after the merch for the band right until his last day – always with a hand-written note. He wanted to do his bit and never took our supporters for granted. I could go on for days about him. Anyone who met him, even for a moment, knows he is a huge loss to the world, and we’ve lived on top of each other for 2 years. It’s still hard to accept not seeing or talking to him

His untimely passing must make the release of your new album Bloodline, the saddest joy possible?

Of course. You know, the label called up after the CDs arrived saying “the album is too good not to be on vinyl”. I wish Mark had heard that. He was desperate to get a vinyl release. Sadness and joy are, yes, perhaps in equal measure. But the prevailing emotion is doggedness. We know what we have to do now, and we know who we have to do it for.

Do you know what the future of 1919 might be without Mark, or is that a question you have yet to ponder?

We’ve had to ponder it for a while but we’re determined to finish what we started. Mark insisted we find someone… he’d wanted to teach them the guitar parts himself but he deteriorated so quickly. He insisted “no one was irreplaceable”, but at the time we were more concerned with being there for him as friends. And indeed, we now have someone in the unenviable position of trying to learn the guitar parts without Mark’s tutelage! We’re determined to honour him, and we will. Humans are mortal. 1919 is not.

We do have someone on board though [Sam Evans]… Someone who met Mark a couple of times. We didn’t want a hired gun because the band is a family. It will be a new chapter for us of course, but we had a good idea of our future direction from our final months with Mark. There are a couple of finished tracks and a handful of demos from the last 6 months so we have a good base to work from. But I don’t think its right to say we’re “without Mark”. He will always be with us, and as long as 1919 is alive, so is he.

It is fair to say that for gothic/post punk fans who knew you first time around, 1919 was one of the most important and inspirational propositions in the eighties. Is that a feeling you found in people if not then when 1919 re-emerged a couple of years or so ago?

Absolutely… 1919 never performed outside of the UK the first time around, but we’ve found a lot of love from across the world. Particularly in France and Germany (and of course our favourite place, B52 in Eernegem) we’ve had some amazing audiences, and they tend to be a lot younger than our audiences at home. The band obviously means a lot to people and we take that very seriously.

Obviously the time between has seen original members grow as artists and people, can you describe how creatively 1919 evolved from those early heady days seeing chart breaking singles and an acclaimed debut album?

Mick Reed: Well, as you say we’re a lot more refined now in terms of musicianship. But you know, in a lot of ways nothing’s changed at all. The writing process is similar; as is the way we rehearse and record. There are no egos in this band and it’s just so easy to get on with it. This incarnation of the band has actually been the most stable line-up in our history. I honestly can’t see anything other than mortality come between us.

How did the link-up with Mark and Mick, of course the band’s original drummer, with you Rio and bassist Karl Donner come about; how did you all meet?

We hit the ground running really. Mark and I had been doing Circle of the Absurd and put the Revenge demo out as 1919. Mick and Karl had been doing some work together on some lost Ship of Fools material… Once Mark and Mick were in touch again we just brought the two pieces together.

Mark’s poetically haunting melodies and grooves showed they had lost none of their invention and evocative touch within the new album but there is a bold new freshness to the whole 1919 sound, more than maybe would be expected with simply maturity and experience involved. How would you assess its new character and body?

It feels fresh. We’re simultaneously an old band and a new one… but aside from that I think you’ve said it yourself. Mark spent a lifetime perfecting a sound that was completely his, and Mick’s drums – the tribal power – has always been a signature of the band. We’re not going through the motions though, we mean every note we play and every word we sing. We’re a tight unit and the music means everything to us. Anything else is up to you to discern.

Can you tell us about the recording of Bloodline? Was it an easily flowing process?

100%. When we recorded The Madness Continues…session in 2015, we did all 14 tracks in a day. For Bloodline we took a little more time, of course, but the core of each song was still recorded live in our rehearsal room. We’re just comfortable there. Live music, a little overdubbing, and then vocals. Then of course we have an excellent producer in James Reid, who does the mixing. Mick sits with him for the most part and he’s got an excellent ear for texture, but it definitely flows.

The rhythmic adventure of the songs with Bloodline is for us addictively invasive, bound in almost tribal persuasion as you just mentioned, and more than matched by the web of sound round them. Mick and Karl have an instinctive understanding it seems, creating a tempting core for the goodness. How did the songwriting work for the album; those dramatic rhythms first, suggestive melodies, or variety of things breeding what it offers?

We jam! A lot of bands don’t… sometimes someone brings an idea into the room and we play with it… I try to scribble some lyrics out on the spot when possible. But there’s no definitive method. We just make noise and the best bits start to structure themselves.

Can you give us some background to the themes within Bloodline?

The label called it “the soundtrack to the end of the world” in their press release. I like that.  There’s a lot in there really… Life, death, environment and architecture, violence, peace, power, philosophy, representation… a touch of nostalgia. There’s a political element, sometimes abstract and sometimes more direct. But I won’t feed you the minutiae. I prefer to leave room for interpretation.

You have also released a great video for the album’s title track. It was created and filmed by Carl Arnfield of Chalkman Video, the producer of a string of striking videos and films. What brought you guys and him together?

He’d done a video for The Kingcrows which I liked – they’re friends of mine and put me in touch with Carl. He’s done all of our videos now and there will be more collaborations with him without a doubt. We do butt heads occasionally, but only because he has such an artistic vision for his work. He’s in it for all the right reasons and a real asset to be able to call upon. He’s also a top bloke and worked his socks off to get the C.O.T.A video out in time for Mark to be able to see it. Can’t recommend the guy more highly.

It is hard to imagine your emotions as Bloodline sees itself being devoured by fans and lauded by so many,  your proudest moment musically?

Mick & Karl: Watching Joy Division was incredibly important in our lives.

Mick: John Peel too. When he announced he was going to bring 1919 in for a session I couldn’t believe it. To have done two of them will always be something I’m proud of.

Rio: The first time we played Paris (at Le Klub). The power blew in the middle of the set… it felt like the building was going to collapse during the rest of it. It was perfect.

Once again my biggest thanks. Anything you would like to add?

Just some words from our Captain:

 

I work life like it is worked

The moon shimmers red

Cherry red

The glow distilled into exploding fireflies

Roads are long

Fields pass

The blue twilight comforting

I am dazed and even confused

But I realise that I love this life

On the road

My band

High on life

Twitching to go

To play

The electricity overwhelms me

It is immeasurable

1919……….. Forever

A. Tighe

Image by Scott Ford

 http://www.1919official.co.uk/   https://www.facebook.com/1919official/   https://twitter.com/1919official

Read our review of Bloodline @ https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2017/03/06/1919-bloodline/

Pete RingMaster

The RingMaster Review 23/03/2017

1919 – Bloodline

This is a moment no one likes to contemplate let alone undertake, reviewing something from an artist and exceptional musician who has sadly just been untimely taken from music and the world. It also though gives fingers and thoughts a chance to pay homage especially when the subject of the piece is such a striking and rousing slice of creativity.

Bloodline is the new album from gothic/post punks 1919, a band formed at the tail of 1980 which proceeded to break the charts with a trio of singles, record one of the genre’s inspirational albums, and make appearances on the John Peel sessions twice before disbanding. Founding guitarist Mark Tighe

Mark Tighe RIP

began bringing the band back to life in 2014, its line-up sealed the following year with original drummer Mick Reed and bassist Karl Donner joining Tighe and vocalist Rio Goldhammer; the quartet subsequently releasing the ‘Madness Continues Sessions’ live album and in turn the self-released Death Note EP.

This past night of January 27th, Mark passed away; a deep loss for family, band, and fans but equally for music generally. His playing was distinctive, like a single individual colour in a vast palette of hues, able to create haunting melodies and moments as evocative and captivating as the incisive grooves and hooks from him which so freely and uniquely gripped body and imagination. The evidence is no more powerful and true than on Bloodline. He was also a wholly loved man to whom music was his life’s fuel and a true gentleman for all those who knew and met him.

Bloodline is a thrilling way to remember and enjoy Mark’s craft and potent presence; an album which grips physically and imaginatively from its first breath, increasingly winding appetite and lust around its creative fingers track by track. The foursome quite simply cements themselves as still one of the essential post punk incitements with it, almost as if they had never been away as a presence yet pushing themselves into new fresh realms of creative drama and aural adventure.

The album’s title track is first up, chugging riffs swiftly turning into wiry tendrils as percussion teases. Once the brooding bassline enters, things become eagerly catchy with the song blossoming into a PiL meets Leitmotiv like lure with Rio’s tones showing a certain Lydon-esque tinge to them. Feet and hips cannot avoid being involved as sultry melodies weave their temptation and a repetitious Killing Joke scented nagging growls in its belly.

Drama seeps from the electronic coaxing bringing next up This Vanity into view, its raw industrially kissed smoulder continuing to hug the senses as the bass unveils a gorgeous lure. Alongside, Mark’s guitar spins a spiral of melodic suggestion as Mick’s rhythms instinctively roll, a Gene Loves Jezebel like breeze soon floating over the provocative landscape to seep into every emotive crevice as vocals plaintively croon. Quickly absorbing the senses, the track makes way for the outstanding, rhythmically tenacious canter of Inquest. There is no escaping thinking of Jaz Coleman and co as Karl and Mick unite their flirtatiously anthemic designs but as throughout Bloodline, 1919 soon breed their own distinct character of sound and imagination. Magnetic harmonies and intoxicating melodies proceed to vine the ridiculously virulent encounter drawing the listener further into its creative theatre where just as riveting treats lay like its successor Retrograde. Like a puppeteer, it has the body bouncing while its spicy maze of melody is a sunspot of temptation contagiously matched by the snarling bass and hungrily leaping beats; Rio the ringmaster to its rousingly provocative and exhilarating waltz.

Even darker depths are drilled by the bass next in Legacy, its gnarly breath echoed in the caliginous air of the song though it too has a rampant catchiness which tempers and suits its shadowy presence. Imagine Bauhaus in league with Play Dead and the song can be visualised but still only a glimpse of its invasively compelling adventure, success matched by that of the wholly different presence of Zeitgeist. Again the first of the just mentioned pair of references is a prime clue to its tenebrific air and almost vampiric temptation, Rio carrying a Pete Murphy air to some of his persistently highly enjoyable, ever moving delivery. Mark’s imagination spins another labyrinth of melody and haunted sound too, evolving textures as radiant as they are emotively darksome to seduce and ensnare.

Through the galvanic punk rock of Disassociation and the intrigue soaked flirtation of Waiting For God ears are thrilled and the album’s variety stretched with the latter revolving its charms in ears and imagination like a temptress whilst wearing Theatre of Hate/ The Danse Society sourced inspiration as another alluring spice to its own spellbinding and tenacious revelry. Both tracks whip up body and spirit with sublime yet forceful ease, being quickly and as boldly matched in results by the slightly calmer and heavier fascination of Trespass. Maybe the most pop lined song on the album it just as openly shares raw shadows whilst boisterously serenading the listener, and as those before, it only sparks emotional and physical participation.

Bloodline closes with Life Is.., its tribal incitement of rhythms alone enough to incite allegiance, bewitchingly assisted by the fuzzy glow of melodies and variety coated vocals. Something akin to a fusion of Calling All Astronauts and Inca Babies but not, the wonderfully niggling song saunters and swings with increasing infection; an aural epidemic from which there is no escape as it brings one very fine release to a tremendous conclusion.

You cannot evade sadness listening to Bloodline but neither the joy sparked by its simply stunning presence.

Bloodline is out now through Westworld Recordings.

Video Dir. Carl Arnfield / ChalkmanVideo.com

https://www.facebook.com/1919official/

Pete RingMaster 06/03/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright