Six Questions For ... Liars


Angus Andrew, right, and his bandmates. That horse plays a mean mellotron.

When Liars burst onto the scene in 2001 with a dynamic dance-punk sound it was easy to lump them in with similar New York-based bands like the Rapture, Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Interpol. Liars responded to this by making a follow-up that was as far removed as dance-punk as possible -- a murky concept album about witch trials in the remote mountains of Germany. The band's career has followed an unpredictable path since then with plenty of lineup changes and shifts in sound. The howling vocals and on-stage flailing of lanky lead singer Angus Andrew have remained the one constant. Liars just started a string of shows opening a for a little band you may have heard of called Radiohead, and Andrew talked about the first few shows on the tour, his recovery from a recent injury and dealing with bad reviews.

When you played at the 9:30 Club back in February you had very limited mobility because of a back injury. How's the back doing these days?
I'm learning that this kind of injury takes time and familiar relationship with a chiropractor. Neither of which I've been able to achieve since I was last in D.C. Still, in comparison to my previous state of near paralysis I'm now practically as limber as a ballerina.

Can you explain what goes through your mind when you are violently twitching up on stage?
If I get lost in the music I can become unconscious. That's a goal. Doing anything in this state is completely unthinking. I have nothing in my mind but the sound which seems to control my body.

You've had major stylistic jumps on each album so far. I'm sure this helps keep things more interesting for you as an artist but do you ever worry about alienating fans with this approach?
To be honest I never thought about this until journalists brought it up. We've always felt Liars fans were as capable and interested in exploring change as we are. I think it's somewhat of an underestimation of our audience to perceive them as susceptible to alienation from stylistic jumps.

"They Were Wrong, So We Drowned" got some famously horrible reviews from publications like Spin and Rolling Stone. Did you expect something like that to happen? Were you, in a weird way, almost courting it?
"They Were Wrong" was my favorite album to make, both before and after the reviews. We knew it would be controversial, I suppose, but never anticipated such a vehement reaction from Rolling Stone and Spin. In the end I was extremely happy with how those reviews generated such debate and discussion, which, ultimately I think is the point of making anything.

How has the first week with Radiohead been?
My word is euphoric. It covers everything from the band themselves to their crew to their show to the crowds - everything is just perfect, right down to how environmentally sound their whole production is.

How is the transition from playing clubs for audiences that have come specifically to see you to playing huge amphitheaters as a warmup act?
Obviously the circumstances are always different. But it feels really easy and nice to play for the Radiohead crowds. It kinda feels like we're all in it together, us and the audience, getting warmed up before the major event.

By David Malitz |  May 8, 2008; 6:11 PM ET Interviews
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