10 Minutes With... Andy Cairns

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Therapy? may have celebrated the 20th anniversary of their Troublegum album in 2014, but for frontman Andy Cairns the year was all about looking to the future, with the Northern Irish band recording a new album (set for release in 2015) and securing a new record deal for what will be their twelfth full-length release. Fresh from a guest appearance onstage with Manic Street Preachers in London, Cairns looks back upon a busy 12 months for his band and looks ahead to what promises to be an interesting year…

So how has 2014 been for you, Andy?

“It was actually a pretty quiet year by our standards. Universal put out deluxe editions of the Troublegum and Infernal Love albums, but our real emphasis was all about recording new tracks, and we finished those in May. Then we just needed to sort out the new deal so that we can release it next year: the photographs are done, the artwork is done, and everything is all in place now. We only really did a handful of shows, starting with the Troublegum anniversary shows, which all sold out and were brilliant, and then just last month we got a Legends/Lifetime Achievement award from the Northern Irish music business so that was a nice way to round off the year.”

You also played a special Sonisphere set playing Infernal Love in full for the first time…

“Yeah, even when Infernal Love originally came out there were songs on the album that we never played on tour, so we did that as a one-off show and it was really great: considering that’s seen as a ‘difficult’ album for us, the tent was packed and it went down really well. It’s funny, because when that album came out accompanied by short hair, stick-on moustaches and cellos, the feedback was basically ‘Why don’t you just fuck off, you’ve ruined metal!’ We got some really horrific hate mail at the time, but oddly enough in recent years we’ve had tons of people coming up to us saying that that’s their favourite album. I think people just weren’t ready for frilly shirts in 1995!”

Do you think 2014 has been a good year for music generally?

“I think it has, I’ve discovered some great new bands and some older, established bands have recorded brilliant records. The Manic’s Futurology is one of the records of the year and I thought the Against Me! record Transgender Dysphoria Blues was fantastic. I loved the Godflesh record and there’s an electronic record called Angels & Devils by a guy called The Bug which is amazing. I discovered a dark, death-punk band from Portland called Arctic Flowers who released out a great record called Weaver, and another band called Good Throb, whose record is called Fuck Off, which sounds like the Minutemen meets early Wire.”

Do you have a favourite movie of 2014?

“It’s probably a toss-up between Under The Skin and Boyhood, with Under The Skin maybe just edging it. It’s filmed in Scotland, and when it came out we were doing a Troublegum show in Glasgow, so I went to see it in a cinema just off Sauchiehall Street. It was weird to walk out of there and then walk down the same streets Scarlett Johansson had been walking down. The soundtrack to that film is just fantastic too.”

Do you have a favourite book of the year?

“Actually it’s by the same guy who wrote Under The Skin, a guy called Michael Faber, and it’s a brilliant book called The Book Of Strange New Things. It’s about a missionary who goes to another planet and he ends up questioning what love is, and what faith is. There’s another book called Wittgenstein Jr by Lars Iyer, which is all set around Cambridge University which I’d recommend too.”

So what’s on Andy Cairns’ Christmas list this year?

“Actually I don’t want anything. My wife and I made a pact this year that we wouldn’t buy one another presents, because really we have everything that we want. So as an experiment, we’re not buying each other anything this year…we’ll see how that works out.”

And how do you see 2015 panning out for Therapy?

“Well, the album is coming out in February/early March, and there’ll be a UK and European tour around that, and then we’ll try to do whatever summer festivals we can. After that there’s talk of an Infernal Love 20th anniversary tour in September/October. Michael [McKeegan, Therapy? bassist] and I have also recorded a 17-track ambient project called East Antrim, which we’d like to get released, and also Neil [Cooper, drummer) and I are going to go into the studio to record a percussion and vocals album, called Widow Twanky, which hopefully will see the light of day too. You can never predict how a new year will turn out, but I’m definitely heading into 2015 with a really positive attitude.”