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Old 03-05-2005, 07:07 PM   #1
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Interesting Article with U2 (Part 2)

I just posted the first part of this interview with U2 from the late 90's in PLEBA, but so that more Interferencers will have the chance to read it, I'm posting the second half here.


The Muse Interview (Part 2)

January 01, 1999

What sounds are turning your heads at the moment, chaps?

The Edge: "I like techno, I'm not big into drum & bass, I like hip-hop. I like the fact that the Fugees clan is coming out with some unbelievable stuff."

Bono: "Lauryn Hill is just amazing. That album, man, is just one of the defining records of the last few years. Really, she's head and shoulders above the pack. Autchere, I dig them. Squarepusher, those beats are mad. I'll also go for Dave Angel and for Surgeon. Edge, it's strange to hear you say that about techno because it is so white and your music tastes are usually so black. I'm just curious to hear you come out with that one."

The Edge: "Well, it's just the sound as a whole, I think techno is the sound of Europe. I was always interested in industrial music and, in a sense, this is where it's gone to. I'm a minimalist at heart so I love the stripped-down sense of it all."

Sounds to me like you can do without lyrics, Edge. How do you feel about that one, Bono?

"You can live with or without hectoring, depending on the point of view that is been expressed (smiles). I remember being out in Dun Laoghaire in a club full of people off their faces and I remember being asked if I was a lyricist (laughs). I said 'I don't know.' And the guy said 'well (thick Dublin accent) we don't want any of them and we don't want you telling us what to do because we know too much already. Lyrics aren't worth a f**k, we just want the groove. Do you get that man?' And I said 'I get that, man'. And that's fine. With U2, I always try to put into words the feelings I have at any one time. But often, it's just vowel sounds filling my mouth which build into words or I might find a title or an idea to hold the music around. I don't have to have the testimony or the story when I listen to dance music."

What turns Bono on about dance music in general and hip-hop in particular is the community vibe. "Hip-hop artists are just geniuses at self-promotion. It's so different to the indie mindset which castrated the U.K. scene for so long. Black music wants to communicate, it wants to shout, it wants to be loud and be large. Sometimes, this can be crass when you had the whole gold chains and bragging about the size of their dicks. But, by and large, they have a sense of their own value and they try to communicate this in their music. They're advertising themselves and their work. And their mates. They have a network and they want to big up everyone in that network. So you have Snoop Dogg or whoever and he's bringing in the next Snoop Dogg into the system and into the chain."

There are lessons here for Ireland, Bono feels. "Over here, it's kind of the opposite. In Dublin, we can't go that route, we've got to co-operate. We've been tagged as white niggers, lets wear it well, let's be black in that sense. We've got to start to break each other as well as ourselves. It has to be a community in all senses of the word. It's against our nature but it might just happen and that's where dance music comes in. Club culture is much more democratic than rock & roll ever was. Like Donal Scannell has his Quadraphonic drum & bass label and he's been onto Reggie saying whatever help you need, he'll give it. And Nick at Pussyfoot has said he'll do whatever he can."

It seems that U2 have a good grasp on the politics of dancing. What do you reckon dance music did for U2? "It made us jealous," Edge says quietly. "It's wonderful to be in a rock & roll band but it is limiting in so many ways. There are so many more possibilities with dance music as a form. That and the rhythm. It's also hard for a rock & roll band to match just the sheer excitement of being in a club and hearing really good dance music."

Bono, naturally, disagrees and disagrees passionately. "But what we do is not off the shelf, that's something that dance music will never have. That's one of the things we realised when we were making Pop. We could be like archeologists digging for some really rare sticky groove but why should we do that when we have Larry Mullen? Larry can do beats like no one else. And we have a bass player called Adam Clayton who is the only bass player you would miss if he wasn't there. What I learnt from dance music is the value of what we do. At first, yeah, there was jealousy but then we realised what we had ourselves. At the end of the day, what we're about is a much different thing than club culture. Sure, we're going to work with beats and we're going to work with beatmasters like Howie B. and sure we have a club with a beautiful sewer running through in the bottom of this posh hotel, but you're not going to walk in there and hear a lyric (laughs)! That's not going to happen!

"Up to recently, I thought one of the most exciting things was when rock & roll hit club culture. Right at that point, that was where it was going to be for the future. Now, I'm not so sure. Now, I'm actually enjoying the difference. Speeding up and slowing down is quite cool. We're digging the friction."

It's time to resume dancing and trancing and chancing our arms again. Bono wants to go dancing in Tokyo. "In Tokyo, I learned about one really important innovation -- girl's music. Girls always play the best party music, always. They know what to put on, they're intuitive. They know what's going on in the room, they know where people need to go and they have no rules about particular tracks or styles. They play what works and they play what inspires. There was this club in Tokyo and the people were just joyful because the music was so up, so melodic, so right. You were just lifted by these beautiful melodies, these amazing soulful strings, soulful singing, hard-on grooves -- it was a sexual experience. All this mixing and matching, it was post-modernism running amok. That was something else."

Edge prefers to remember a hot Puerto Rican day in New York. "It was Puerto Rican day in New York and I had never been in a club like it. Everybody was dressed in the most incredible exotic clothing. What was really cool was that people were dancing sexily to Puerto Rican beats. The whole place was just charged. I was thinking, could I ever imagine this in Dublin on St. Patrick's Day? In a Dublin club? The vibe was just something else."

"The other thing is," Bono interrupts, "with clubs in other countries like that one Edge is talking about is that you'll find three generations there. It's people hanging out, from the mamas to the kids. Funnily enough, I used to see that with the Pogues. What I loved about Shane McGowan was that he brought three generations together. You'd have some old geezer holding onto these young kids who were at their first gig in some GAA hall or other. That's our difference, that's what separates us from everyone else, that's our identity. We're not really north Europeans. The roots of our music are Celtic, Middle-Eastern, that's where it all comes from. We are not Europeans so we shouldn't try to be. Let's not be intimidated by it."

Edge smiles at this flow of thought. "I love Bono's theories about the idea that it came from North Africa. Bob Quinn had similar theories about where art and music came from to get to this country. It's a very compelling argument but it's still a mystery. Black music is a bit easier to trace because the journey is pretty well documented. Like it or not, we're playing black music. Rock & roll is black music and sometimes I feel we're not that good at it."

Maybe you should stick to dance music? The man they call the Edge and the man they call Bono look at each other and laugh. And why not? Two dudes in their late thirties running around talking loud about dance music and cool clubs in Tokyo and New York and eating big lumps of red meat and wearing big cowboy hats. A couple of hours later they will be spotted downstairs in their plush club with its sewer, dancing and prancing and trancing and chancing it again. It will not be an early night...

© Jim Carroll- Muse Online. Copyright Telecom Internet 1998-99. All rights reserved.


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Old 03-05-2005, 08:54 PM   #2
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Re: Interesting Article with U2 (Part 2)

Originally posted by Jamila
I just posted the first part of this interview with U2 from the late 90's in PLEBA, but so that more Interferencers will have the chance to read it, I'm posting the second half here.

Thanks for that!

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Old 03-06-2005, 07:19 AM   #3
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I'm surprised more "Pop" lovers haven't commented on this article.
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Old 03-06-2005, 07:25 AM   #4
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Cool article - Have never read this one before - I will check out Pt. 1
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Old 03-06-2005, 02:44 PM   #5
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Thanks! I really love to read article about what U2 did during the period I didn't follow them :))))
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Old 03-06-2005, 03:05 PM   #6
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we are all too busy with the why pop failed thread
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Old 03-06-2005, 03:22 PM   #7
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good post
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Old 03-07-2005, 05:33 PM   #8
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Old 03-07-2005, 07:17 PM   #9
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Jim Carroll of "Basketball Diaries" fame!

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