A Chat with "Born Upsetters" Primal Scream about new album "Chaosmosis"

In their eleventh studio album, Primal Scream "upset without regret", enlisting new talent HAIM and Sky Ferreira to lend their lovely vocal skills.
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In their eleventh studio album, Primal Scream "upset without regret", enlisting new talent HAIM and Sky Ferreira to lend their lovely vocal skills.

One would think after 36 years and eleven studio albums, this old rock and roll thing might lose some of its shimmer and shine. Thankfully, that's not the case for renowned psychedelic rockers Primal Scream.

Here is a Scottish band that has been there, done that, but staying current all the while. They were instrumental in bringing acid house to the main stream with their 1991 rave-rock album "Screamadelica" and I could go on for hours with their accomplishments, but the proof still is in the pudding of their new work. 

On their new album "Chaosmosis", Primal Scream keep pace with 21st century pop with an album that is chock full of what the main Primal Screamer himself, Bobby Gillespie, calls "depressive realism." It's music you can dance to, but music that is as deep as an aptly borrowed Nietzche lyric. Primal Scream certainly have their finger on the pulse of the strongest talents around enlisting the HAIM and Sky Ferreira as collaborators. 

To dive deep on the album, Bobby Gillespie and I had a chat about all things Primal Scream from "Chaosmosis" to Glastonbury to his past work with Kate Moss. So, scroll down and read on for our interview with Primal Scream.

"I was so much older then, I'm younger than that now. I feel younger than when we started the band." - Bobby Gillespie of Primal Scream

Chaosmosis, new album, new times. What is this album all about?

The record “Chaosmosis” deals with things like disconnection, an inability communicate. The record is depressive realism. The music is dark and it’s uncomfortable and high energy and just depressive realism.

What do you want people to get out of this album?

I want people to feel. I think this is very emotional record. I want people to feel something when they are listening to it. I just want people to feel some kind of emotion, whether or not that makes them dance. It's a kind of melancholy record as well. There's the whole softness in the record, but it's kind of uplifting at the same time just because I'm jolly. There are a lot of times on multiple tracks where you're dancing but you listen to the words and the words are a bit heartbreaking. There's some real lonely, sedative music on here too. I'm just hoping it makes people feel less alone.

What is Primal Scream all about in a sentence or two?

I can say the mission statement for Primal Scream is to upset without regret. Yeah, I reckon that we will always disappoint. In a live situation, we're like a high energy, psychedelic rock and roll band. But really, we like to upset things, we're born upsetters.

Is there a Primal Scream philosophy?

Our philosophy is high energy, psychedelic music that you can dance to. When we make records, we want to make them really interesting expressionistic music. When we play live, we want to be a high energy, psychedelic rock and roll band. And we tend to be schizophrenic. We're schizophrenic artists.

You feature Sky Ferreira and Haim on the album. How did those collaborations come about?

We worked with Haim at Glastonbury 2013. We came together and sang for the last four or five songs of our set. We played directly before the Rolling Stones at the main stage, the Pyramid stage. We met on a TV show and became friends and then we asked them to come and sing at Glastonbury with us, they happened to be playing on the same day. Then we recorded some of the songs for the Chaosmosis album, there were two songs, “100% or Nothing” and “Trippin' On Your Love”. We felt, as producers, that me alone was not enough to make the chorus stick enough for these songs. We wanted some sunshine pop, California dreaming, Mamas and Papas. We thought who better to ask than the Haim sisters.

Now, I'm a big fan of Sky's. I became obsessed with her, “Everything is Embarrassing” song back in 2013. I just thought her voice has a real vulnerability, a real heart that could lend itself to our sound. That was 2013, fast-forward to 2014, when we're having lunch with our US touring booking agent. He asked if there was anyone we would like to work with and we mentioned Sky Ferreira. He said that Sky's manager had been at his office the week before. He made a phone call and it just happened to be that Sky was flying into UK that day and she was going to be in London. The very next day she came up to our studio and just started working with us.

Here's a throwback question. How was it working with Kate Moss?

She's a good friend of ours. We've known Kate since she was 16 or 17. She was great. When she came out, she sang and she sang great and I've got photographs of her and she knew what to do. It was amazing. She was a dream, she's a beautiful girl. She's a real rock and roll feast.