Belfast Telegraph

65daysofstatic: 'We really wanted to be the biggest band in the world'

By Andrew Johnston

When Sheffield noiseniks 65daysofstatic released their debut single in December 2003, they had no idea they'd be around a year later, let alone 10. But the four-piece – who play Belfast's Limelight 2 on Sunday – are still going strong, and recently released their sixth album, the hard-edged but sophisticated Wild Light.

"The new record might not have the same visceral energy as the earlier stuff," reckons guitarist Paul Wolinski, "but I like to think we've worked out how to focus that intensity. I think we're a better band now.

"The first record we made was almost by accident. We wanted to be the biggest band in the world – like all bands do, I guess – but we didn't really expect to get anywhere. We made this strange, noisy, instrumental music. It was a surprise it took off in the way that it did."

And while they remain proud of their formative output, they're honest about who they are in 2014. "I don't disagree that there's a magic in most bands' first records – that beautiful naivety and energy – but I think the mistake bands make is trying to recreate that," he says. "I don't want to pretend to be some kid in his bedroom, making all these noises and trying to work out what's going on."

Still, Paul and his bandmates – guitarist Joe Shrewsbury, bassist Simon Wright and drummer Rob Jones – aren't above a little reflection. Towards the end of their current European tour, the quartet will embark on a series of special shows in London, Paris, Berlin, Brussels and Utrecht, at which they will play their debut album, 2004's The Fall of Math, in its entirety.

"We were very apprehensive about saying, 'Yes', to that," Paul admits. "This whole, 10-year, looking-back thing is quite a weird one to get our heads around, because we've been stubbornly marching forward for the past decade – and improving, I hope.

"We're quite wary when it comes to nostalgia, but it's very flattering that we somehow made a record that clearly affected a number of people 10 years ago."

65daysofstatic (the band are coy about where the unusual moniker comes from, though the accepted reckoning is they're named after a series of psychological experiments in the 1950s and '60s, in which it was found that exposure to 65 days of white noise would render the listener insane) have been variously branded math rock, post-rock, electronica, indie and punk. Their unique sound has made fans around the world, evidenced by a touring schedule that has taken them from European festival stages to the US arena circuit, opening for the Cure.

Yet there are plenty of places left that Paul would like to tick off his 'to-tour' list. "I'd love to get to South and Central America," he says. "I'd love to get to India ... Africa, I guess ... Getting into the Caucasus would be exciting ... I'll play anywhere!"

In the meantime, there are Irish gigs to attend to, a country the band don't visit as often as they'd like. "For a band of our size, bringing all our equipment and crew in a big van, the cost of the ferry is extortionate," Paul explains. "Ideally, we'd be coming to Ireland every time we toured England and Scotland, but it's quite prohibitive."

Indeed, the outfit's only previous date in Belfast was at the Mandela Hall, in 2010. Paul insists this has nothing to do with Northern Ireland not being as glamorous as some of the more far-flung destinations on their itinerary.

"We're not a very glamorous band!" he laughs. "I'm expecting cold, grey misery like everywhere else on this particular tour, but it's going to be nice to finally get back there!"

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