In part 2 of our 3 part feature, The Pineapple Thief frontman Bruce Soord spoke to Ghost Cult about the positive impact of change on their new album, Magnolia, which is out now on KScope.
The shorter, more to the point song durations on Magnolia do hint at the band feeling rejuvenated and refocused and a prime factor for the band’s returning sense of energy according to Soord (but not a direct influence on the song’s shorter structures) is the arrival of new drummer Dan Osbourne. “When he came in he gave us all a massive kick up the backside because we… I wouldn’t say we were resting on our laurels as we didn’t have a laurel to rest on, but I think we were going on a tough time, and some things happened that led to previous drummer (Keith Harrison) leaving. Dan came in and brought such an energy.”
The presence of brand new personnel can often reignite the spark within a band and Osbourne was certainly no different. “He listened to our entire back catalogue and reminded me of stuff that I used to do that I had forgotten about. There’s a lot more guitar on Magnolia and a lot of lush layers that I used to do that maybe I had let go of, especially on Someone Here is Missing (Kscope) which I guess was a lot more brash and raw, so we have sort of gone back to more lush arrangements. And I think he brought in a lot more quality control and attention to detail in terms of production. He’s been a really good shot in the arm.”
In fact, the addition of Osbourne to the fold is something that Soord describes as being of huge importance, despite his previous work in vastly different musical realms. “His background was pop session work. Obviously he has a knowledge of the music industry and he has a studio in his flat, so he knows what he is talking about. It was nice to get him from a completely fresh perspective, kind of like Phil Collins when he joined Genesis, its like this guy comes in and shakes it all up.”
Soord continues: “He started asking questions and pushing me further than I would normally push myself, which is a perfect attribute of a producer, getting better results out of me.”
With his pop history you might expect that Osbourne was influential in giving the album a more accessible direction, but Soord points out that the song writing began long before his arrival, in what turned out to be a drawn out and arduous process. “It does take a long time, you can’t force it. I have a guitar lying around and when inspiration is dished out then I just pick up the guitar and go. The thing is if you don’t get that magic, that spark immediately then its not going to come if you work at it, you just have to put it aside and leave it for the time being. I think it was about 18 months, the song writing. It was a real labour of love.”