By Joss Worthington
The last time The Acorn were in town it was just before the summer release of their latest record ‘No Ghost,’ the follow up to ‘Glory Hope Mountain’ in 2007.
I caught up with principal songwriter and lead vocalist Rolf Klausener before their gig at The Deaf Institute to find out how the tour was going.
The last time you played in Manchester was just before the release of ‘No Ghost.’ So I guess you were still getting to grips with playing the new material live. How long into a tour is it before the new material really starts to click? Or is it instant?
R.K. We rehearsed for quite a while after the record was finished, so I guess we felt fairly prepared for the tour, but it still always takes time to get used to playing the songs in front of an audience. You never quite know how they are going to react to the new songs.
You decided to take a different approach to writing ‘No Ghost,’ which was much less conceptual than ‘Glory Hope Mountain.’ You’ve said that the concepts and themes of the record didn’t become as apparent until the end of the sessions. Do you still find that you are discovering new meanings of the songs after playing them live?
R.K. Definitely. Quite a few of the songs on ‘No Ghost’ do have some strong conceptual motives such as ‘Misplaced’ but there are often times when I’m playing the songs off the new record and they present some kind of angle that I hadn’t thought out before.
Does the same apply for the songs from ‘Glory Hope Mountain?’ Do you find they also present new meanings the more you play them live?
R.K Well I guess I had very strong ideas on what the songs on ‘Glory Hope Mountain’ were about, so in terms of them presenting new meanings to me then I would have to say no. But when we play the ‘Glory Hope’ songs live I do often find myself finding new interpretations of certain melodies which keep the songs alive for me.
You took time out to record ‘No Ghost’ in a cottage in the wilderness. The modern day schedule of a band seems to be a never ending cycle of endless touring. How much pressure did you feel to get the record finished and get back out on the road.
R.K Well, we were completely isolated and away from all modern distractions and really it was just a joy to be able to experience that and spend some time with the rest of the guys in the band.
Obviously, touring is vital to the survival of most bands these days, but to be honest I didn’t give too much thought about getting back out on the road because it was nice just to take the break. However, I did have a lot of friends who were at SXSW text me a lot. They were going to parties and seeing shows and it was very tempting to want escape from the wilderness and be there too!
You’ve managed to have a successful career whilst still playing music that is understated and reflective. Do you ever feel like playing something that’s really poppy?
R.K That’s something I definitely think about a lot. I write all the time and all kinds of things and I definitely have quite a few demos that are just three chords, three minute songs. I have been experimenting quite a lot with dance music too. I listen to LCD Soundsystem and a whole load of electronic influenced music a lot and I’d definitely like to do a project like that soon but probably under a different name from The Acorn.
Do you have any thoughts on tonight’s gig? A lot of bands praise the Deaf Institute when they play here. Is the venue important to you or are you happy to play anywhere?
R.K We always feel at home in Manchester. There are certain cities you go to and you feel comfortable and this is definitely one of them. I think the Deaf Institute is a fantastic venue and similar to La Cigalle in Paris and The Luminaire in London, where the venue owners have taken a lot of time to create a unique environment for bands and fans alike. It has a positive impact on the experience for everyone and it definitely helps you perform better as a band.