Interview The Pineapple Thief (Bruce Soord)

"I'm doubling my efforts to be positive about the world"

(November 2020, text by Pedro Bekkers, edited by Peter Willemsen)

The British progressive rock band The Pineapple Thief (TPT) was founded in 1999 by guitarist and singer Bruce Soord. In the same year they released their debut album Abducting The Unicorn on the Cyclops Records label. After the release of the critically acclaimed third album Variations On A Dream (2002), Soord decided to form a band to take his music to the fans. This year the band recorded their fourteenth studio album called Versions Of The Truth. Besides Bruce Soord the current line-up of the band consists of keyboardist Steve Kitsch, bassist and long-time member Jon Sykes and drummer Gavin Harrison (ex-Porcupine Tree). Background Magazine had a short interview with the band leader about the new album and the current situation for musicians during the corona pandemic.

First of all, I hope you are all right and safe during these difficult times.
Bruce Soord: “Yeah, all band members of TPT are relatively lucky since we all have our studios at home,
Bruce Soord
so we can keep ourselves busy. Playing live can't come soon enough, that's for sure!”

I would like to congratulate you with the release of Versions Of The Truth. Could you tell us a bit more about the songs on the album?
“Of course. We started the album during the calamity of Brexit and ended with the calamity of Covid-19. Throughout that time, it seemed that truth was becoming more and more of a rare commodity at all levels of life. Personally, I was going through a conflict of my own. In my life there were seemingly multiple versions of the truth. So, all this fed up into what I was writing. We spent a lot of time on the arrangements and by doing so we created many multiple layers of interest, although they aren't apparent until after multiple listens.”

Did the Covid-19 pandemic and the lockdown have any effect on your inspiration for songs? People say that musicians have all the time right now, but on the other hand I can image your mind is in a different place which makes it hard to be creative.
“By the time the pandemic hit, the song writing was pretty much done. But I'm writing now and the truth is that my mind is indeed in a very different place. I'm still feeling creative but I'm being very careful not to let the situation feed into a hopeless theme in terms of song writing. I'm doubling my efforts to be positive about the world.”

Versions Of The Truth
Was the recording of Versions Of The Truth more difficult than before due to the restrictions?
“No, it didn't take any effect at all. We all record in our own studios and share parts online. We talk pretty much every day online about the songs and where we are taking them. And that was before lockdown forced us all to do it.”

When do you know during the writing process if the song becomes a TPT composition or a Bruce Soord solo album track?
“That's an interesting question. Bruce Soord has become what TPT used to be in my early days, where I would do everything on the record. In terms of composition, I have my head in a very different space when writing for TPT. I never take an idea too far, I always let Gavin Harrison and the rest of the guys have their input. TPT is a true collaboration and I'm really enjoying it. I still get to indulge the control freak in me with my solo work...”

I think about four years ago your collaboration with super drummer Gavin Harrison started. What kind of impact did that have regarding your song writing process?
“Even at the beginning, working with Gavin changed the songs. For about four years ago he was 'just a session drummer', he still seemed to have a natural connection with the music. Even then he suggested ideas and they all made perfect sense to me. It felt very natural. That relationship has grown stronger over the years. I'm very happy to work closely with Gavin while developing the songs.”

With over twenty years of existence, The Pineapple Thief can be considered to be a constant factor in the progressive rock scene. Where does the inspiration come from?
“Ha, I'm not entirely sure where the inspiration comes from! Old-fashioned grit, determination and stubbornness, I think. Making music is so ingrained into my daily existence that I can't ever imagine not doing it.”

The PineApple Thief in Strasbourg
How do you see The Pineapple Thief ten years from now?
“I'd like to think we'd all still be making and touring the best music we possibly can. And hopefully Gavin hasn't retired!”

All your concerts have been postponed to 2021 and even 2022. Without going into financial details, what kind of effect does this have for a touring band and for professional musicians who mostly depend on the sales during live shows?
“Yeah, Covid-19 is a big hit. The four of us are working on new studio material right now. It's not a new studio album in the traditional sense, but hopefully it will be released next year and will help bring in a bit of income. I'm also releasing my Soord Sessions, the live acoustic shows I did during the height of lockdown. The people who are really suffering are all the professionals in the live music business that literally have no form of income during the lockdown. Tour managers, lighting engineers, stage technicians and road crew. The list goes on. It's terrible.”

A number of years ago I witnessed a wonderful show, that didn't even last for an hour. It was one of the shows promoting the Wisdom Of Crowds album. Any plans for a successor?
“We are always talking about it. I'd like to think that we'll manage to get together and do it again before our time is up!”

Thanks, Bruce, for your time!
“Not at all. It was my pleasure.”

More info about The Pineapple Thief on the Internet:

       review album 'The Dawn Raids [2009]'
       review album 'Show A Little Love [2010]'
       review album 'Someone Here Is Missing [2010]'
       review album 'What We Have Sown [2012/2007]'
       review album '137 [2013/2001]'
       review album 'Magnolia [2014]'
       review album 'Your Wilderness [2016]'
       review album 'Dissolution [2018]'
       review album 'Versions Of The Truth [2020]'

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