Geoff Rickly Speaks On Teaming With Ex-Lostprophets Members In No Devotion


Vocalist Geoff Rickly of Thursday/United Nations and now No Devotion fame recently spoke with about the latter venture, which pairs him with various former members of Lostprophets. Some excerpts from the chat can be found below:

On how he came to work with them:

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“I was talking to Karen [Ruttner], their manager and I kept saying, “No. I’m not listening to their demo. I’m not interested in that line of fire.” And after a while, I did end up listening to their demo. I thought, “Holy shit, this is really good,” and I asked Karen who else they were thinking [about for a singer]. She said, “Nobody. You’re the guy.” I said, “I don’t know about that, but it is really good. Maybe I’ll fly out for a day,” and she’s like, “Yeah-yeah-yeah-yeah-yeah, that is how it’ll start. This is going to work.” February 2013 was when we made the first recordings.

What I really loved about it was that I’ve always loved British music; gloomy, morose Britpop has always been my thing. Getting to do that kind of music with Brits was like [imitates excited kid], “This is awe-suuuummm!” The early demos sounded a lot like the Stone Roses and then became more refined as we went on.

Half of the stuff we worked on was electronic and the other half was rock ’n’ roll: The more we refined it, it came off sounding a little more New Order, a little bit Jesus And Mary Chain. People in the U.K. know Lostprophets are really sewn into the fabric of that county’s rock scene—which I didn’t understand fully. I always thought of them like a radio-rock band here; I didn’t think they had any songwriting chops. When I flew out there and they started changing the tuning of their songs to accommodate my range, I was like, “Oh, really?”

And they were like, “Yeah, like you did with Thursday.” And I said, “Nah, I never did that with Thursday,” and they were like, “Oh?” We looked for my true range, writing around my voice. They wrote 30, 40 songs and let me weed out what I liked and what I didn’t. We could’ve been a grunge band, from the stuff that they were writing, but that’s an American thing, and there are plenty of bands doing that right now. I just steered them into a direction that’s really fun for me.”

On the meaning behind their name:

“There are a couple things. One is that we don’t have any devotion to our pasts. People will be like, “Oh, it’ll be like Thursday with Lostprophets.” Nope. For people who want that, there is nothing here. We’re not going to be tied to that. Then [the name] references the stylish nihilism of those early-’80s bands—New Order, Killing Joke, Joy Division—a nod to that era. We had a lot of conversations about stuff considered noir—Lana Del Rey, Portishead—I don’t have any connections to the ’50s, but I do have a postcard memory of the ’80s, so I figured [the music should reflect] some British rock, industrial-style darkness, and goth noir with some contemporary sounds. We aren’t trying to sound exactly like that, but just using those same tones, textures and references.”

On whether he faced backlash from friends and such on deciding to work with the Lostprophets members after their singer Ian Watkins was arrested and convicted of child sex crimes:

“Oh, totally. “They’re untouchable. What are you, nuts?” I had my own kneejerk reaction to the thing, at first. And that’s what caused me to think, “Well, why? I’m doing to these guys what everyone else is doing to them.”

When it came out that Ian [Watkins, former Lostprophets singer] was guilty, Stu [Richardson, bassist] said, “Man, you can quit now and we won’t be mad. You have a good reputation.” I said to him, “You guys did nothing wrong. If I have a good reputation and I don’t use it to help out good people, then what fucking good is that?” If I don’t risk it for people that I care about, then I’m just an asshole.”

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