The Membranes give Eileen Shapiro an exclusive interview

The Membranes

The Membranes:

I have no doubt that superior forces evoked the prolific and majestic musical imagination of The Membranes, with the prophetic writings of frontman John Robb and his electro- manifested abilities to transform vibrant darkness into a sparkling, effervescent light.....

Proclaimed one the world's most respected and knowledgeable music personalities, John Robb has interviewed every known punk artist imaginable and was the first to engage Nirvana. He continues to bestow his melodic insights whilst sonically enlighten the human race with The Membranes eclectic musical visions......

Please describe the essence of the Membranes, and with whom they plan their performance with.

The Membranes are not playing by the rules. Instead of settling into comfy middle age they reformed after 26 years to release their most acclaimed album - the double artwork epic ‘Dark matter/Dark energy which they recorded at the CERN project in Switzerland with their friends who were researching the Higgs Boson particle at the time. The band got to know the scientists after sharing the stage at TEDx conferences and a mutual appreciation of left field music and deep space saw an unlikely bond between the parties. The band’s album was an attempt to capture the mind-boggling idea of space and the way its intense weirdness makes your mind boggle spiritually and musically. CERN have used a couple of the tracks on the album in the famous tunnel where the particle was split and the band headlined a festival at CERN earlier this year.


What's new for the Membranes? Projects, releases, gigs?

Membranes new album should be out soon featuring a 20 piece choir made up of students from the local BIMM music college. Initially, the band had used a choir they discovered in Estonia and played a couple of sold-out shows in the Baltic state where choirs are a major part of the culture. Hooked onto the beautiful and dark melancholy of these choirs John Robb asked them to play with the band and combine their haunting voices with the bands epic and bass driven post-punk in a unique combination. The band also worked with a choir in Portugal at an award-winning gig and recruited a Manchester-based choir that will feature at the gig and have been a hit at several festivals the band has played in the past year.

The upcoming album from Membranes turns its attention to the beauty and violence of nature and was written whilst investigating the chemical dislocation of fungi in the fields and deep dark forests of the north of England. The mystic silence and majesty of the forest and the natures war of attrition fascinated the band who threaded these themes into the new album that sings about the erotic natural scent of attraction, the deep dark mystery of the ocean, the twisted glint in the eye of a murder of crows, the magical and mystical properties of flowers, the hypnotic dance of Pan through the city streets and into the nocturnal shrubbery, the mystic heart of England, the sex and death dance that is the core of nature and our lives and the flickering heart of green darkness at the soul of post-industrial England - all combined with bass-driven, post-punk grooves, neoclassical melancholy, epic spine-tingling choirs, dark dub, left field twists and oddly danceable wonk plus a spoken word piece from Spring Watch’s Chris Packham.

Will the Membranes be touring anytime soon?

There will be touring in the autumn as well as someone of big gigs with the choir and our film.

From whom do you and the Membranes derive their musical influences?

Everything and everywhere - punk was the spark but it just opened the door to so much music from Indian classical to drone rock to post-punk, dark stuff, dub - it's endless and we try to plough our own holy route through it all...

Anything new for the accomplished author or television personality John Robb?

I have a new book out in the autumn about the darker side of post-punk - we called it alternative music at the time but it has been retrospectively called Goth – it’s a huge book Ona. Wide-ranging subject! new book ‘The Art Of Darkness’ a 400 00 word ultimate detailing of the darker side of post-punk music - the so-called goth scene that was ultimately the most influential music of the period on a worldwide scale and myriad of wild and fascinating stories and detailed histories of key bands who changed music  detailed in book that is already being called the England’s Dreaming of darkwave and goth culture.

Do you believe that music can influence the world, and if so which of the Membranes songs might accomplish that?

In good and bad ways of course - these days Donald Trump is as rock n roll as any band and not in a good way so I’m a bit confused by music’s power to be a force of good but in my life it’s been a massive and empowering rush of goodness...ultimately it’s a force of good - like a high decibel batman taking on the evil villains that run and ruin the planet.


Twitter @johnrobb77


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