Roberto Reyes: What’s the overall theme you wanted to express through the new record, “Not Your Kind Of People”?
Shirley Manson: What I’ve been saying lately is that it feels like resurrection to me on lots of different levels – on a personal level and, in some ways, as a band. On a personal level, my mom died between the last record and this new one. When my mom died, something in me died. So to me, resurrection is the theme.
How did the idea for Stunvolume come about?
In my band, we have sort of our own language in a way, like twins have. It’s a secret language where we have codes for things so that we can communicate when there are other people around and we don’t necessarily want them to understand. For example, if Steve [Marker] said to me, “RPC,” that would mean, “Watch out, you’ve either got something in between your teeth, or you’ve got really bad dandruff.”
A phrase we use all the time is: “Let’s listen to that back at Stunvolume.” That’s the thing that we regularly say when we pick out an idea that we really love. So when we chose the idea for the record label, Steve said, “How about Stunvolume?” and we were all like, “That’s it. Perfect.”
Garbage was one of the top bands at the turn of the century. What was it like to be in a rock band when hip-hop replaced rock and roll as the go-to genre for mainstream youth?
I suppose sort of like Maria Callas felt when Elvis Presley came out. It’s kind of bewildering, you know. But if I’m going to be perfectly honest, I knew that something had occurred; a shift occurred when The Strokes and The White Stripes arrived onto the scene. I literally heard that first Strokes record, and in my head I thought, “We’re fucked. We’re so fucked.” We had been touring for a decade, and when you tour, you basically have no idea what’s going on in the culture.
You lose all perspective for the most part because you’re completely in this air-tight bubble that’s all about going out and performing live then getting on the bus to travel to another city. You lose connection with the street completely. And we had, more or less. I mean, we all had computers and used the Internet and everything – it’s not like we were Luddites – but we didn’t fully grasp how fast things had changed, and as a result we got left behind. We weren’t MySpacing or Tweeting. We barely had a website that functioned in a graceful, easy way. We had stuff going, but our grasp of it was very slim. We got hit by a tidal wave.
Is there a song from recent years where you thought, “Damn, I wish I wrote that” or “That would have made a great Garbage song”?
There’s so many, but Garbage is the best at writing Garbage songs. We thought when we took some time off that there’d be a billion bands like Garbage, but there wasn’t one. We were really surprised by that.
We have a really unique sound, so I guess we feel like there’s no other band that sounds like us right now, which is really a precious commodity.