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Danny Griffiths (Archive): “We believe in ghosts”

New and formidable Archive album, which with the immense – in its length and its quality – “Call To Arms And Angels” is armed with divine music.

Twenty-eight years already since the Londoners of Archivegathered around the original duo Darius Keeler – Danny Griffithsexplore the territories of electronics, trip-hop, post-rock, avant-garde, progressive rock, and even psychedelia, often with happiness, and, in the case of “Call To Arms And Angels”of a joy in the spleen which owes a lot in particular to the various confinements.

Meeting with Danny Griffithsfounding member of a British group which, from the start of its career, was involuntarily forced into a musical Brexit…inverted.

Does music expand the space, the one we were stuck in during this pandemic…

It is certain that spending so much time on a musical project gives you the feeling of extra space; this experience of confinement turned out to be pleasant in the end, because it allowed us to somehow expand space and especially time, which contributed to more depth both musically and lyrically.

Archive – Shouting Within (Official Music Video)

The first title is called “Surronded By Ghosts”. Do you believe in ghosts?

I believed it. My mom was a medium. His many friends met at home for spiritualism seances: sometimes a little crazy moments arose, when some started talking in strange voices and blathering a little crazy stuff. My mother went from a religious past to this kind of conviction.

“The lockdown allowed us to kind of expand the space and especially the time, which contributed to more depth both musically and lyrically.”

Danny Griffiths

Founding Member of Archive

She put so much heart into it that I also believed in it. As I got older, I realized that she was above all a single mother in search of something, and that, perhaps, spiritualism had allowed her to structure herself. But I like this idea of ​​ghosts, like that of aliens: it makes existence more interesting. And then, well, knowing that one dies and that there is nothing left is not a very attractive thought… (he’s laughing)

©Paul Spencer

“Daytime Coma” sounds like contemporary or repetitive music: a bit like Michael Nyman or Wim Mertens?

It’s a kind of journey that takes us back to the beginning of house music, fearless bands like The Underworldto then drift towards a track almost à la Doors, period “This Is The End”…

Do you appreciate classical music, because “Freedom” reminds me of a nocturne…

The classical influence is rather the fact of Darius Keelerwho grew up in this universe; and it’s true that the choirs and the chorus have this great musical side. Darius taught me the classical part and I taught him the hip-hop culture. (he smiles)

“I like this idea of ​​ghosts, like the idea of ​​aliens: it makes existence more interesting.”

Danny Griffiths

Founding Member of Archive

Could this album be your piece of bravery?

In any case, it’s a big step forward for us to record an album of this length and this density: 90 minutes for 17 songs! Our producer thought we were crazy. But there was so much to say about today’s world that it was impossible to do it in just ten pieces.

Your music would be a kind of 21st century English spleen?

I like it (laughter)! And it’s true…actually…

Archive – We Are The Same (Official Music Video)

Although one of your first albums was called “Londonium”, you seem to have more success on the continent. Why?

I do not know. It’s probably a combination of things, because when ‘Londonium’ came out, we got very positive reviews in England like Portishead and Massive Attack did back then. We were in good company. And then we disbanded the band for a while: record companies aren’t known for their patience, and when the next one didn’t follow fast enough, they dropped us right away.

“90 minutes for 17 songs! Our producer thought we were crazy. But there was so much to say about today’s world.”

Danny Griffiths

Founding Member of Archive

And it was only later that we discovered that we had sold thirty thousand copies in France. When we signed with Independiente, the label focused on France and Europe. It was easier for them, because record companies are lazy. (he smiles) Our reputation has spread in continental Europe, to the point that when we signed with Warner, it was with Warner France… From now on, our records don’t even come out in England anymore: we do it ourselves, without management and without checking the label box.

We end up spending our time in Europe, having given up on Britain. We perform there in concert, however, often sold-out… but full of Continentals. In addition, we enjoy good press: British music critics describe us as ‘England’s best kept secret’.

©Paul Spencer

You wrote the soundtrack for the film Michel Vaillant by Luc Besson at the time…

It was interesting to do because we had never experienced this way of writing music: in general, Darius and I do exactly what we want in the studio. But writing music and being told by the director: – “No, it’s too sad, no, it’s too happy”, and having to rework small parts again represented a famous challenge. We worked in Normandy in Luc Besson’s “Moulinsart”. We worked there for a month, and it was also the first time that we produced with an orchestra.

“Our records don’t even come out in England anymore: we do it ourselves, without management and without checking the label box.”

Danny Griffiths

Founding Member of Archive

And that’s where we met Jérôme Devoise who still produces for us today. So it was an important moment in our career, But we haven’t been approached by directors since. Honestly, we didn’t know the comic and the movie didn’t turn out very good, but we still went to Paris for the premiere. All that was heard was the noise of the cars, and, because of the deafening sound effects, we wondered where our music was… In the end, we were like, “’Fuck it,’ we still made a good album!” (he’s laughing)

In 2004, the dating site Meetic used one of your songs as the credits…

Oh good? I didn’t know. Bah! If our music can bring people together, it’s quite nice! (laughter)

“Call To Arms And Angels”


Performed by Danny Griffiths, Darius Keeler, Dave Pen, Pollard Berrier, Maria Q, Holly Martin

Label: Pias

Release of the album on Friday, April 29, 2022

Note from L’Echo:

Archive – Super8: A Call To Arms & Angels [Documentary Trailer]

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