Interview: Echo & The Bunnymen

Alice Busvine

Echo & The Bunnymen have been making their distinct mark on the music scene for decades, as their sound has drifted from rock, to psychedelic to the eerie and raw. Look no further than iconic tracks such as The Killing Moon to see why the band has acquired such a dedicated cult following and continue to hold a special place not only in the British music scene but also worldwide. Alice Busvine caught up with lead guitarist Will Sergeant to take a look back on the journey of The Bunnymen as well as the current plans for the group.

The band’s upcoming tour scheduled for 2022 promises a treat for the dedicated Bunnymen fans, but also provides the perfect time for new fans to get involved. I wondered what tracks Sergeant would personally recommend to new listeners that he felt encapsulated the sound of the band. “Wow, well… I reckon Over the Wall or Heaven up Here,” he carefully muses, identifying them as having the key ingredients to getting any new fan buzzed about a track; “They’ve got rock – a good melody, a good atmosphere and interesting lyrics”.

Yet with decades of creating great music behind him, Sergeant still holds a cluster of personal favourites. “There are loads of tracks I feel attached to, because of creating them and being involved in the creation process,” he explains, “But definitely the first four albums – it was sort of like an elastic band that had been stretched and released and a load of stuff was coming out. They’ll always be my favourite to play live. We know what fans would want – hearing the old ones. If you went and saw the Stones you wouldn’t just wanna hear their newest EP!” he laughs, and I felt I had to agree.

The memoir covers, as Sergeant explains it, his very first memories all the way up to “the very beginning of The Bunnymen”

But from their pool of achievement, I wanted to quiz Sergeant on what stood out to him as moments of particular pride. “Playing the Albert Hall and Radio Music Hall in America” come quickly to his mind, as Sergeant reminisces on the two infamous music venues. But looking back on his journey with The Bunnymen, Sergeant has recently been reminiscing on far more than the just the numerous venues the band has played in his recent memoir. “I started it before the lockdown but when lockdown came along and I could concentrate on it, that really did help me – so I’ve been reminiscing a lot really!” The memoir covers, as Sergeant explains it, his very first memories all the way up to “the very beginning of The Bunnymen when we had a drum machine and no drummer, documenting them first ten gigs when we were getting into music.”

I note my wonder to Sergeant on how amazing some of the Bunnymen’s gigs must have been to watch live, especially those such as the iconic Buxton Pavilion Gardens private concert recorded for their short film. “Well, that was a great gig,” Sergeant agrees, “but we kept having to stop because the gig got filmed and we only had so many cameras, so we kept having to stop as they moved the cameras around!” he laughs. “We also did one in the Uffizi Square in Florence around the same time that was really good. Barrowland in Glasgow is always a great gig – it’s a bit of a Rock City set up, its small and has a sprung floor for dancing so they all get going on that. It’s great.”

There aren’t any venues in Liverpool anymore

Both Barrowland and Rock City are venues listed for the upcoming Echo & The Bunnymen 2022 tour, and with such great atmospheres at both, the tour promises to be a great few months for the band and their fans. But I wondered what Sergeant’s absolute favourite venues were to play live. “Well, we’ve been playing the Philharmonic Hall and I don’t like it because it’s a seated venue – it’s a bit too nice. I like the scuzzy clubs and everyone standing up going nuts – not sitting down and polite applause”. Beyond the ‘”scuzzy clubs” then, I wondered if The Bunnymen had any particular affinity for playing at their home in Liverpool. “There aren’t any venues in Liverpool anymore. The best one was the Royal Court but that’s closed down,” Sergeant notes, a reminder not only of the venues The Bunnymen have outlived and which now exist only in memory but also of the venues lost to us this lockdown.

Nevertheless, Echo & The Bunnymen are going strong and their music continues to ripple through the music scene. The band will go on with their postponed tour beginning in February of next year, including a date at Rock City on 17th February.

Alice Busvine

Featured image courtesy of Ian Cheek Press. Permission to use granted to Impact. No changes made to this image.

In-article images courtesy of @officialbunnymen via instagram.com. No changes made to these images.

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