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Author Topic: Kill To Get Crimson Official interview  (Read 4661 times)


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Kill To Get Crimson Official interview
« on: July 13, 2018, 09:50:02 AM »
Kill To Get Crimson press kit

Warner Bros., 2007

Mark Knopfler’s Kill To Get Crimson is the latest entry to a bespoke catalogue of albums in a distinguished recording career of 30 years. Like a vividly-drawn novel, the latest crafted collection contains roles for painters, penny balladeers, schoolboy waltzers and heroic losers.

They’re brought to life by the vast sum total of Knopfler’s musical wayfaring, from folk to rock ‘n’ roll, from the twang of his first guitar heroes to the acoustic British influences that play an increasingly prominent part in his work. It’s a unique synthesis in which the distinctive textures of one of Britain’s greatest guitarists sit alongside accordions, flutes and fiddles in an elegant concurrence of the wood and the wire.

Kill To Get Crimson is made with a hand-picked A-team of musicians including longtime collaborators Guy Fletcher and Chuck Ainlay. It’s his fifth solo, non-soundtrack release, following 2004’s Shangri-La, and arrives on the heels of Knopfler’s delightful collaboration with Emmylou Harris, All The Roadrunning. That international success became his first-ever entry to the US top 20 in his own name, as well as Emmylou’s, and led to select dates together in the early summer of 2006.

The new album takes its title from a lyric in one of its songs, “Let It All Go.” “The scenario is an artist who says ‘I’d kill to get crimson on this palette knife,’” says Mark. “It’s a look at what it is to take on painting as a life, what it actually means. I was also interested in looking at that from a period point of view, because it’s about somebody who was as current then as Damien Hirst is now, but at the end of the 1930s, wartime.

” Knopfler creates scenarios like a seasoned page-turner of a novelist, but you won’t often get a literal explanation of a lyric out of him. Like many great songwriters, he regards it as a mystical process that defies deconstruction. “Sometimes I take from real life and real characters, and sometimes I’ll just take from something I read, or see or hear. It could be bits, it could be fragments.

“I don’t like to get too specific talking about songs, because a lot of the time you’re reaching for something you’re not quite sure what it is. Or you’re conscious that while you’re trying to explain it, you’re unravelling it in some way. But there are strands that sometimes I can look at and realise what I’ve been doing. Sometimes it only starts to make sense to you afterwards.

” The artwork for Kill To Get Crimson evokes one of the periods in Knopfler’s own palette for the album. “For the cover, I’ve chosen a picture painted in 1958, it has a West Indian girl who wants to buy a red scooter,” he continues. “This is pre-mod, and the L-plate hasn’t changed to this day. I’ve got a red scooter, and it’s amazing, it looks pretty much exactly the same. That time was very interesting from the point of view of a musician, a kid at that time. A lot of the record is picking up strands from there.

“Sonically, what I was trying to do was tie up those strands, which are folk music, tied in with the electric guitar as it struck me at that time. In other words, what I’m doing is up my alley, that’s the best way I could describe it.”

This time, Knopfler had the luxury of making a full album in his own, purpose-built studio, British Grove in west London, which he co-owns. “ I used to do a lot of recording in a bedroom in a little mews house, whenever the builders were quiet or there wasn’t an aeroplane going over,” he says. “It was a frustrating place to work in, so eventually I decided to do it properly and get a proper studio. “But we built it along the lines of that bedroom, because we’d learned how to get some decent sounds in there. These are fantastic studios.

It’s difficult to leave at night, actually. One of the things about the record, and the way I like to work, is to use the best of the old technology with the best of the new. You have to avoid being like a kid in a sweet shop. I suppose I did it because I’d rather have this than a boat.”

While Knopfler takes great pleasure in revisiting the sounds of such early heroes as Hank Marvin and Duane Eddy, he agrees that the new album also contains a high proportion of traditional instrumentation. Featured players include accordionist Ian Lowthian, with whom Knopfler collaborated on the soundtrack to the 2002 movie A Shot At Glory, and fiddle player John McCusker, perhaps best known for his work with Kate Rusby.

“Certainly folk joints were the first places I started to play, just through not being to afford an amplifier,” smiles Mark. “That’s never really disappeared. My sister came home with the first Bob Dylan album when I was 11 or 12 years old and I’ve just always been into folk music. I think I’ve probably come through a few different circles, I enjoy a lot of English folk music now, and Scottish and Irish, more so than when I was a teenager and just into the twang and rock ‘n’ roll — which I still I am of course, lest we forget Jerry Lee Lewis.”

Knopfler may be a self-confessed studio boffin, but he’s just as much a fan of the road, and indeed of the writing pad. He constantly counts his blessings for it all. “I really like hanging around the house and writing songs. Even if it’s going badly, I like it. I never panic about it, I always think ‘Oh well, it’ll sort itself out eventually, even if it takes years.’ I enjoy recording very much. Then I enjoy touring and traveling, that doesn’t scare me at all. That’s not like everybody else.”

Knopfler is enthusiastic, as are the musicians on it, to take Kill To Get Crimson on the road. When they get there, he will fill the set with music from all periods of his career, including material from the days of Dire Straits. “People will always want you to play songs from the songbook. That’s part of what you’re doing playing live. You’ve got to please yourself but at the same time it’s a celebration, you’re all there to have a good time together. I enjoyed writing the songs, I enjoyed recording them so I’m going to enjoy playing them.

“I don’t play anything I don’t want to play, so if I get up there and play ‘Romeo & Juliet’ or ‘Brothers In Arms’ it’s because I want to. It’s important to me that it’s important to people, that you’ve created milestones in people’s lives.”

Warner Bros.

« Last Edit: July 13, 2018, 01:27:41 PM by jbaent »
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