Ceremony's Andy Nelson: "It's been a profound joy to finally get to take these songs out"

Ceremony are a band whose music is constantly developing with every album and this development is something that is undeniable in their latest record The L-Shaped Man. The album has been described by the band in interviews as "very personal and a big leap" and this month they are coming to the UK to play the new material live. We spoke to guitarist Andy Nelson ahead of their show here...


Your brilliant new album The L-Shaped Man came out in May. How has your
evolved sound been received?

Ceremony fans have once again shown themselves to be among the smartest, most sophisticated and discerning music fans on earth. It's incredibly validating to be reminded of just how many people have the patience and capacity to appreciate a unique band like ours who have never been easily understood. But just as we have no interest in living in prison, why then (assuming they're just like us) should the people who buy our records?

Before coming to the UK you’ve played a bunch of shows in the US. Did it feel good to be back playing live and playing new material?

Yes! We spent such a long time on this album, and finished it so long ago, that it's been a profound joy to finally get to take these songs out and see what they can do. Songs can be living, breathing creatures, you know, so it's impossible to fully grasp how they'll live on the stage until we actually take them there. Naturally, 'The L-Shaped Man' songs are even more intense and moody, more energetic, more brooding in the live setting. And since we always play songs from our entire catalogue at our shows, whenever we make a new record, we're not unlike a painter whose just gotten ten or eleven new colours on his palette (rather than just more of the same). At this point, our fans know what to expect, and people actually seem stoked on the range of dynamic that the new and old songs have when they're combined. It's bizarre that nowadays, more often than not, people come up to us and ask us to play MORE new songs, but it's certainly encouraging.


We love the album artwork for The L-Shaped Man. Can you tell us a bit more about it?

Our singer Ross has always handled the look of our albums and this one was no different. We actually had two concurrent, and drastically different, ideas going for a while -- one involving this huge, dramatic painting whose artist had inspired some of the record's lyrical content, and the other based around these line drawings Ross had been experimenting with; he even showed them in an art show a few years back, actually. For a bunch of reasons, we ended up ditching the painting. It was gorgeous and evocative, it just didn't feel right for some reason. Ceremony has gotten increasingly into minimalism over the years, so the simple text and line drawing seemed perfect. It took a late night epiphany regarding the colour scheme, after a lot of obsessing, to take it to the next level and become the finished beauty you see now. We're all thrilled with how it came out. It's funny to see so many people posting photos of their vinyl copies on the Internet, saying how beautiful the package is. Can't say I disagree.

You’ve played Nottingham before (Rock City basement in 2012) what do you remember about this city?

For me, touring is a constant blur, and as experiences mount, and my aging brain fails me more and more often, you'll hopefully take no offense when I say I can't remember a fucking thing. I love England, though, and we're all very grateful for any opportunity to return.

Ceremony play The Bodega this Sunday (9th August). Tickets are available here. Let's make their Nottingham experience unforgettable this time.