The Red Paintings are bringing their fascinating and whimsical orchestral art-rock to Lee’s Palace in Toronto this Wednesday, December 11th (with Spacehog and Sponge). The band recently released their striking new single Wasps from their debut full-length studio album, The Revolution Is Never Coming, and have been touring across Europe. Before they play Toronto, we caught up with The Red Paintings’ front man Trash McSweeney to discuss bizarre videos, press shots, and outfits; his ultimate goal while creating the album; and how his “mind is like an artistic delirium”.
AMBY: Hello The Red Paintings, thanks for speaking with AMBY. What have you been up to lately?
The Red Paintings: Right now we are touring across Europe and the UK playing sold out shows with a New York act called Mindless Self Indulgence – and having the time of our lives!
AMBY: Which three songs are the quintessential The Red Paintings?
The Red Paintings: I’d say ‘The Revolution Is Never Coming’, ‘Streets Fell Into My Window’ and ‘Just People and Leaves.’
AMBY: What inspired the title of your latest album The Revolution Is Never Coming?
The Red Paintings: Working in the animal rights community and my views on the ignorance and naïvety of the human race. I feel unless we stand up and do something, instead of just talking about it, your revolution will never come.
AMBY: With the LP taking five years to make, when creating the album, what was your ultimate goal?
The Red Paintings: To make an album that sounded and felt like a war of the worlds. You have to go through war to achieve such a vision and that I feel like I certainly did. It was a very stressful album to create!
AMBY: The band have some incredibly bizarre videos, press shots, and outfits. What inspires all of this?
The Red Paintings: Life. My mind is like an artistic delirium. I’m just portraying my own individual thoughts and feelings in my own art. That is the core of all things The Red Paintings. Everything from other artists like Mark Ryden, to Japanese Geisha, to my friends and family around me, is an inspiration to me.
One thing we love to do that inspires us in real time is invite local artists on stage to paint with us at our shows – if anyone wants to get involved, email us or check out our artist submissions page.
Having such talented and different people on stage each night brings a crazy energy to the stage – nowadays if we don’t have a painter up there with us we feel naked.
AMBY: What’s the craziest thing to happen to you at a gig?
The Red Paintings: Oh god there are so many! Well, here’s a few…a boy fan coming up to the stage and asking to talk to me after a song. Me bowing down and then him trying to make out with me in front of our audience. Another time a guy joined us on stage to paint, dropped his pants, did his business on a canvas and told us that was his artwork. We were in awe, but I guess it was cool that he truly expressed himself. TRP fans are very unpredictable.
AMBY: If The Red Paintings could create a law that everyone would have to follow, what would it be?
The Red Paintings: No more animals can be eaten on this planet.
AMBY: Which The Red Paintings lyric is your favourite?
The Red Paintings: Vampires are chasing me. It’s the story of my music business life. Day in and day out.
AMBY: What’s the best release of the year?
The Red Paintings: By a long shot, it’s from a band I love from Australia called Something For Kate. Their new album ‘Leave Your Soul To Science’. It’s inspiring.
AMBY: lastly, what’s something about The Red Paintings that nobody knows yet?
The Red Paintings: Hmmm perhaps that I did a visual arts degree at university and dropped out in my last year to pursue a dream for an idea for a performance art musical project called ‘The Red Paintings’. I didn’t want to be a part of the “artistic” system anymore. Not sure if I solved that problem in the end though. Time will tell!
Thank you The Red Paintings, for giving us your answers!
Alicia Atout | @AliciaAtout