After struggling with addiction and finally finding sobriety, Until the Ribbon Breaks delves deep and develops their artistic identity with their recently released, self-titled, sophomore album. Bandmates Pete Lawrie-Winfield and Elliot Wall faced their challenges together and after 20 years of making music, struck accord. Their honesty and openness with their fan base makes their story worth rooting for, and luckily their talent is equally as inspiring. Their sound is experimental and raw. It’s exciting to see a band creatively work through something that is deeply personal and emotional. The creative process is clearly cathartic for the music duo.

Pete shares his story to give further insight on the complexities of the band's album and the process of making it. So take a listen, read along, and listen again. Then watch the music videos, they're just as visually interesting as the songs are musically.


Describe your sound in 3 words....

Dirty, rotten, scoundrel.

How did you decide on your band name?

It came from the memory of when we first discovered music and film and would play cassettes and tapes until we wore them out, until the ribbon broke. 

Why did you decide to self-title your album?

This album has been nearly four years in the making, it's a journal documenting where we have been, a record of some trying times. We decided to self-title this album, our second album, to simplify its intent. It is about adversity and not giving up, until the ribbon breaks. 

Can you explain the process of recording your album?

Not entirely. It was an incredibly sporadic and convoluted process, spanning three continents and four years. There was really no method to what, at times, was genuine madness. 

How did the concept for your album develop?

We started the process whilst I was in the trows of addiction and substance abuse and it was finished during my subsequent recovery. Suffice to say, that had a huge influence on the sound and lyrical arc. 

What is the relationship between each song?

There is certainly a thread through the lyrics, although not as cynical as the first album. The thread is more hopeful, especially through the second half of the album as it takes an upswing towards the positive. As with our first album, the sonic palette is completely random, pulling from all of our influences with no rules as to what kinds of sounds we can bring to each song. .

Which songs were the hardest to work through?

'Push and Pull'  took on a number of different identities over time, eventually finding the heavy, dubbed out vibe it is now. It lived in a folder marked 'fail' for awhile, but is now one of my favorites. 



What story does the album tell as a whole?

I would like to think that by the end of the record, there is a narrative that reflects the journey that the album went on with us...from madness, chaos and eventually the fall, to re-building and recovery. I hope it feels whole in that way and tells all sides of the story.

How does it build off your earlier work?

It was so long in between records that I feel that we are different people. We have different outlooks, perspectives and evolving ideas of what we want to hear and create. If it builds off it at all, it is in knowing what we didn't want to repeat.

How has the process of creating this album forced you to grow artistically?

We lost a member, James, an amazing producer and engineer. His leaving meant that Elliot and I were forced to regain our love of production. We had become lazy and it was a great shock to the system. Through it we learnt some amazing production methods.


How involved are you in your music video productions?

We are entirely involved in the theft and re-editing of our videos. They are created as tributes to  the films and the directors we love and admire. It's one more thing to create and keep busy with. 

Where did the ideas for the My Love video stem from?

That video was initially made for a piece of ballet music. I thought it would be an interesting challenge to re-edit the footage to mesh with the song. It felt right for it to be a dance, as a to and fro. It felt romantic and cinematic. 

How do other art forms inspire you?

In the last year, I have become addicted to creating. It keeps my mind still and has been a huge part of my recovery. I almost feel as though I am making up for lost time. A part of that has been painting, photography and writing. I am endlessly inspired by film, often projecting montage sequences onto the studio walls. It allows my mind to wander further than the confines of a sterile studio. 

Who are a few artists that inspire you?

Always the words of Paul Simon, the uncompromising artistry of Nina Simone, and since the awful news of his passing, I have been obsessively listening to the scores and solo records of Johann Johannsson.

3 songs you’re currently listening to...

'The Theory of Everything' by Johann Johannson, 'In My View' by Young Fathers, and 'Ballade (Djrum remix)' by Jono McLeery. 

Describe your ideal Sunday… 

Pete: NO MUSIC. A podcast or five - lately stories of true crime or film reviews.  A bike ride along the sea side, before settling down to a Tom Hanks film and some unnecessarily carb-heavy food. 

Elliot: I try not to work. Usually I’ll wake up and clean the house, which honestly I enjoy. I’ll have full intentions of laying down for the day once this is done but I’ll end up doing some kind of work because laying down is boring and life is short my friend. 

 Meru handwritten lyrics

Meru handwritten lyrics

Words by  Carly Smith

Photos courtesy of Until the Ribbon Breaks