Text: René Rosierse
On Saturday the 28th of October And also the trees will be promoting their new album ‘The Bone Carver’ at Paard in The Hague. A good opportunity to catch up with singer Simon Huw Jones. 42 years ago the brothers Simon Huw and Justin Jones started their band And also the trees. The post punk band from Worcestershire (UK) impressed Robert Smith and Lol Tolhurst of The Cure in the early 1980s, who decided to take them on tour through the UK as a support act. Lol Tolhurst was also the man who produced And also the trees’ debut album.
In the meantime, we are now more than 40 years later and last month the 14th album entitled ‘The Bone Carver’ was released. An album that took three years to make. Simon says that the band is very pleased with the result and that they have already received a lot of positive reactions. And also the trees has always been a band that doesn’t repeat itself on every subsequent album and has also managed to have a sound of its own and not be easily compared to other bands. They accomplished this again on ‘The Bone Carver’. The album contains ten wonderful songs full of beautiful, often cryptically packaged stories about relationships and people in idyllic landscapes. Justin Jones also regularly uses his guitar to sound like a mandolin and is musically assisted by Paul Hill (drums), Grant Gordon (Bass) and Colin Ozanne (clarinet, keyboards, guitar).
And also the trees went on tour through Europe right after the album’s release and has already completed the first four sold-out shows. Simon is satisfied with the shows, the collaboration in the band and the reactions of the audience. In Berlin, the band played the Urban Spree for two days in a row. The first day to promote the new album and the day after to celebrate their 42 year anniversary with a nice cross section from their repertoire. This was planned two years earlier to celebrate more grandly but could not take place for reasons that we won’t mention here by name again. Simon says of these shows: “It wasn’t what we expected. The venue was an old punk venue and quite disorganized but we played two good sets and the audience enjoyed it.”
From the 28th of October, the tour will continue and in addition to the Netherlands and Germany, Switzerland, England and Greece will also be visited. And also the trees plays a different set of songs every night. When asked what we can expect at Paard, Simon answers: “My job is to put together the setlists for the shows. I let this depend on where they play and in which hall. For the set in Paard I can already say that it will partly consist of songs from our entire repertoire because it is the first time that we are playing in The Hague. Of course we will also play some songs from ‘The Bone Carver’. As a band, you naturally want to show as much of your latest work as possible”. The evening is therefore highly recommended for newcomers and fans who have been following the band for a long time.
The Netherlands has not been visited very often by the band in the past but Simon thinks it is time to change that now. This is shown by the fact that the label that is responsible for the distribution of the work in the Netherlands, Gentlemen Recordings, has been able to bring the band to the Netherlands for a third time since 2019. Three years ago, the band played in a well-filled Steck in Delft for an enthusiastic audience. Earlier this year the band performed at Vestrock festival and managed to win over the audience in a very beautifully set up but sweltering chapel on the festival site.
About the fame of the band and the obscurity here in the Netherlands, Simon compares the work that the promoter does in the countries concerned with the work that John Peel did in England in the 1980s for And also the trees, among others. Simon: “If John Peel liked your work, it automatically led to a great reputation and many performances. This is also the case with the promoters in the various countries. If a promoter likes you and asks you for a festival and then again for a concert, you can build an audience. In France, for example, this worked very well. Unfortunately this did not work in the Benelux because the agent was in the French-speaking part of Belgium and the performances did not end up across the border in the Netherlands. We are now confident that this is now getting better and more people will discover and commit to us. We are now a very good band with excellent live performances.”
We can only agree with the latter, but would like to know why Simon thinks the band is much better now than in the past. “We are now much wiser and better as musicians than in the past. We also have many more songs to choose from, we have released 14 albums in the meantime. In addition, now pay more attention to the sets, they must have good dynamics. We think about that a lot more now. We have become wiser and more in control.”
With the performances in Delft and Vestrock still in mind and ‘The Bone Carver’ as the last achievement, we understand Simon’s positive approach all too well. We thank Simon Huw Jones for his time and will definitely see And also the trees on October 28 in The Hague. And also the trees and The Anaesthetics (support) will be on October 28 in the small hall of Het Paard in The Hague. Tickets are available on the venue’s website and at the door.