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After a huge tour of Asia that, in Furze’s words, ‘finished us off,’ he and Cordell decided to step away from music; to avoid the fate of so many bands who fall into the recording-touring treadmill and kill the passion that first opened their hearts along the way. There was no major split, no blazing rows presented to the world as musical differences, just an understanding that it was time to move on. “We felt we had achieved what we needed to achieve. We needed a break.”

Milo Cordell concentrated on running his record label Merok, while Furze felt a strong urge to change the backdrop and start anew. “I fell into DJing in Los Angeles. London was on a bit of a downer at the time, especially if you were in a rock band, and there seemed to be a lot of English musicians moving to LA – it was the place to be. A friend of mine was opening a bar in Silverlake called Tenants of the Trees and it felt like the beginning of a movement. It had the beautiful models, the token celebs, the bands I love… There I was with Black Motorcycle Club and Queens of the Stone Age, and I was Robbie from the Big Pink, DJing on Tuesday nights. It was fun.”

One bit of fun can lead to another, and Furze found himself with a regular DJ slot at another Silverlake hangout called the Friend Bar. “It became the big night in East Hollywood, and before I knew it people were talking about this guy who is putting on these nights and getting people down. Suddenly I was being asked to put on nights in West Hollywood. I’m a musician. I’m not a DJ, I’m not a club guy, but then the Roosevelt Hotel gave me my own bar and told me to do what I want with it and what’s more, me and my friends could eat and drink for free. I said, ‘cool, what night?’ The answer was: ‘every night.’

Needless to say, everyone did eat and drink for free, the hotel lost a huge amount of money, someone in accounts noticed what was happening and the bar got shut down. For a moment Furze considered a future as club owner, before realising that he really should be getting back to making music of his own. “And that’s when things started happening again because there are a lot of lost artists in LA; people who have gone out there with their talent and lost their way. LA’s great when you’re on the up but if you find yourself having fallen out of favour it can be hard to get back on the proverbial treadmill. But if you can get those people in the room for a moment, lovely things can emerge from the chaos.”

The Big Pink’s drummer Akiko Matsuura was back on board while Charlie Barker, a model and visual artist from Nottingham, joined on bass guitar. Furze bounced musical ideas off a network of friends either visiting or resident in Los Angeles including Jamie Hince from the Kills, Nick Zinner from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Jamie T and Joel Amey from Wolf Alice, the latter suggesting that Furze resurrect the Big Pink to do a US tour with Wolf Alice in 2018. “That reinvigorated me because going on tour is like going to war: it’s so hard but you feel invigorated by the pain, especially if you are back on a support tour, shlepping your own amplifiers around. It gives you a tangible feeling on what it means to be a musician. That was one of the best tours I had ever done, so I thought: maybe now is the time for the third album.”

The Big Pink

After the LA-based pop star Ryn Weaver (alongside Peter Stengaard) worked with Furze on the tender ballad Safe ’n' Sound, one of The Love That’s Ours’s prettiest songs, Furze knew he had found his purpose again. “Ryn likes to sit and drink and talk about the concept of a song — for hours. Then we would listen to references and finally we would put it together, with Ryn writing lyrics like: “Angels with their wings clipped, gunning for a love that’s ours…” In a sense, Safe and Sound sums up the record. You’re feeling lost and you’re trying to return to the place you love, whether that means an actual place, your family, or yourself.”

How Far We’ve Come has a similar theme. “Little by little, in LA, I realised that I was writing the soundtrack of how I was feeling. It can be very dark and a lot of people self-destruct out there. Nobody will admit to how depressed they are because it is like an admission of failure and there I was, out there on my own, searching for something. Was this my life now? Was I really just a DJ in LA? It was a confusing time and I was definitely having a crisis of some sort. My wife and I went out there together, she hated it, and I stayed out there. I almost lost everything: myself, my family, my wife, my friends. But I felt that I had to get through my LA experience before we could carry on and I could come home. Writing a record is like seeing a shrink. It’s something you have to get out, and once the songs started coming I began to understand what I was missing and what was important.”

Helped by Memphis-born Tony Hoffer, who has lent his production magic to albums by Beck, Air and Phoenix, Furze set it as his goal to write songs that sounded effortless while actually putting a lot of effort into them. No Angels, with its boom-boom-chick drum beat and Jesus and Mary Chain mood, came out of that approach. “It has a pre-chorus, something I didn’t previously know existed. For the first time I got to know the rules of songwriting, even if I ended up breaking them.”

The goal to craft music with meaning and depth has in part been a product of Robbie learning in his late teens about what can happen when hype takes over. Just before the turn of the millennium, he formed a band called Nojahoda with the brothers Milo and Leo Ross alongside Atticus Ros on production and songwriting duties. “We got signed for a million pounds and I didn’t see a penny,” he remembers. “I was 18, we had a three record deal, and we didn’t have a clue. We all lived in Ladbroke Grove, and we would take limos to the Sony Offices in Kensington. We did a total of ten shows. I spent most of my time in the sauna of Lambton health club with Damon Albarn, waiting for someone to tell me I had to do a gig. One day I put my card in the machine and nothing came out, so I called up the accountant and he said: ‘yes, you guys are broke.’ We didn’t realise we had to pay for things like videos, which cost £350 grand each, and I ended up with a £25,000 tax bill I couldn’t pay. By nineteen I had no money, I was in debt, and I was saddled with a derelict old sweet shop on Ladbroke Grove I bought on a 100% mortgage. I was destroyed.”

Burned by his brush with pop, Robbie decided to go toward the music he really loved: Nine Inch Nails, Skinny Puppy and other bands from the dark underbelly of industrial rock. Hearing that Alec Empire of Atari Teenage Riot was going solo, he pretended to be his own manager and called up Empire’s record label, offering himself up as a guitarist. So began a lesson in the transcendental power of noise. “At the end of each gig Alec Empire used to do these improvisational noise pieces. That’s when I realised: I’m just a vessel, reacting to the musicians and the environment around me. The Big Pink came out of that massive static.”

From there Robbie put together the Big Pink based not on virtuosity, but character. When he met Milo Cordell in a nightclub, Cordell explained that he couldn’t actually play an instrument. “I said to Milo: you don’t have to be able to do anything, just make as much noise as possible with keyboards and oscillators and see what happens. We went into the basement of my Ladbroke Grove house and started making noise, and the first thing that came out of it was [debut single] Crystal Visions. The best music comes when you’re not forcing it. We wrote Dominos, from our first record, in the car while we were listening to an Otis Redding song. Similarly, Akiko may not be the most technically schooled of drummers in the world but she has incredible energy, which is why I knew she had to be back in the band. It’s not what you play but how you play it and who you are. All the bands I love, like the Jesus and Mary Chain, were about ideas rather than musicianship. If you create a cool environment, great things can come out of it.”

The Love That’s Ours, one of the most creative and multi-faceted rock albums of recent times, has offered a rebirth for Robbie Furze. He wants it all back: the festivals, the world tours, the Glastonbury spots. “There is a song on the record called Lucky One, which is about a friend of mine who died of a heroin overdose. Los Angeles is such an aggressive town that people do lose themselves. I found my calling again, and the confidence needed to write these songs. So I was the lucky one because that could have been me. The record became my ticket out of LA, my situation — and myself. From there, I came home.”