Published Mar 07, 2012It has been close to seven years since Dirty Three released their last album, Cinder, back in 2005, but the members of the Aussie trio of Warren Ellis, Mick Turner and Jim White have hardly been dormant during the years leading up to their recently released Toward the Low Sun.
"Other things have been going on, and we tried to make a record a couple of times, and it just didn't happen," Ellis tells Exclaim! "We spent those times to sit back and wonder what it all means, and I think we realized that the important thing is that we wanted to keep the band going."
In recent years, Ellis has been keeping busy collaborating with Nick Cave on several movie soundtracks, with more yet to come, in addition to serving as a member of both the Bad Seeds and Cave's Grinderman project
"I've done some theatrical things with Nick as well, and Jim was out playing with Will Oldham and Bill Callahan and Cat Power, and Mick had been painting, I think. We've all been doing stuff. It's good to sometimes step back from things."
Taking a time out is not uncommon, but seven years is undeniably a long time between albums. Long enough that some fans may have thought Dirty Three were on indefinite hiatus, à la Fugazi. Ellis is keen to make it clear that Dirty Three never went away, however, having played live every year in that time on one continent or another.
"Seven years is long enough to justify a fucking comeback tour in some band's eyes. You see these groups getting back together and I can't even remember when they split up, but you think, 'No, surely it can't be a reformation, it's like six or seven years ago that they stopped,' and they are greeted with open arms. It's just tragic.
"Maybe we should have shut up and then reformed and then put an album out. I've got it all wrong. I've been talking about the continuing dialogue and all that, and it just makes me look like a dick now."
Read more of Exclaim!'s recent interview with Dirty Three here.