On their debut album "The Dark Third" (2006), prog, post-rock, electronics, psychedelic rock and britpop fed the musical cosmos of Pure Reason Revolution. The English magazine "Q" hailed them at the time as the "missing link between Pink Floyd and the 21st century". However, with the two following albums "Amor Vincit Omnia" (2009) and "Hammer And Anvil" (2010) and a generally stronger turn towards electronic music, guitarist and singer Jon Courtney and singer and bassist Chloë Alper no longer lived up to this description. After a break of almost eight years, Pure Reason Revolution returned with an inspiring performance at last year's Midsummer Prog Festival. The new album "Eupnea" will follow this April.
Berlin, end of February. We have an appointment with Jon Courtney not far from his apartment in the Alt-Treptow district. The 42-year-old British man took a whole afternoon to talk at length. In bright sunshine and an extended stroll to his favourite places in the vicinity, the Sheffield-born and Reading-raised musician talks about the comeback of Pure Reason Revolution, the positive aspects of his adopted country and the dramatic personal background of the new album.
eclipsed: How long have you lived in Berlin, Jon, and what made you move from London?
Jon Courtney: The last show with Pure Reason Revolution was in November 2011 and it really felt like the end to us at that time, the definitive end. We agreed that we had nothing more to say to the band and that we wanted to move on to other projects. Shortly afterwards my wife and I decided to move to Berlin. I had been here with her a couple of times before and we fell in love with this city right away.
eclipsed: How do you feel about the city and its people compared to London?
Courtney: London always felt claustrophobic. In Berlin, you have room to breathe - wide streets and huge parks. Berlin gives you a nice, relaxed feeling. In the summer, I can take the train from the city centre to swim in the lake within 20 minutes. For example, my family and I love to be at Müggelsee, it's always like a little holiday. Berlin gives me a feeling of freedom: people drink a beer at 10 o'clock in the morning and nobody turns up their nose, dogs are accepted in pretty much every facility. I love this liberalism. The people are usually quite friendly. People say that Berliners can be brusque and impolite, but I have never really experienced that.
eclipsed: David Bowie described Berlin as "the greatest cultural extravagance imaginable". Is that still the case today? How often do you go to concerts, for example?
Courtney: Sorry to disappoint you. For a musician I'm probably not a very regular concert goer, although there's always something going on here, of course. My last concert was probably the Smashing Pumpkins in the Citadel last summer.