Nearly five years since the release of their eponymous debut, austere post-punk duo Prinzhorn Dance School have finally dropped their sophomore effort, ‘Clay Class’, via DFA. Their first LP sharply divided people with its uncompromisingly bitty DIY gloom, confusing reviewers in boomtime UK but doing well in Europe and the US; and the new record is just as defiantly minimalist but also warmer, more human and somehow more spacious. As the threat of a double-dip recession continues to haunt Britain, are the times right for Prinzhorn to find a more receptive audience? Judge for yourself when they play the Brighton Dome on April 11...
We go into the red shed. We drink vodka and press ‘record’. That and the sleeve art is what we control, what we influence. Everything else is out there and it's public property, it's for everyone
Dazed Digital: What’s different about this album compared to your debut?
Suzi Horn: Time, themes, the fullness of the sounds. The way it makes me feel.
Tobin Prinz: Musically and lyrically it's very different, but it's still us. It's a different phase of our lives so it should represent that, but it's the same process in that we go into a room and make noise and record it. We run with the things that excite us, we bin the things that don't.
DD: How long did it take you to record? Why have you been away so long?
Suzi Horn: We spent 261 days writing, performing, recording, producing and mixing. We haven't really been away, we've just been busy, playing shows. In Europe mostly, but we've always been rocking somewhere.
Tobin Prinz: We built a recording studio – a tiny one, bespoke, a hideaway. We needed a space we could go and learn to use music recording technology. Because we wrote, recorded, mixed and produced this record ourselves. We wanted to understand those processes in our own peculiar way – to keep the science and technology at arm’s length. I'm proud that we took the time to do that. We wanted to master that process, then abuse it.
DD: Why did you name it ‘Clay Class’?
Suzi Horn: Tobin sent me a dictionary quote that said, ‘Clay: the human body, especially as distinguished from the spirit or soul; the flesh’ and it just made sense.
Tobin Prinz: I don't like giving things titles, but it seemed to echo the lyrical themes of the record: transience, replacement. It's a line in one of the songs too and it works for us. Plus Sooz does a clay class every Monday morning. She makes ashtrays and wobbly mugs – you can see some examples on the album sleeve.
DD: What do you think of Britain in 2012?
Suzi Horn: There's no library books in the library…
Tobin Prinz: ... and no fishes in the sea.
DD: The album has received both considerable praise and disdain from critics. Are you comfortable with this?
Tobin Prinz: We go into the red shed. We drink vodka and press ‘record’. That and the sleeve art is what we control, what we influence. Everything else is out there and it's public property, it's for everyone. Love it, hate it – it's fine with me. I try to avoid reviews – I'd rather just get on and make another song. Plus I don't get the mark-out-of-ten thing. Is this fucking school or something? ‘Tobin and Suzi, for your 261 days in a small dark room you score two out of ten. Please see the headmaster...’
DD: What plans do you have for the future?
Suzi Horn: Tomorrow I'm getting my hair cut.
Tobin Prinz: It's tour time now. We get to escape the studio, like two moles coming out of their burrow into bright sunshine.
Follow Rory Lewarne on Twitter here: @rorita