Formed in 1979 by the brothers Simon and Justin Jones and Graham and Nicholas Havas in a small village in Worcestershire, England and inspired by the ideology of a still-developing post-punk movement, And Also The Trees from their very beginnings were different. Unlike more urban contemporaries such as PIL, Joy Division and The Gang Of Four, And Also The Trees were influenced almost exclusively by the landscape and history of the rural environment that surrounded them – an influence that has remained throughout their entire existence to this day.
Learning to play their instruments as they composed, their first recordings were raw and naive but powerful and original enough to attract the attention of The Cure who invited them to tour with them, (in 1980, 81 and 84) and who produced their self-released mini album ‘From under the hill’ (Robert Smith) and their first, self-titled, full album (Lol Tolhurst), released in 1983.
The album caught the attention of John Peel for whom they recorded a session in 1984.
Those recordings reflected their early, post-punk roots, but it was with 1986’s Virus Meadow – an album of rich, pagan melancholy and disturbing laments – and the resulting European tours, that And Also The Trees truly found their own identity. Their fans became enraptured by the dramatic, poetic nature of their work.
Subsequent albums The Millpond Years (1988), Farewell To The Shade (1989) and Green Is The Sea (1992) continued in this rich, creative, and influential vein elevating And Also The Trees to an almost mythical status particularly in France but also Germany, Belgium and Switzerland where their audiences have always shown great loyalty. They were also the gateway to transatlantic audiences for the first time via a highly successful US tour in 1991.
The release of The Klaxon in 1993 saw the beginning of a new chapter for And Also The Trees. The esoteric, rural influences were replaced by a 50’s beat-group feel, still challenging and lyrical but somehow more urbane. The twanging guitars, Morricone trumpets and growling organs punctuating a trilogy of releases including Angelfish (1996) and Silver Soul (1998).
1998 to 2003 was a period of change and contemplation. The band moved away from their Worcestershire roots and became geographically separated.
Further From The Truth (2003) is something of a rebirth that developed into a true renaissance with their Tenth album ‘(listen for) The Rag and Bone Man’ which came out in November (2007) and received some of the best critical reviews of the band’s existence.
In June 2009 they released ‘When The Rains Come’, an acoustic album of songs from throughout their history stripped down to the bare bones and presented with remarkable poise and simplicity. A measure of the album’s success and the band’s re-emergence was reflected not only by the positive press but in their first full tour of France for 15 years and some prestigious shows in Germany including a memorable performance in Berlin’s Temporary kunsthalle as part of internationally renown visual artist John Bock’s extraordinary curation.
‘Hunter not the hunted’ (2012) continued their compelling evolution with a work which returned to nature for inspiration and was the catalyst for invitations to play in countries new to the band: the Ukraine, Romania, Lithuania and Japan with two concerts in Tokyo. They were again asked by John Bock to open an exhibition, on this occasion the prestigious ‘Donau festival of contemporary art’ in Krems, Austria, and their old relationship with The Cure was revived when Robert Smith invited them as special guest for three shows at the London Hammersmith Apollo in December 2014.
‘Born into the waves’, their thirteenth studio album revolves around guitar pieces that were written as ‘love songs from around the world’. It takes influence from their recent travels east and explores the diversities of love as both an emotion and an opposing power to hate.
It is a work that has moments of passion and great subtlety, in short, it is a classic ‘And also the trees’ album. As journalist and biographer Alexandre Francois, who is currently writing a book about And Also The Trees, put it, ”It’s not the fact that they have been in existence and making records (on their terms) for over 30 years that makes then extraordinary, what makes them different is the discovery that their most recent works are masterpieces”.
The brothers Simon Huw Jones (vocals and lyricist) and Justin Jones (guitarist and main composer) founded the band and are still its creative core with Paul Hill (drums) who joined the band in 1997 when Nick Havas left: his brother and other founder member Graham Havas was replaced by bassist Steven Burrows in 1983.
The role of bassist was taken over by Ian Jenkins between 2004 and 2015 who left the group and is replaced by Grant Gordon
The 5th member playing keyboards and various other instruments has been Emer Brizzolara 1994 – 2015, Mark Tibenham 1990 – 1993 and Dale Hodgkinson 1998.
The current line up for live performances is:
Simon Huw Jones – vocal
Justin Jones – guitar
Paul Hill – drums
Grant Gordon – bass
Colin Ozanne – clarinet, guitar and organ