part 1 of 3
the new stuff going?
its going alright, yeah. its really hard
doing it on your own because if you dont feel
like working then nothing happens. when youre
in a band if you dont feel like working theres
always somebody else that does.
do you struggle for motivation?
i have struggled with it this time, yeah. it was getting
me down and thats when i quit smoking dope. now
im feeling really positive about it. every album
goes through phases where you feel awful, because youre
just doing it every day. and when youre on your
own, all the ideas have to come from you although
when anyone had an idea in the band i just said it was
did the band change your songs much?
some of them were exactly the same as the demos, some
of them changed a lot it depended on how much
of an idea i had about the song. tim was really good
at coming up with sounds. if there was ever anything
technical going on with loops and samples it was always
him. i had no idea how to do that, i had to just explain
to him what i wanted. i dont know how different
they were really, its hard to tell how much input
everybody put in. we were just all in there all the
time shouting stuff. with the last one we just recorded
until we got drunk too drunk to record
and then wed listen to records on these massive
speakers and stay up all night. now its not so
bad in cardiff, but when i was with gorwel doing the
fingertip stuff wed finish work and then we had
to just go and sit in the flat.
was it pretty remote then?
yeah it was in anglesey. it was just a little village
with one pub. wed kind of finish at ten and just
go for a pint, so that got on top of me as well. thats
why weve taken so many breaks in the recording
this time. i never used to like taking breaks, i just
wanted to get in there and get it finished. with gorwel
i was falling asleep whislt i was playing bass.
did that environment infulence the sound of go
i think the environment did yeah. i was trying to make
a record like the one im making now, and i had
hundreds of songs and i didnt know what i was
going to do when i got up there. we didnt even
have a drummer. the drummer came in and played on tracks
when they were already finished. it was really quiet,
and in all the time i was there it didnt get light
once! its a house he built himself and theres
just nothing around at all except this huge raf airfield.
so i think it did affect it because that album was quite
quiet listening, whereas this is more of a city album.
how is the new sound different?
well, whenever i hear any of our records, i always think
of the place where i wrote it. there were two preston
albums, two liverpool albums, two london albums
is that it? we must have had more than that. they were
all city albums though, and it was only when i went
to anglesey that i realised you do get affected by whats
around you, and also because it was only me and gorwel
there and we had to play everything. gorwel used to
go to this car boot sale every sunday morning and pay
25p for all these mad instruments. it all gave it a
distinctive sound, and then there was the fact that
i was not all that confident about what i was doing.
id never sung before, and id always had
people around me telling me i was great.
are you confident now?
much more so, still not quite there next album
i reckon. i always say that, next album. you always
seem to find you get half-way through an album and think
if we started it again now it would sound completely
different. this one is defintely getting there.
its hard to kind of marry the technology with
the tunes without sounding too 'soup dragons'!.
is that where richard (richard jackson, who worked
with martin on the 'corporation man' single is recording
and mixing the new album) comes in?
not really because richard doesnt know any of
the music im listening to, so hes learning
this sound as well. and anyway, hes into classic
rock. he came round to mine the other day and i said
"what do you want to listen to?". i had all
this hip-hop and drum and bass, and he said "have
you got any classic rock?". we ended up listening
to queen! but hes into what were doing,
and he knows the records i play so were sort of
learning together really.
how do you manage to bring elements of the music
youre listening to into your own songs?
well its really hard. i wish i could rap, id
love to be a really good rapper. i sometimes try it
when im walking to the shop but im fucking
useless! ive done it to an extent though. one
of the new tracks, dive, starts off as a
drum and bass track. i think the next thing id
like to do would be an instrumental ep, then i can do
stuff like that without having to worry about the tunes.
at the moment the drum and bass you hear in clubs is
nothing like the drum and bass you find on my records.
id like to go more that way. id wanted kingsize
to be like that, but in that band everyone insisted
on playing all the time. you couldnt do a track
without drums, or bass. we did loads of tracks without
guitars because i was like, fuck it, id rather
not play. we were getting there. the problem was that
the others werent really listening to music anymore,
which made it hard for me to get across these new ideas.
might you bring in guest rappers then?
well thats what i did with the mc mabon record
('the badman rules forever'). have you heard
it? its pretty rough, we did it in my bedroom.
fierce panda asked me to do that. im not actually
signed to wichita, i just have a licensing deal where
i sell my records to them. i dont even own any
of the boo radleys stuff, sony own it all and i didnt
want that to be the case again. so i can record for
whoever i want any time i want. the mabon tune was actually
a demo id done for this new album, and i wasnt
quite sure what to do with it, and id wanted to
do a single with mabon for ages. he came round to my
house and i left him to it upstairs. i went downstairs
and watched the bill and all i could hear was him stamping
on the floor!
theres a common theme here of you watching
telly whilst your records are being produced in the
next room - you were doing it in the studio last night
im not one of these people who sits through the
preliminary mixing saying turn this up, change
that and so on. i pop in later on and change bits
and pieces but it can be such a long drawn out process
if youre there all the time. i need stuff to happen