New album Attack of the Mutant 50ft Kebab available now!
Interviews Yorkie - June 2003 - SpaceTheBand.comThe following is a transcript of a video interview. You can download the video & audio versions on the downloads page.
Hello! Just open the questions that you've all kindly sent in.
What is the idea behind the new album (if any) and is there an underlying theme / concept to it?
The new album basically deals with the subject of surveillance and a certain loss of freedom in modern society. On different levels from like the tiny sort of restrictive signs you see everywhere like you know: no ball games, no trespassing, no dogs, no cycling, clean it up to more oppressive things on a larger scale such as cameras in the back of police vans, helicopters with cameras in. Generally the whole idea that even though you may think you live in the most idyllic place every place comes with its own restrictions that prohibit you doing certain things and we just found it interesting because it seems to be an unnameable group of people who put these restrictions into place, it doesn't seem to be by general consensus. So that's what the LP is about.
Is the new album a radical departure from LYMTF, or is it a more natural follow-up? Was it hard to record, after all that happened with Gut, etc?
Yep Suburban Rock and Roll is about as far away from Love You More Than Football as you could get. After LYMTF I dunno, we thought it would be hard going back into the studio because we'd been sort of burnt by the experience so much, we ended up with about 3 LPs worth of material for LYMTF, of which Gut in their infinite wisdom used 2 tracks on the Best of that we didn't want released. 2 good tracks but I think they could have used more. The new album it was so easy even though we had some sort of trepidation about going in to the studio, the demos leading up to it were going well because we just had a freedom that we hadn't had for years to experiment and try things out that you know Gut would certainly never have allowed and then when we actually got to the studio with Steve Lironi we sort of carried this through and a lot of what we thought was going to be on the LP from the demos ended up like not getting on it... some of them have been used for the Music For Aliens series and some will be used as b-sides but it was just, it was brilliant because we'd be working in our respective sort of ways and Steve would just pick up on something and say you know â€œI think that may be actually better for the LP than thisâ€ and that worked in a way because it brought the whole thing together with Jamie not being there it was I think decided amongst us that it would be best to do an LP that was just predominantly Tommy and even though I'd written a couple of songs in mind for the LP and Franny had written a few things we all just thought that it was better if this time round it was just Tommy and remove a little bit of like the schizophrenic tension between having two bands within the one band and just highlight Tommy's own personal schizophrenic tension.
Has Jamie's departure changed the sound much and if so, in what way?
I've just mentioned Jamie and basically it says here â€œHas Jamie's departure changed the sound muchâ€ and yeah I mean some of the tracks have no noticeable guitar whereas you know Jamie being a proper sort of guitar hero type person wouldn't allow that, it would, if there was a space there for guitar there would be guitar. So a little bit sparser, maybe a little bit more disciplined the sound and its allowed I think texture wise like the keyboards and other things that we use like the samples to come through a bit more.
The photos from the album look very exotic, where were they taken?
Well some of them it was decided that like the LP was going to be a bit more sort of cosmopolitan so some of them were taken in Barbados, we did a photo shoot in LA and then after that coming back from there we flew over to the Wirral to do the rest of the shoot.
Why the sniper sight on the cover?
The sniper sight on the cover is back to what I was saying earlier about like a loss of freedom, a sort of underpinning uneasy feeling about you know the potential to always be watched, even unfavourably... if there is a favourable way to be spied on but even by you know a sniper who's about to take you out.
What are the planned singles for the album?
Definitely 20 Million Miles From Earth will be the next single and then I don't know, personal favourites... which I think is the next question!
What's your favourite track on the album?
My favourite track on the LP at the moment apart from 20 Million Miles is Paranoid 16, but its really hard to pick a favourite, it changes every day.
When's the tour and have you got any surprises in store for it?
The tour will be round about the release date of the album which is the end of August, beginning of September so it should be around about then and yeah we have a few ideas to make the tour special and memorable, just incorporating basically the whole surveillance, suburbia aspect of the LP, trying to actually bring that to the stage. Sort of a Blue Velvet by David Lynch live.
Do any of you do karaoke? If so, what songs do you do?
No, maybe if I was in Japan I might do karaoke because its, even though it comes from there we've sort of polluted it in our own particular way. In Japan its like a form of therapy for all the business men and they work hard at the office, finish about 5, go downstairs to the nearest bar, sing My Way after a few drinks and then go home to the wife and kids. And they take it very seriously whereas we don't! To be honest I'm never in a position to do karaoke because I'm never hanging round pubs, I haven't got a local or anything.
What is the best place outside of your native country to play a concert?
A particular favourite of mine to play outside of the UK is... I love anywhere in America, I just love America, New York - we played New York Irving Plaza â€“ that was amazing because it was like a sell out gig and we went to a party afterwards in a bar underneath and then walked home and it was easy to find the hotel because apart from New York just being a grid system, we were a block away from the Empire State Building. I also love Germany, anywhere in Germany. I think that might be my fascination with Krautrock showing through a bit but it was an absolute joy to play places like Cologne and to play... see when we went to Germany as well the last time it was straight after the Tin Planet tour which was quite a large tour in this country and then we went over to Germany and we were playing in fucking closets, we had to build the stage out to fit just Franny's keyboards on. That was refreshing though, it was a real back down to earth experience.
Who are your main influences?
Everyone really, I couldn't single out any particulars, I just think that music you listen to as you're growing up just seeps in here [points to head] and ends up influencing you in an unconscious way. I know bands that I grew up listening to that I actually still listen to â€“ things like Roxy Music, T Rex, Bowie, Kraftwerk, Neu!, Pere Ubu, I could go on but its like they're not things that you specifically go â€œOh I'm gonna do something in the vein of...â€ but I think the way they do things themselves intrinsically sort of seeps in to the way you end up doing things.
Are there any plans for any TV appearances to publicise the new album, single and tour?
Yep, I think once the album's out and the single's out it just snowballs all the tv and the press and things like that just come part and parcel with the release.
There is no album is there?
Who wrote that?! No there isn't!
Have there been any alterations to the new album or is it still the same?
No, no its still the same, the tracklisting is the same as been on the website for far too long now, the cover's the same. The only change might be that it might come in a slip case which we're trying to push for. That's it really, it hasn't changed a bit.
How happy are you with the new album?
We're more happy with this album I think than we've been with either of the other two â€“ for reasons I went on about earlier, just like creative freedom and the ability to experiment and Steve Lironi being such a cool producer.
What do you think about Liverpool's bid to become the City of Culture?
Well, I was quietly confident but we've won it now so I just look forward to, well basically I look forward to a bit of funding for up and coming bands because even thought the city has quite a long and large heritage of musicians and we're known around the world for it like from the Beatles and all the Merseybeat bands, The Teardrop Explodes, The Bunnymen, all the Zoo stuff through the Las right up to like The Coral and the scene thats going on at the moment â€“ ourselves included! And even though we've had this legacy its sort of, young bands are still hurried into getting like other jobs because the Job Centre refuses to acknowledge the fact that being a musician is a bona fide career. So I think with winning the bid for the city of culture it should actually bring a bit of funding in for you know, rehearsal rooms, a few more studios that're affordable prices for young musicians and anything basically like management agencies just to sort of, even just give advice because one of the worst things that happens to young bands is, they give up because they find it such a hard struggle and it is a hard struggle but if you stick at it the rewards are there. Anyway
Where do you see yourselves in 3 years time?
Hopefully making the 8th LP and not struggling to release the 5th.
WHERE THE HELL IS THE ALBUM?
Its imminent, its on the horizon!
Will there be any more Music For Aliens?
Yes most definitely thats just an ongoing thing. Its just nice to have some outlet for things that you know don't necessarily fit into other things. Like the LP or don't even like fit in as b-sides. So its a nice place for all the little stray songs that would otherwise remain homeless.
What songs from LYMTF were going to be singles?
Well I know apart from Diary of a Wimp, Love You More Than Football itself was going to be the follow up single and from the initial sort of album which I think there are some bootlegs available. I don't know there was never a third one sort of suggested but I would have thought something like Yes You Do would have been a great single but then I think Tommy went off that one so I don't think that was even going to end up on the LP and then after the record company pulling the release of the LP and asking us to record more tracks we worked with Andy Hughes from The Orb and did some brilliant stuff with him like The Shit You Talk Is Beautiful was one of the songs we did with Andy, there was a song called Welcome To Radio Hell which I thought would have been a brilliant single and Take a Walk I think would have been an amazing single.
What was your favourite Jamie song?
Me favourite Jamie song? I have two, Gravity because I think its the best song hes ever written and to be honest is ever likely to write and I don't wanna curse anyone with such a statement but I do think its an amazing song and you could get like some pissed old tramp busking it, singing it and it would still come across as an amazing song and me other favourite one is Children Of The Night for the opposite reasons, its very tongue in cheek lyrically I think it was brilliant and I dunno if it turned out quite the way Jamie wanted it but I tended to take his simple little song about Dracula and vampires and turned it into like Dracula on Ice, sort of a Rocky Horror Picture Show vibe but I just love it, I love the atmosphere and feel of it and really enjoyed doing bat and wolf impersonations and Bela Lugosi impersonations.
Do you think you'll achieve commercial success again, and is that important to the band?
Not bothered and its not really important to the band, I mean as long as we earn enough doing what we do to support ourselves and our families thats all we ask. Its you like you know we never came into this business to become like you know a massive pop band, it took us more by surprise the success of Female of the Species it was, you know we always intended to be like a cult type band like Cypress Hill or Pere Ubu or something but hopefully we'll achieve that now.
Any chance of touring Australia in the next... oh I dunno, 10 years or so?
Yep we were actually due to go to Australia and I don't know it just got pulled and that was recently but I don't know the reason why it got pulled
What were your inspirations for the name of your albums and the name â€œSpaceâ€ itself?
You'd have to ask Tommy or Franny this question really, I know Tin Planet was named after Mike Badger's sort of tin artwork he does, he makes sculptures out of reclaimed metal which was quite apt because we made songs out of reclaimed music!
You're not going to throw the towel in on us are you?
Er... no, no
When did you play your first gig, who was it with and where?
My first gig personally was... oh it must be about 1981-1982 and I had a band called The Dance Party and it was with Mike Head who now has a band called Shack, we were both starting out in bands you know because of the punk thing, like we just had to form a band and we went into Probe Records one day and there was a poster on the wall for Pete Wylie's band The Mighty Wah and they were playing their first gig at the Everyman Bistro in Liverpool and it had underneath plus support The Dance Party and we knew nothing about this and we just shit ourselves and when I'd spoke to Pete he was like â€œWell do you wanna do it or not?â€ you know and he basically put us on our toes and we'd been telling everyone we had this band and now we had to prove it so intensive rehearsals were called for and we did the gig and it was brilliant and that was when I just got hooked on playing live. If he hadn't of actually forced our hand I really don't know what would have happened, whether either of us would have stuck at it, so thanks Pete.
CD or Vinyl which do you prefer?
I must say I prefer vinyl, not for any sonic quality or anything its just texturally I like having the full 12â€ by 12â€ artwork in front of me and the tactile sort of feel of the vinyl itself which you don't get with a little plastic jewel case with a shiny piece of crap inside. And although CDs are convenient, sound great, i don't know it just doesn't have the romantic image that a vinyl record has. Plus I'm a bit fed up with Cds just the fact that they keep trying to sell you everything again don't they, you think you've bought something, you've already sold all your records, bought everything again on CD and then they start selling it again on CD its been remastered and then you buy that and then its like â€œAh but it hasn't been remastered to 32 bitsâ€ so you buy that and its like you used to just buy a record and that was the record and then you played it until you wore it out and then you'd go and buy another version but it was the same record.
What was your favourite childhood toy?
Are â€œSpaceâ€ the Band still a viable option?
Yeah I think we go from strength to strength and when we start cocking that up then we'll revise our situation.
Have you done the video for '20 Million Miles From Earth' yet?
No the videos usually round about the release date of the single theres usually a panic in the last couple of weeks before release when someone just thinks â€œOh God we need a video!â€ and then they just get ideas together and you either approve them or poopoo them!
Any plans for Official Space merchandise in all good music/clothes stores? (Maybe â€œZombiesâ€ on a T-shirt?)
We did have some t-shirt designs for Zombies but they never actually got made but maybe in future they looked really cool just black with â€œWe're all Zombiesâ€ on the front. Yeah its definitely something on the agenda, for the website shop as well which would probably be the first place you'd see them.
Do you go through the same routines before a gig?
I suppose so really, its usually just a couple of drinks in the dressing room, a few warm-up exercises and then a communal prayer.
Do you always get along with the support act?
Generally yeah we get along with the support act but I mean personally always make it a point to go and see the support act because we've had some fantastic bands play with us in the past and generally they've all been like brilliant people you know. There were a few I couldn't stand but I won't name names and there's only been a few.
Any plans to release the absolutely outstandingly amazingly fantastic Take A Walk? And if not, why not?
I mentioned this before actually, it was one of the songs from the Andy Hughes sessions. I wonder where you've heard it, it must have been live. To us I think it was always a potential single and we did a couple of tv shows in Wales that were broadcast and they'd be interesting things to get hold of and if anyone's actually got them on tape I wouldn't mind a copy. You could send them in to the website. And we did Take A Walk, we did Welcome To Radio Hell, The Shit You Talk Is Beautiful and I forget the other one but we did four songs over like two different programs and Take a Walk as far as we're concerned was always going to be a single so much so we were gonna include it on a new LP but we had so much stuff demoed and by the time we got in the studio with Steve Lironi we forgot about it!
Were there any other LYMTF b-sides?
I don't know, there was as I said about three LPs worth of material recorded over that period so some of the stuff obviously would have ended up as b-sides. Probably all of Edwin's stuff cos Gut hated them and as far as we were concerned that was the best stuff that Edwin Collins did you know?
Any chance of one of the gigs in the tour being filmed and released as a video?
I think we've been sort of talking about maybe having cameras on tour with us to basically film the soundchecks, the boring bits, the lead up to the gigs, the gigs themselves, just a bit of a documentry type thing.
Will we get to see footage of the Unity Gig?
There's definitely plans to put together the footage for the Unity and maybe release it in the Space Shop on the website as a limited edition DVD. I'm actually just going through the tapes of it and it sounds fantastic.
Has the Zombies video been junked?
No, but rather than it remain unseen and a myth we've decided to put it up in the near future for everyone to view on the website.
Any other pre-Space stuff available beside the â€œHit the Northâ€ cd (Australians)?
I have some old releases but I don't think they're generally available. There's a track by the band I mentioned The Dance Party and also a track by my other band The Balcony available on The Viper Label â€“ Liverpool Unearthed Volume One. There's a couple of really hard to find singles by The Balcony out there somewhere as well as an album called Portrait which was a cassette only release. There's a Balcony compilation CD planned soon as well as a re-release on CD of the first single. I have an acoustic version of one of the tracks on my album Pitch A Ladder To The Moon available on again The Viper Label â€“ The Great Liverpool Acoustic Experiment album I think its called and I have a couple of albums coming out as limited edition runs on the Space website shop as well as a limited edition single of me Krautrock band Moongoose so check out the shop!
Well thanks very much for your time, your questions, your patience and we look forward to seeing you at these few gigs we're doing before the tour and also we're really looking forward to hearing what you think of the album and I think we're gonna try and get a few little snippets up there as tasters before the LP comes out... keep checking that website!
Bye for now.