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Interviews Suburban spacemen... - September 2002 - Daily PostPhilip Key
SPACE fans (of the musical rather than astronomical kind) have been patient long enough. The Liverpool band of that name has not released a record for the last two or three years. And for a time it seemed they never would. Now a new single is to be released in November and an album early next year.
Of course, the band has not disappeared entirely and have been doing occasional dates. On Saturday they are playing a gig at Liverpool University as part of a low-key tour, so low key in fact that there are only five more dates after Liverpool in London, Cardiff, Sheffield and Glasgow, all at venues titled Bar Fly.
The band's frontman Tommy Scott was in good form this week when we spoke in Liverpool where he still lives. The problem has been the record deal, he says. There was a falling out with the old label Gut, not because of financial problems but for the traditional artistic reasons. "They wanted us to be the Beautiful-South and we wanted to be Captain Beefheart," he admits. The difficulties came from success with hit singles like Female of the Species. "You get one hit like that and record companies want more of the same," says Scott, 36. The band, however, wanted to go in its own direction. It's a problem they have faced for the last ten years or so. Even getting that first record deal had its problems. "We were around when Oasis were playing and the labels all wanted another Oasis. That wasn't us. We wanted to be a big cult band!" In the event, they got the deal with Gut and the first album Spiders became huge with various hit singles taken from it. A second album followed.
But the third has been a long time coming. In fact they did record albums which they felt were never good enough and not released. The band parted company with Gut and began a period of recording limbo. Now they have been signed to a new label Mutant Records which just happens to have been founded by Stephen Lironi, producer of the first hit album, and Liverpool-based manager Mark Cowley. "There is a bit of a cottage industry in labels these days," explains Scott. "There is so much happening with the major labels with some of them crashing that the the independents are becoming more important." By all accounts, the recording sessions proved very satisfactory. " Instead of spending two years on a album this was put together in four or five weeks."
Being the third version of the third album, there were a lot of new songs around, about 40 of them at the last count, suggests Scott. But they still wrote 11 new ones for the new album titled Suburban Rock and Roll.The new stuff has moved the band's music on but is still recognisably Space, says Scott.
It's theme is suburbia. Born in Cantril Farm (now renamed Stockbridge Village), Scott today lives in West Derby. Suburbanites sometimes feel they are living in a world surrounded by CCTV with young kids on the rampage trying to destroy it. It's a world which Scott suggests knocks the youthful rebellious feeling out of people as they grow older and better off. He likes to consider he is still a rebel but it's a complex situation which the new album considers. Although he likes to think of Space as an album band, there is the said single coming out of it: "It's hard to get out of the routine," he laughs. And, of course, a video. It won't be one of those expensive, million dollar efforts. "Just us filmed in Liverpool and a Blair Witch sort of way."
The lack of recording has hit the band in their pockets but Scott has no regrets. "We could have recorded another album but we would not have been happy with it," he says. "But luckily we have kept our fan base" - there is a website www.spacefans.org.uk - "and we have kept playing including a lot of college balls." And early next year comes a 36-date tour to coincide with the album release.
Space is at the Stanley Theatre, Liverpool University on Saturday.
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