1. What record are you looking for, if any?
I like collecting movie soundtracks on vinyl, got some great records by Ennio Morricone, Curtis Mayfield , Michel Legrand etc.. I’ve been searching for Bill Conti’s soundtrack to the 1980’s film Gloria but I don’t think it was released on vinyl. If you come cross a CD version, I’d be happy with that; it’s a great movie & the music is stunning.
2. If you were to produce/remix another artist/band, who would it be, and why?
We’ve had fun doing this in the past and I think it’s something that we could see ourselves doing more and more. I really like East Brunswick All Girls Choir, their new album Teddywaddy is fantastic. I guess I feel like we could have a musical connection & enjoy collaborating on something together.
3. What record made you want to do music for a living/was most influential on your style?
I saw Elvis Costello when I was very young at Liverpool Royal Court, he was probably touring Blood & Chocolate. I think that show made me want to play guitar & write songs. I was already into writing poetry & short stories, but that gig was magical (even if my little self fell asleep during the encore). Whether or not he’s been stylistically influential, I don’t always hear that, but I’ve always liked the sneer of those early punk records & maybe he bolsters what I’ve always believed about being brave artistically & not being afraid of trying things out.
4. With regard to the artwork/design on your albums, were there any that you’d change given the chance?
I can honestly say that I wouldn’t change any of the artwork. “Wolf’s Law” was a commissioned piece by Martin Wittfooth & a lot of thought went into tying that with the music & story behind that album. “Hitch" was a collaboration with Ralph Steadman, one of the highlights of our career & such a chance meeting in a Welsh pub! Everything in between has been penned by Rhydian & because of that it’s a very easy threading of art meets music. His collection for our latest album is some of his best work ever I think, we’ve been talking about celebrating it with an exhibition.
5. What would you ask your living music hero/person you admire, and who is that?
I think the romantic in me would like to ask Robert Smith how many songs he’s written for his wife Mary. I think it’s such a beautiful love story especially when making music & being in this crazy industry can be so damaging on your personal life & the people you love.
6. If you could have anyone cover one of your songs, which song, and who would you want doing it?
I love Santigold and I would really like to hear her covering Fog (Black Windows).
7. Which of your songs is the most personally meaningful to you, and why?
There’s a track on the new album called All in All , a co-write between Rhyds & I & I think we both find it really personal and poignant but for different reasons. It’s like we’ve mashed our individual heart ache into one voice. I had something happen to me about a week after we finished that song & it gave the track a prophetic quality too, which I found quite haunting. I love it as a song though, even though it touches a lot of nerves, I think I’ll look back and see it as one of the loveliest things we’ve written.
8. Of all the people you’ve worked with, who taught you the most, and in what way?
I think a very old manager inadvertently taught me to keep energized & happy in this industry & if every day feels like a fucking drag, you should go and do something else. He responded to a lot of creative ideas like it was a chore & I’ve promised myself since then to not get sucked into that type of creative gloominess.
9. What backstage incident/anecdote that fans won’t know about makes you laugh the most?
We were ending a tour in Montreal a few years ago & it’d been a bit full on. We were digging into the free booze more than usual, which is never a good idea if you want the show to actually sound good, instead of you just thinking it’s the best show ever. We had this opening music that was like a Celtic jig, it was quite pretty, not a Michael Flatley fart or anything like that, but Matt decided he was going to Irish dance his way through the crowd and onto the stage. He was having to jostle quite a lot of people to get to the front & he’s carrying what’s left of the whisky & his arms and legs are flying all over the place as he’s dancing. We’re watching from side of stage & we realize that some of the audience don’t recognize him & they’re thinking “who’s this fucking joker” & he ends up nearly getting beaten up at his own show.
10. If you had a record-listening party, which record would you play, and who’d you invite to discuss it?
I’m not big on dissecting music, but I could definitely host an Astral Weeks party. It’s an album that I go back to time and time again & it’s just as mystical and interesting as the first time I heard it. Maybe we could invite Van to discuss it, but he’d probably leave in his helicopter after the first song.
11. Have you kept studio notebooks of your albums or other such memorabilia/photos?
Yes, loads. There are so many boxes of notebooks and doodles & scraps of paper with artwork & reminders. I think we’re pretty good at hoarding band memorabilia, we have old set props - air raid sirens , a 9 ft lighthouse, the seesaw from Cradle. No wonder we have so many storage containers.
12. If you’re lucky enough to die peacefully on your deathbed, what’s the last song that you’d like to hear, and why?
I’d probably like to reminisce about being happy and childlike in that moment & remember my grandfather dancing and bouncing me all over the front room of my grandparents house in Wythenshawe to Come on Eileen on the telly. That’d be a good way to go.