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ON THE ROAD TO SHANGHAI WITH EXILE PARADE - AN EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW BY MEL

Exile Parade are a North West indie band, made up of Lomax (the voice), brothers Dave (bass) and Phil (guitar) Hennessey, Chris (Lead Guitar) Owen and Gary (drums) Mutch. Most unusually they managed to secure a headline festival in of all places China, (Zebra Festival, Chengdu) and off they trotted in May for a three date tour, around the world, just like that, a mind blowing experience of a lifetime. In addition to the tour they have been putting the final touches to their debut album, which has been produced in part by Owen Morris (famed for Oasis and The Verve). I was keen to get some feedback on the trip and also the lowdown on the long awaited album. Behind Warrington’s Bank Quay train station and sheltering at the rear of the Speedway track is home to the rehearsal studios for a collection of local bands such as The 66, The Stocks and Exile Parade. I took myself along to spend a couple of hours with the guys and whilst there grab a quick photoshoot. I was whisked with beer in hand to their practice room down a flight of stairs, and I plonked my ass on a drum stool, whilst the band sat around me. It turned out to be the longest live interview I’ve ever done, at just over an hour. 

MEL: So what have you been doing since my last interview with you in September of last year?

LOMAX: We’ve been recording, recording, recording - that’s it!

MEL: You’ve done loads of stuff…

LOMAX: Yeah, we’ve been to China, but all I’ve got in my head is the album  It’s just fucking taken over our lives, which is a good thing. We ended up going to China which is absolutely insane, the other end of the world.

MEL: So have any of you done anything personally different than the band?

PHIL: There’s not really been much personal it’s been pretty much completely saturated by getting the album done. It’s got to the point where we need to get it done. There’s always hurdles in the way but, whatever it is, get in there and get it done. Pretty much everything's been put on hold, even live gigs, even doing stuff like this to an extent; there have been a few exceptions like China and this.

 

MEL: So the trip to China was it just one headline festival you did or a tour?

LOMAX: Mini tour - three gigs, we had the main Zebra Festival in the middle, before and after it we had a couple of club ones.

DAVE: They really stood up for themselves those club ones, they’re closer aren’t they.

LOMAX: We had a big spectacle, the self achievement of getting a massive stage, loads of people, playing the big festival, but these clubs they were dark and dingy, full of people, full of Chinese people.

MEL: You’re pretty massive over there though!

LOMAX: Well not massive, what does that mean? But…I know what you mean like totally.

MEL: You were headlining a festival, so how did you originally get to be known in China of all places?

PHIL: Just the internet.

DAVE: It’s a bloke called Tony Chu. Yeah, he just likes us, don’t know how he came into contact with us but he took it upon himself to just distribute Exile Parade all over China. He set up a website like our equivalent of MySpace and drummed up loads of interest and eventually it did and it caught on.

MEL: Do any of you speak any Chinese at all, or tried it?

PHIL: None of us knew any Chinese but we picked up a few words like xie xie (thank you), gan bay (cheers), zeye xian (bye) and ni hao (hello)

MEL: I saw you had loads of screaming girls at this festival.

LOMAX: It’s so new to them over there, I mean we all know China is a Communist country and the freedom that we take for granted. It’s true all the kids are very composed and very polite; they don’t step out of line do they?

CHRIS: All the Chinese police at the front of the stage watching, it was within the law but they were going mad, it felt like it going back to the 50’s or something.

PHIL: You could feel it, the atmosphere in terms of – I’m not saying suppressed, as it’s not for us to say [Lomax - but in comparison to us]. You could tell when we walked on stage and we started playing our music, you could feel the release and the kind of lift of that tension if you know what I mean.

LOMAX: It is something that you can never get over here, because The Who did it like thirty odd years ago. Over here it’s been totally exhausted, you can still get great bands, great performances, have a great night, you can get all those things [Mel - Its hard to be original].

DAVE: Just like these Chinese people sat on someone’s shoulders or jumping up and down it was extreme rebellion sort of thing wasn’t it? It was brilliant.

MEL: Do you get a lot of fan mail and stuff sent to you from China?

LOMAX: Yeah, on Myspace - they have one called Douban, they don’t have Myspace but it’s kind of interlinked. There was a gaggle of people who say “do you remember me” and obviously you don’t [laughs all round]. I’m going [shouts] “yeah course I love you”. Have you heard our song “Get Your Gun Boy’?[Mel - Yea saw it on YouTube] In that I sing ‘Freedom’, so screaming Freedom to like thousands of kids who haven’t got freedom, not like we have, honestly haven’t. You can get locked up for ridiculous things can’t you. So, screaming freedom to all these kids for those 4 minutes they were going for it, absolutely going for it.

MEL: On a massive stage, that must have been a real buzz?

LOMAX: It was, it was shocking! [Laughs].

PHIL: It was just over so fast, we were travelling for like 20 hours, literally just travelling and travelling, planes, trains, automobiles. It was like a never ending journey to China. So, everything was building up to it and fifteen minutes before it started absolutely pissing it down. It was like no rain I’ve ever seen in this country. It was like drops the size of cars, wasn’t it? [Lomax – Like a monsoon]. There was plastic sheeting all over our amps and stuff, so then we didn’t really think about it cos we were shitting it about dying or whatever [laughs all round] The gig just kind of like… happened - we walked out in front of 60,000 people. You go off stage and you go “fucking hell!!”

DAVE: When you look back at the footage, cos it went by that quick, you don’t really remember what songs you played.

MEL: You were probably in a bit of a daze what with all the hours of travelling you'd put in!

DAVE: It was an extreme gig cos I couldn’t even hear what I were playing cos it was chucking it down. I had plastic sheets all over the amp to stop it getting soaked. I literally had to put my ear right to my amp to check it was actually working. So, I played the entire set just blind, I thought well, my fingers are in the right place, so I must be playing it right.

LOMAX: All the floor was full of puddles. I was thinking don’t fucking fall over. No one gets a gig like that, where things go perfectly well, weather perfect and all that. [Mel - The footage is fantastic] Exactly, it all adds to the drama. We like a bit of theatrics don’t we, that kind of drama.

PHIL: We’ve got the footage and you can see we’ve got the steam off the crowds and rain sleeting down through the lights and we’re pretty glad it rained after all. I’m pretty sure if I was watching a band I really loved and it started absolutely pissing down and knew there was a bar around the corner I’d be pretty tempted to go and have a pint but in fairness they stayed, it didn’t put them off.

DAVE: Plus it was quite funny, in the photography pit in front of the stage, we saw our manager, typical Brit with a towel over his head. [Laughing all round].

MEL: Given your popularity there maybe you should all consider moving to China?

CHRIS: The food just puts you off.

DAVE: It was nice at first, a bit of a novelty, but then you get sick of rice.

MEL: Any interesting experiences you'd like to recall?

LOMAX: Yea, a fifteen hour train journey [Phil – eighteen it was] we got told it was fifteen. It was like a terraced row of houses on a train track. So, you’ve got corridors, a bit like this corridor, and then you go into a room which is minute, with these little hammocks, you go into your room and there’s four Chinese blokes and one woman and there’s your hammock. What a night!

DAVE: They turn all the lights off at 11 o’clock.

CHRIS: They’ve got truncheons and all that.

PHIL: On Virgin rail, you get a guy, nice as pie coming around with a satchel “have you got your tickets please”. Over there it’s a guy with a gun “have you got your ticket”.[laughs].

LOMAX: Dead stern, getting woken up next morning, it got to a point were I thought I need to sleep, fucking collapsed, deepest sleep known to man. Woke up with my eyes still asleep, “Lomax, Lomax here’s your breakfast” brilliant, haven’t ate for ages, I can’t wait for it. Opened it, it was fucking boiled rice with an egg. [Laughs]

DAVE: It was like a green egg though.

PHIL: The thing is I pestered em for like two hours, “are we gonna get breakfast on this train or what” and they said “yea, yea, yea you have burgers, sausage, hash brown”. Yea, get in!! It comes and as you said its boiled rice and an egg! [Laughs].We arrived in Shanghai, three hours later, the grumpiest bastards in the whole of fucking Asia, and went straight to McDonalds. [Laughs] Normally we can’t stand McDonalds but we got in our mini bus afterwards and got extra supplies, like 20 hamburgers.

MEL: Did you give them a list of anything you wanted at the show, you know when bands make a list of requests?

LOMAX: A few crates, got decent food. It was our first tent signing as well. “Come on its Exile Parade”. We were the only Western people we saw for like a week and a half. You’ve got all your merchandise, people queuing up, security guards, all these foreign girls wanting to meet you, signing their stuff “Have you signed it”, “love ya” – “Love you too” - “Oh thank you, thank you”. I couldn’t believe that, and our Manager was giggling like a girl going “what the fucks going on here like”.

DAVE: We did a press conference 10 seconds before we were due on stage. We just stood there on this stage with about 100 journalists, just asking us questions, being translated, not a lot of them made sense. So, you just stood there like in the film The Usual Suspects in that scene [laughs].

 

PHIL: We were treated like Kings over there.

MEL: How did you manage to fund the trip?

PHIL: The festival and venues paid for the flights and hotels.

MEL: Do you ever get stage fright - what might you get nervous about?

LOMAX: We get more frightened of everything else apart from the stage bit, stage bit is what we wanna do, it’s the stuff that surrounds it. I get more nervous about waiting for a bus than anything to do with the band.

DAVE: Tech stuff with me, soundchecks, your amp blowing or your guitar not working, or your lead blowing.

CHRIS: If you make a mistake musically then who gives a shit?

MEL: There’s not many bands who don’t make mistakes!

LOMAX: Exactly, some bands are born to be perfectionists, like Coldplay and Radiohead. I love those bands. Our aim is to sound like we’ve made a great song and chucked it down the fucking stairs, ran at it, kicked it, make it a broken song, but still with the melody and hook and everything

MEL: So, when you came back from China did it inspire you to write about your experiences at all?

LOMAX: Yeah, totally. All your experiences just naturally end up in stuff you’re doing; everything becomes grander and a bit more epic. You’ve got more to say.

MEL: Did you write anything specific about China though? I know you have one song ‘Mach Schau’, and I can’t even pronounce it. What does it mean by the way?

LOMAX: It means “make show”, that was Boon's that. … We had this piece of music and it was just a fuckin big loud orchestra piece of noise. He is obsessed with The Beatles, he came up with this concept. When the Beatles toured Hamburg, the Germans used to shout “Mach Schau, Mach Schau, Mach Schau” at full pelt. The Beatles were there frothing at the mouth because of the pills they had to take to stay awake. If you’re in a band and you’re doing what you’re doing, if you’re a photographer or whatever, you’ve gotta make a show, you’ve gotta make it your grand creation.

DAVE: And that song, ‘Mach Schau’ it’s a live song. As we stand here now it’s a fuckin puzzle how to get that on record.

PHIL: The hardest thing in the world and the most important thing for a band is getting your live sound onto a tape – it’s so hard.

 

MEL: So let’s talk about the album, where is it all up to, why is it taking such a long time to finish?

LOMAX: We’ve spent hours on it, with mics everywhere, you take it home and for the first two days you say “yeah it’s great”, but you’ve got this little a faint voice somewhere going “It’s not really right”. Eventually this voice gets louder and you go “we’ve fucked it up haven’t we, shall we book some studio time?”.

We are lucky. We’ve all said we are lucky. Back when it all started sort of going anywhere near talking about we were like “we are gonna be signed tomorrow, we are gonna be fuckin like Lady Gaga tomorrow, in LA”. But as time’s gone on we’ve realised it would kill us that. If we did get that deal we would have signed our lives away and signed our creativity away. We’ve been around the houses getting this album sorted; we’ve gone from pro tools to tape, back to pro tools. We’ve tried recording in here, recording in the bleeding street, we’ve tried everything. We’ve ditched songs, then songs have come back in. We are at a point now where we know the album, it’s as if it’s like a person. When the album finally happens we can die knowing it sounds just like we always thought it should sound. [Mel -A masterpiece?] Yea, our masterpiece.

PHIL: We’ve had to make some tough decisions, but we have gone into the studios and thought …right this should finish this the album off  - we’ve done a session and it’s cost us two grand to do a couple of songs. We’ve had to go ya know what it’s just not fuckin good enough. What’s more important two grand or the album?

LOMAX: There’s things like personal lives. Whether you’re in a band or whatever you do still go home, you’ve got your life going on, shit happens, you might be losing your job, you might be trying to find a new job, split up with yer bird, might get a new bird. Your house might be on fire [laughs all round].

MEL: How many tracks did Owen Morris produce for you and what was it really like working with him I guess you have quite some tales to tell?

PHIL: Seven tracks, eleven in total on the album. We learnt a lot from Owen just in terms of limits. There are no limits!

LOMAX Going with Owen set a bar that we couldn’t go below.

DAVE: Owen was perfect for us cos we grew up listening to the Owen Morris era like the mid nineties – Oasis and The Verve. Every guitar player got three amps, there’s three bass amps, about hundred mics in this massive room and then in the mixing desk when you turn everything up so it’s distorted and then whatever comes out is just a complete and utter massive wall of noise – for us and our songs that is like utopia. It is just the absolute ultimate!!

LOMAX: The man’s had a fuckin mental breakdown, he’s laughing he’s fuckin drinking, he’s on about a thousand pounds of cocaine, delivered in a green Cadillac.

DAVE: He’s brilliant – I remember when we were doing ‘If I’m Not Famous’ [asks Lomax if he minds him sharing the tale]. We were doing quite a slow song, which is probably the first slow song we’ve ever had. We were doing it in the studio, it took ages and at about the eighteenth attempt to get it right. Lomax was singing it in this big massive hall sat on a stool. He’s singing it and Owen runs in, grabs a stool, throws it at him, I just saw this stool whizz past my head “you fuckin gay” [laughs all round] “Your not fuckin famous, who do you fuckin think you are sitting down doing this tune, like a pussy”. We’re all stood there like [adopts statue stance]…..dead quiet!

DAVE: It’s chaos, we’re all absolutely hammered from days and days of excess. We had this little scrap of paper, cos Boon had written the middle eight and a few verses on the spot, it was like a two minute song at first, which turned into eight minutes. He wrote it overnight on scrap paper in scrawled handwriting, there I was trying to play it with my bass on my knee, It kept floating off as I was trying to play, I’d never seen this arrangement before in my life, and there was paper all over the place.

PHIL: We’re not virtuoso musicians on the whole are we?

DAVE: Muchy is! [laughs]

MEL: When do you expect the album to be released and who is putting it out?

PHIL: It really shouldn’t be long, we went upstairs last night and counted the guitar tracks - we think we’ve got enough

We’ve got a deal for Europe, Holland Benelux and France, so it’s definitely coming out there. We had a meeting with a big label in China so it will definitely come out in China and once it’s done we are hopefully getting it mixed at Metropolis Studios in London in the next couple of weeks. We are just sorting out a mixer and then we need to get it mastered.

MEL: No sign of any labels in England interested?

DAVE: Yeah there’s a few interested. Once we’ve got the album done then it starts

CHRIS: In the meantime it needs to be finished, it needs to be mastered. We are going down to Leicester in a few weeks to try and finish the artwork and everything. We need to get all that out of the way first.

PHIL: We’ve got interest from a fair few places, not a vague interest but good relationships with people. We might as well get the album done and go right do you wanna put that out? There’s no risk for them, no risk for anyone, rather than signing a deal off the back of a couple of demos out of our practise room. So I think we are at a point now where we are pretty happy with the way it has all worked out.

LOMAX: If we have to work for the rest of our lives at our jobs and keep the band going without compromising on anything then I think we’d choose that over anything. You start off in a band and everyone gets in a band for the same reason – you’re young, influenced by someone you saw on telly or something – I need to be like that, gotta do that and you start of playing a couple of gigs and you think some bald bloke pulling out a cigar is gonna come [adopts American accent] “hey boys, I’ll take you to the big time”. It just doesn’t happen.

DAVE: Then when you’ve got iTunes and Spotify or whatever and you’re listening to music say from the late 70’s or 80’s or whatever, you might think it’s possibility one of the greatest things you’ve heard in your life. Do you give a fuck whether they were on Parkinson or The Word or something? Who gives a shit. [laughs]

LOMAX: When it comes down to it you don’t do it for the business.

DAVE: We’ll have an album which we are proud of

PHIL: We’ve done pretty much the ultimate in terms of the way you record an album. We recorded at three of the best studios in the world, [Mel: Its really the promotion side of things now] Exactly - We have recorded it as good as you possible could even if you were Muse, recorded it incredibly well, we set our standards high. So, like you say now it’s all about promotion stuff.

MEL: Have you now looked around at any agencies?

PHIL: We’ve got a few people - contacts, they’re all out there, it’s just waiting for the album. What’s the point in committing yourself to anything?

DAVE: The eternal question is whether PR companies are worth it.

MEL: You were really brilliant at the Warrington Festival, you blew every band away – what with the lights, smoke machines and of course the strange clown bouncers. What were they all about?

LOMAX: It’s like these mega stars and they go on tour and they do the big arena and stadium gigs, U2 for example, and they have huge stage shows, but why shouldn’t we fuckin do something? Just cos we haven’t got millions of pounds. [Mel: But that is the show it looked like] It’s easier when you’ve got millions “I want a fuckin canary on me shoulder” its easy, easy, but when you’ve got no money, you still get up at 6 o’clock in the morning like everyone else, go to work and still strive for the 25th of the month when you get paid and all that, we are no different to anybody else. We thought why the fuck shouldn’t we come up with an idea and have a big load of like thrills on stage. That’s it!!

MEL: People have remarked what’s all that about and Exile Parade have got really dark sounding. I just thought it was a really, really spectacular performance you put out there.

LOMAX: Tony Wilson once said “it doesn’t matter what people say about you, as long as they are talking about you”. Talking behind our backs…”you’re Muppet's, it’s fucking shit that I hate it”. Our biggest heroes musically are Oasis; it was our big starting point, but their biggest downfall is they became a parody of themselves. When I was a teenage lad, all the drugs and all the messing about, fighting and all that – I was going yeah…………..my mum was shaking her head. As time went on I think they ran out of ideas, ran out of bullshit

MEL: I just thought in Warrington you had really come into your own, compared to Preston at the Mad Ferret where I saw you for the first time in 2009 and then in Leigh. You’ve really come on so much, really confident and you were all a bit fiercer as well.

LOMAX: There were so many mistakes in that set….honestly! If you had to put it on paper the pens would run out of ink [laughs] [Mel: I think we wrote about it being a perfect set or something] [laughs]. We had a few people down the bottom videoing it and we ended up with a video to ‘Life Of Crime’. We watched it back and if we didn’t decide to go for it and put those people on stage regardless of what people think we wouldn’t have this footage to make the song have a visual element to it. You’ve got to go with your gut instinct and live with whatever happens at the end of the day.

PHIL: Without a shadow of a doubt we made mistakes, but now we really, really do 100% know what we are doing, we know the direction we are going. We know what the next song is gonna sound like and the next one after that. Totally comfortable!

LOMAX: We are an imperfect band who makes imperfect music.

 

MEL: What do you reckon is the best song on the album?

LOMAX: I think Astronaut - that is the one were we go “we’ve written a fuckin  masterpiece”….plus we produced it ourselves. People like it whether they like Beyonce or Lady Gaga, Rolling Stones or Sex Pistols. I think it’s one of those songs where it’s gonna hopefully, well pray, it’ll get everybody’s attention.

MEL: What’s it about?

LOMAX: Well, the best films in the world are about someone coming from nothing and going to something, especially Brits love films like that. Or getting something and tragedy takes it away, trials and tribulations. Being young and innocent and you dreamt about things, like I’m gonna be an Astronaut when I grow up. Then you hit your teens and something happens, dunno your fuckin parents split up, or you get bullied or you’re made redundant, or your wife gets pregnant and everything changes. Dreams go out of the window, you’ve gotta make money to feed everybody, so it’s like the theme of the innocence of dreaming and then the reality of life just trying to shatter that thing.

DAVE: It’s also a question of faith and the people who are close to you. It’s sort of like if I was an Astronaut would you still need me? Its hard to explain, it’s the questions to those people who are close to you - who are you? What sort of relationship do you have with me? How fickle are you?

LOMAX: It’s like your Mums and Dads - day in, day out everything is about getting food in to keep your family but that’s not all they are. When they were at school, causing mischief, they were having dreams and aspirations, now they’ve got kids, but that’s not all they’ve got, they’re not just a parent, they’re not just someone who works all the time, or just pays bills and council tax. Inside there’s loads of dreams and stuff, would you still need me if I did get to be an Astronaut?

MEL: Who writes the lyrics, what’s the process?

LOMAX: Phil’s the main lyric writer, he’s that way inclined. It’s bizarre when something happens it takes seconds. We can be playing, we all know without saying anything what we are trying to say or get to. Phil will then put it into English language, you know what I mean [laughs]. He’s come up with a verse, then I might come up with two lines in the second verse and then others might throw a line in.

PHIL: You get a theme - but to be honest once you get a hook, like ‘if I’m not famous’ or ‘Astronaut’ whatever, you can then relate any pretty much any fuckin sentence to it.

LOMAX: Once it starts we all start firing in. It’s probably like 90% Phil lyrics and 10% between the rest of us. We’ve all got our strengths doing stuff like, Boon’s the guitar melody man and he can cook sounds and noises and he’s very good at arrangements and stuff like that. Bound by stupidity, we need each other, fuckin useless without each other

 

MEL: At the end of the day the band’s your girlfriend – well if you want to make a real success of it. It’s gotta take priority if you want to make it a winner.

LOMAX: People come along, we’ve had so many groups of friends, girlfriends and people in our lives. Honestly so many lists of people who have been casualties, shattered, and disappeared. They couldn’t fuckin deal with it, but as time goes on it’s becoming apparent the ones who genuinely want you to be a success and genuinely think we are doing something good here, they stick by you.

DAVE: I think all of us actually both individually and as a band we’ve got the right people around us at the moment. All very focused - musically we know which direction we are going, know what we want to do, we know our sound. Four, five, six nights a week are taken up by the band in addition to our day job, so don’t forget that’s massive, a hell of a lot of time taken out of your life. So you’ve gotta have the right people around you, and I think what’s good at the moment is that we all have it. It’s not rock n roll this, its not whatsoever, but you’ve got to have it.

CHRIS: We’ve all got good mates and family around us.

MEL: So how long have you all been together?

LOMAX: We keep saying it’s about five years.

PHIL: We kind of stumbled into each other, we were pretty much mates anyway. {Mel: So, you pretty much all get along?] Yeah, it’s never been a contrived thing, it’s just what we’ve always done. We’re happy to do four, five, six nights a week just because it’s what we have always done

PHIL: It’s an obsession, It’s bigger than us. Exile Parade is actually not even us, it’s kind of like taken over. [Mel: a bit like my web site Mudkiss, it develops a life of its own, takes over] It has its own personality and in a funny kind of way, it’s probably not even the same personality as any us. Exile Parade is actually nothing like us is it? - Exile Parade is actually a bastard of a fucking swaggering thing, we are all pretty chilled aren’t we? [laughs all round].

LOMAX: It’s beautiful innit. When we’re all dead, there’s five people in the band called Exile Parade. It just never ends [laughs].

 

MEL: Have you got a title for the album yet – any mad ones you kicked out?

LOMAX: About twenty [laughs] - Bummy Bummy Bum Bum!![laughs]

CHRIS: Owen came up with a couple “Longer, Thicker, Harder” and Don’t Pull Out’ - that was actually a serious contender.  

MEL: So once the album is finally finished what are you gonna do then?

LOMAX: We’ve got platforms in America, Australia, Europe, Asia, it feels like we’ve done a lot of things which are unprecedented – it’s naturally happened.

DAVE: Don’t forget like over the past two years we’ve got a hell of a lot of record labels waiting for this album. We have got major labels waiting for it to be finished, but whether the same personnel will be still there in two months I don’t know, but it’s looking very good. That’s why we are so keen to finish the album.

PHIL: We’ve all gone through a lot of pain, financially and emotionally, to get to the point of where we are at and we are virtually there.

MEL: So, then there’ll be a launch night somewhere?

LOMAX: That’s all like finer points to consider, we start off at the big stuff, then work our way down. We can concentrate then on one big exposure and that’s the Holy Grail. I think the resounding aim is that everybody hears the fucker, whatever you think, whether anything comes of it, success does or doesn’t come, as long as you’ve all heard it.

MEL: I’ve heard a couple of tracks off it, Phil sent me Astronaut and your Manager has sent me several tracks previously, they have all been really outstanding but it’d be great to hear the full finished album.

LOMAX: It is a whole album; there is a story there. Like Elton John’s ‘Tumbleweed’ album it’s like a concept album. I’m not saying it is a concept album but naturally it is a concept without trying to be, there is a definite story there, it’s more obvious to us as we’ve lived it and been a part of the recording but hopefully with interviews the story will come out to people.

MEL: So what’s’ the story?? [laughs] the overall theme of the album if you could say it in one sentence?

LOMAX: What’s the story [laughs all round]

DAVE: It’s a long road to success – it’s trial and error.

PHIL: I think the absolute overriding theme for the whole album is just defiance. It’s just defiance of we are gonna do what we want to do. We worked a long job so we’ll make it a masterpiece. It’s gonna be what we want it to be, I can guarantee what comes out in two months time is gonna be what the five of us want it to be.

DAVE: It’s sort of like a work of perfection cos we’ve got dozens of songs that have been recorded at high value which we don’t like and which we don’t want on the album. It’s a work of obsession really.

LOMAX: You’ve got the whole X Factor thing and L.A and all that Hollywood thing. Everything is supposed to be perfect hair and teeth. I suppose it’s a bit like the punk movement which is different cos of a million reasons - cos we are. I wanna go home at night and put the fire on, I don’t wanna walk around with fleas jumping around and injecting skag into my arms [laughing]. So, I still want life’s luxuries but I don’t want a life that’s thrust upon me, that’s the band mentality.

 

MEL: My final question…phew hasn’t it been a long interview. I wanted to end more on a personal note and ask what do you guys like besides music and football?

[At this point the guys were almost stunned into silence].

PHIL: Rugby League for two of us.

CHRIS: I like a bit of reading, but to be honest we don’t have that much time.

LOMAX: I like football but I go through seasons. I might wake up and think I wanna be a bit like Kurt Cobain and go out on the piss for a couple of months, dabble in drugs, dancing in shitty bars and staying out till stupid times in a morning. But then I’ll completely change it around and stay in for a couple of months, eat nice food and lie on the sofa and watch TV, messing with the girlfriend,

MEL: It’s been great spending time with you guys today and I wish you all the best with the album, thanks for having me.

Interview/photos/video @ Warrington Festival by Mel 30/10/10