Hey Mr C, how you? Yes, it's been too long, I'm very well thank-you. I've Mainly been finishing Capital, releasing the 'This Gun' EP and trying to get my live gigging self shipshape for next year. Had a struggle with lineups and lack of rehearsal time but it's coming together now and it'll be an ace year.
Blair's gone, Howard is gone, Bush is going to go, is the world changing or are we just replacing like with like still?
It's not massive change but it still counts - it's not like-for-like either. I'm optimistic about the USA and pessimistic about the UK. I think Cameron's got a real shot, especially as weeks go by and Brown continues to stumble. But also Barack Obama may make a real go of it against Hilary and one of them will be President - will be fascinating to see if Brown is renewed by a Liberal Democrat POTUS - especially now Oz has gone a bit to the left as well. And with amazing stuff going on in Latin America as well.
What issues are bothering you at the moment?
The end of privacy, the ownership of information and ID Cards, Technology versus reduced consumption. Cultural stagnation and the alienation of our youth, Immigration as well (being strongly for the free movement of people). I'm struggling with the hope that climate change will bring about an end to market economics and the awareness that it will hurt the pooorest, while the powerful inevitably escape wallets intact.
Does politics still have a place in music and does it still have a place in yours?
Yes and yes, though I like the pattern of separating issue-based songs into their own releases, so they don't cloud the 'proper' albums. So there may be a '9 More Red Songs' in the future, or '9 Green Songs' since that word has been as exploited and devalued as 'red'. I've also got a pile of dark love songs mounting up too.
I have mixed feelings in retrospect about '9 Red Songs' because twits who've not listened to it, or don't know or understand me, now feel qualified to comment on my politics. Once you've said something as harsh and overt as 'Huntsman' or 'Preaching', you can never unsay it. It's impossible to reclaim your ambiguity. I've learned the value of
people not knowing where I stand!
Is it hard to consistently write songs with some sort of core meaning, not just random rubbish strung together.
No, writing songs is the easiest bit of being in the music industry. It's everything else that's hard. The starting point for a lot of my songs is identical to the starting point to a short story - ie. an idea in a notebook. Either that or almost the whole song comes in one go.
How long or hard is your songwriting process?
Getting about 3/4 of the way through is easy, then the structure and the last few lines kill me. Often I'll literally be doing final vocals that afternoon and still tweaking the last line or two over lunch.
Do you prefer solo or band shows?
Right now, when we get it right, band shows are where it's at. I'd like to play hard and get out there with really ace touring alt-rock bands. Again, I feel a bit tied to my legacy that I'm a 'songwriter' when folks who've known me a bit longer know I want it loud and electric and can do that pretty well. I keep getting suggestions of songwriters to tour with when I'm thinking ffs I should be on the road with Sebadoh or Future Of The Left or Forward Russia!.
Lifelong, it'll end up being acoustic or quiet, because it's so much simpler. I was hoping the acoustic folk world would have noticed me more by now, because that's where I'll be heading for an audience later on!
Who do you rate at the moment?
Future Of The Left, The State Of Georgia (Georgia from The Research), The Enemy, Eugene McGuinness, Shy Child, Sam Isaac, loads of stuff.