By Alexandra McLoughlin.
How long did it take you to write your new album ‘Bombshell’?
Well, half of the songs on ‘Bombshell’ were written after I released ‘KC Rules OK’, and then the other half were older songs. Some of them were put on the list for KC Rules OK because it was kind of a retrospective. It was the label’s pick of songs I’d already recorded and put out on my own label (Fence Recordings), so by design that was quite a strong album. Although I’ve got quite a back catalogue I don’t want every record I do being cherry picks out of the past, so I tried to balance this one with new songs and songs that the label knew were quite strong already. I think I’ve got the balance pretty much 50/50.
What is the story behind the songs on your album?
The new ones are pretty much my insecurities or paranoia of whatever I’m going through at this part of my life. I’ve got a daughter now, she’s 8 and there’s a song ‘Churches Whiteness’ about a fall out she and I had, and yeah, there’s others coming from a sort of older period in time just about all different things really. They are some comedy things on there. A lot of it I suppose is relationship based and then I suppose there’s ‘You’ve no clue Do You?’ which is a kind of a “who-done-it?” in the grand “Cluedo” tradition.
Which of the songs mean the most to you on the album?
Well ‘Churches Whiteness’ because it’s for my wee girl. ‘Admiral’ has got a touch of parenthood in there. The song ‘Spystick’ I really like. That’s just kinda the sap is rising, a springtime song. Yeah, they all mean something. I don’t think I’d put a song on there that was throwaway, although you don’t want an album that’s intense from start to finish. I really like the song ‘There’s None of That’ just because it’s quite sarcastic and it’s an odd song for me to have done. It’s got a big wig out on the end.
I know that you are doing an in-store signing today. Are you going to perform there too?
Yeah. I’ll take my guitar up. We’ve usually been doing sort of half hour acoustic sets and trying not to do songs that we’re doing in the live set. I’ve been doing about 2 or 3 tunes from ‘Bombshell’ that we’re not actually playing in the live set, and then for the rest of it I’ve put together a kind of request set. We did that all through the website, anyone who put a request in will probably get their song today.
Talking about putting in requests for songs. Did you have a hell of a lot requests?
Well from Brighton, no. There were a few folk from Brighton who’d listed a few songs that they wanted, but Glasgow and Edinburgh were the ones where most of the ‘Fence’ fan base could come along to. We’ve got all our regulars on our website, they are pretty much Scotland based but there’s a few in London and a few in Brighton.
There are a lot of really good comments about you on your myspace page, people saying “I heard you the other day and you were brilliant”. That must make you feel very good?!
Yeah. Because Myspace is so kinda impersonal and everyone has a picture either of themselves or something else, you don’t really get any feeling these are real people. I know for a fact they are, but it’s hard to get that from just a Myspace picture. Then if you do a live show, you picture what your audience look like, and when comments like that go up your like wow this is somebody who is a real person, who did come to that show, who was affected by it. Maybe they didn’t come up and say anything at the time, but have then gone back and wanted to tell the world it was actually a decent night. That just makes the whole Myspace thing a bit more human for me.
Talking more about your music. I really love your latest single. Are you doing anything to do with that promotion wise at the moment?
I did do a lot of in-store promotion and I did a load of radio sessions but that was all before the tour. The next single coming out is ‘Home In A Sentence’ so I think they are already gearing up for that. I know that copies have gone out for review. There is not a lot we can do to promote our single when we are doing all the promotion around our album. As much as I’d love to be a singles band I don’t think we’re in that bracket. People don’t think of us in a singles kinda way. It’s more about the album.
You have a distinctive sound. Can you compare yourself to any of the artists out nowadays?
…Well my sort of heroes are.. Morrissey, who was a big influence, but maybe not so much now.. um…a guy called Mark Hollis from a band called Talk Talk. Michael Stipe was a big influence in the early 90s. Basically the lyrical song writers but I know that my band don’t sound anything as good as Talk Talk. My brother’s in a band ‘Aliens’ so he’s a huge inspiration.
Are you doing any new videos soon?
There’s nothing in the pipeline, although saying that there’s a short film just being finished of one of the songs. It’s a collaboration with a band called ‘Tongue’. I did that collaboration probably a year ago now but somebody’s gone and made a short film of it now. Apparently there is a DVD of it that we get to see tonight. I think for us, because we’re not a singles band, to go and spend a lot of money on a video is kinda counterproductive, in a way that it doesn’t really make a difference in singles sales for us.
I know that you are going to watch the film about Ian Curtis’s life. Is he one of your inspirations?
Erm no, although that whole Joy division thing was happening and I was aware of it as I was growing up. I was more into things like ‘Adam and the Ants’ and ‘Dexies Midnight Runners’. I dunno, I just didn’t get the whole Joy Division thing. I love ‘Love will tear us apart’- that was a huge song when I was at university, like a massive song.
What university did you go to?
I was at Edinburgh uni. I was there for 4 years and I came out with a BSC Hons in Electrical and Electronic engineering. (laughs)
Did you enjoy yourself?
I didn’t enjoy the course.
Why was that?
Because it was really dull. It ended up being applied maths, I was good at Maths and got on the course and did well in the degree, but I had no interest in it. I think the whole university thing convinced me that I should be doing music, so I spent an awful lot of time and money buying up drum machines and sequencers to record songs. I never really performed much until I left uni and I got into a band. Through the 4 years at uni I was continually recording and just becoming confident as a songwriter.
What was life like outside of lectures?
I was at home recording music. That’s pretty much it. I was never one for going out to pubs and stuff. I had a girlfriend at the time and she was in a different city so I’d probably be traveling every other weekend. I don’t remember doing much other than writing songs, recording them and making up daft tapes.
Will you be playing any festivals next year?
This was the 3rd summer on the back of the ‘KC Rules OK’ album, and I didn’t want to be playing the same set as we did in 2006 as we did in 2005, so we kept it quite light this year. We did a couple in Scotland and obviously we did our Glastonbury appearance. Basically, the way festivals work is you get every 2nd year to do a big festival. This summer we didn’t have a new record to push. I think we’re already booked for next year so I think we’ll be a lot busier festival wise in 2008.
And finally what’s next for King Creosote?
Well we’ve got this tour that runs pretty much until the first week in November. Then we go on tour with the band ‘Squeeze’. Then in January we’re doing a big show in Scotland for Celtic Connections. It’s a big folk influenced festival. So I think just plenty more gigs to try and shift this album of ours! (Laughs)
Thank you for letting me interview you.
The pleasure is mine.
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