1.To begin with, if you were to compile a Spotify Playlist for me
featuring some of your favourite music, whats the 1 new song and
the 1 old song that you would definitely add to it?
Let me think
Theres a band called The Notwist
theyre a German band and were really big fans of them
and the first song on their newest and latest album is called The Devil,
You + Me. Thats a great song, so that would be the new song! And
the old song would be (long pause + thinking), theres a song I
always like called Brakes On, which is by the French band, Air
its from 1997 I think and is on the album, Premiers Symptômes.
There was a vinyl version of it, but that song has this huge, killer
(pausing), one of the best bass-lines around (excitedly)! Thats
one of my favourite songs and we usually put it on before we go on stage.
2.For you personally, what have been the biggest changes that youve
seen take place in Gomez and in each other, since the band first emerged?
Um, I mean weve always striven to become better musicians,
better producers and I guess to some degree, become better at what we
conjure live. Obviously, for most people, thats the idea
you want to better what you started off from. I mean a lot of people
kind of care about how they look and the rock n roll nature
of everything, and though thats great, weve always been
more about the music and stuff. I guess for the most part, we have hopefully
become better (pausing), well no, I think weve definitely become
better at all of our instruments! I think weve all started playing
more and on this recent album, I would say getting back into electronics
and computers, learning how it works a lot better and being more talented
at doing that, has been a big recent change. Everyones become
better vocally and on A New Tide, Im playing a lot more on the
record more so than I did on the previous album which
is kind of cool. So, its always evolving and its always
3.What have been some of your personal highlights / defining moments,
during your career so far?
I guess there have been a few really momentous shows, Glastonbury
in 1999 I think was phenomenal! Because it was sort of
like on our way up, and it was the year after Bring It On was kicking
off and we played The Second Stage, or whatever it was, and there was
just the biggest crowd (big smile). It extended over the normal kind
of zone of things. So headlining was like, Can we do this? Are
we good enough to be able to do this? (laughing). Weve also
had some great shows in Australia there was a Festival there
a few years back called Cockatoo Island, and it was basically a hanger,
a gigantic air hanger on this Island just off Sydney. They put a Festival
on this Island it was an old prison or something like that
and it was kind of one of those gigs where you couldnt do anything
wrong, and everyone was elevating (laughing). It was great (smiling)!
4.Tony Christie recently released an album entitled Made In Sheffield,
where he sings songs written by Sheffield songwriters, new and old.
But is there a legendary musician who you would like to see record a
Made In Merseyside album, also covering a Gomez track?
Wow, thats tricky! Im trying to think who would be
around (pausing), my goodness thats a tricky question.
Im trying to think whos still alive and would be able to
do something like that (thinking). In a twisted kind of way, you know
The Las Lee Mavers
*I mention that I read a news story about Lee Mavers last week, which
reported that hes apparently considering recording a new Las
album with Babyshambles as his backing band*
Oh really (surprised)!?! I know hes definitely had trouble
sorting out the band and who he wants to play with, but if he could
this is obviously very contrived but if he could play
like The Las did, or like the album, it would be great for him
to record a Made In Merseyside album I think. And did you
say that hed also cover a Gomez song? My goodness, Im trying
to think of anything that could be appropriate (pausing), maybe something
more modern might be good. He could probably do a very unusual version
of any of our songs, but the first song off the new album called Mix,
might be sort of in his vein. I dont know? I could imagine him
doing it solo or something, that could be kind of cool!
5.Would you say that Gomez could have existed in any musical decade?
Its interesting, because I think a lot of people started
to understand that we are all of these different styles of music, and
that from album to album, it will change. A lot of people have said
that maybe we could have been around in The 70s, but obviously
our sound would be different. I guess in some twisted way, we would
have worked in The 60s as well we probably would have been
a lot more psychedelic I reckon, but I think that could have been a
cool way of doing it!
6.Of all your songs to date, which one has been the easiest to write
and record, and which one has been the most difficult?
Um, ooh (pausing + thinking). Whippin Piccadilly was probably
one of the easiest songs, because it was so fast I think Ian
wrote that literally in about 10 minutes and then recording it, was
very, very simple. One of the hardest ones theres a song
on the new record called Sunset Gates, which is the very last song,
and its a song that I had parts of and had the basis of, then
Ben wrote the melody on top of that. Then, we kind of had this mid-state
where we had half a song and it took pretty much a year, in like different
stages wed only worked on it a couple of times, but a long
time each time until it got to the state where it was teetering
on a cliff, about to fall in all of the time (laughing). But then it
was kind of like, Yes, weve achieved it (laughing)!
Sometimes, you can take a long time and just put something out because
it works, but this was like, Oh no, this is an amazing result
7.Do you have any interesting tales from your time spent in recording
Ooh, I dont know (laughing)? I always think of terrible
situations well, not terrible situations (laughing), but you
know what I mean. Weve had various incidents and times when weve
been singing down things and concocting things weird variations
of instruments etc. But, and I dont know why, the first thing
that came to mind was recording a song we did on the Machismo E.P. years
ago. Theres a track on that called The Dajon Song, and we were
particularly stoned while we were recording it (laughing), to the point
of that whole take, after about 3 minutes, you can nearly hear us falling
asleep (laughing)! Its not the best song weve ever done,
but it was amusing that we were nearly falling asleep while recording
8.How did it feel to hold and play your very first pressed record?
Oh God, I dont even know if I do remember that. Im
trying to think back and hone in on that actual feeling (pausing), I
remember getting my first Gold Disc and it was still of the time when
everything felt so new and fresh, and we were still turning into a band.
Because when we got signed, we were guys who could record music, but
we couldnt necessarily go and play it live very well, we werent
that talented at that point. So, everything for quite some time, was
very much us in our little bubble just floating around, kind of going,
Oh, well play this and well do this TV show, because
these people said they like us this is all very complimentary.
But, after a while, we were kind of like, OK, were just
these guys hanging out and playing music. But when we got the
Gold Disc, it was kind of confirmation, like, We never expected
this! We expected to sell a few hundred records and that would
be that you know? So I remember that more than actually holding the
physical (pausing), I remember working on all the artwork and again,
we were caught up in this world of, This is surreal, but this
is exciting (smiling)!
9.Have you ever bought, or been tempted to buy an album based purely
on the artwork, not knowing what the actual music was going to be like?
Oh yeah (without any hesitation + laughing)! Ian used to be in
Sheffield and Ben was at Sheffield University, so we all used to be
there a lot and there was a record collector shop. We used to have fun
and did a lot of buying of great records there. But wed quite
commonly go in there and check out some covers and I remember Ian particularly,
buying a Barry Gibb one I cant recall the album now, but
the cover I think, was him with huge hair (laughing). And the background
was a swimming pool or something like that one of those ones
where youre like, This is so terrible, that Im definitely
going to have to buy it you know (laughing)? But yeah, we used
to do that quite a lot.
10.What are your thoughts on established groups such as Ash and The
Smashing Pumpkins now abandoning the traditional album format, preferring
instead, to concentrate on only releasing singles?
I mean were very much and always have been, a band about
albums its what we grew up with! So I mean, being into
music, we just held that up as being the format, thats what you
do you strive to make something anywhere between 30 minutes and
ideally, 45 minutes. Something that segues well and is beautifully crafted,
as much as you can. Its a challenge in many ways, but I also liked
it when The Beatles said, It doesnt make sense for us to
play live anymore, well just do albums. I like that and
to some degree, its also what The Beach Boys did. So in that respect,
the singles only concept is leading on in a more modern
day way. I think its interesting (pausing), I think its
a huge challenge! If youre going to keep writing singles, then
theyll have to be just phenomenal you know? Theyll have
to be bang after bang after bang. I kind of like the idea, but how will
it work? Will they just be in The Charts all the time? I would probably
personally cap it in some way and say, Were going to do
10 songs or 12 songs, theyre all going to be singles and that
will be an album later. Have something in that format
*I say that I think Ash are planning to collect all of their singles,
later releasing them together on one CD*
Oh right, its a big challenge, but I like it its
creative! Its going to be so surreal though, like live on stage,
theyll be like, OK, heres our current single,
then This will be our next single, before going, Heres
another new single
(laughing)! Ill be interested to
hear Ashs official announcement and more details about how its
all going to work.
11.On a similar note, how do you feel about artists and bands
giving gig ticket incentives, such as Coldplay, who are reportedly throwing
in a free Live CD with every ticket sold for their summer stadium shows?
Thats wonderful, but unfortunately, I think sometimes bands
like that the bigger artists get rave feedback for doing
something like that. But for me, its not that creative. I just
think a lot of bigger bands in that position could be doing lots of
cool, different manoeuvres of how to do things, when it comes to giving
incentives. I think its great that Coldplay are doing it, but
to be honest, in some ways, theres a little bit of me thats
kind of envious, like, Id totally do that if we could afford
to. I think U2 and everybody I know they do charity stuff
a lot more but if I was them, Id like to think that either
the band themselves or someone connected to them creatively, could be
coming up with little niche ideas to throw out and do something different
being a bit more contemporary about it.
12.If you could have been at any gig in the history of music, which
one would you have most liked to have attended?
Wow! I dont know? The first thing that popped into my mind,
would probably be seeing Hendrix, but Im not sure which gig. Because
I dont necessarily think the Isle Of Wight and Woodstock shows
even though theres obviously lots of footage theres
probably better gigs, so that would have been interesting to see him.
Seeing any Tom Waits gig at anytime, would be one of my ultimate favourite
things to do. I dont know? I cant really give you a definitive
answer sorry (laughing).
13.Are there any Gomez songs that youve never played live, but
would like to?
Well, up until last August, there was a song off the first album
called Bubble Gum Years, and until we did the 10th Anniversary shows
of Bring It On, wed never played it live before. Tom had personally
played it, but we hadnt as a band so for 10 years, wed
never played that song. But on that tour, we brought that one out. But
there are a number of songs and most albums have maybe 2 or 3, where
either weve tried it live or weve rehearsed it, or we dont
physically have enough men to do it and thats quite a common
theme with a lot of them. Nowadays, we do a lot more stuff with our
computers, so if were a man down and we cant play certain
keyboard parts, were doing what we tried to do years ago and having
it on samples and back-up and stuff, but now, were a bit more
refined I think (smiling). There are also various songs that disappear
for many years Tijuana Lady is one of them but now were
playing it again.
14.Over the years, have you ever met any people that you admire,
and what were your impressions of them?
Yeah, weve met a lot of people who we admire over the years.
Whenever weve played on Jools Holland, we always seem to bump
into great people! I dont think it was the first time we played
it, maybe the second time? But Page & Plant were on there, and they
were like right next to us, because youre in the circle as youre
playing. They were very complimentary we did the rehearsals and
they were stood there just watching us and we were like, My God,
this is nerve-wracking (laughing)! Afterwards, they were clapping
and gesturing how good it was and things (smiling). We also did it with
David Bowie one time, and he was particularly enthusiastic about it.
But over the years, lots and lots of people pay you attention and give
you nice comments. One of our favourites back in the day
was when we won an award from Q Magazine, and John Lee Hooker was on
a video link-up holding the album (excitedly)! It was just so bizarre
to know that he physically had and heard it (pausing), well, hopefully
he had heard it, but his comment was that he could find no defects.
So I guess thats a pretty good thing (laughing)!
15.One of the major attractions of Gomezs music for me, has
always been the presence of 3 different and unique singers. But if you
could put 3 singers together providing that they are all still
alive and have them sing any song of your choice, who would they
be and which track would you pick?
God, I would probably pick 3 people that wouldnt compliment
each other in a way. One of my favourite singers who appeared
on the latest album is called Amy Millan, she used to play more
so with Broken Social Scene and a band called Stars she would
be outstanding! And then, let me think (long pause + thinking)
I really like Andrew Birds voice, so those two and (thinking),
Ive got millions and billions coming to me (laughing), but Im
trying to think of another girl who would be kind of good. Who else
could I throw in there (long pause + thinking). Maybe just for a mix-up,
someone like Jim James from My Morning Jacket, do you know those lot?
That would be a pretty crazy combo! And which song would I like to see
them all sing together? Wow (thinking), it would probably have to be
a classic tune of some kind, maybe it could be a Dylan song or a Neil
Young song, maybe even a song by The Band, something by them
anything by any of those guys.
16.Is there anybody that you would love to have a jam with?
Yeah, there are lots of musicians! Our favourite people and some
of the guys that played on our new record like Stuart Bogie who
also plays with a band called Antibalas those guys are insanely
good live and although weve had them play on our albums, weve
never really kind of jammed with them. Stuart is a good friend of ours
and he is probably one of the most exciting musicians to see live, because
its like hes about to take-off he gets so into the
music and hes so energetic, just naturally, that everybody who
sees him is like, I cant take my eyes off him! Because
when hes about to play his part, hes just getting hyped
and hyped (laughing)! So in a strange way, to play with those guys and
actually have a proper jam, would be cool yeah!
17.A lot of Gomezs songs are very melodic, but for you personally,
which melodies instantly spring to mind?
Theres all sorts of melodies and little hooks that spring
to mind, and it sounds a bit weird saying it, but Airstream Driver is
a tune that I wrote and then Ian got the melody together and
I dont know why, but its got hook after hook kind of thing.
Its one of those tunes that can pop into your brain at any time!
Theres also a song on the last album called Charley Patton Songs,
and its a very mellow song indeed, but the chorus is one of those
infectious kind of choruses that just rolls around in your mind (smiling).
18.Do you think its important that the PRS (Performing Rights
Society) and JOL (Joint Online License), reach an agreement whereby
music-related websites including LastFM, Spotify and YouTube, pay musicians
a fair share of royalties?
Ive heard different comments about this recently, and the
last time I talked about it, a lot of people werent fully informed
about it there was only speculation as to what was actually going
on. Its obviously a grey area, but with the advent of I guess,
less radio and less physical music going around, because of the upsurge
of new digital media and music-related websites, people are obviously
listening to more and more music through the Internet. I think its
going to be very, very difficult at least for quite some time
to kind of really reign it and get good deals and stuff. Theres
a certain amount that bands will always get out of these websites, that
they would have never done in the past. I guess what it really comes
down to nowadays, with dwindling market sales and everything relying
more on live music and things, its more of a case of smaller bands
and medium-sized bands, being able to get that income, so that they
can go and do that stuff. So its a tough area, where one side
of me would be like, Fuck it, what-can-you-do? But at the
same time, if theyre gaining from it and theyre making a
lot of money through advertising and your music is on there, you kind
of want to get something out of it too. Hopefully, they can figure out
a fair situation for everybody.
19.During your career, has there been anything that the band didnt
do, but now wished you had / anything that you did do but now wished
I dont know? Its interesting, because at one point,
we hadnt been back to the States for the longest time and when
we did finally go back over there, the reception was really good, so
obviously, we were like, Oh wow, this is exciting that people
are still so enthusiastic about us! And the States is huge
theres endless amounts of touring and we still do endless amounts
of touring but because it is so big, you have to dedicate time
towards that and in one way, really, you would have to have 2 or 3 versions
of your own band. Like, OK, lets put this one in America,
this one in Europe and this one in Australia, like a franchise
as it were. It was always hard to split that time up, but we did have
success in the States, so that was nice (smiling)! I wouldnt necessarily
say it was a regret, but it was a tough decision, because were
now in a position where it would be nice to go back to Europe, but its
a lot harder for us to do that. I think for a lot of people, thats
strange, because were English and in some ways, thats where
I get a little (pausing), I dont know? Its something I miss
I definitely miss going to Europe, so its hard. There are
a million things though, where we could say if and but
and everything else, but to some degree, if we wanted to more
from a record label point-of-view we couldve probably pushed
that a little bit earlier on, maybe on the second album. But we were
always a band who are sort of a bit too old-school, where you release
an album, release another one, another one and hopefully, you keep gradually
getting bigger. But we were on the cusp of bands that nobody knows who
you are, then 6 months later, youre the biggest band in England
you know? So there are little subtle things here and there, that we
could probably go on about (pausing), we had a lot of trouble with record
labels, so that was our biggest concern, when EMI was taking over Virgin,
and Virgin was taking over our little label, things like that. So, 2
albums in, we were part of this cycle of everybody eating each other
up and we were like, Can we just stop all this, we just want the
record to go out can you pay us attention (laughing)?!?
Record Company blues are always difficult, but everybody probably has
20.You briefly touched on Gomezs popularity / success in America
a moment ago, but what are some of your favourite things about the country?
Well, three of us are living there right now. I live in New York,
Ian lives in Los Angeles and Blackie lives in Detroit although
Blackies actually moving back to Brighton. But my favourite things
about it, I dont know? I mean culturally, its a country
thats really founded on (pausing), well not founded on, but music
is everywhere and everybody knows about it theres far more
depth than youd find over here for example. Like if I go to New
York and hang out in a bar, Ill hear Led Zeppelin every half-an-hour
in every other bar I kind of go to youll hear classic English
rock bands and classic music everywhere, and I love that (smiling)!
Its kind of in-built in the culture and everybody is just really
knowledgeable, so I find it kind of strange coming back to England and
saying, Well, which pub can we go to, to hear some good music?
It shouldnt be like that (pausing), I dont know? I think
the culture of dance music has kind of led us down a road, where we
can go out to bars and it doesnt really matter what musics
on, as long as somethings playing in the background you know?
Although I like dance music, we just seem to have lost touch with some
of our biggest bands that we export and stuff. When Pink Floyd and The
Who and others were taking over the States, and everybody was loving
us in The 70s (pausing), it feels like something imploded at some
point, and I think we should have a culture in England now, where we
revisit (pausing), I dont know? I dont know how weve
lost it I dont know how weve done that? It doesnt
make sense to not appreciate and respect our musical heritage, because
over the years, England has produced some of the biggest and best bands
that have ever existed
*I mention that Mick Jones is currently displaying his personal collection
of Clash memorabilia at a London exhibition and would like to turn this
into a permanent exhibit*
Oh really (excitedly)? That would be cool anything like
that! It does feel odd in England and whats strange in the States,
is that its just so normal, like your average person who you could
stop in the street, their music collections would be big, or at times,
theyd totally know way more music than even myself probably.
21.Are there any things that you would like to banish to Room 101?
Ooh, thats a good question again, but Im sort of stumped.
Um (long pause + thinking), Im trying to think also as a band
what we might put in. I guess as a whole, novelty # 1s, like the
Crazy Frog all that kind of shit! Those types of songs can totally
go in there can we just end it please! What else can go in there
(thinking)? Maybe a bunch of the gossip magazines, were probably
a bit tired of some of that. The Daily Mail can go in there
*I ask Olly if he ever read the ill-informed article the paper once
published on EMO, which claimed that young teenagers who listen to this
type of music, will most likely end up joining A Cult Of Suicide*
No, I didnt, that is just (pausing), youre talking
about a music form thats been around for years, so to remark on
it now, seems really out-of-date you know? But thats just so extreme
to me, like when we were kids, me and Ben particularly, were into a
lot of heavy metal and rock music, and thats the kind of shit
that was around in the States when we were like 15-years-old. Records
being played backwards and people saying, Oh My God, everyones
going to be killing themselves burn the records! This kind
of stuff happened in The 50s and 60s, and it was extreme
then, but now, for a modern day English newspaper, its dangerous
and its really, really terrible that anybody such as parents,
might believe that for starters. So, The Daily Mail is definitely going
in (laughing)! After a few drinks inside us, wed probably start
coming out with a bunch of them (laughs heartily)
PRS Guitars theyre a certain kind of guitar that a lot
of the more modern rock and heavy metal bands use, and you might also
see someone like Santana playing one of them. They just have a disgusting
kind of shape they have no relationship to classic guitars, so
they can go in there as well. Thats a few things isnt it
22.What has been the most valuable lesson that you have learnt from
writing and recording songs and do you see yourself always making
music in some capacity?
Yeah, I think Ill always be making music in some capacity
and it was something that I thought Id like to do from about 15-years-old.
We started playing when we were about 14 and always had the idea of
doing it, but not really thinking it would happen kind of thing you
know? But, I guess weve learnt lots of different songwriting skills
(pausing), sometimes in our early days, I think we were over-zealous
in a good way but to the point of being ridiculous sometimes
(laughing). Now I think weve matured to the point because
weve worked with some producers where weve learnt
some lessons, like when to trim things down and what not to do. I guess
thats just maturity, less is more and all of that kind of crap,
do you know what I mean? But when youre 20-years-old, youre
like, No its not (laughing)! Were going to put millions
of synthesisers and crazy stuff all over a song (mock defiantly)!
But now its like, Well does it really work? Wheres
the space? Wheres all of that kind of stuff. I mean there
are endless amounts of things and I think also, the lesson is that you
never stop learning. By the time hopefully youre about 50-years-old,
youll still be learning lots more new tricks and I can look back
at myself at this point and say, God, you didnt know very
much then! (laughing).
23.Ideally, how would you like Gomez to be remembered?
Well, the main thing about us, and maybe how we should be really
thought of now. Is that weve always been a band striving to be
original trying to do things in an original way, but with the
foundation of a bunch of guys who grew up listening to classic music.
So essentially, always having that foundation without ever having to
say stuff like, Theres always going to be extremely strong
melodies, even if a song might be a little bit nuts or whatever.
And thats kind of where weve got to on this album
you can hear some of the stranger musical elements, but fundamentally,
its going to have either attempts at new musical sounds, or the
melodys going to be very strong. I guess Id like to be remembered
as being a very (pausing), weve always been away from everyone
else and unable to be put into any category. So, Id like people
to drop a few of the Delta-blues from North England descriptions,
because although we do listen to blues music, we also listen to jazz
music all styles of music. I know Bens voice is very husky
and all that kind of thing, but there are also two other guys who dont
sound like that. But in answer to your question, Id like us to
be remembered as a band who strove to be original, wrote great music
and were unlike anybody else really.
24.If you had to place 5 Gomez songs in a time-capsule for future
generations to hear, what would they be?
Ah, tricky! Lets think
Ill put Charley Patton
Songs in there. Win Park Slope off the new album. Love Is Better Than
A Warm Trombone off the first album, just because its more silly.
Theres also a song thats never been released and maybe well
do it this time around, called Cheese, and its the most ridiculous
song its about 25 seconds long (laughing), and basically,
its Ben eating crackers and cheese, with the most ridiculous loopy
synth thing behind him. So maybe well put that in just for a laugh.
And lets put in theres a b-side we did for the first
album I think, which was called Gomez In A Bucket. We had a ridiculously
long title, but thats the shorter version lets throw
that in because thats a very, very over-the-top song (laughing)!
25.Lastly, chips or cream buns?
Id say chips (smiling).
A very special thanks to Olly, to Gomezs Tour
Manager Dave, and to Ian @ Ian Cheek Press, for all of their time and
Bristol Set List
Slope / Bone
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
See the world
Find an old-fashioned girl
And when all's been said and done
It's the things that are given, not won
Are the things that you want