Live @ O2 Academy Bristol
April 26, 2009
Interview & Photography: Steve Bateman

"Gomez have been transformed from a likeable but shambling outfit, into a focused pop-rock group while retaining the iconoclastic character that made them intriguing to begin with." PASTE MAGAZINE

"In looking beyond pure innovation, Gomez have poured some heart into their blues." THE GUARDIAN

"Think of it as more of a mixtape, because the British quintet's ‘Jam Band’ explorations dip into everything from Beatles-esque pop and Delta-blues influenced ballads." E! ONLINE

Having just released their sixth studio album, A New Tide. During their 13-year-career, the Southport band has experienced both the highs and lows of The Music Industry. From becoming ‘media darlings’ in an instant when they first emerged on the music scene, to winning the 1998 Mercury Music Prize for their much lauded debut LP, Bring It On (reissued + played live in 2008 to celebrate its 10th Anniversary). Before critical indifference muddied the waters and they later parted ways with long-time label, Virgin Records, eventually inking new deals in 2005, with Independiente in the UK and Dave Matthews’ ATO Records in the USA. In turn, building both their fanbase and popularity in the States through extensive touring – even being embraced by the ‘Jam Band Crowd’!

Deeming themselves to be “a brotherhood” – admirably, the original line-up of Ben Ottewell (vocals / guitar / bass), Ian Ball (vocals / guitar), Tom Gray (vocals / guitar / bass / keyboards), Paul Blackburn (bass / guitar) and Olly Peacock (drums / percussion), has remain unchanged, with Ian even finding time to release a solo album, Who Goes There.

A more detailed account of the group’s genesis can be found in their bio: “Ian Ball and Olly Peacock had been friends since they were born. They had been in various bands before forming Gomez and met Paul Blackburn at college where they studied. They then joined with Tom Gray and Ben Ottewell, both of whom were studying at Sheffield University. The band played their first gig together in late 1996 in Leeds without a formal name, leaving a sign out which read ‘Gomez the gig's in here’ for a friend of theirs whose surname was Gomez, to indicate that it was the site of their first gig. People saw the sign and assumed that the band's name was Gomez. The name stuck. The band started recording four-track demos in Olly's Dad's garage in Southport soon after, and a bidding war erupted when they sent the demos to recording labels, with the band finally signing with Virgin Records' subsidiary, Hut, in 1997.”

At the time, one music critic wrote: “Gomez are a unique band. They have three distinctive vocalists / songwriters in Ben Ottewell, Ian Ball and Tom Gray, and an ever-fizzling chemistry where every member is made to count. The resulting emotional and musical palette is vast, encompassing epic grandeur and lucid intimacy, tenderness and anger, sounding like it's come up the Mersey via the Mississippi.” Another journalist highlighted: “Ottewell's nicotine-stained growl, Ball's angelic croon and Gray's hoarse whisper are great on their own, but when combined as a three-pronged vocal attack, they add a further touch of authenticity to the band's stylised fusion of various forms of American roots music.”

More compliments included: "Rarely does a rock band forge such a strong identity so early in their career! Gomez combine jazz, country, blues and other genres into their own unique mélange, with murky electronic textures and filtered drum machines lurking beneath the melodic surface. Unlike so many of their British contemporaries, they seem intent on fusing their classic and contemporary influences into an original sound that will wear well over time.” “Gomez play like Primal Scream's laid-back and understated younger siblings – heads full of the same old American jive, but powered by booze and pot smoke rather than Ecstasy.” And finally: “With such musical variation, a band with three songwriters who each have a different vision, create a musical event that cannot be missed.”

Unfortunately for Gomez however, as touched upon earlier, some people were quick to write the group off soon after they had picked up the Mercury Music Prize for Bring It On, with the award almost becoming an albatross. But with each subsequent album having seen the quintet adapting their sound, they’ve now long been considered as musical purists who make ‘soul feeding music’. And although much of their early work was self-produced, in recent years, the band has collaborated with a variety of producers including among others, Gil Norton, which at times, has “prompted a new, uncluttered style, boasting clarity of intention and a straightforward radio-friendliness.” Thankfully though, they have still retained their aversion to convention, with a genre-splicing / melting-pot mentality and a winning combination of earthy, diverse and mix ’n’ match songs, that are tinted with classic southern rock and characterised by jaunty experimental tendencies.

So, on a sunny Sunday evening in Bristol, I spoke to the very approachable and open Olly, ahead of Gomez’s all-encompassing gig at the O2 Academy, to find out how 13 years into the group’s career, it feels to be caught in A New Tide…

Lucy: Your band have been quite quiet for the last few months. Are you looking forward to playing gigs again?
Katie Jane Garside: I think I give very obtuse ans

1.To begin with, if you were to compile a Spotify Playlist for me featuring some of your favourite music, what’s the 1 new song and the 1 old song that you would definitely add to it?
“Let me think… There’s a band called The Notwist – they’re a German band and we’re really big fans of them – and the first song on their newest and latest album is called The Devil, You + Me. That’s a great song, so that would be the new song! And the old song would be (long pause + thinking), there’s a song I always like called Brakes On, which is by the French band, Air – it’s 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)! That’s 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 you’ve seen take place in Gomez and in each other, since the band first emerged?
“Um, I mean we’ve 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, that’s 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 that’s great, we’ve always been more about the music and stuff. I guess for the most part, we have hopefully become better (pausing), well no, I think we’ve definitely become better at all of our instruments! I think we’ve 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. Everyone’s become better vocally and on A New Tide, I’m playing a lot more on the record – more so than I did on the previous album – which is kind of cool. So, it’s always evolving and it’s always ever-changing really.”

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). We’ve 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 couldn’t 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, that’s tricky! I’m trying to think who would be around (pausing), my goodness – that’s a tricky question. I’m trying to think who’s still alive and would be able to do something like that (thinking). In a twisted kind of way, you know The La’s Lee Mavers…”
*I mention that I read a news story about Lee Mavers last week, which reported that he’s apparently considering recording a new La’s album with Babyshambles as his backing band*
“Oh really (surprised)!?! I know he’s 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 La’s 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 he’d also cover a Gomez song? My goodness, I’m 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 don’t 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?
“It’s 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 – there’s a song on the new record called Sunset Gates, which is the very last song, and it’s 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 – we’d 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, we’ve 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” you know?”

7.Do you have any interesting tales from your time spent in recording studios?
“Ooh, I don’t know (laughing)? I always think of terrible situations – well, not terrible situations (laughing), but you know what I mean. We’ve had various incidents and times when we’ve been singing down things and concocting things – weird variations of instruments etc. But, and I don’t know why, the first thing that came to mind was recording a song we did on the Machismo E.P. years ago. There’s 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)! It’s not the best song we’ve ever done, but it was amusing that we were nearly falling asleep while recording it (laughing).”

8.How did it feel to hold and play your very first pressed record?
“Oh God, I don’t even know if I do remember that. I’m 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 couldn’t necessarily go and play it live very well, we weren’t 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, we’ll play this and we’ll 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, we’re 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 we’d quite commonly go in there and check out some covers and I remember Ian particularly, buying a Barry Gibb one – I can’t 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 you’re like, “This is so terrible, that I’m 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 we’re very much and always have been, a band about albums – it’s what we grew up with! So I mean, being into music, we just held that up as being the format, that’s 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. It’s a challenge in many ways, but I also liked it when The Beatles said, “It doesn’t make sense for us to play live anymore, we’ll just do albums.” I like that and to some degree, it’s 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 it’s interesting (pausing), I think it’s a huge challenge! If you’re going to keep writing singles, then they’ll have to be just phenomenal you know? They’ll 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, “We’re going to do 10 songs or 12 songs, they’re 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, it’s a big challenge, but I like it – it’s creative! It’s going to be so surreal though, like live on stage, they’ll be like, “OK, here’s our current single,” then “This will be our next single,” before going, “Here’s another new single…” (laughing)! I’ll be interested to hear Ash’s official announcement and more details about how it’s all going to work.”

11.On a similar note, how do you feel about artists and band’s 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?

“That’s wonderful, but unfortunately, I think sometimes bands like that – the bigger artists – get rave feedback for doing something like that. But for me, it’s 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 it’s great that Coldplay are doing it, but to be honest, in some ways, there’s a little bit of me that’s kind of envious, like, “I’d 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, I’d 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 don’t know? The first thing that popped into my mind, would probably be seeing Hendrix, but I’m not sure which gig. Because I don’t necessarily think the Isle Of Wight and Woodstock shows – even though there’s obviously lots of footage – there’s 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 don’t know? I can’t really give you a definitive answer sorry (laughing).”

13.Are there any Gomez songs that you’ve 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, we’d never played it live before. Tom had personally played it, but we hadn’t as a band – so for 10 years, we’d 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 we’ve tried it live or we’ve rehearsed it, or we don’t physically have enough men to do it – and that’s quite a common theme with a lot of them. Nowadays, we do a lot more stuff with our computers, so if we’re a man down and we can’t play certain keyboard parts, we’re doing what we tried to do years ago and having it on samples and back-up and stuff, but now, we’re 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 we’re playing it again.”

14.Over the years, have you ever met any people that you admire, and what were your impressions of them?
“Yeah, we’ve met a lot of people who we admire over the years. Whenever we’ve played on Jools Holland, we always seem to bump into great people! I don’t 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 you’re in the circle as you’re 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 that’s a pretty good thing (laughing)!”

15.One of the major attractions of Gomez’s 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 wouldn’t 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 Bird’s voice, so those two and (thinking), I’ve got millions and billions coming to me (laughing), but I’m 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 we’ve had them play on our albums, we’ve 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 it’s like he’s about to take-off – he gets so into the music and he’s so energetic, just naturally, that everybody who sees him is like, “I can’t take my eyes off him!” Because when he’s about to play his part, he’s 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 Gomez’s songs are very melodic, but for you personally, which melodies instantly spring to mind?
“There’s 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 don’t know why, but it’s got hook after hook kind of thing. It’s one of those tunes that can pop into your brain at any time! There’s also a song on the last album called Charley Patton Songs, and it’s 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 it’s 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?
“I’ve heard different comments about this recently, and the last time I talked about it, a lot of people weren’t fully informed about it – there was only speculation as to what was actually going on. It’s 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 it’s going to be very, very difficult – at least for quite some time – to kind of really reign it and get good deals and stuff. There’s 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, it’s 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 it’s a tough area, where one side of me would be like, “Fuck it, what-can-you-do?” But at the same time, if they’re gaining from it and they’re 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 didn’t do, but now wished you had / anything that you did do but now wished you hadn’t?
“I don’t know? It’s interesting, because at one point, we hadn’t 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 – there’s 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, let’s 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 wouldn’t necessarily say it was a regret, but it was a tough decision, because we’re now in a position where it would be nice to go back to Europe, but it’s a lot harder for us to do that. I think for a lot of people, that’s strange, because we’re English and in some ways, that’s where I get a little (pausing), I don’t know? It’s something I miss – I definitely miss going to Europe, so it’s 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 could’ve 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, you’re 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 them.”

20.You briefly touched on Gomez’s 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 Blackie’s actually moving back to Brighton. But my favourite things about it, I don’t know? I mean culturally, it’s a country that’s really founded on (pausing), well not founded on, but music is everywhere and everybody knows about it – there’s far more depth than you’d find over here for example. Like if I go to New York and hang out in a bar, I’ll hear Led Zeppelin every half-an-hour in every other bar I kind of go to – you’ll hear classic English rock bands and classic music everywhere, and I love that (smiling)! It’s 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 shouldn’t be like that (pausing), I don’t 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 doesn’t really matter what music’s on, as long as something’s 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 don’t know? I don’t know how we’ve lost it – I don’t know how we’ve done that? It doesn’t 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 what’s strange in the States, is that it’s just so normal, like your average person who you could stop in the street, their music collections would be big, or at times, they’d totally know way more music than even myself probably.”

21.Are there any things that you would like to banish to Room 101?
“Ooh, that’s a good question again, but I’m sort of stumped. Um (long pause + thinking), I’m trying to think also as a band what we might put in. I guess as a whole, novelty # 1’s, 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, we’re 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 didn’t, that is just (pausing), you’re talking about a music form that’s been around for years, so to remark on it now, seems really out-of-date you know? But that’s 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 that’s 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, everyone’s 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, it’s dangerous and it’s 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, we’d probably start coming out with a bunch of them (laughs heartily)… Ooh (suddenly), PRS Guitars – they’re 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. That’s a few things isn’t it (laughing).”

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 I’ll always be making music in some capacity and it was something that I thought I’d 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 we’ve 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 we’ve matured to the point – because we’ve worked with some producers – where we’ve learnt some lessons, like when to trim things down and what not to do. I guess that’s just maturity, less is more and all of that kind of crap, do you know what I mean? But when you’re 20-years-old, you’re like, “No it’s not (laughing)! We’re going to put millions of synthesisers and crazy stuff all over a song (mock defiantly)!” But now it’s like, “Well does it really work? Where’s the space? Where’s 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 you’re about 50-years-old, you’ll still be learning lots more new tricks and I can look back at myself at this point and say, “God, you didn’t 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 we’ve 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, “There’s always going to be extremely strong melodies, even if a song might be a little bit nuts or whatever.” And that’s kind of where we’ve got to on this album – you can hear some of the stranger musical elements, but fundamentally, it’s going to have either attempts at new musical sounds, or the melody’s going to be very strong. I guess I’d like to be remembered as being a very (pausing), we’ve always been away from everyone else and unable to be put into any category. So, I’d 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 Ben’s voice is very husky and all that kind of thing, but there are also two other guys who don’t sound like that. But in answer to your question, I’d 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! Let’s think… I’ll 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 it’s more silly. There’s also a song that’s never been released and maybe we’ll do it this time around, called Cheese, and it’s the most ridiculous song – it’s about 25 seconds long (laughing), and basically, it’s Ben eating crackers and cheese, with the most ridiculous loopy synth thing behind him. So maybe we’ll put that in just for a laugh. And let’s put in – there’s 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 that’s the shorter version – let’s throw that in because that’s a very, very over-the-top song (laughing)!”

25.Lastly, chips or cream buns?
“I’d say chips (smiling).”

A very special thanks to Olly, to Gomez’s Tour Manager Dave, and to Ian @ Ian Cheek Press, for all of their time and help.

Bristol Set List

Lost Track
Slope / Bone
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“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”

wers to questions...It's never about looking forward to it. Actually maybe I should change the
script, maybe we are looeir musicm the 3rd album?