Nine Black Alps
Live @ Oxford Zodiac
February 2, 2008
Interview & Photography: Steve Bateman

For anyone who's ever heard one of Nine Black Alps' songs, you will have without question, had your ears seized by the alternative band's melodic post-grunge, catchy hooks and raging angst-ridden lyrics. Which as an adrenalised rock 'n' roll sound, was best summed up by the NME when they wrote, "Underground meets overground, punk purism meets pop perfection."

Forming in Manchester in the Summer of 2003 (and wanting an untypical rock moniker), the four-piece took their name from a line in the Sylvia Plath poem, The Couriers, and is comprised of Sam Forrest (vocals / guitar), David Jones (guitar / bass), Martin Cohen (bass / guitar) and James Galley (drums / vocals). And for those of you with an interest in music trivia, Sam never actually intended on being the frontman, but continued as a suitable singer couldn't be found.

After recording a 4trk demo, the group's debut 7", Cosmopolitan, was released in 2004 through Melodic, which later led to a deal with Island Records and mountains of excited press coverage, laden with superlatives. Musically, NBA were and remain out-of-step with current scenes / trends, and Nirvana has long been an obvious, if somewhat lazy reference point. Sam recently said, "Being compared to Nirvana was great as I love them, but at the same time, we felt we were misunderstood - it was like we had no original ideas of our own. Love/Hate will give fans more of an idea of what we're about as a band. On this album, it's more about the songwriting. It was more interesting to me than the power of guitar."

However, whilst recording Love/Hate (2007) - the follow-up to debut album, Everything Is (2005) - the group did manage to blow up three amps and two sets of studio monitors! So hardcore Nine Black Alps fans have nothing to fear, as it's likely that a heaviness will invariably remain at the core of what one reviewer called, "The work of four young men clearly well-versed in thick, stamped-pedal distortion," and another, "A deadly cocktail of destructive riffs, pounding bass lines and raspy, aggressive vocals."

Having said that though, the band's louder moments have always been carefully interspersed with gentler / restrained moments anyway (Sam was originally an acoustic songwriter), such as with Behind Your Eyes, Intermission and recent single Bitter End, which triumphantly tips its hat to The Lemonheads and Teenage Fanclub. In turn, sending listeners into a beautiful and dreamy haze. Pocket Full Of Stars, co-written with Sam's girlfriend Hayley Hutchinson (a member of his other group The Sorry Kisses), for the movie soundtrack Surf's Up, is also worth tracking down, and in years to come, could well be looked back on as a forgotten gem from Nine Black Alps' back catalogue!

As a must-see live band, NBA have pretty much played show-stopping sets at every venue and festival they've ever set their gear up at, so you just know, that tonight's gig at the Oxford Zodiac will be no exception. At 5.45pm (after the group's soundcheck), I meet Sam in the venue's bar, who's a really cool, down-to-earth and friendly guy!

Having been a Nine Black Alps fan from the early days, and now spoken to the band personally, I'm left with the impression that Sam, David, Martin and James, live and breathe their music, and that the songs they create, mean just as much to NBA devotees! Which when you strip away everything else associated with The Music Industry, is arguably all that any musician could ever really want or ask for - a sentiment closely shared by Sam…


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. Growing up, what was your biggest source for discovering new music, and can you remember the first press coverage, radio airplay or TV exposure that Nine Black Alps ever had?
"Growing up, it was probably my parents I think - yeah! Because my Mum was a really massive fan of The Beatles, and my Dad's a classical guitar teacher, so I remember listening to The Beatles and Beethoven a lot when I was young. And then my brother inducted me into the realm of Metal (laughing), and so I used to read Kerrang! I was about 10-years-old, and I wore a Motörhead denim jacket (smiling)! So Kerrang! was a big source for discovering new music (pausing), I'm not sure it's the coolest magazine in the world now (laughing), but back then it was. The first press coverage that Nine Black Alps ever had, was in a magazine that used to be published in Manchester, called City Life, it was kind of a listings thing. They did a feature on us before our first ever gig, just of a demo tape, which was really exciting at the time (smiling), definitely! And, I can remember our first radio airplay as well - Steve Lamacq played a 10 second fragment of a demo tape that we'd made at home, on the Evening Session, and that was really weird! It just sounded completely stupid compared with all of the other records (laughing), because it sounded really badly home-recorded you know? But I suppose that was part of the charm of it. I remember being sat in my bedroom by myself, getting quite scared actually (laughing), because I felt really exposed (laughing)!"

2. Have you had any personal highlights / spine-tingling moments on your journey so far?
"Um (thinking), I don't know? Most things you just kind of take in your stride. Occasionally, it dawns on you (pausing), I think I was flying to South By Southwest for the first time, and that's when I first thought, "What the hell's going on? This isn't my life!" That's probably the most spine-tingling moment, because it just suddenly dawned on me at 30,000 feet, that I was actually doing this - I sort of freaked out (laughing)! Because most of the other time, you seem to be thinking about eating, drinking and staying warm and things you know (laughing)? So, I don't have any electrifying moments (pausing), I'm trying to think of an example, but I can't think of one."

3. If you could relive any moment in your life, what would it be?
"I think (pausing), well when we were recording Love/Hate in America a year ago, me and my girlfriend went out to Joshua Tree in the desert, and it was the most amazing place I've ever been to! We drove round there and had a picnic on a rock in the middle of nowhere - there was nobody around and lots of vultures coming overhead. I think that's definitely one of those moments that I will keep with me forever! It was like the quietest place I've ever been to, it was just weird. We also did the whole Gram Parsons pilgrimage thing there too, we went to the place where he died - not in a morbid way - but that was pretty special, yeah!"

4. For you personally, what have been some of the most important albums from the last 50 years, and if you had to pick a favourite Decade for music, which one would it be?
"Shit! Important albums (thinking), I think With The Beatles, because if anything ever goes wrong, I can always go back to that album and it always makes me feel safe everytime - it just lights the fire again within me! Albums like Dirty by Sonic Youth, Doolittle by the Pixies, probably Nevermind by Nirvana, Last Splash by The Breeders, After The Gold Rush by Neil Young… I don't know about the Decade, but I think I'd go with The '60s and The '90s (pausing), I wasn't in The '60s, but I like a lot of the music that came from then (pausing). Actually, all of the Decades apart from The '80s (laughing), and The 21st Century as well, I'm a bit disappointed with the music that's come out - there hasn't really been any big thing that (pausing), because in The '90s you had Nirvana and Elliot Smith, in The '70s you had Neil Young, and in The '60s you had The Beatles. But there's nobody around in The 21st Century that I really like - maybe it'll come, or when I look back? Because I don't really listen to much new music, and I don't even switch the radio on kind of thing. I like to absorb things passively, rather than actively seeking out new music!"

5. Is there a particular record label that you admire?
"I don't think so. I think anybody who does it themselves, that's who I definitely have the most admiration for - like Gillian Welch, she's got her own label, and I think a lot more people should do that! I would do it myself, but I'm kind of lazy (laughs heartily)!"

6. Albums vs. iPod Playlist - which would you choose?
"Oh albums (without any hesitation)! It has to be, yeah! iPod Playlists are just too long. You need to be able to put the thing on, because it has its own atmosphere and it takes you somewhere. A song at a time, it's too (pausing), I don't know? You can never really relax with it."

7. As a band, what was the first song that you ever played together, and how long after this was it until you realised that you had something special / that there was a chemistry between you all?
"I think the first song that we were all able to play together was Over The Ocean, which is an old b-side. It was the first time that James (pausing), because me and David were both in another band (The Chelsea Girls) with other people before, but that was the first time that our line-up just gelled. And I just got really excited, because it was the first time that I'd had one of my own songs played with people, and it sounding cool (smiling)! I definitely thought, "Oh Wow!" That suddenly we'd clicked into gear and realised that we were a band!"

8. Can you remember when you received your first royalties cheque, and what you spent this on?
"Um (thinking), well I don't think we ever got a royalties cheque, I think it all sort of got partitioned? But the first thing that I bought, that I wouldn't have been able to afford any other way, was a guitar - a 1963 Guild Electric Guitar. Because the ones that I'd been playing up until that point, were complete pieces of shit kind of thing. I paid about £900 I think, and at the time, I was having heart palpitations (laughing). So yeah, a good musical instrument, not a house or a car, or anything like that (laughing)!"

9. What's the best advice you've ever received?
"Elliot Smith told me to keep writing songs! I just remember that was the last thing that he said to me when I met him. We were just talking about music and things, and he said, "Keep writing songs!" And I was like, "OK!" So I think that's definitely the best advice I've ever received - regardless of all the business nonsense, because a song can change more than a piece of accounting advice I think. It just takes one song, and then that can change the world you know?"

10. Are you happy with where Nine Black Alps are at in 2008, and musically, where do you think you are going to go next / are there any producers that you would like to work with?
"Yeah, I'm fairly excited, because we got dropped by Island right after the BRMC tour last year. But I mean the thing is, I was kind of looking forward to it, because it didn't feel quite right - we're not that kind of band really, to get pushed that hard. I don't like the waste of money and time - it's not creative enough for me. So this year, I want to try and do lots of different musical things. I want to record some acoustic stuff by myself (, and I've got a band with my girlfriend called The Sorry Kisses ("
*I say to Sam that I know all about his other projects, and that I really love the songs Pocket Full Of Stars, River Bed, Coldhearted, A Long Way From Home and Think Twice*
"Really!?! Oh cool! That's the first time anybody's said anything about them in an interview (smiling)! The Sorry Kisses have got our first ever gig in 2 weeks time, but we're still trying to find a drummer, so we might have to play with a drum machine. Me and Hayley just record in our spare bedroom all of the time, and it's fun! So I think this year, I just want to really enjoy creating music and have less of the slogging. I don't quite know when the next Nine Black Alps album will really be, because I don't have any songs for it yet. But hopefully in the Summer, we'll start working on that, because we don't have any plans for the rest of the year. But I think since we got dropped, I just want to sort of take some time off to do lots of different things, rather than just keep on playing Shot Down every night (laughing)."

11. The filmmaker and DIY musician Don Letts once said, "A good idea attempted, is better than a bad idea perfected." Is this something that you would agree with, or that you'd apply to your creativity?
"Yeah, definitely (without any hesitation)! I mean I've got billions of cassettes from the past 10 years or so, full of song ideas, and some of the old stuff is just so badly recorded and so out of tune, but it does have a lot more spark than a lot of the stuff that I've been recording recently. So I think back when you just don't know what you're doing, it kind of definitely (pausing), rather than polishing something to death - like with both Nine Black Alps albums, I don't feel they're as spontaneous as I would've liked them to have been. So Mr. Letts is bang on with that assessment (smiling)!"
*I mention Bruce Springsteen's Nebraska*
"Yeah, he just released the original 4-Track recordings. It's a good idea!"

12. A lot of your songs have memorable guitar riffs, but what do you think are some of the greatest riffs of all-time?

"(long pause) That's the most important question I've ever been asked! God (thinking), I think AC/DC have a lot of them - Whole Lotta Rosie by AC/DC, it's only got 5 notes, but it's just stupidly good! It's a good question, I like it, but on the spot it's really hard! Shit (thinking), really hard - really, really hard (laughing)! Supernaut by Black Sabbath (long pause + thinking), there's a millions!"
*I say to Sam that one of my favourites is Motorcycle Emptiness by the Manics*
"Oh yeah (humming the opening riff), that's a proper classic! I remember standing next to James Dean Bradfield at a gig once, because I used to live in Cardiff - I went to University there - and I remember being very freaked out that I was stood next to him. I didn't dare say anything (laughing)!"

13. Is there anybody that you would love to have a jam with?
"I think Neil Young would be quite cool - I could be his rhythm guitar player and he could solo on top of what I was doing. That would make me fairly happy I think (smiling), he's got a good feel!"

14. Of all your favourite music, what's the ratio between mainstream and alternative acts?
"The ratio (looking at me)? God, that's a really hard question! Oh wow (long pause + thinking), I don't know? Because would you say the Pixies are mainstream or alternative? They probably cross between both! But I think my music tastes are becoming more and more mainstream. It probably used to be about 80% alternative, but I think in the past 10 years, it's become 50% alternative. So (pausing), I'm not sure (laughing)? It's a really good question!"

15. And which songs / artists would you play, if you were to DJ at a special Sam Forrest Club Night?
"Lots of early Everly Brothers. Plenty of good dancing music. Definitely some Iggy Pop. What else have I boogied in the house to (thinking)? Maybe some Led Zeppelin as well. Funkytown - you know the one that goes (singing the song's main hook)? That would be my one concession to the world of dance (smiling)!"

16. Of all the countries that you've ever been to / played in, which have been the most satisfying to visit?

"Oh all of them - apart from England (laughing)! But I think my favourite places to tour, are just anywhere in Europe - the weird accents and cultural misunderstandings, just constantly keeps it interesting (smiling)! I think travelling around the world, is definitely the best part about being in a band. It can be tiring, but I just feel really lucky compared to a lot of my friends - the fact that I have been to places like Japan, which I would never have been able to afford otherwise. Everyone's really kind and polite, and they're really into stuff and they seem to like music with a real passion, and they want to understand, rather than taking things for granted you know? You should definitely go to Japan if you have the chance to."

17. Do you have any interesting tales from your time on the road, and what has been your most rock 'n' roll moment to date?

"I'm really bad at anecdotes, I must admit. Rock 'n' roll moments (thinking)? No, just the usual thing (pausing), ah God, let me think (long pause + thinking). OK, the worst moment I've had, is when we went to Amsterdam - I think we were playing there the next day, but we got there the night before and we all went out drinking. I started throwing up in the bar, so I got bundled into a taxi, then started being sick in the taxi and got thrown out of it. I gave the driver 10 Euros, got in another taxi and was sick in that as well, so got thrown out of that one… there was sick everywhere! I then got in another taxi, and the same thing happened yet again! And so I found myself just vomiting endlessly in The Red Light District, with no money and no hotel address, walking down the streets absolutely crying, just because I couldn't believe how sick I was and how lost I was! There were all of these big drug dealers going, "Cocaine, cocaine, cocaine?" And there were whores gyrating in windows everywhere. I don't remember how I got home, but I just woke up on my hotel room floor, covered in my own sick, and I think we were due on stage in about 2 hours. So that's my lesson to the kids - calm down! I don't think it's that rock 'n' roll either, because I think it's pretty much what a 15-year-old kid would do, who'd gone out on the town drinking with their mates (laughing)!"

18. Have you ever deliberately told lies in interviews, and if so, what has been the most elaborate one?
"I think the biggest lie I've told in an interview, is that the producer of our last album is a really nice man, whereas he's (pausing). It was just a complete lie and I really hated myself for doing it, because I really admire people who tell the truth, even if they are shooting themselves in the foot. But it's kind of hard not to be really bland in interviews you know? Like if someone asks, "What was it like working with Dave Sardy?" It's easier just to say, "Oh it was alright, it was cool, it was good fun." Rather than actually going into the 5 day monologue, because you'd just kill yourself."

19. Fans almost always shout out song requests at gigs, but of all your songs, which is the most requested + are there any cover versions that you often play during soundchecks?

"I think Shot Down - people seem to shout for that a lot. It's usually fairly random actually, but there's often one person at every gig who seems to shout the one song all the way through, and it's usually one that we're not playing (laughing)! Cover versions during soundchecks (thinking)? It's fairly embarrassing, like really stupid rock songs such as Are You Gonna Go My Way by Lenny Kravitz (laughing), or any crap! I'm trying to think what else we play? Feel Good Hit Of The Summer by Queens Of The Stone Age - it's only got 2 notes in it, so it's fairly easy. But unfortunately, we seem to be in the season of Kravitz at the moment - that seems to be the standard (smiling)!"

20. Are there any artists or bands, who you would like to see cover / reinterpret one of your songs for Jo Whiley's Live Lounge?
"Oh, that's a good question! Um, let me think, who would I like to do it (long pause + thinking)? Wow, these are really good questions - they're all good, excuse me while I just think… Does it have to be a current artist (looking at me)?"
*I say no, that the artists or bands can be either dead or alive*
"(still thinking) I would really like to hear Teenage Fanclub cover Bitter End, because it rips them off so bad, and I'd just love to hear Norman Blake sing that! Yeah, definitely!"

21. What's the most interesting story behind one of your songs, and have you ever been left with the feeling, "I couldn't have written that when I first started"?
"Intermission I think, is the one song that I've written where I thought, "I can't do that any better!" I don't know why, because it's not like a big classic or anything, but I just love the way the words develop. The actual version that's on the album, I wrote it and recorded it in about 20 minutes at home - I was living in Manchester at the time. It was kind of like being struck by lightning for those 20 minutes, because it was all there and it was really easy. Whereas a lot of the time, it takes me ages to write a song, like months to actually get everything in place. I mean it's not an amazing story, but I remember that clearly, just thinking, "Wow, that was easy (laughing)!"

22. I really love your duet with Hayley Hutchinson on Pocket Full Of Stars, but are there any dream collaborations that you would like to see happen?

"Um, let me think? Again, good question! It's really hard (long pause + thinking). Oh (excitedly), I have the singer, I just need to find the band now, but there'd be Kim Deal singing with (pausing), it would have to be somebody really sweet (thinking). I'd like to hear her sing with The Everly Brothers - put her in The '50s - because I love her voice! Or maybe Kim Deal doing a duet with Gram Parsons, that would be good, and I think that would be really good fun to watch as well!"

23. To promote your new album, you set up a Love/Hate website ( listing lots of different things for each word, but what is your biggest Love and your biggest Hate?
"That site was actually set up by the record label - I didn't want to have it because I thought it was a bit cheesy, but (pausing + thinking), I LOVE hugs and I HATE miscommunication!"

24. If you weren't a professional musician, what other job would you most like to do?
"It sounds a clichéd gimmick, but I'd like to be a Forest Ranger I think. Because I met one at one of our gigs the other day, and I've never met a Forest Ranger before, but I think it would be pretty cool! I don't know whether you'd get to wear a green uniform and stuff (laughing), but I'd imagine it's just roaming round lots of wildernesses, and looking after tress and things. I'd like that (smiling)!"

25. And what would be the first thing that you'd do if you won millions on The Lottery?
"I think I'd probably go travelling with my girlfriend, and then just buy a big house in the middle of California or somewhere like that. Or maybe Nashville, just for music's sake - a big ranch (excitedly), that's what I'd get, yeah!"

26. What are your biggest hopes for Nine Black Alps long-term?
"I just hope that history's kind to us you know? And I'd like to be one of those bands - although we never got massive - that hopefully won't be seen as being part of any bad scene. I hope we get away with not being corrupted by anything, and continue as we are… That's it!"

27. To date, what do you think has been the ultimate rock 'n' roll statement?

"Um (long pause + thinking). This is off the top of my head, but one that comes to mind, is John Lennon doing Bed Peace with Yoko Ono. I think that was cool (laughing), and they just completely turned everything surrealist! I think the idea of Bed Peace - not buying anything, not being a part of anything and just staying in bed, is cool (pausing), that's probably a really slacker answer (laughs heartily)!"

28. Lastly, chips or cream buns?
"I think history tells me that it's chips!"

A very special thanks to Sam, David, Martin and James, to NBA's Manager Craig, and to the band's Tour Manager Matt, for all of their time and help.

Oxford Set List

Get Your Guns
So In Love
Not Everyone
Just Friends
Future Wife
Bitter End
Burn Faster
Forget My Name
Ilana Song
Heavier Than Water
Smoking Jacket
Southern Cross
Everybody Is

Shot Down

"Ten out of ten for a race already run
Bleeding the world cause you can't figure out what's wrong
So come back down from your daydream high, lost for words when you sympathise
There's a million ways to believe you tried, well I'm unsatisfied - unsatisfied
Just sick and tired of all I've tried, unsatisfied"

wers to questions...It's never about looking forward to it. Actually maybe I should change the
script, maybe we are looking forward to it. (Laughs). It's difficult to say because the last few months have felt strange, it's felt like going down a plughole. I've got a real sense of vertigo at the moment. So I can't tell you that I'm looking forward to it. I will get through it and find where I land after that. That's what will happen.

Lucy: 'Taxidermy' and 'Drink Me' are quite drastically different in their musical styles, so what kind of sound can we expect from the 3rd album?
KJG: We don't know yet. We're playing a lot of new material tonight so you'll be able to judge that for yourself. When I'm this close up to it, it's really difficult to tell. I'm on a bit of a negative slant today, but usually with our music I can only hear the bits that have gone wrong rather
than anything that went right. When you reflect back on something it's very difficult to give an objective opinion, and I don't believe in objectivity anyway, I think everything's subjective. I just throw a deck of cards and
wherever they land, that's where she finds herself. I'm not really the one to explain my part in it, you must do that as the observer really, and of course that will reflect your part in the grand scheme of things.

Lucy: Do you enjoy playing live more than the creative process in the studio?
KJG: (Laughs) I don't enjoy any of it. It comes and it goes, ok? There's nothing like when you're writing and you manage to catch something by its
tail; when you're looking for those things underground that are skittering out of sight just when you're about to catch them. And when you catch them it is worth it, but it's a momentary pleasure. I've got so much noise upstairs, and I can hear things in my head that to me are absolutely devastatingly beautiful. I'm always trying to download them and get them
here, but they never get here in the right state, they're always very disabled and they don't even begin to imitate what I can hear in my head.
It's a frustrating process in the main.

Lucy: Your lyrics are simultaneously emotionally expressive and cryptic. Are you looking to be understood by your audience?
KJG: I'm always trying to understand myself, but it's like there's a point in the centre of the room, and there's a hundred windows to look at the same point from. All I can do is give you different angles on the same thing. God, you know, if I could find one conclusive thing in anything I would probably have something to put an anchor down on. But I cant, and I haven't met anyone that can. You can pick out anything you like in my lyrics, I don't seek to be cryptic. I love words for the sake of words, for me they're kind of free standing, and they don't really need to be explained. I think every word has its own character and colour and picture and the result you get with lyrics just depends how you put them together. You could just do it in a William Burroughs esque way, or throw the deck of cards, and you'd probably still find something that our tiny little minds would latch on to in order to gain some kind of emotional understanding. I don't think there's a constant, the only constant that there is for me is that there is no constant. I use myself as my canvas, I gut myself and fillet myself the whole fucking time, I'm always hooking myself out of the water, I'm always cutting my own head off and disembowelling myself, and as you can probably tell I'm quite angry about it at the moment. I'm very tired of it all, of my
process and how I find life, because it always seems to be about living and dying all in one breath. I'm getting pretty fucking tired of that.

Lucy: Do you think drugs stimulate or hinder creativity?
KJG: Well that depends on the drug, because I think most things arrive in the form of a drug really. I know in myself that if anything I am, much to my greater expense, an adrenalin junkie. My synapses don't work well enough to put pills in my mouth, I can't do that, despite popular opinion. I don't need any help breaking down, put it that way. There's not much holding it
together. If there was a drug that could put aline between two polar opposites and make them in to one thing I'm sure I would have it
intravenous, but I haven't found it. I think drugscan be a bit of a lazy way for creativity anyway, you're better off in the cold light of day in the mirror.

Lucy: As a band, you are distinguished by the extreme physicality of your live performances. Do you consciously make an effort to put on a show or do your performances just naturally come to you, and whatever happens, happens?
KJG: It's a bit of both, because you see, I think taking the stage is one of the most unnatural things anyone can do. In a way, just walking on stage actually creates an altered state - its not right, no one's meant to do that, unless you're a priest or a magician, or something like that. To put somebody who's very incapable in many ways in to that position creates a combustion reaction inside me. I know that, and I take the stage knowing that. Obviously there's all the usual things that affect my performance; if I'm on my 45th day of a tour I'm probably gonna be pretty fucking tired, so I'll be dictated by that. If I'm doing new material like tonight I don't
know what's going to happen, because we haven't built the train tracks yet. The beauty of playing live is when my drummer goes in to 5th gear or in to 10th gear, and for some reason there's something that hits me in the base of the spine and I'm gone, and that's Halleluiah for me. During the last few months a lot of strange things have been happening onstage, I think the process is changing. I don't know what's going to happen tonight, I've been having quite a tough time on stage, I feel like something's pulling me under, as if something's got me.

Lucy: So does the crowd influence your performances on stage?
KJG: Yes they do. I'm unkind enough to be pretty impersonal about how I do it, so I use them for me to kick against in effect, or to surf on, (I don't
mean physically surf). If you're in an empty roomand there's a couple of people at the back, it doesn't necessarily mean you'll have a bad show -
they might get the show of their lives. And then again when something's really heaving and going off, I get quite a distorted view of it, because I
can feel quite overwhelmed lose my sense of place in the situation. I lose control of myself. I don't know, I probably wasn't meant to do this, I
wasn't built for this. It wasn't a career option, I didn't start there and go there, I didn't pick up the things on the way. I've sort of gone round
and round.

Lucy: As the lead singer of the band, most media interest is focused on you. Do you feel pressurised by your position or do you enjoy being the centre of attention?
KJG: I've been here on this wheel long enough,(and I say this with a little bit of trepidation because I think you have to be really careful with this kind of thing, because the motivation to do it in itself I think is usually pretty corrupt) I'm not doing it for anyone else, I need a cheque through the door like anybody else does, you have to keep eating, you have to keep living. I'm looking for some sense of going home on my own terms, and people's critique of me is not relevant, whether it's positive of negative.
I do need a cheque through the door though, otherwise I'll have to go and be a butcher or something.

Lucy: What is the religious meaning behind the song "For I am the way"?
KJG: If you use the word religion in its truest sense, all it means is communion, it hasn't got any of the attachments to any written word. My
understanding of the word communion is loss of the sense. Another way of looking at it is you've got to get in to get out, and the only thing that I
know to be true is me, is this tiny little dot in the centre of the universe. It's the only thing that I know feels pain; I can see other people's pain and I can feel it in an emotional way, but not in a physical way. I find myself in the unfortunate position of feeling like I am the
centre of the universe and that everything is a projection, made by me - i.e. you two don't exist, you're something that I created. I don't wish that
sense upon anybody because it's not a good one. Through 'For I am the way' I'm saying that you've got to get in, because the only thing one knows to be true is oneself. And on a good day, if you stand on top of a mountain or go to the desert or stand in the ocean, and become completely inconsequential, linear time stops and you become everything and nothing. That for me is
communion, that's how I define religion. I thinkthere's a line in there which goes "Today the only bridge I have I burn" which sums it up really, because it is about cutting all lines of communication in order to really truly commune.

Lucy: Do you think that in the future your creativity will move from the sphere of music in to literature for example?
KJG: It's real hard to say. In a way, that sounds like a much easier life. But for all I know I'm deluding myself. I'm looking for someone to help me frame something at the moment, and someone is actually, someone's being really good to me. I would love to write, but I don't know if I'm good
enough to do it.