part 2 of 3
songs written specifically for this album?
yeah, except wichita which id had
for ages. i was going to do wichita and
dive with gorwel (gowel owen - who worked
with bc on his first two albums), but they just didnt
seem to fit. the other songs i wrote during summer 2001
just before i went into the studio. i do write all the
time, but not so seriously, until it gets to the point
where im about to do an album and then i really
get down to it.
when do you get ideas for songs? do you get them
in the street?
yeah. i used to take a dictaphone around with me, and
i should do now. i used to sing into it in the back
of the cab and play it back the morning after and all
you could hear was the taxi! this time i wrote a lot
on the drum machine, because rather than play something
on the guitar and then stick a beat behind it - which
would just sound tokenist i decided to start
with the drum pattern and build the song around that.
wichita was done like that, and dive
and fucking sunday. actually the thing that
was different this time was i had most of the lyrics
finished before i went into the studio. i normally just
write one verse and sing it three times, and then write
two new verses in the studio, but this year id
had a lot going on so there was plenty to write about.
themes are there in these lyrics?
politics i suppose, along the lines of corporation
man. as far back as kingsize i was writing those
sorts of lyrics. i think there comes a time when you
can write about such things. ive always thought
that if youre going to write about politics it
has to be obvious that you know what youre talking
about, especially if youre a big band. and it
is possible to write about politics in such a way that
youre not just a flag-waver for a certain party
who has influenced your lyrics then?
bill hicks as well is a big influence on my songwriting.
also people like huey p newton, the black panther guy;
aneurin bevan, the welsh founder of the nhs; michael
collins. i think youve got to write these sorts
of songs in a certain way. for example i wuz ateenage
death squad would make a great poem or short story.
the problem with songs is that youve got a certain
amount of time to say what you want to say, and everythings
got to rhyme pretty much, so youre a bit trapped.
i dont think ive done that song very well,
i was going to write about east timor and grenada and
do you write these songs to get things off your chest,
or to get other people thinking?
i just think that if you get the opportunity to be up
on stage, you should use it for something, and for a
long time my lyrics were shit. i think lazarus
was the first good lyric i wrote. i thought some of
the lyrics on kingsize were quite good.
i havent heard that album you know, since it came
out. i cant find a copy. i remember the songs
on it, and some of them were really good.
how long does it take to record a typical tune?
some of them have been made in a day. one of the new
tracks, rods got one, i wrote in the
morning and wed finished it by the time we went
home. sometimes its better if you havent
got anything prepared because youre working totally
on instinct and it becomes really exciting. its
a great feeling when youve been in there for 12
hours and you realise youve got something really
good. sometimes it takes days, and thats not something
im good at, i like it to be really fast. thats
one of the reasons i left the band recording
was so slow.
has the internet had any impact on your music?
well i buy a lot of my records by mail order from america.
i dont download stuff i never agreed with
napster. well i agreed with it, but i didnt like
the people that ran it. they were young people who thought
it was cool, they werent the man.
they were just yts men in waiting. and i could never
download the thing anyway. i had a mac so it never fucking
worked. i dont think theres anything id
want anyway. ive always been into taking risks
buying stuff. right back to when i was on the dole it
all went on records.
would you like to be on the radio more?
yeah, i used to love doing stuff for the radio. especially
when youre out on a tour, and at the time you
get a bit blasé about it, doing sessions and
that was ace. we just did one for radio one in wales,
and we did peel last year. i dont listen to much
radio these days, but it would be nice to get a single
played a little bit off this album, just because it
would mean more people will get to hear the album. radio
one are just getting more and more conservative about
what they will play, and you can never second guess
do you have some sort of long-term plan for bravecaptain?
i think id like to get more people involved. im
getting back round to the idea of having a band, which
i never thought i would. i want to dj more and do the
remixes under the bravecaptain name. the furries asked
me to do one for the last album which i was really pleased
with, and they love it. it was fragile happiness,
which was a really hard one to do because they hadnt
done it to a click. i cant remember if ive
done any other remixes. i did one for 18 wheeler years
ago, apart from that i cant remember. id
have to do it for bands i really liked. i just cant
do anything for money.