august 2000

part 1 of 1

bravecaptain is martin carr, formerly mainbrain behind the now sadly defunct nineties psychedelic adventurers the boo radleys.

since terminating the career of the boo radleys in 1998, following an acute decline in sales and commercial nous, martin spent most of his time languishing in his north london home. his confidence shot and his desire to make music severely blunted, drugs were probably involved.

however, the discovery channel was apparently a more severe addiction and one which filled his life for almost two years. consequently, he knows more than is strictly necessary about giant squids. we know this because he told us.

now back, refreshed, and, according to the mini-album 'the fingertip saint sessions volume one', 'reborn', carr is finally out on his own and on irrepressible form. even his voice, never a strength, has a wispy vibe of considerable charm.

the record is released on monday, on the recently established wichita recordings label, which has been founded by former creation records big-shots mark bowen and dick green, alan mcgee's shadowy side-kick.

the album, produced by gorwel owen, sometime gorky's and super furry animals associate, displays carr's still disarming grasp of a tune, albeit one swamped with obscure, experimental panache. it also contains moments of sonic verve that match some of the finest boo radleys triumphs, a fact as welcome as his return.

the solo project

how did the solo project develop?
it's hard to think of it as a solo thing for a start. it has crappy connotations, that's why i went with the band name rather than just martin carr. i was always going to do something after the band. it's the only thing i can do and i 'm pretty good at it. it was just deciding how and when to do it.

how long have the tracks on 'fingertip saint' been around for?
some of them have been around for a while. some were written while i was in the studio, while in the boo radleys. i guess it's like 18 months of writing. i went into the studio with between 30 and 40 songs to pick through. then i decided on the 15 i really wanted to do.

what was it like to be in complete control?
tiring. i was knackered. with the boo radleys, i just used to sit at the back of the studio and shout oblique obstructions. obstructions, rather than instructions. i didn't do much in the studio with the boos. i was more of an arranger. playing a bit of guitar. and then i was singing, playing bass and piano and guitar. halfway through, we had to have a break. but i was tired in a good way. an honest days work kind of way, which i wasn't used to.

recording 'fingertip saint'

how did you get along with all the instruments and the singing?
i didn't do the drums. a young drummer from a really good band called topper did some of them and daf from the super furry animals did the rest of them. it was great. i learnt a lot about myself. i regained a lot of confidence, because i love playing the bass. i didn't think there was much to it, but it's a really versatile instrument. the singing was hard, because i 'd never done it before. i had to give up smoking for the album. after i 'd finished, i went on a massive fag and drink binge.'

how do you feel about your voice on the record?

some of it i like, some of it i don't like too much. at the start of recording, i was still kind of writing for sice and they were the hardest to sing. but the more recent ones, the better ones, are the recent ones, where i 've been writing for my own voice, rather than someone else.

what was your plan with the solo work?
the same as with the boo radleys really. nothing defined. just try and write better and in an original way. that's one of the reasons i stopped with the boos. i 'd lost interest in the music and i was worried that we were going to go on and make 'trad' records.

why bravecaptain?
it's a song by a band called firehose.

and fingertip saint?
that's just a nice phrase. it sounds really important but it doesn't mean anything.

back in the business and splitting the boo radleys

is it exciting to be back?
it's nice to be doing something again and not sitting at home watching the discovery channel. which i did for two years. i know a lot about giant squids now. so yeah, it's good to be back. i really wanna go back on tour, because i really enjoy that. just getting out and meeting people. i 'm getting some people together to play with at the moment. if it goes well then you wont be able to stop me.

what was splitting the boo radleys like?
it was very difficult. the day me and sice drove down to liverpool to do it was one of the hardest of my life. but it had to be done. there was a massive weight off my shoulders afterwards. we never released anything i didn't like.

t he music press seemed to have decided that you were no longer relevant.
yeah. we always said that when that happened, we wouldn't bother, which is not a great reason to split-up. but there was no reason not to and so many to. 'kingsize' only sold 9000 copies. we could have toured it for a year to get it going, but i didn't have the heart by then.

what are the rest of the band doing now?
sice is playing golf. tim has his own studio and he's looking to produce bands. he's a visionary. but he has to work now. he's got a wife and a kid and we never made any money. he has to work and run the studio. bob's living in bournemouth i think.

wichita recordings

what's the plan behind wichita recordings? there's a very strong jimmy webb connection.

'wichita lineman' is our favourite song. i think it was played about 40 times at my wedding, on the run. it's that song more than anything else that inspired wichita. it's gonna be a good label. the releases have been really good so far. it's a small label and i couldn't do it otherwise. i was always gonna do it that way with mark and dick. there was never any question of me touting it around majors. i can't work like that. i need to work with people i feel confident with and trust. they're willing to go along with whatever i want to do.