Sunday, 31 October 2010

Yorkshire Music Collective Interviews Feeder

Yorkshire Music Collective for Phoenix radio interviewed Grant and Taka from Feeder backstage at the Leeds Met. The podcast can be downloaded from

Here is the transcription of the interview:

YMC: I saw you play at a festival in Bilbao this year and you said it was the very first concert you'd done without a set-list
Feeder: yeah we didn't have a set list

YMC: Have you got one today?

Grant: Yes I haven't actually done it yet our printer is broken so lets see what happens, yeah it was nice, a bit chaotic, a lot of the crew looked at me in terror when I said we weren't going to have a set list, its obviously difficult for guitar changes and stuff like that but it was quite nice, sometimes you can really feel what the audience want to hear and throw in what's appropriate at that time I'm sure we'll do it again sometime but I'll have to warn the crew first.

YMC: It was nice from a public's point of view

Grant: was it?

YMC: Yes because sometimes festivals are so orchestrated and timelimited it felt like a more intimate concert that way

Grant: well it was first time we'd been back to Spain for a while it was a really good festival wasn't it?

YMC: Yes it was good

Grant: we saw the Manics after they were really good, it was a really good day actually we had a good time didn't we?

Taka: Yes

YMC: Its the first night of your tour today I'm just wondering coz you've been touring for nearly 20 years now

Grant: Is it really that long?

YMC: Do you still have first night nerves, or wondering what the reactions going to be to the new music and things

Feeder: Yes

YMC: Or is that all behind you now

Grant: I think I'll always feel like that really, I think its good to have a few nerves isn't it?

Taka: Oh Yes definately

Grant: otherwise you're going through the motions aren't you, We have been doing it a while but it really has flown by, I think that the nerves and the whole  buzz you get before a gig is part of the whole thing really, you know that's something that certainly hasn't gone away for me, of course you worry about if its the right set you know playing a lot of new songs even though some people might have not bought the album yet so hoepfully they'll hear the songs in the show and go out and buy it. But you know we've done the greatest hits tours and obviously we've done many tours in the past but its time to be doing some new stuff, of course we'll be doing some old stuff as well tonight but its obviously focusing on the new record as that's the whole point of the tour really.

YMC: Sometimes I've heard that musicians are quite superstitous, do you have any rituals before you go on stage?

Taka: We pray together (all laugh)

YMC: or something like a favourite shirt because you had a gig that was really good in that shirt?

Grant: I am a little bit superstitious, I don't have one particular shirt I like to wear or people would think he's only got one shirt, I did have, I'm quite into my checked shirts and I did have a lucky one I wore on the Renegades tour, when we did the smaller venues. I haven't brought it coz I thought people might think I've only got one shirt so I have quite a collection of checked shirts. You know its an important thing to always
get together before we go on stage, we always have a drink in here, to sort of catch up really but we don't do any sort of break dancing or anything like that. I'm more sort of superstitous about sitting in certain places on bunks, you get into that sort of thing, weird little habbits when you're on the road a lot.

YMC: This tour will be taking you across Europe as well, do you find differences between a European audience to a British Audience or differences between countries

Grant: Yeah definitely differences in countries isn't there?

Taka: Well obviously we have more core fans, core audience in the UK so its a bit different but when we did the festival like in Spain it was a good reaction, audience are good songs are good, so people were really enjoying it.

Grant: I think it also helps to see a band live, I've often listened to bands on the radio and not been into their stuff but then I've seen it live or at a festival and i've kind of warmed to it and kind of given them a second chance and that's the good thing about playing different countries or festivals you often win people over and make new fans. It does vary in Europe a lot - I mean German audiences are particularly tough but once
you win them over they are really good, loyal fans. I think the UK fans are like that in some ways coz they're spoiled for choice here, I mean there are so many good bands that come here you're gonna have to earn your place I think.

YMC: Can you remember your first gig in Yorkshire?

Grant: What was our first one, I'm sure you remember?

Taka: It was a pub

Grant: Not the Cockpit?

Taka: No a pub

Grant: Oh my god yes, it was a really legendary place, well to us anyway, it was an indie pub on the circuit, everyone played there, that was a good time because it was when we started off, we were first on then, then we started headlining and people came to see us, then we went to the Cockit pit after that and gradually moved our way up to here.

YMC: What was your favourite gig in Yorkshire?

I really enjoyed the one we did with a band called Everclear, we'd opened for them in America and we spent a long time there and they were quite a big band then in the States and it was the perfect kind of band for us to play with, we went down really well with them, and the deal was we'll open for you there and you open for us here because we were a bit bigger than them here. It was a really great tour wasn't it? I remember the gig here being like a really really good night, I think the Kerrang magazine were here and they were doing a feature on the 2 of us that was good and I also like the academy where we will be playing in February, its a really lovely venue, they've done it all up, we were actually going to play there but it wasn't available for this date, its quite nice to come back and do some university gigs again, its kind of where we started.

YMC: You'd been on the Echo label for many years and then it finished, did you find it hard to cope with a new found freedom

Grant: I'm free haha

YMC: Well to me it would seem like working in a factory for 20 years then getting made redundant

Grant: It didn't really feel like that because we knew they were going under and we tried to get out of the deal before Silent Cry because we felt Silent Cry wasn't going to get a fair chance as an album, it just didn't get a fair chance on the promotion side of things, we had a great time with Echo and they were a very small label and we had a lot of freedom. Its slightly different to working in a factory and being laid off because being in a band, although you have to work hard, is a completely different thing really its a job but its also a hobby, its a dream as well, so its slightly different, but it was a bit scary wasn't it, we were thinking what do we want do, are we going to try and do a deal or are we going to do it ourselves the whole renegades record back to being a three piece back to our roots we just thought it would be nicer to try and do
it on our wown label for a while, we may change and we may sign with a label on the next record but we're not sure yet, but we have done licensing deals with countries like Japan, and in Europe we're just about to sign a deal there so we have got some help but its been tough, its been a real learning experience, having our own label coz you don't realise, all the stuff you moan about the label not doing you just realise my God there's so much to do and our manager is having to do a lot more work than he ever did before, so its been great but its not as easy and as a perfect as it sounds, like you've got your own label you can do whatever you want, we realise we have to pay for absolutely everything ourselves now and that's quite scary when you are employing
about 10 people, a team around you to put a record out.

YMC: The new album "Renegades" has a lot more rock feel to it, than maybe some of the previous ones, were you pushed by the label into a more pop sound or had you just evolved that way

Grant: Well the first albums were very much like this Swim and Polythene are very much rock albums, and got championed by Hammer and Kerrang and we never thought we'd be heavy enough to be in those mags but they seemed to love our first few records, we've just sort of experimented on the way, we haven't really planned doing a mellow album, its just when you're recording an album there's usually quite a list of songs and if you put those on there it would make a much rockier record its just that songs off there often get picked whether its our favourite,  the A&R deparment at the label or our managers favourite that often sets what an album ends up being. There's quite a lot of compromise, there are certain singles that I know we probably wouldn't have picked. I think after the success of Buck Rogers which was such a big hit that the label did push us a little bit to that area with the 7 Days thing and that but we still wrote the songs we weren't told you have to write those songs. Its just that's only really one side of what we do, we've always been a rock band, thats where our core is really, so each album has been different and that's the band we are, we want each album to sound different in some way and not be a just one sounding, one dimensional sort of band, we like to experiment.

YMC: I really like the packaging on the album

Feeder: Cheers

YMC: Its like a book with glossy photos, is that something you've had a say in too?

Grant: We've always been involved with the artwork, even when we were on the label, we're old school so CDs and sleeves probably mean more to us than the new generation. I spend hours painfully making sure that everything is right, the credits are right, the thank yous, be sure the writing is right, the image and that we're all happy, we spend ages don't we?

Taka: There's always something missing!

Grant: They always get something wrong, either they spelt it wrong or left him off, oh dear - its a nightmare, so we decided not to list everybody because you get always miss somebody off but yeah the artwork, this album and the last one Silent Cry was done by the same guy and he's a friend of mine and he doesn't really do band stuff normally he's in advertising and has a very successful job in London and he used to be in a band himself years ago which is how I met him and he basically said oh I'll do a sleeve for you and it sort of went from there really. He's a really crazy guy and its quite nice to work with him. So we're very involved with it, we have to be happy with it because people always ask us questions about it and if we don't know whats going on
it gets a bit awkward.

YMC: With touring as Renegades and now starting this tour off in smaller venues, its like going back to your beginnings again, do you prefer smaller venues or do you like the buzz of a big festival?

Grant: both really isn't it?

Taka: they've both got a different vibe you know, when you're playing in front of 10-20,000 people its always great but at the same time when you play a smaller one, its so intense, the audience is so close, so I like both.

Grant: Yeah I'm the same really, I've really enjoyed doing the smaller things because I think when you're trying out new songs its good to do it in an intimate environment, so it has been great but when you do festivals they are always a little bit more hit and miss, you can always have a bad one and you think oh god why did that happen or you just didn't connect for some reason, I mean I've seen some really big bands just
not connect, but when you have a good one at a festival with so many people watching its great, you come off with a real buzz.

YMC: You've got another single coming out soon and an album I think?

Grant: Yes, we're sort of in the middle of sorting the next record, it would have been finsihed but basically we just did some more recording and we've just been too busy. It's down to our agent and our manager who keeps putting us on the road, which is fine but we're hoping to get it finished by the end of the year and release it early next year is the plan. We actually did record a load of songs for the Renegades album and we held back a few and the songs that we kept back are going to be on the next record. Its good because it means we can continue touring but also be putting out some new material, rather than  just be doing the same set all the time which is often what happens and we've got quite a back catalogue that we can go back to!

YMC: Thank you very much for taking the time to talk to us tonight and have a brilliant gig.

Feeder: Thank you very much

Michelle Dalgety, Yorkshire Music Collective

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