No Ripcord managed to pull itself away from the World Cup for an evening and caught up with psychedelic upstarts The Coral backstage, before their gig at The Roadmender in Northampton. With a notepad full of questions and hopes of some insightful answers, guitarist Bill Ryder-Jones took us to one side and told us how things are.
N.R: So Bill, howís the tour going?
Bill: The tourís been great, It was a little bit hectic at the start; with The Music pulling out and everything (co-headlining band The Musicís lead singer Robert Harvey was diagnosed with a severe case of laryngitis) and I guess some people were disappointed, if they were there primarily to see The Music. To be honest, weíve been going on with the attitude of "we can only be us", and if they enjoy it, thatís cool, if they donít they can go and try to get their money back at the end.
N.R: The audience response has been good then?
Bill: Yeah itís been really good everywhere, I donít think weíve had a sketchy gig yet, especially Brighton last night and weíd heard that the people were really open and it was really great. We were told about the Brighton crowds by people at the Isle of Wight festival...
N.R: Yes, how was that festival?
Bill: It was really cool, the first one weíve ever done, so it was nerve-wracking, but it went well. Robert Plant and everybody was there...
N.R: What was he like?
Bill: He was good, he didnít really play any Led Zeppelin stuff - he played loads and loads of covers though, there was quite a lot of Arthur Lee (leader of sixties, Jim Morrison adored, psychedelic band, Love). Arthur Leeís playing London soon, weíre hoping to catch him there, Loveís best album is "Forever Changes" , but the other two albums are great too, they are an amazing band.
N.R: There isnít much good music played on the radio these days, but Mark and Lard played your new single Goodbye the other day and it sounded great.
Bill: Thanks. Mark and Lard have been so good to us and ever since we released Shadows Fall they have given us airplay and theyíve been fucking amazing really. I donít listen to much radio really, but theyíve been good.
N.R: So is the album finished?
Bill: The album is finished and mixed and out on the 22nd of July, maybe ha ha
N.R: How was it working with Ian Broudie - were you a fan of the Lightning Seeds?
Bill: Not really, not when they were out, but now Iíve gone back to listen to some of their songs and theyíre good, you know itís good to go back to music and hear songs again, you can always hear something different.
N.R: So youíre supporting Oasis?
Bill: Yeah, at Finsbury Park, thatís the way I got in the band in the first place, I was the only one that could play "Married with children", but thatís the way you start, by playing Beatles tunes with four chords. Thereís so much you can do with a few chords, itís like Can, their tunes have all the parts, the chorus, the hook and everything, they are pop songs, itís just the way they put the different parts together.
N.R: So, does it piss you off when you are called "Scousers" or "Scallies" in the press?
Bill: It does a bit, because weíre not even from Liverpool and itís just lazy you know, to label us, weíre just people and I wish that we could be taken that way. There is loads of great music from this area you know, like The Laís and Shack they were our bands and we love Ďem so much. I think Mick and John Head were doing stuff that no-one was doing at the time and that sort of opened the door to us, because people are realising that there is so much music that they have missed. Mick Head has written some of the best songs in the last fifteen years.
N.R What about the Wicker Man video for the new single, was it a good laugh?
Bill: Yeah, it was one of the best times Iíve ever had, it seemed like it was one of the biggest things that had ever happened in that part of North Wales. I just bought the soundtrack to the film "The Wicker Man" and it really is a fucking massive beast.
N.R: What about other films and books that influence you?
Bill: "White men canít jump" was a good film, ha ha. I know people wanna hear "Citizen Kane" or whatever, but inspiration comes from everywhere. As for books Iíve just been reading "Music at night" by Aldous Huxley and a couple of the band are big fans of Kerouac, so we do get time to read. The thing is, with any kind of art, you canít look at it as a selfish thing. If there ever came a point where I was looking at my guitar parts as just my thing and not part of the group, then thatís the time for a fucking big wake up call.
N.R: Some people may look at your music as a little bit strange, does that bother you?
Bill: I mean, to people who have been listening to Coldplay, Toploader and Starsailor and all that fucking shit, then it may sound weird, but when I put on my copy of Trout Mask Replica, that doesnít sound weird to me, so what the fuck. Itís like The Charlatans, everybody loves them and to me it just seems like, itís just because theyíve been around for so long, they just seem to be holding on to the past.
N.R: Last question. Do you think all great art comes from times of deep sorrow?
Bill: Iím sure a lot does, but you could be down and write and record an album that way and it will still be shit. Iím sure there are many people out there who think that, but I think great art comes from emotion, be it happiness or sadness. I think a lot of it comes from hope, what do I know Iím only an eighteen year old whoís open and with hope. All great art canít come from times of despair, Ďcause you couldnít find so much happiness in it.
With that, No Ripcord leaves with a firm handshake and a fresh dose of optimism, who ever said that "youth is wasted on the young"?
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