Tim : We don’t see it as success. We kind of felt that was a separate world and whenever we hit the worst periods business-wise, we’d be hitting the best periods music wise. So we’d be really high and we’d kind of leave it to Martine really and she absorbed a lot of that pressure and didn’t really tell us when we were nearly bankrupt and we’d get inclinations whenever she’d go away for a couple of weeks and all the cheques would bounce, we’d begin to get the drift that something was amiss.
What happens is when you have success is that you’re in incredible demand everywhere whereas before, also the lifestyle before was probably more pleasurable. We could rehearse four or five days a week, we’d live in Manchester in England rather than around the world in hotel rooms which sounds great to people – “Oh, you travel around the world.” You know, you can go to a country and stay in a hotel room because you’re so exhausted because you had a flight at six in the morning, you know you’ve got concerts and interviews all day and get on the plane the next day and you haven’t seen the country at all.
So in those early carefree days, a lot of the times in a lot of ways it was more fun, more free. It was all we knew as well, so we didn’t get too depressed about it. The good things that come with all this is choosing where your concerts are, knowing people are going to turn up, there’s going to be a receptive audience, being able to travel the world and then trying to demand days off so you do actually get to see what’s going on. And some money. Oh yeah. I forgot about that one.
Performances are always completely different, one from another for us. Different sets, different moves, different everything. Some nights you can’t do it, some nights you can, most of the nights you can, some nights you go out there and try and sing personalised songs to 100 people you know. We still play small gigs, like abroad and things. And warm-ups. And some nights you go on and you’re not very good. You know you’re not communicating those songs, you can’t get through to the feeling and then some nights you can go before huge audiences and it feels like a very personal concert and the feedback suggests that you’re not fooling yourself.
Jim : Yeah, I mean a good gig for us if one where we feel we do communicate personally to people, you know, and we’re not just standing there running through the motions and you can stand there and run through the motions whether there’s three of you or a dozen of you really.
Tim : We hardly ever run through the motions. The usual reason for us running through the motions is when you’ve got such bad sound on stage that you daren’t take any risks because you can’t hear what you’re doing or what other people are doing. Or if you’re just so exhausted or things have happened in your emotional life, your own personal life, that do you in. And then you have to go on stage and you’re shattered you know. And it’s like you do this shellshocked performance and you hope that nobody notices and you can’t hide that kind of thing very well. But we quite like the vulnerability and the variety.
I’m not really writing for other people, I’m writing for me and they’re an expression of my life, so the way I feel I’m being given a reaction by the audience that’s really touching rather than me giving out this wonderful thing to them, isn’t that nice of me. I get more like. I put some pretty personal disturbing experiences in those lyrics, things that I’m not sure people will accept, things that I have difficulty accepting about my own life and so when an audience accepts them, it’s like “God, they accepted it” and it’s very touching and that’s our reaction I think. I think the whole band can relate to that, you know, I think a lot of the lyrics everyone can relate to because I think the things I fear or problems within myself are quite common to a lot of people.
Jim : Quite common to the rest of us
Tim : And common to the audience judging by the audience’s reactions. It’s a real surprise. I don’t think you can write for other people, that’s a ….. oh, I’m sure somebody can do it but I don’t think I could. I think you’d spot the difference, you’d spot the line that sounded like it was there for effect, to affect somebody else rather than coming from my own personal experience.
We’ve been moved by music to a point where you know you don’t feel alone. That seems to be the most important thing you can get, that you don’t feel alone and that’s really what Sit Down was about and after that, there’s not much more you can do. It does hit you often when a child dies or a child’s favourite song was this and it used to run round the house singing it and will you dedicate a song or come to a hospital when someone’s ill. When things like that happen, you get some really personal letters from some people and it’s like yeah it really winds you. It’s really like, it gives you a shock.
We don’t get many people where we feel like they’re trying to use you as a crutch and therefore you don’t feel responsible in that way and you feel you try and do your best and it might be a small thing to you and it could mean a lot to someone else so you do it.
Style and fashion in music I think shifts all the time. But if you have a song that’s from the heart then that is almost kind of beyond markets and a businessman sitting at home trying to create a song that he thinks will sell.
Jim : We’ve always believed, mainly naively, that if people hear what we do then people will buy it. You know, the problem was getting people to hear it in the first place, getting it played on the radio and that kind of gave us the drive, the kind of arrogant self-belief that kept us going through the hassles we’ve had. So in a way, I don’t know….
No, I don’t think we’re that surprised because that’s what has kept us going in a way, that belief that, yeah, people will buy it. Once they hear it, people will buy this stuff. That’s if you sit back today and listen to how Sound fits into the charts when it did, it’s like….
Tim : That was a weird one really.
Jim : That did really well. It’s like Number 9 at Christmas and competing with the likes of Cliff Richard and Rod Stewart and it’s just like that was weird. That doesn’t sound like it fits but we’ve got a weird view of what we do, always have done and we believe the first singles we released should have been big hit singles. Naively as it might have been.
People look back at the last couple of years and say you’ve wallowed in the kind of nether regions for eight years and suddenly you became successful.
Tim : It’s good fun wallowing in the nether regions.
Jim : Yes it is
Tim : We’re great experts at wallowing in the nether regions.
Jim : Very good. It’s always been a movement, a progression, a forward movement and I hope that the day that finishes either musically or business wise, we’ll have the sense to kind of call it a day and not start seeing the other side of the hill. Don’t want to start playing smaller venues you know. So hopefully we’ve got the sense to stop at the peak. What that is, where that is I don’t know.
Tim : Hopefully there’ll be some kind of flag.
Jim : A pot of gold under the rainbow.