How does it feel to finally have Lightships set off to sail?
Yeah, it feels good. The reaction has generally been good. We're currently rehearsing for a couple of shows in May. I'm looking forward to finding out how the songs sounds on the stage.
What did you enjoy the most from the whole process (compared to ones with The Fannies) ?
It's the first time I've ever been completely responsible for dealing with everything, from talking to lawyers about contracts, dealing with a record label, taking ideas from the demo stage through the recording, the mixing and finally the mastering. It was quite a learning experience. I now feel slightly more able to deal with these types of things.
Did you end up enjoying guitar more than bass?
I'm probably more competent on bass but I like the freedom of the guitar. I make lots of mistakes on six strings but hopefully I've improved a little. I really enjoy playing the guitar - it's easier to sing and play than it is with the bass.
Were the songs written from nothing back in 2008? Or were there any from far before the idea of Lightships came up?
All the song ideas started after I was offered the chance to make a record. All the songs were written specifically for the project.
What was Electric Cables derived from?
Originally I had intended the record to be almost acoustic, quite minimalist and soft. As the ideas progressed there was a lot more electricity involved. A lot more effects and a lot more overdubs, so I decided to call the LP "Electric Cables".
What's your most favorite track on the album? and why?
My favourite track is Muddy Rivers, it was the first idea that I developed. It was the gateway to the LP in so far that it suggested the general textural direction of what the project would be. I felt that it suggested that the album would be less about big chords and big choruses and more about arpeggios and riffs. Lyrically, it just felt different to anything I had tried before.
Any outtakes or demos left from Electric Cables that we could anticipate as future surprise?
There were 4 songs left after I compiled the LP. A couple have already been released on iTunes and on the Japanese edition of Electric Cables. A couple of others will be released on a forthcoming EP. There was one backing track which was recorded way back in 2008 which is unfinished - I may try to finish it soon.
Did "All I Have To Do Is Sit and Wait" come from Lightships batch as well? Could you tell us more about the song?
No, "All I have..." was the result of being asked to participate in an urban art project which was being curated by a friend, Nicola Atkinson. For a year, Nicola was artist in residence in a residential area of Dunfemline (Central Scotland) and she asked various artists and musicians to be involved. I was asked to write music for an 18 minute bus journey between Dunfermline town centre and the Abbeyview housing scheme. An extremely long instrumental is not something I had ever attempted before, but I enjoyed the challenge. I recorded it all at home with really basic equipment then asked Raymond if he would mix it at his place. I didn't know too much about looping or editing at the time and I played it all in real time, therefore it's pretty rough!
Among the three writers in The Fannies, I found your lyrics to be the most poetic. What/who's your influencer when it comes to wordsmithing?
I like Dylan Thomas, Pablo Neruda, Seamus Heaney. I really like The Pastels as lyricists. Elliott Smith and Bill Callahan are great.
Who's your favorite song-writer?
Speaking of lyrics, you seem to use lots of metaphor with space or illuminating objects in your words. Any special reason?
I don't think there's a special conscious reason. I just try to find words that fit the music.
You've succesfully driven the listeners into a dream-state through your songs, especially the ones with long & progressive codas. What's your favorite codas (by other artist)?
Yo La Tengo's "I Heard You Looking".
Highest point of being in Teenage Fanclub?
I really enjoyed our show at Glastonbury in 1993. The Velvet Underground played in the afternoon. We were on as the sun was going down, after kicking lots of footballs from the stage. The few years leading to that moment had been quite an amazing journey for us.
Lowest point of being in Teenage Fanclub?
Moving from Creation to Sony just after we had completed "Howdy". There were some really nice people at Sony but it was the wrong environment for us.
What era of The Fannies do you enjoy the most? and why?
I really enjoyed making Grand Prix. It was a really pleasant experience. We were working with a great engineer, David Bianco, and we felt as if we were starting again. There was a lot of energy in the recordings and the songs were pretty strong. We recorded the album in a luxurious manor in rural Oxfordshire - it was a memorable taste of the good life!
Did you see your self where you are 20 years ago? If not how did you see it back then?
No. I don't really look too far into the future, but I certainly wouldn't have expected to be still doing music in 2012.
Any accomplishment in music you still pursue both personally and as a group?
I'd like to learn how to play the guitar properly. I'd also like to learn how to read music. I'd like to learn how to play the piano and I'd like to buy an old drum kit.