You recorded Yonder! Calliope? with Ex Libris in London. Why the move down there away from Ireland – or is it just a temporary thing for purposes of getting the recording done?
As I say, although a good deal of the recording was done in England, actually in Newcastle, I never had to record anything over there, I did my bits in a studio in Portrush, Northern Ireland. I did go over there for all sorts of promotional malarkey, mind you. But I will be moving to London within the next month, for reasons of A – the distributors, NDN, are workin’ out a grand London-based scheme and I’d really best be there, and B- whilst we’re maybe all living in each other’s digital back-pockets nowadays, still, if you’re physically positioned anywhere outside of a few key areas, it’s very hard to meet the right kindsa folks at the right times, i.e, when they’re very drunk and notably aroused and in dire need of opening some doors to a lad.
Back to the CD again – a lot of the songs are about personal type subject matter, relationships etc. Have you drawn upon your own experiences for subject matter directly at all, been influenced by things that have happened to you, or just made everything up off the top of your head?
Everything on there comes directly from personal experience. Sometimes two or nine personal experiences have been juxtaposed, mind you, for the sake of The Grand Narrative, but there’s very little fiction, for all of that; poetic license taken, maybe. I’d forgotten just how much it felt like a diary, actually, till about two months ago. From the moment we started making the record till about a week after it was finished, any time I’d heard anything I’d been hearing it as a work in progress and directed my attentions accordingly to this or that fresh-added drum beat or trumpet line or whatever.
Then, one evening I sat down to listen as a normal listener and it hit me at a more, I dunno, holistic level maybe. The whole thing came tearin’ out the speakers at me and I remembered what had led me to write that particular line, what I’m talking about there and so on and so forth. It tore me in bits, is the truth of the case. There are songs on there – not all of them by any means, but a few – that deal with particularly unpleasant experiences, and to be confronted with all those phantoms all a sudden in that short space of time was a touch overwhelming.
But that’s all we have, isn’t it, is our experience. It’s all we have to draw from. There’s a brilliant line in Burroughs’ The Ticket That Exploded where he mentions “A million actors with the same corny part” or something like that. We’re all basically telling the same story. Vladimir Propp went to great lengths to show us all just how simple that story really is. So anything that I can talk about that might colour my stories that bit differently to the next fella or lass… I suppose it’s the only currency I have.