Athlete have been probably the most unique and original band, in both writing and sound, during the past decade. Their reluctance to conform to trends and industry driven manifestos has proved to be a risk well worth taking with their constant success over the years. Their decision to release their singles compilation would therefore prove to be be no risk at all, hence also their tour to commemorate this. The boys were happy to take time out to answer a few questions for us:
How are you finding the tour? Still enjoying it after 10 years?
Still loving it. This tour has a been a real highlight. To be able to go out on tour 10 years after our first tour and still play to rooms of people who sing along with the songs is pretty amazing to us.
What made you decide to compile your songs from the years? Great idea to play the classics. Is it a celebration?
Well actually it wasn't our decision. Our old record company EMI decided that they wanted to release a greatest hits so when we found out we managed to convince them to let us get involved and to have creative control. This tour and the singles collection album does feel like a celebration of the years we've had together. I don't think we've ever had a set list where we've played every single that has been released so it's bringing back lots of memories.
Whats influenced and inspired you over the last decade to keep going?
Life is inspiring. The ups and the downs. Looking back I can hear the different moments in time in the songs.
How do you think this has been received by critics and fans alike. What reception have you had from your gigs?
So far the reception has been great. It actually feels like the latest album Black Swan has had a chance to really connect with people so those songs are going down better than ever. Then playing some old classics like Beautiful and Out of Nowhere for the first time in years has been really enjoyable.
What’s your opinion of the music scene now for bands? There definitely is one, and it’s very popular, but it just seems 'underground' and not as publicised now.
It's a different world now. There's less money being made. People don't buy records or discover music in the same way they used. CD's are £8 when they used to be £15. Now you can download an album for £5. The thing is that you don't really hear loads of musicians complain about it because the artists and bands never got a good deal from the music industry anyway. Cash flow and financial targets have never inspired a great record, your favorite song or your best new band.
Are you satisfied with the level of success you achieved during the past 10 years? Any further ambition / goals to achieve?
At the moment we are just taking this tour in and really loving the fact that this long down the line we can still come out on tour and play to fans that have been buying our records for nearly a decade. As for the future who know where we will be in 10 years time. Hopefully still loving playing music.
Are you nervous for this tour? How will you relax before gigs?
Beer, wine, vodka, whisky and fun size snacks
Is there a new album in the making? Any new songs on this tour?
There's no great plans for another record at the moment. We feel like we've been in the cycle of writing, recording then touring for quite a while so we're looking forward to taking some time out from Athlete next year and getting stuck into some other projects that we've wanted to do for ages.
What is your 1 favourite Athlete song from your long career?
That's hard to answer as my favorites change constantly. I guess Wires will always have a special place for me. We've had so many letters and emails over the years where people have really bared their souls to us about what that song means to them. So now it feels like that song has so many different meanings all of which are pretty amazing.
Still a proud group, and so they should be. They have definitely made a good impression over the past decade for people to still enjoy them exactly as they are, an honest band making honest music rebelling but in the nicest politest possible way.
Such retrospective collection of all the band's singles is currently available on EMI, simply called ‘Athlete: Singles 01-10’. Along with all the hits such as El Salvador, Half Light, Wires and Hurricane is a previously unreleased song called Back Track. There is also a special edition with an extra CD featuring the following B sides and rarities from over the years.