Back in November indie stalwarts, The Bluetones, headed out on the Golden Soul tour. Their first stop was Liverpool where I caught up with frontman, Mark Morriss to find out what they have been up to and the future plans for the band.
So today is the first date of the tour. Are you excited?
Yeah, we love touring and it’s a shame we haven’t been able to do more of it this year. For one reason or another, this is the only tour we’ve done since May. We’ve done a few gigs here and there in little bursts but, yeah, it’s great to be back out.
It’s called the Golden Soul tour.
The Golden Soul tour. Yes, that’s the single that’s been taken to radio from the album next. I say single, but, you know, it’s not actually getting an official physical release because there’s no money in the budget for us to do that unfortunately but it’s getting taken to radio and played on radio and hopefully it’ll make people aware that the album’s out there.
Do you not think naming a whole tour after one single is a little excessive?
No, that’s kind of traditional isn’t it? It’s kind of what you do. Well the album tour was in May and this one ties in nicely with the new artwork and the new video that Scott’s made for the song. It’s just a different marquee to present it under I suppose.
Do you feel it’s important for tours to have a title?
It is for us, I don’t know if it’s important for anybody else. It’s so we can differentiate in our minds “You know, it was the Golden Soul tour! Oh yeah, yeah, yeah of course! I remember now”
Because you’ve been together as a band for so long do you feel a pressure to keep up with other bands or have you thought let’s pretend we split up for a bit and make a huge comeback like Pulp have?
No, that’s the thing, we’ve never felt any pressure, even in the early days to try and keep step with anybody else and certainly not now. I think now we’re very much ploughing our own lonely furrow. Not in that sense, but you’re more motivated by the fact that you enjoy yourselves and that going out, touring and playing live is where you reap a lot of the rewards of your hard work.
So touring is your favourite part?
Well, I like the whole thing. I like the creative process and being in the studio and writing and recording but I mean that’s satisfying in its own way. You’re getting a lot of stuff done but then once a record is finished and released and it’s out in the world it’s not really yours anymore. It belongs to the people who are listening to it more so than you, I think. You’re starting to forget about it and think about the next new things whilst other people are just getting used to it. Then you get a chance to meet people who have had your songs in their head and in their bedroom you know, that’s when you actually get to see people’s enjoyment of what you do.
The fact that you worked hard and worked your way up to get to where you are today how do you feel about manufactured bands where everything is just handed to them?
I know what you mean but I think it makes good television. Its fun TV but not good music and it kind of always has been that way as far as I can remember. A lot of manufactured bands from the 60’s it was always a case of style over substance and I don’t think that much has really changed. I mean, these things seem to be really big at the moment but that bubble is going to burst, it always does but I kind of enjoy things like The X Factor. I don’t enjoy the music but I enjoy the TV.
So being on tour with The Bluetones, how different does it feel to what you do solo and the work you do with Matt Berry?
This is where I feel most at home I think, in the bosom of the band. When I go out on my own, I really do go out on my own. I like the solitary nature of doing what I do when I do that and it gives me time to get things done. It’s a good opportunity for me to do some homework when I’m away. It’s just me driving around and I can listen to demos and I’ve got my guitar with me so I can play some songs at night in the hotel room and try and do some writing.
Isn’t it a bit lonely?
No, not at all. There’s always a lot to be getting on with. I quite like being on my own. There’s that chunk of the evening where you’re surrounded by loads of people. You’re in a room and you’re playing to a room and then, obviously, when you’re finished you’re centre of attention for a little while and people want stuff to be signed and want their picture taken and all that sort of thing and I’m quite happy to oblige. Then I can piss off and be back on my own again, so I get the best of both worlds really. I really enjoy it but this is where I feel at home being with everybody. There’s a team spirit.
How did your work with Matt Berry come about?
We met and then I appeared on his radio show and did a couple of songs and we went for a drink. Then I did a charity gig at the turn of the year that was organised by a friend of his and he turned up and said “Do you want to do a couple of songs together?” and I was like “Yeah, Christ yeah, that’d be great. Why not?” and then we did that a couple of times for various charities. Actually, we did that once and then we got him to sing on the album and then I did a guest appearance at one of his gigs. Then he did a guest appearance at our gig in London. Then we just thought let’s try and do something together, we’ve performed together enough times, let’s see where we can take this next. That’s basically how it happened. We thought let’s book ourselves a handful of gigs and it’ll give us something to work towards rather than this just meandering on and on and on and on and that was last week and the week before and it was really good fun! It was good fun, I enjoyed it. It was unpredictable and I enjoyed that element of riskiness to it again.
What does 2011 hold for the band, for you, for everything?
Well personally I’ve got a few things in the pipeline. I’ve got to try and get some more songs written and try and do another record on my own at some point and then there will hopefully be time to do some more things with Matt. I mean that’s what we’re hoping to do but he’s got his own solo record coming out in February so I imagine he’s going to be pretty tied up. Then, we’d like to do more with this record we’ve just done with The Bluetones. Hopefully take it in to Europe and over to Japan and that sort of thing but it remains to be seen.
The Bluetones’ album A New Athens is out now.