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The Coral Interview

1 August 07 interview: Michelle Bayton

"By learning it the hard way we now never take anything for granted. We’ve come through it and we’ve learned a lot"

With the same odd mix of psychedelia, folk and rock'n'roll yet a somewhat more mature attitude and sound, Liverpool seven-piece The Coral are back. Drummer Ian Skelly fills us in on how the Liverpudlian foursome have been spending their time reflecting, writing their new album Roots and Echoes and watching late night episodes of Star Trek

So, you’re back with a new album and the original line up. How’s it feeling?
It’s really good… it feels great to be back.

Do you feel you’ve learnt any valuable lessons since your initial bout of fame?

Yeah. By learning it the hard way we now never take anything for granted. We’ve come through it and we’ve learned a lot.

The new album seems to be the product of a new matured band. Has what you’ve been though in the last few years formed the basis for the material?

Definitely! The songs are a lot more personal this time round. In the beginning our stuff was about shit that was going on at the time. But now it’s about our own life experiences, things we’ve been through and seen and lessons we’ve learned.

Are you bringing any new influences musically?
We’ve been listening to lots of mid-sixties stuff. The Everly Brothers and Dion and the Belmonts… you know just that sixties sound.

The sixties influence is quite an obvious in The Coral’s material...
I think Liverpool has kept a lot of its musical innocence… the sound that often comes out is what has sort of been passed on or influenced by another Liverpool band. It’s stayed traditional with guitar music and we’ve stayed true to it… it’s known as the Mersey Beat. We didn’t really get drawn into the hiphop or other sounds coming out, we’ve stayed true to our guitars.

You recorded the new album in Noel Gallagher’s studio. Do the band have a good relationship with the Oasis brothers?
Definitely. I love everything they’ve done and they’re two of the nicest lads you’d ever meet. Despite their bad press they are good blokes. They just play up to this bad image and know how to wind the press up. They have good purpose,

How would you sum up The Coral’s purpose?
I don’t know anymore. I like to think that we stand for good music and I suppose we’re more romantic than many in the sense of our sound.

Are there any bands at the minute that you’re in tune with?

To be honest I don’t really get out much but I do like the White Stripes, Queens of the Stone Age and Richard Hawley.

What about the Artic Monkeys? How has it been for you supporting them?

We’ve had some good days with them… it’s been alright. They’re a good group of lads with the same sort of principles as us I suppose.

Are there any bands you’ve developed an obvious dislike for?

(Laughs) I don’t know, but even if I did I wouldn’t say. I’ve learned to keep my mouth shut because it only backfires on you in the end.

Despite a large fan base, you all seem to stay out of the limelight. Is that intentional or are you just all really well behaved?
(Laughs again) Yeah, we’re more reclusive on that level. We’re not really into being in the public eye as people… it’s about our music. We’d just be really embarrassed if we were in the papers and we stand for something outside of that. I look at bands who are always in the media and I just think it’s really shit for them when it happens.

So you guys have never had any bad press?

Well early on we did get a reputation for being mouthy and people were kind of wary about what we might say. We used to shout our mouths off and it has a knock on effect. We would be too defensive if people said shit, but now we’ve sort of grown up and learnt to go with it.

Although you’ve been busy recently with album and single releases, tours and festivals, what do you do with your free time?
I literally lie in bed all day. I rarely get to do it. Given the chance I might watch The Munsters or Star Trek on TV.

Star Trek? So you’re a bit of a Trekkie are you?

No! I’m not a Trekkie, but I do like it. I’m in to the sixties episodes which are on late at night at like 2am…that’s what I look forward to doing.

You’re playing Nottingham’s Rock City in October. Any particular memories of the venue?

I only have vague ones. I never remember places until I go back there really. Actually I can’t even remember playing there before? Have we?

Yeah, back in 2002. You were on at a Radio One show...
Oh right…yeah. I sort of remember Nottingham. I think I went to Sherwood Forest in the day, but as I say my memories are very vague.

No worries. I’ll move on swiftly. Do you prefer playing the larger venues or more intimate ones?

It totally depends on the audience. As long as you’re getting the right buzz it doesn’t matter what the venue is like. Out of all of them I did love the Royal Court Theatre in Liverpool. I really felt like we’d made it when we got to play there. I suppose I love playing at venues that are established in that sense. We played with The Proclaimers who said to us that it was the best gig they’d ever done too. It was brilliant.

The Proclaimers hey? They have a new album out soon… you a fan?

Yeah they’re really good.

What was the last album you bought?

It was Frisco Mabel Joy by Mickey Newbury. He’s a country artist who The Everly Brothers loved. His stuff is really good, but quite hard to get hold of.

What was the last thing that made you laugh?

Blades of Glory, a film I watched last night. It was stupid but funny.

What you going to do with the rest of your day?

I’ll probably be rehearsing and writing with my brother. I’ve got to get ready for our new video. We’re shooting it on a gypsy travellers site. Or I might watch more Star Trek...

See! I knew you were a Trekkie!

(Laughs) Honestly I’m not! I just like watching it. I love the outfits. We were going to do a front cover for one of our albums all dressed in Trekkie gear, but we couldn’t find the cardigans to fit us all.

Ah the infamous cardigan. A staple item in The Coral’s wardrobe it seems?

Yeah. We used to always wear them, those granddad style ones. Then all of a sudden everyone was wearing them. We started that whole cardigan’s being cool again thing, I’m sure of it!

Anything you want to say to LeftLion readers?

Keep the faith. It’s been good.

The Coral play at Rock City on Monday 8 October. Their new album Roots And Echoes is out now.

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