Opera North

The Hours Interview

1 March 07 words: Rebecca Kielty
"Is it cool to be in a band? I think being cool's not cool. I think thinking about the concept of cool is possibly the most uncool thing in the world"

So, Happy Valentine's Day, sir...

Ah, thank you very much. That's the first Happy Valentine's greeting I've had all day.

How's your first headline tour going?
It's exciting for us. It's exciting to think that people are paying to come see us, it's nice!

What's the best response you've gotten from an audience?
The other night we did a radio show for Janice Long on Radio 2, and we did a song called I Miss You, which is a song about my dad who died in 2002, and she started crying, on-air, at the end of that song. And we got loads of messages in - one from this guy who said, "I'm a 40-year old burly northern guy who works on an oil rig in the North Sea, and you've just reduced me to tears." So, that's the best, I think.

This seems like a project that's been a long time coming, considering how long you two have been involved in various music projects...
I think some cakes take longer to cook than others. And you have to have 'em on a low heat. We've been on a low heat. It just took a long time for us to come to a point where we felt we had something which we wanted to say. We didn't wanna start a band for the sake of starting a band because we think that being in a band's cool.

But is it cool?
Is it cool to be in a band? I think being cool's not cool. I think thinking about the concept of cool is possibly the most uncool thing in the world.

Do you think that you're going to collaborate beyond Narcissus Road? Can we expect more?
From me and Martin? Absolutely.

So you're not just seeing how this peters out?
I don't expect it to peter out.

I don't think it's going to peter out at all. Do you think it's going to peter out?

I think it's a solid album.
Solid albums don't peter out, do they?

No they stay in record collections.
Exactly, people play em, for a long time. So yeah, petering out's not on my agenda.

Because you're on a slow heat.
It's cooked!

Oh so it's gonna sort of stay in a tin...
It's gonna sort of explode onto the table, and everyone's gonna eat it, and say, "Fucking hell... that was an amazing meal."

So then you're gonna have to make another one.
Yeah we can make another one, we can make a few. I'll keep making them until I stop having things to say. We're not in a band to be cool; we're in a band to say something and when I feel that we haven't got anything left to say then I won't do it.

Although you guys have together, or separately, been in a number of rather cool bands...
Well, I think me and Martin have both done things that are considered to be uncool but I don't give a fuck about that really. Anyone who even gets hung up on that is...I'm not really interested in that.

I'm meant to ask you about 'Jarvis and more'. Have you ever caught Jarvis with his pants down?
No. Well maybe once, but...not really. He's quite private, Jarvis, in that area.

I remember when you played in Nottingham a lot of people had come from Sheffield and you said that a lot of them were actually your family...
I've got a big family. And they're into it. It's nice for 'em to see someone, I mean, I'm from a council estate in Sheffield and it's not often that someone from the kinda background that I'm from gets to do for a living what I'm doing for a living. So it's exciting for people, for your family, when that happens. And they've been very supportive, definitely.

How have your family responded to I Miss You?
They cry, usually, because my dad was a beautiful man and we all loved him. There's been a lot of tears with that song. I mean, it's a song about loss so most people can relate to loss even if it's not death just loss of a love object. I think that song connects on that level. It's a simple sentiment, "I miss you." We all miss someone at some point at sometime, don't we? It's a sad thing, missing someone, and you're never gonna get them back... But that's life. There are only two things in life that are certain: taxes and death.

Do you remember the gig that you played in Nottingham?
Absolutely. I've got a good memory.

What would you like to do when you return?
I'd like more humans to be there [laughs].

What three albums can you recommend to listen to before you die?
One of my favourite records ever is Spirit of Eden by Talk Talk…I love that record. What’s Going On by Marvin Gaye, everyone should listen to that record. Erm… God, it’s too corny to say a Beatles record innit? But Revolver’s a fuckin' awesome record. One of my favourite records ever made, Revolver.

Anything else you wanna say to LeftLion readers?
To LeftLion readers I would like to say… go and buy our record. There’s something in it for everyone, like Quality Street. If you don’t like the toffee penny you can always have a green triangle.

The Hours website

The Hours play at the Rescue Rooms on 8 March 2007

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