Compiled by: Jack Foley
Interviewer: Let's start with Dakota. Can you
take me back to where it first came from and how it’s mutated
and become what it is?
Kelly Jones: The song Dakota was first written
in Paris. I was doing a promo trip for You Got to Go There
to Come Back. It was snowing and the hotel room was really
cold and boring and for some reason I just had a go of the guitar
and the song came pretty quick.
I kind of knew it was a strong melody and really strong hook.
I put it away and finished the lyrics on an America tour a month
and a half later in Vermillion, and it was one of those kind of
songs that was very reflective, kind of dreamy and nostalgic but
quite uplifting at the same time.
The words sounded very much like the music so it was a pretty
fast song really in the sense of how it kind of became what it
became. It came together very quickly.
Interviewer: And Javier, for you, I presume it’s
going to be a very important song in retrospect because it will
be the first song that you have been involved in. [to Javier]
Your first Single.
Javier: Well yeah, for me it’s quite important.
It’s the first one so I suppose it is going to be good.
Ha, ha, ha.
Interviewer: Good to drum?
Javier: Yeah, it’s one of the best ones actually
to drum to. I mean the album does vary drumming wise but it’s
one of the most fun to play live actually.
Interviewer: So while we’re at it, let’s
get the million dollar question out of the way. Tell us how you
became involved with this motley crew?
Javier: Well that’s complicated man. I was working
in a recording studio and I happened to work with them a couple
of times so we’ve known each other for over three years
Actually, the moment we thought about working together was when
Kelly came down last time to do the demos for this album and they
worked on Dakota and Superman. Just a drum machine
kind of approach and then from that point on Kelly and Jim were
a little bit stuck with the programming [of the drum machine]
and I happened to have my drum kit there, quite conveniently,
and basically I just played the drums for him [Kelly] to have
an idea of the songs and all of that. Just to give proper ideas
and we just clicked.
We did 15 songs in eight days and they went off to finish touring
the States and all of that, and when it was time to actually do
the album they called me. Up until that point we never discussed
me being part of the project or me being part of the band, or
anything like that.
That came up later when the album was being mixed at the end of
the year. We never really thought about it too much. We just felt
it was right to play together and then when we saw the results
of it and also evaluated the vibe between us, it was just right.
Interviewer: Agree Rich?
Richard: Yes [laughs] definitely, the whole process from
start to finish with Javier just felt really natural. From when
Kelly did the demos, when we went back on tour Kelly was saying
how good Javier’s feel is and how energetic it is to play
with somebody like that.
It just felt like we were teenagers again and I was just really
excited to get back in the studio again and start recording with
Javier and then just take it from there. We did our first live
shows last month and that was a really good laugh. Playing all
the old stuff, Loads of energy, sweaty rooms… Yeah it was
Interviewer: We said at the time that there was very
much a gang mentality around that tour. Did you feel that it was
back to basics in a whole number of ways?
Richard: Yeah, Just the whole feel of it. Being a three
piece [band]. Doing three piece gigs. The whole attitude and the
attitude of everybody towards us as well… It feels a lot
more youthful as in that’s how we used to feel when we started
doing it professionally. I think has gone back to that which is
Interviewer: So Kelly, talk us through from the beginning
of the entire process. Where did this album kick off and just
talk us through the varying stages.
Kelly: I think it started similarly to every other record.
We finish one album and we go on tour. That tour generally lasts
18 months and during that time whatever songs I write I stick
on a Dictaphone and assess when I get to the end.
I don’t really listen to it until I know I’m going
to go into the studio next. I don’t really know what I have
got until that time and I kind of kept doing that right up until
January or February 2004.
I decided I had two cassettes worth of ideas and I had a ten day
break before the David Bowie tour so I thought it would be a good
time to see what was on there so went into the studio with Jim
and played him the ideas.
I edited down to the 15, 16 I wanted to work on… started
on Dakota, did that demo in a day and the next day moved
studios to where Javier worked.
I did the demo for Superman
and that came together in three hours which kind of blew me away
really and pretty much all of what is on the record is the demo
apart from Richard and Javier playing the parts that we roughly
played on the day. Then I carried on doing the rest of the demos
We came up with about 15 songs and for the next three months it
was me kind of making notes mentally on how to produce those songs,
how to put them together, because there was songs like Doorman
and Brother which were quite rough and scruffy and
then there was Superman, Rewind and Dakota
which were much more polished, bigger band sounding.
My main challenge for the record was to join those two styles
together but funnily enough, when we started recording them they
kind of just became that and each song dictated itself which made
the record really.
We didn’t want to make a record that was over 45 minutes
long. We wanted something that when it finished you wanted to
listen to it again. We wanted it to be high energy from beginning
to end. We ditched the acoustic guitar, didn’t do any writing
on the acoustic [guitar].
I did a lot of writing on Jaguars and Mustangs, Fender guitars
instead of Gibsons and even a lot of writing on the bass. I just
experimented on some electronic noises with Jim really and it
was a very natural process. A big bunch of happy accidents and
to us finding a sound that we have never really done before. So
we didn’t really think about it.
The motto at the time making the demos in March was “don’t
think, just draw” and that’s how I think Superman
came back in three hours. Try this, try that, try this, try that
and then listen back after. By doing that you’re not frightened
of going for it. I think that when you make an album and the red
light is on you get a bit “well let’s not do this”
and that’s why I love demos because they kind of capture
a lot more soul than sometimes a record does.
I think because you feel a bit intimidated by making an album
Interviewer: And the whole idea to give each of the tracks
just one word titles and the eventual title of the album. Talk
me through that.
Kelly: The one word song titles came from that same period.
I had a bunch of ideas that were incomplete. I didn’t really
know what the song titles would be. ‘Doorman’ was
a one word title; ‘Superman’ was a one word title.
‘Dakota’ was then called Vermillion and I quite liked
the fact that one word titles were very, to me, reminiscent of
Pearl Jam 10 album.
Then it also sparked in my head that people’s attention
spans were short now. No one really remembers song titles anyway
and when we do set lists everybody always puts one word down so
it just kind of stuck really.
We even had a song called Coffee. Jim would just pick
out a random word. He picked out one called Cherokko,
after his car.
Lolita was after the Kubric cover of the film that was
hanging around. Some of them stuck and some of them didn’t.
But we just liked the fact that they were very, very snappy and
we wanted initially to have one word for the album title like
Jeep or Pump by Areosmith.
We couldn’t find one so when we stumbled across Language,
Sex, Violence, Other? on a classification chart on a DVD
case that kind of felt right because it was four individual words.
And I quite liked the play on words on that title, which kind
of asked the question “is that it?” all people are
interested in is language, sex and violence or is there something
else? It just had very multiple meanings, whether it was body
language, bad language, foreign language or if it was sex. Male
or female sex.
It just had all these, for the interpreter, many ways you could
read into that, and I’ve always liked that in titles.
Interviewer: Do you feel a sense of pressure around these?
Especially given the success of the earlier albums, if not, all
of the albums. They’ve all sold a healthy number?
Kelly: Yes. I’m very honest when I say that when
I’m in the studio making the records I don’t feel
any pressure at all. I don’t feel ever as free really about
what we do for a living. I don’t care what anybody thinks
I’m really just having a good time making music and you
don’t really care about how it’ll sell because at
the moment your doing it you’re so passionate about it that
you think, we’ll what I’m doing is as good as I can
possibly do and I’m giving all I’ve got so I don’t
really care. But when it comes to a day like today and the single
is released and you start going “well I wonder if anyone’s
going to fucking buy it?”.
It’s only then that you start getting a little bit paranoid
about it. And like you said, all the records have sold over a
million records and the last few have gone to number one so we
are kind of due for a fall really. I think that fall has been
a gradual fall over the last couple of records. From a perspective
point of view you get most of the attention from your first two
records anyway. That’s when they put you on the front cover.
That’s when they try to hail you and that’s when they
try to break you. Then after that you’ve just got to keep
your head down and keep going forward really. You’re going
to gain fans and loose fans along the way by just being true to
what you do musically. That’s just the way it is.
I don’t think I feel a major amount of pressure. I’m
probably more excited than anything. We’ve had such a good,
positive reaction so far, critically and industry wise, which
we haven’t had for a while so I’m hoping this time
that we could get both the critics and the fans like it as well.
I’d fucking hate it if the industry and the critics like
it and the fans don’t. Ha, ha, ha