David Ford

King Tuts Wah Wah Hut, Glasgow on Thursday 16 February 2006

Is this your first time in Scotland as a solo artist?

No, as a solo artist I’ve been to Scotland three or four times. Only to do Glasgow as it happens. Aberdeen last night, but that’s as far as we’ve been in Scotland as far as I recall, my memories a bit hazy in my old age.

Do you have anything to say regarding the split up of your former band Easyworld?

You mean dish the dirt and have a right old slag of the people I want to slag off? No, I think it’s one of those things that happen. Bands, like anything, aren’t meant to go on forever. Otherwise you end up like The Rolling Stones and that’s not good for anyone. You find yourself still making the same music with the same people when you’re in your 70’s. I think bands should always have a shelf life. I think I personally did as much as I could do with them (Easyworld). I wasn’t filled with joy at the prospect of making a new album. It wasn’t really where my head was at. Everyone was pulling in different directions.

The record label (when they gave a shit who we were) were utterly incompetent, and the rest of the time I don’t think they realised that we were signed to their label. So that didn’t help in raising our self esteem and feeling that we could be artistically liberated. It just wasn’t working. It’s like a marriage, no one ever cheated but it just wasn’t working out. The analogy I always use is that everybody knew the party was over; I was just the first one to pick up my coat and get out the door.

There were no fist fights; there weren’t really any cross words. I think some people were pissed off with me but I think ultimately if everybody searches their hearts I think they knew it was the right thing. I certainly knew it was the right thing.

Was the material recorded on your debut album written while you were still with the band or did you only begin focusing on the solo project after you split?

I had an idea about what I wanted to do. I had ideas and I had tunes and snippets. But once the band was done with I kind of got down to writing and demoing and recording and ultimately accidentally making the first album. It was never meant to be an album. I just wrote some songs and recorded them and some fool decided to release it as a record, which I’m very happy about.

Are you pleased with the reaction it got?

What, utter indifference? Yeah, I’m pretty flattered. It’s largely been ignored, which I think was always the plan, not to release it but to seep it out. It went into the shops with no fanfare and we didn’t do any of those in store things, we didn’t put any adverts in the press – just released it. So it was out. We did some touring, got a little bit of press here and there, just got on with it. I prefer it that way because it means you’re not privy to the circus of releasing records where the chart becomes the Holy Grail.

It’s just a matter of degrees of failure then because if you look at it like that anything other than the number 1 spot is a failure, and therefore you can be 48 degrees of failure. Then it gets really grubby and you very easily loose sight of the whole point, which is surely that you want to make some music and you want to sing songs and feel you have something to say or you have something to give. You feel there’s some purpose in it, and I think before long it’s very easy for the purpose to become the money and the charts.

Its unfortunate and its something that’s very difficult to avoid. It’s something that a lot of people don’t want to avoid. A lot of people get into music and are very happy to have it be about success in a very shallow sense of the word.

Easyworld were perhaps an extremely underrated band in their field and they had a cult following. Do you feel that a lot of these fans have crossed over?

I don’t think Easyworld had a big fan base. We had a fan base that allowed us to keep working and carry on doing what we were doing when a lot of bands who started around the same time as us disappeared a lot sooner than we did or got dropped or split up so it think it certainly helped. The fact we had a very loyal fan base helped us to continue as we were and continue touring for us as long as we were able to.

As far as the crossover factor I think that a lot of the people who liked Easyworld haven’t strolled over the border line with me. I think some of them got stuck in customs having their rectums searched with rubber gloves to find those JJ72 albums that are lurking in there somewhere. I think a lot of people didn’t like the fact that it just doesn’t rock that much. I sort of think that Easyworld were a good band but that we never rocked that much either. We were never Nirvana, Greenday or The Smashing Pumpkins. It was a middle class white boy brand of rock and I think it was all a bit too safe. I think what I do now is a lot more genuine but at the same time some people don’t like it. You can’t jump up and down at the gigs so much – well you can but you’d look stupid.

Away from the restraints you had while with Easyworld do you now feel more liberated and able to do what you want to do?

I feel completely, almost a little too liberated. Literally nobody ever gives me any guidance or pushes me in any direction, which is good because it means everything I come up with is completely what I want to do, it also means that if I fall flat on my arse I do it completely on my own terms, which is scary because it means you cant blame anyone else – which is the thing about a band, you can divide liability. But when you’re on your own if it all goes horribly wrong basically you’ve got nobody to blame other than yourself. But I’m getting more and more comfortable with that.

As far as being experimental I still just like songs, tunes, words, ideas, and I like expressing things that mean something to me and mean something to others. In that respect I don’t think I’m ever going to stray from a songwriting base. I suppose I could call myself fairly experimental sound wise in that I don’t use producers and studios but I do use instruments and microphones, maybe I do it in a slightly unorthodox way, just point a microphone at something and play it. I occasionally play odd instruments like type writers and suitcases too.

Obviously you use a live band but do you use a band to record your material or do you record it all yourself?

So far on the first album I recorded everything myself except for one saxophone part played for me. I really like doing everything yourself because you don’t have the embarrassment of trying stuff out that ends up sounding really stupid. It’s a far more creative process working without a band or a producer. It’s a very very solitary experience making the records that I do. Essentially it’s me in a room with a lot of instruments and a microphone. A few days later I’ll emerge like a blind animal squinting at the sun with a collection of odd noises. As long as it’s working its great, but as soon as it all turns to shit I’m sure somebody will point it out.

What are you aspirations for the new single?

Honestly I don’t know. I don’t really have aspirations. My aspirations of things are that they just get done. At the moment I’m not even thinking about the single I’m thinking about the next album, the next tour and how I’m going to move on.

Have you written much for the new album?

Not very much, I’ve got a few things – few songs that’s I’ve been trying live. It’s always an on going process. It’s quite scary because this will be the first time that I have deliberately made an album. I was just making demos and recording songs before.

Will the new album have a particular theme to it then?

I think the first album actually works out alarmingly thematic, and I think largely that was because of the situation with the break up of the band. The album is called ‘I sincerely apologize for all the trouble I’ve caused’, and that’s like an apology to all the people who I’ve pissed off.

Is that a genuine apology or an ironic one?

It’s an apology for hurt feelings and wrongs done but it’s not a statement of regret. I don’t regret anything I’ve done, I feel bad if people have been hurt by what I’ve done, I think what I’m trying to say is that I apologize but I don’t take it back.

Do you have any plans to play any UK festivals this summer?

It’s not my job to have plans for those things. Its someone else’s job to book me onto them and have me do them. I’d love to play all the festivals, and I’d happily go first on at the shittest stage at Reading. These choices aren’t down to me they’re down to the people who organize the festivals and who book my shows for me and ultimately decide what’s good for my career. Its not really something I’m interested in – I get asked if I object to things but generally I don’t object to much. I objected to doing something for the British forces. I don’t have it in for them, well actually I’m not that impressed by the British Forces at the moment. I’m sure individually they’re ok. I think people should be discouraged from joining the army so the last thing I want to do is go and sing in tents and entertain the troops – I think in the long term if you make being in the army as miserable as possible then the less people will join it.

What would you like to have accomplished by this time next year?

I’d like to still have my record deal, I’d like to still be married, I’d like to still be talking to all my friends who I have at the moment and just generally be healthy and happy and I’d like to have recorded an album which I really think is all right. That’s kinda it really. As far as the stage in the development of my career, I’d obviously like my album to suddenly sell a million copies and be number 1 for the rest of the year – but at the same time I’m not going to be upset if nobody ever buys my album again. It’s not going to make me think it’s not any good.

Finally, what are the chances of Easyworld reforming, or a nostalgia tour?

Very very slim. There’s more chance of electing a turnip as the next president of the United States of America, although given their current voting record I don’t think that’s too much of an unlikely event. But no, it’s just not going to happen.

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article by: Scott Johnson

published: 02/03/2006 08:41