_(To Frank) Love, Ire and Song has been out for a while now, overall are you happy with how the album turned out? Has all the fan / media reception been positive?_
Yeah, I’m still very pleased with how the album turned out, which is a rarity for me. The production and songwriting are as good as they could have been. Creatively, it was very similar to Sleep is for the Week (Frank’s first album) but now I have that certain way of doing things right, next time I can really move on. I really can’t complain with how people are receiving the album, especially with the radioplay for ‘Long Live the Queen’. Perhaps the only thing I’d like to change is ‘Substitute’. I prefer the full band version we’re touring with at the moment to that on the record.
_(To Frank) With the impending release of the B-sides compilation The Last Three Years does that mean you’ll be playing some of the older stuff live, like ‘Thatcher’ etc? Any idea of a release date yet?_
Well in a way I do try and mix up the set regularly and the compilation really isn’t made up of that much old stuff, alot of it is quite recent, it’s just really a way for people to get everything that’s not on the albums including the tracks off the two EP’s, Campfire Punkrock and The Real Damage. With new people getting involved every day it’s really just a solution to them having to buy like 14 different things, and just get the three records. Release-wise, I think it should be out around the beginning of December.
_(To Frank and Chris) With the summer festival performances and the sessions on Radio 1 with Chris T-T on keys, is Chris now or becoming a more permanent feature to the band set up?_
(Frank) We did do a lot of shows together in the Summer, but Chris isn’t playing keys on this tour, mainly because he’s the support and it’s alot of effort for Chris to do both. But we are doing loads of shows / tours together in the future: we’re touring Europe next month, Ireland as well. There is definitely stuff coming up where Chris will be involved. I suppose the best way to describe it is to say it’s generally unplanned really.
(Chris) I was really quite relieved not to be playing piano on this tour, with playing support, but as soon as we got on the road I immediately missed it. Matt who is playing keys on the tour though is better than me (Frank seems to disagree at this point). With Matt it allows the band to be more complete, during the summer and our performances together there was always a part of me that was always a bit ‘loose’ with the rest of the band. Not necessarily in a bad way, sometimes it was really good but I think Matt has enabled Frank’s band to knock it up a notch. Still, I do absolutely love doing it and every night on the current tour I’m doing a few songs with Frank at the end, it gives me a massive emotional buzz and reminds me of the summer.
_(To Frank) I read in another interview that you were going on a break after Love, Ire and Song but you seem to be touring as much as ever? Does this also mean the new album be out sooner rather than later?_
With what’s been happening recently (the success of single ‘Long Live the Queen’) it has changed the plan slightly. At the moment there is talk of doing one more single from Love, Ire and Song in the Spring, which will probably be a re-release of ‘Reasons not to be an Idiot’ as before we only did it as a download-only single. Definitely want to get album number 3 out in the Autumn of next year. Creatively, it is coming together – what I really want to do is record the album with live takes, in the sense the other albums have been a process of layering instruments. So we plan to go into some pretty intense rehearsals and then what I’d like to do is get the album done in 6 days, but that might be hugely optimistic…
_(To Frank) How does it feel to have airplay on Radio 1 with Sara Cox (last week’s single of the week) and the massive attention generated by ‘Long Live the Queen’?_
Word is definitely spreading; on the one hand, it’s something I’ve never experienced before but then I’d be lying if I said this wasn’t what we were working for. It’s fantastic. I want to play bigger venues, get the music out to more people. Given the background I’ve come from and the fact we have achieved this through hard work it is occasionally surreal – it wasn’t long ago I was getting one or two specialist places on the radio, but now I’m even on Chris Moyles!
_(To Chris T-T) With the release of the Xtra Mile compilation and your acoustic reworkings of 4 tracks from Capital do you prefer any of the new versions over the album versions?_
I would probably say I prefer the piano version of ‘A-Z’. I recorded after a party and it was just easy to play it and the result was really doing it live and getting it right. I’m really proud of the 4 tracks and I really wish it was a physical CD actually (currently the album is iTunes download only).
_(To Chris T-T) How do you feel latest album, Capital, has been received? And how has the change to the record label Xtra Mile changed things for you?_
Signing to Xtra-Mile has changed my life. I’d been on my old label far too long, but with Xtra-Mile it offered a whole fresh take on everything, especially as they had come out of the rock world – it was exactly what I wanted – people who know and like rock and more loud music. They didn’t sign me because I’m Chris T-T, they signed me because of the album. The record was really helped by Frank shouting about it and it has been incredibly rewarding going into shops and seeing the album there. One of the heartbreaking things about 9 Red Songs (Chris T-T’s release before Capital) was that it got such good reviews, but I would go around all these indie shops and none of them had it.
_(To Chris T-T) Any plans to release any of the back catalogue on the new label?_
(Chris) There is a real problem getting the back catalogue off the old label due to it being more a complicated process than a ‘fight’. Difficult to work out who owes who any money. I would love to do a collection of my material up until 9 Red Songs as so many people don’t know anything about it. (Here I mentioned how excellent the track ‘English Earth’ is…)
(Frank) I am deeply, deeply jealous of ‘English Earth’…
(Chris T-T) There’s a fair few of yours I’m jealous of Frank! I suppose that’s what we do, annoy each other – that’s how we roll…
_(To Frank and Chris T-T) What’s your favourite amongst each others’ songs?_
(Frank) That’s difficult – from the new album its ‘A Box to Hide In’.
(Chris T-T) From Love, Ire and Song it’s ‘Love, Ire and Song’, but ‘Substitute’ is also wonderful.
_(To Frank and Chris T-T) Finally, I noticed you both did backing on the Automatic’s ‘Steve McQueen’ – how did that come about?_
(Frank) I know the Automatic guys because I toured with them years ago, and they were big Million Dead fans, and me and Chris did a USA tour tour together and we were just in LA and they were recording the album – we swung by and that was just the song they were doing that day!