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Interview: The Lightning Seeds – part 2
Published on February 3rd, 2012 | Jonny Abrams
Here is part 2 of Rocksucker‘s interview with The Lightning Seeds main man Ian Broudie…(click here to read part 1)…
“Sugar-Coated Iceberg” (from Dizzy Heights)
Out of all the artists you’ve produced for, who were the most efficient in the studio? And were there any that were hard to handle?
Well, I don’t think being ‘efficient’ in the studio would be a good thing. I think artists need to be something other than efficient, and people are far too efficient in the studio these days. Just generally in music, everyone’s far too efficient, and it restricts the creativity to a degree.
Were Shack/The Pale Fountains hard to control at all? I ask because I’m a fan of theirs, and I might have been misled but it sounds like they were ‘using’ a lot back then…
The Shack thing is a bit weird, actually. The Pale Fountains I worked with a lot, but the Shack thing was a bit of a funny one because they’d already recorded the album [the much-maligned Zilch] and they didn’t like it. I think I recorded a couple of songs with them under a lot of restrictions, because all the budget had gone and they didn’t have a drummer or a bass player. It was almost a favour, and I honestly feel like I didn’t produce Shack, I just helped them finish it. There’s been much said about that that’s really not correct. (Laughs)
Mick [Head] was always my mate, really; we played football together and we always got on really well, so I don’t think he was awkward. I’ve always got on with people I’ve produced. For me, in order to produce people, I sometimes have to wish I was in their group, so it was almost like I wanted to be in their group for that period of time. I just lived and breathed what they did, and approached it like that. You have a lot of arguments with people, but only in a good way, if you know what I mean; to achieve something that’s great.
“Perfect” (from Jollification)
As someone who has paved the way for some talented artists to prosper, does the predominance of shows such as The X Factor bother you at all?
It just is what it is. I’ve always thought that there’s a real distinction between show business and the music business, and I’ve never known anything about show business. It’s just a TV show, like Coronation Street or something like that.
Its influence spills over into the music world though, surely?
I don’t know. There’s always been stuff like that. I think The X Factor is all the people who sent tapes to record companies who would never have been listened to, would just have been thrown into a big box that’s effectively a bin. That’s not to say they were bad, it’s just a different…a different thing, really. I don’t think it really affects bands.
“Marvellous” (from Jollification)
There’s the argument that its output clogs up the charts and denies some very talented artists the limelight they deserve.
But it clogs up the charts as opposed to, you know, Christina Aguilera clogging up the charts. Nothing against her, but there’s always been stuff clogging up the charts, from Engelbert Humperdinck to sodding Racey or Suzi Quatro. If you look at the charts in the ‘60s and you see Engelbert Humperdinck beating The Beatles to the number 1 spot, if you look at it when punk rock was happening then those bands weren’t in the charts; the charts were full of the generation before, like Genesis. If you take any year and you grab a week out of the charts, I reckon I’d probably not like 75% of the records in the top 20.
“What If” (from Dizzy Heights)
I do wonder though if a band such as The Lightning Seeds would have got as far in the ‘00s as they did in the ‘90s…
Yeah, but that’s like saying, “Were football players better in the ‘60s?” It’s a non-issue, know what I mean? Would Bob Dylan have got anywhere playing Woody Guthrie songs now? Probably not. But would he be doing it now, or would he be in his bedroom DJing? He’d be a different person. I think The Lightning Seeds were a band that was out of time anyway; I don’t think it was really part of the Britpop thing, because when “Pure” came out in 1989, so I remember my contemporaries racing up the indie chart being The Stone Roses, “Pure” at number 1 and them at number 2 with “Sally Cinnamon”. Later on, everyone said it was part of Britpop, but I was just carrying on doing what I did, really.
Sense came out in ’92, didn’t it? That definitely precedes the whole Britpop ‘movement’ by a year or two.
Yeah. I think sometimes people need to be able to put something in a box in order to promote it, but from my point of view I don’t think any of that’s real. You know, if Stevie Wonder came out now, would he be a hip-hop artist? He probably would be, and if The Lightning Seeds was happening now in the atmosphere of The X Factor, I probably wouldn’t do it the same because I wouldn’t be that person.
“Sense” (from Sense)
Bob Dylan’s grandson Pablo is a rapper…
(Laughs) Pablo Dylan? That sounds like a joke, doesn’t it?
Oh, it’s all too real. Finally, if you were forced to spend the rest of your days in solitary confinement, but you were allowed to take with you the complete works of five different artists to tide you over, whose would you select?
That’s a harder question for me than it is for most people, because I’m not big on complete works; I’m really a big fan of songs, so some of my favourite songs might be by people who I don’t like anything else by. It’s interesting, when you get people who have more than five or six songs that I absolutely love, they tend to be Bowie or Dylan or John Lennon. There are very few people that have that much that I like, but there’ll be bits of what they do that I love. So, if you’re going to talk about complete works, it would be all those people. It’s a rarity for people to be consistent in music, in a way, and I think as the times change it’ll be less and less likely to happen.
Ian Broudie, thank you.
The Lightning Seeds will play the following UK dates in February (click here for links to buy tickets)…
9th Feb 2012 Whitehaven Civic Hall
10th Feb 2012 Leeds City Varieties
11th Feb 2012 Liverpool O2 Academy
12th Feb 2012 Milton Keynes The Stables
14th Feb 2012 Gateshead The Sage
15th Feb 2012 Leamington Spa Assembly
17th Feb 2012 Frome Cheese & Grain
18th Feb 2012 London Shepherds Bush Empire
20th Feb 2012 Buxton Opera House Festival
21st Feb 2012 Ashford St Mary’s Church
For more information, please visit lightningseeds.net