Published on April 2nd, 2012 | Jonny Abrams
Feeder are set to release eighth studio album Generation Freakshow on 23rd April, the very same day that they embark upon a fourteen-date tour of the UK and Ireland (click here for dates). Rocksucker caught up with bassist Taka Hirose (not for the first time) to discuss the record, the band’s alternating drummers system and his marvellous cooking website cookmejapanese.com…
What can you tell us about the new album?
When we were making the last album, Renegades, we were also thinking about releasing a Renegades II, but it didn’t happen because we kept writing more and more new stuff. A lot of things happened while we were recording Generation Freakshow that I think Grant [Nicholas, front man] mentioned in another interview; the riots, Bin Laden getting killed, lots of things going on in the world. That’s why he came up with the title Generation Freakshow. It’s also the name of a song on the album, but he always had this “what’s going on in the world?” thing, you know. We both have kids now so we hope the future will be okay for them. I think message-wise, that is it, but I didn’t write the lyrics so I can’t really say.
Will it be coming out on your own Big Teeth Music label?
Are you thinking about taking on other acts in the future?
Yeah. It would be interesting, but it’s a lot of hard work. We have to concentrate on Feeder at the moment but in the future we’d love to take on other artists or bands.
Some Feeder fans were unhappy about the staggered announcements of different versions of Generation Freakshow, all with different bonus material and available from various different places, meaning that completists had to buy two copies of the album. Is that something you’d considered?
You can’t make everyone happy! We tried to make something interesting, and we recorded lots of songs so we thought, “We’d better use these songs otherwise people won’t hear them.” I understand why people might complain though.
Do you have any plans to put out all the various bonus songs together, perhaps as an EP?
We have done a B-sides double album before [2004’s Picture of Perfect Youth] and I’m sure we’ll probably do another one in a few years. B-sides are interesting to make because you can do whatever you like on them. I’m not a good person to pick singles though because I usually prefer the album tracks, songs which are less catchy but they’re the kind of songs I like. So I’m probably not the right person to ask about singles!
What happened to the song “Generation Freakshow” being a single? It seemed to be getting geared towards release, but then it was eventually announced that “Children of the Sun” would be the second single instead.
It’s not really a single, but one of our pluggers suggesting sending “Generation Freakshow” to some radio stations. “Borders” was a really good single but at the same time “Generation Freakshow” has good character, a Feeder sound. I don’t know, to be honest (laughs). It’s good to send the rock shows a few different songs. Maybe I’m getting old but I think it would be boring if they only played singles on the radio.
An acoustic version of forthcoming single “Children of the Sun”, released 30th April
Am I right in thinking that Karl Brazil did all the drums on the album?
Will he be playing drums for you on tour?
At the moment we have a guy called Damon [Wilson]. He did the second half of the Renegades tour. Karl is a popular session guy so he’s busy. I think he’s playing for Robbie Williams at the moment, in the LA sunshine.
How much of a hassle has it been getting a succession of drummers up to speed? And do their differing styles affect the way you and Grant play?
I don’t think we have to play differently. All drummers are different and we’ve been lucky to have Karl and Damon. We’ve got a couple of other drummers in case we need them but at the moment it’s working well with Karl and Damon. They’re all different; Jon [Lee] was different from Mark [Richardson], Damon’s different from Mark…sometimes it’s good to have different inputs. At the end of the day, it’s only guitar, drums and bass, the very minimum rock formation (laughs). Karl did a great job on the album but Damon brings a different feeling to the songs. Sometimes it’s exciting, sometimes it’s not (laughs). We have to work it out.
Which festivals are you playing this summer?
We’re doing Isle of Wight and T in the Park. I’m not sure about Reading/Leeds; there are so many comedians and bands who want to play there because there’s no Glastonbury this year, and Sonisphere has been cancelled. So I don’t know if we’ve got any chance of playing at Reading/Leeds this year, but you never know.
If you could pick just one festival to play every year, which would it be?
Fuji Rock in Japan. (Laughs) It’s a great festival and it’s in my home country. It’s got a great location as well, in mountain ski resort. At the same time there’s a lot of rain, but there’s no noise restriction so it’s so loud. The festival food there is amazing too, and you can get proper drinks like cocktails, sake, whatever you like.
I look forward to trying some of your recipes…
I’m thinking of expanding that site a bit more. I started it for fun but there might be a possibility to do something a bit more. You never know, it could be my side project!
Are there any up-and-coming Japanese acts you’d like to recommend?
There’s actually a bonus track on the Japanese edition of Generation Freakshow by The Hiatus, the band of a guy called Takeshi Hosomi. It’s really good rock music. Another guy called Masafumi Gotoh from Asian Kung-Fu Generation; they’re really good too. Hopefully we’re going to play with them in Japan, some gigs or a festival.
I love the letter you sent to Mark Webber that he then Tweeted a picture of…
Has he given you any feedback yet?
Actually no. I think that was just before he left for the Australian Grand Prix, and he’s been busy with that so hasn’t been sending messages.
You should get him to put a Feeder sticker on his car.
I don’t know how much they charge for that. One million? But it’s good to know that Mark like rock music because I have to say, as much as I like football [click here to read Taka talking to Football Burp about his love of Chelsea FC], football players listen to softy R&B. Come on, you have to listen to some rock music to run really fast. (Laughs)
It would be great if he was listening to Feeder really loud in his car while racing.
Good luck to him. As much as I support UK and Japanese drivers, Mark Webber seems like a nice person so hopefully he’ll get a good win this season.
I read that “Buck Rogers” was originally written for another band…
Yeah, I think he was asked by a producer if he had any songs he could give to this band he was working with. At that time he’d made a demo of it for the next album, and he talked about giving them the song. Yeah, he wasn’t really popular with the label [because of that], and then he changed his mind.
Have you guys written any other songs that have gone on to be used by other artists?
Hmmm…(deliberates)…I don’t know. Maybe Grant did and he didn’t tell me so he could get lots of money (laughs).
Finally, if you had to spend the rest of your life in solitary confinement, but were allowed to take the entire works of five different musical artists with you to tide you over, whose would you choose?
(Thinks long and hard about it.) Dave Grohl, Josh Homme, Thom Yorke, Kate Bush and Bob Marley.
Taka Hirose, thank you.
Feeder’s eighth studio album Generation Freakshow will be released on April 23rd through the band’s own Big Teeth Music label. (Click here to pre-order your copy.)
This will be followed by the release of the single “Children of the Sun” on April 30th. For more information, including a list of live dates, please visit www.feederweb.com or the band’s Facebook page.