Thursday, March 24, 2011

Bonus Q&A with Andy Bell of Beady Eye

How does it feel to have the album finally available now?
It is a relief to have it out there because, you know, when things get leaked these days, you get paranoid about having a CD release. I haven’t really listened to it as much as I wanted to in the weeks and months coming up to the release, because I was scared to burn myself a CD in case I lost it.

America was always the second biggest market for Oasis album sales worldwide. Do you think Beady Eye will do just as well in the States?
We hope so. We’re certainly willing to come and play. It’s just in the hands of whoever controls these things, really...anywhere you’ll have us, we’ll come and see whether you dig it or not. It would be nice if you did.

Is it more fulfilling being back on guitar full time now?
For sure. The guitar is my natural instrument. Although I enjoyed playing the bass, I was like the third best bass player in [Oasis]. I was good at it; don’t get me wrong. 

What was the experience like working with co-producer Steve Lillywhite?
He likes working fast and is very instinctive in that way. I think it’s the sign of a good, experienced producer that would take that attitude and really try and listen to the band...I’m sure that wouldn’t be how he’d record U2, for example.

One of my favorites on the new album is “For Anyone.” Since it has that La’s/Merseybeat-type sound to it, I wondered it Steve and Chris Sharrock, who worked with that band, had any influence on its sound.
It came together with the sound and was part of the charm. Although Steve and Chris weren’t really the inspiration behind it, there’s a lot of their influence in there, in general. 

On “Millionaire,” which you wrote, there are references to cities in Spain and painter Salvador Dali. Was that influenced by a trip to the country?
Yeah, it was inspired by a trip I made to Barcelona and up the coast of Spain to this small fishing village where Salvador Dali grew up. It’s just about my time there.

In three of the songs, the subject of dreams comes up. Just a random thing or a topic you guys like to write about?
It is a coincidence, but two of the tunes are ones I came up with, so I’m notorious for this kind of thing. I’m always – even going back to the Ride songs – writing about daydreams. I really have to stop myself and rein it in. Otherwise every other song would be about dreaming. Mainly because I write a lot of my songs when I’m just waking up. Or in the middle of the night, which is my time [to be creative].

Has the fact that everyone in Beady Eye contributes equally to the songwriting and decision-making been liberating for you?
It’s been good. I was always happy being the bass player in Oasis. It was a band that worked well. I don’t want to put Beady Eye on a pedestal and say Oasis was bad in some way, because it wasn’t. I’m certainly being a lot more creative in Beady Eye because there’s room for it. There’s a vacant spot there. We’re all able to jump in and fill that spot with ideas.

I have to ask you about Ride. Rhino Handmade Records just reissued ‘Nowhere’ in a great deluxe book version and on vinyl. What do you think made that album stand out and become one that many fans gravitated toward?
I think debut albums are special in general – or at least they can be: Stones Roses, The La’s, Oasis, of course.

How did Ride feel about being referred to as "shoegazers" back then?
It was just starting to get mentioned at that point...we were just awkward. We were little middle class kids from Oxford who weren’t really socially savvy. Everything was awkward to us. We didn’t really want to be lumped in with a scene of bands. We were quite happy to be on our own. We felt like outsiders and didn’t feel like we were part of anything really. We were from outside London, so I think people thought we were farmers or something.   

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