Should all artists be good raconteurs? Just because you’re comfortable communicating using music doesn’t mean you’re comfortable communicating using words in general. In fact maybe you started to communicate using music exactly because you struggled to communicate like everyone else does and you felt isolated.
That’s what sort of happened with me. Then one day I find myself in front of a radio voice asking me to pick my ‘weirdest story’ on live radio. I’ve heard other people do this well, but my mind is blank, the question is too generic to fire any particular weird story synapse. Why can’t this question just piss off? I’m a songwriter, not a clever story slash witty comment conjurer.
The truth is sometimes the more serious you are the more seriously you’re taken. Everyone knows that there are more comfortable interviewees than Laura Marling or Bombay Bicycle Club, but their slight awkwardness makes them all the more beautiful, and their music all the more powerful. After all, if they’re clearly not in it for the interviews, fame and hangers on, then what reason is possibly left but the music? That’s more important right? Unless it’s all an act, and let’s hope it’s not.
Plenty of people have said that they like my music because it makes them smile or laugh. Or they say “you guys really look like you had fun on stage”. I like that and hate it at the same time. I can’t honestly say a song like ‘Many Fish To Fry’ has no humour in it, and I fucking want to have fun on stage. But, cliched as it sounds, I want to make people cry as well as laugh.
By the time we went on in Cambridge I felt like a serious man on a serious mission. Like a lion tamer walking into the pit knowing no lion is going to give him shit today. Might sound a little dramatic… Especially as the crowd were so totally lovely and Tom Copson had just played a fantastic set. But if you want your songs to have meaning to people, you need to mean them with your eyes and your arms and your torso. Otherwise give a low bow, get off the stage and start again.
It was an important gig for Kev too – with family based in the area we were almost blessed with the complete collection of Pollards. Chris and Pippa Pollard even put us up for the night and gave us scones, clotted cream and home made jam! We watched Super 8 in our sleeping bags the next day and it was heaven. Even if you’re selling out an arena, why would you ever prefer a boring hotel room to a good friend’s house? Well… I can think of one or two reasons… but if you ever think you’re too good for your mate’s spare room you’ve lost the plot.
Next time you hear an interview with a singer or band and they’re not sounding too interesting, let their music do the talking. If it’s good… well that should be good enough. Similarly if you hear someone enrapture you with their chat but their music is rubbish then wish them well but tell them to try again next year.