Friday, 7 May 2010

The Wonder Stuff Interview

Interview by John West

Image by James Butroid

For those of us who are enjoying the resurgence of 80’
s fashion, and for those of us who are have noticed the reminiscent sound of some of the music around at the moment, one band albeit from the late 80’s who are also enjoying reflecting back on this decade are The Wonder Stuff.

Emerging from the Midlands and with a distinctive wry outlook on life, and vibrant songs, they tickled the indie scene in a way that made it hard not to bounce along to tracks such as Radio Ass Kiss, Don’t let me down (gently) and Cartoon Boyfriend.

2010 sees Miles Hunt and Co back on the road to celebrate the 21st Birthday of their album HUP. Sparing us some time from his busy touring and recording schedule Miles shared his thoughts on the industry today, some of the greats, and how it feels to be bringing the album back into the spotlight.

SS. Well you're celebrating 21 years of HUP, what are your thoughts on the album now?Was it difficult to follow 8 Legged Groove Machine and get over the so called 'second album syndrome'?
M.H. HUP was very much a working album written on the road. We’d really enjoyed touring 8 Legged Groove Machine and wanted to move on.

SS. You’ve been touring HUP for a while now, how’s it going and how is it being received?

M.H. The tour has been really high spirited and has been great to do.

SS. With HUP you successfully maintained the vibrancy and energy of the first album, with a folky psychedelic twist. Was it intentional to broaden the band’s sound?

M.H. It was a working album that was written very much on the road; we really enjoyed the 8 Legged tour and wanted to move on with the sound. We felt that it was a natural progression to have samples and different instruments on it and that this was a positive.

SS. HUP came out in a year with a number of great Albums being released; do you have any personal favourites?

M.H.There are certain bands and albums that stand out such as Green [REM], and The Waterboys.

SS. How about Stone Roses, an album which has really stood the test of time in my opinion?

M.H. I found that a bit ‘Stadium Rock’ with a bit of a Simple Minds vibe, but I totally understand the importance of it.

SS. We listen to music very differently now. How much has the industry changed for you since then?

M.H. It used to be all the Major labels, but now you can record at home and make a decent recording so you don’t have to ask record company permission to create your art or to distribute it, and I think that this puts the power into the hands of the creators not the businesses.

SS. This comes across in line with your own work ethics and you come across as a very hard working musician and have been involved in a number of projects along the way. What are your plans for the future and are the Wonder Stuff recording any new material.

M.H. As well as the current tour with the band, I perform with Erica [Nockalls], and we’re working on a project called ‘Shared’ which brings together established and new artists.

I haven’t found anything I love as much as making music so it’s the natural thing for me to be doing. I’m working with, Wayne Hussey, and Roddie Frame, and a guy called Dirty Ray focussing the work mainly in the Shropshire Area, but we’ll be hitting the road soon. It’s Acoustic; sitting on sofa’s with a couple of acoustic guitars, which is how 8 Legged started, and if it doesn’t sound good then. It probably won’t sound good in the studio.

SS. At Stoke Sounds we aim to promote the very vibrant local music scene, do you have any advice for the musicians out there?

M.H. Control as much of it as you can yourself. Your problems can begin with the labels, so stay somewhere where you can control things yourself, do take advice from people like managers but don’t let go of the reigns.

You often get people going on about X Factor and the like but really nothing’s changed, there have always been talent shows and there was a big explosion of indie labels in the 80’s so there will always be a way through for musicians.

Let them keep going on, as banal as it is, and let the rest of us be as creative as possible.

SS. You’ve played the Stoke area a number of times; do you have plans to return in the future?

M.H. Me and Erica will play where ever wants us. Do they still have that venue with the pub next door?

SS. The Sugarmill?

M.H. Yes, we’ve played there loads of times, it’d be great to come back

SS. Lennon’s ’Gimme some truth’ is looming at the front of my mind with the election being current. You appear to be a very open and honest song writer too, so I see a connection there, would you agree?

M.H. Well, it’s written by a genius. I play this with the lyrics on a stand - you don’t want to get a genius’s words wrong. You can’t go wrong with a fucking fantastic song.

SS. Bands such as PiL reforming, the Stooges playing again, and Primal Scream performing Screamadelica, I think this is great.....

M.H. I agree. In the early 80’s when Gary Numan announced his retirement, my Dad said ‘a true musician doesn’t retire’ I mean look at Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie and Coltrane. Iggy [Pop] wrote the book and it’s great that he’s out there just like The Pixies and Dinosaur Jr. It’s still great for kids to be able to see them up there just doing it, it’s not like they’re going to get knocked off the podium anytime soon (laughing).

It was a great pleasure to talk to Miles, and we wish the 10 legged psychedelic raggle taggle country tinged groove machinists all the best. Do spend some time looking them up, or catch them on their current tour.

If you fancy winning 2 guest list places to their gig at JB's in Dudley on May 15th, simply enter our competition, Winner will be announced on Thursday 13th.

Many Thanks to the Band and Tom at Spirit for donating this prize, and to Miles for his time.


The Wonder Stuff


Official site

The Wonderstuff

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