back on 2007, one of the undoubted highlights of the year for me was
Leicesters Summer Sundae Weekender, the citys perennial
three day music event held at De Montfort Hall - celebrating
the glorious past and the most innovative new bands who are set to pave
the way for a fascinating future in the world of sound. In turn, the
highlight of the aforementioned festival was my chance to interview
Will Sergeant, founder member and key songwriter from one of my all
time favourite bands, Echo and the Bunnymen. Its always quite
nerve-wracking to meet your heroes, but as I found out previously with
frontman Ian McCulloch, ex-Smiths virtuoso Johnny Marr and The Wonder
Stuffs Miles Hunt, the press, when describing these illustrious
innovators as awkward, were talking utter bollocks
WS: It just depends on what side of the bed you got out of a lot
of the time. I remember I was portrayed as quite obnoxious once because
we did an infamous interview with a woman from The Face where I just
sat there ignoring her and reading a Star Trek magazine until 3 in the
morning. Thing is, wed done a gig in Sheffield The Limit
I think it was called and wed ended up at the hotel much
later than wed intended. This woman still wanted to do the interview
and none of us really felt like it.
AD: Perhaps thats where all the broodiness came from in so
many of your songs. Your last album, Siberia, was like a
hark back to the old days. Would you agree with that?
WS: I do agree, yeah. Hugh Jones produced it, so thats probably
why. We worked on it a lot all the crap bits went out and we
enhanced all the best bits. It wasnt intentional for it to sound
like the old stuff, it just came out that way. Once we heard Hugh was
up for doing the album, we thought wed see how it went and he
was definitely instrumental in its sound.
AD: So what would you pick as your favourite Bunnymen album?
WS: Heaven Up Here definitely.
AD: Is that because it was heavily based around Pete (De Freitas)s
WS: Partly because of that, but mainly because of the memories of
that whole time the excitement of not quite knowing how far we
were going to get, but having this intense feeling that something big
was around the corner.
AD: My favourite was Porcupine. I remember though, when
that one was released, I thought it was one of the most amazing things
Id heard, yet there were several reviews which slated it, saying
that youd sold out
WS: Well, thats the pretentious music press for you
most of them decide that they have to complain about you by the time
youve done your third album, otherwise they wont look as
cool anymore. I remember when we put Ocean Rain out, and
the NME said it sounded like the Moody Blues. Weve never taken
any notice of reviews because you rarely agree with what theyve
AD: Any new material on the way?
WS: Yeah, the new albums nearly done actually. Its quite
poppy and not like anything else weve ever done. Knowing the perception
of the press though, theyll probably focus on saying it sounds
like Coldplay or Snow Patrol though
AD: What about the newer bands though Are there any that you personally
WS: Not a lot of them, no. Ive had my time of following bands.
Can you really see me cracking on for 50 following a load
of bands made up of 26 to 28 year olds? And a lot of it really is a
case of the Kings new clothes anyway. There are elements of the
new bands that I like, but give me The Fall, Gang Of Four or Wire any
day. Spoon are an excellent new band though, who weve just been
on tour with
AD: Ah but maybe if you took a little inspiration from these new
bands, maybe theyd propel you back towards the charts
WS: I cant see that happening. Its not like we feel
a part of things where the charts are concerned, and none of us could
care less about getting a chart position anyway because the charts no
longer mean anything. Not that they ever DID mean that much look
at the Velvet Underground their first album got nowhere and its
still regarded as a classic. The bottom line is its either good
or it isnt, and reaching the top 40 is neither here nor there.
This is all music to my ears. After all, I spent years in bands trying
to make it, and eventually end up with a hit record. Perhaps my songs
werent all shit after all! Hell, maybe they merit even MORE respect
by NOT reaching the charts!
Anyway, Wills really cheered me up. You could do the same for
him by buying Siberia or any one of the Bunnymens
brilliant back catalogue. Also, you could catch him DJing at a Northern
Soul night at various points in the year (he certainly put me straight
with what PROPER Northern Soul is, which I conveniently left out of
this interview so as not to look supremely stupid!)
I wait with bated breath for their newie some time in 2008.