Feeder recently entered the official UK charts with album ‘Tallulah’ at #4, a significant achievement for this Iconic British band, securing their highest album entry for 13 years.
Feeder are presently out on tour across the UK in support of their latest offering. National Rock Review recently caught up with the band’s frontman Grant Nicholas ahead of their show at the O2 Academy Newcastle to get the lowdown on their new album, fatherhood and the band’s forthcoming shows.
So obviously Feeder has just released a new album, which is called Tallulah. Can you tell us a little bit about what your starting point was for that album musically?
Well, I was meant to just write a couple of singles for Spotify, because we had just finished doing pretty much two years of festivals around the Best Of. There was a really good spark going in the band so I just started writing some songs. I think the first one was, Youth – it’s a very upbeat song, sort of reflecting on our journey as a band. And just sort of going back to my childhood in Wales and first getting into music and stuff like that. It’s sort of a little road trip song.
Also, I think, when you listen to music I think it takes you to a certain place in your life, doesn’t it? And that song took me to a certain place when I was writing it. And so, yeah, I think that one came about after doing all of the summer festivals, where we were playing a lot of singles, a lot of bouncy classic Feeder indie rock. And then it kind of went from there.
The other one was Guillotine, which is a completely different style of track. And that’s how I started it all off. And then realized I’m on a roll here, so I just kept writing. Then I realized I had about 6 or 7 songs, so I started to sort of shape the album. I played the tracks to our management company and had an amazing response. So they said, just keep going. So I did. And then I started to sort of refine the record and try and get a little bit of a concept going on a few songs and just like a bit of an idea of how I wanted the record to be.
So it kind of happened in a very natural way. I mean, there was no timeline – no person was telling me this has to be finished by a certain date. It just happened in a very natural way. And I wrote most of it at home on an acoustic. But then I wrote a few songs here and there on the road as well. You know, when I was sat around at festivals or in hotel rooms.
I mean I guess if you’ve got the time to breathe and to do things in your own natural way then go for it.
It is – for most of the stuff, I was stood in the kitchen with the cat next to me, you know. I mean there’s no real discipline. I don’t have to go off into some sort of zen space to write a song – they just come along when they come along. It’s just usually when I pick up the guitar I’ll come up with something and then it goes from there, you know? But what I do try and do, especially since doing my solo record, I tend to try and get sort of focused on vocals and lyrics a lot more upfront than I used to do in the early Feeder days. Because I like to try and get that rough vocal on the tracks quite early. It’s a production thing really, but it’s something which I’ve been doing a lot more recently. I get the vocal on there as early as I can and then build around that.
Becoming a father is a life-changing event. I just wondered, do you think it has kind of changed your perspective on life as both an artist and a songwriter?
Massively. I think it’s changed my perspective on quite a few things. You know, for the first four or five albums I didn’t even have kids. All of my friends had kids. Taka had kids and I never had the problem of being away and you know, either being a parent and kind of worrying about the future of my kids and stuff like that. So yeah, it’s obviously given me a lot more to write about and different experiences, and how people treat my kids and different friends and all that kind of stuff. So yeah, it’s had a nice effect. And I think in some way it’s probably inspired me even more because it’s given me more to write about. I’m sure I worry about things, certain things more than I did before I had kids. Because you know, when you are in a band, it can be quite selfish, you just do your thing. It just changes your whole outlook on life. So as a writer it’s been great. And it’s given a bit of youthfulness to some of the songs. Some of the songs I think just their energy has made me feel a bit younger in some way. Who knows.
This record went straight in at number 4 in the UK charts, which is your highest album entry for 13 years. I mean, have you been overwhelmed by the response to this album so far?
Yeah, it’s been pretty amazing. I mean I have to admit, for an indie rock band that has always been on independent labels to suddenly come up with a Number 4 record after this long is pretty amazing really. And not just that, not just the actual result – it’s just a number at the end of the day, it’s a nice thing to talk about, it’s nice for the team that worked really hard on the record as well as us. Obviously, there’s a big team that goes around everything, you know, press people and people in management, all of these people – they all help a lot.
For me, the most amazing thing about this record is just the way it’s gone down with a fan base. So just all the comments, it’s just really connected with people – it really has, and not just diehard fans, but a lot of new fans. We’ve got so many young fans coming to our shows and young kids. And that’s just amazing, really because that doesn’t always happen to a band who’ve been going for as long as we have.
It’s connecting with people of all ages. and I think that could be a combination of like the record but we’re also a lot more involved with Spotify and streaming and stuff like that now. I think we’ve got such a huge catalogue of music – that’s kind of really helped as well. And we didn’t do the whole Spotify thing until a few years back, because the head of our old label was very anti it. So for a band, who has been going as long as us, we were quite late to get on that. So I think it’s really starting to help us. It’s bringing definitely a younger audience as well to the shows on the back of that.
And so you’re about to go out and tour across the UK in November and you’re going to be back up in this part of the world up in Newcastle. Now you’ve got 10 albums behind you. I mean, how do you go about approaching picking a setlist for a tour like this?
It’s an absolute nightmare. I mean I’m bad enough doing setlists as it is. I don’t like doing setlists, I like to do them on stage. But with the bigger shows, that’s very hard to do that. People need to know what’s going on. But I mean we will play a lot of the new record because we’ve just had two years of best of playing all of those singles, so we feel as though we’ve done that for the last two years. You know, so it’s time to do some new music. So we’re going to be playing a lot the new record because we think it sounds really good live. We’ve been playing seven or eight tracks out in Tokyo – they went down really well and it sounds like really good next to the old stuff, which is always a good sign. I don’t know how much of the new album, but it’d be a lot, you know, at least two thirds or more, but obviously mixed in with some Feeder classics as well.
So it will be a good mixture for people but focusing on the new record. I think it’s that time now. I think you’ve got to do new things, otherwise, we would just be doing the same set the rest of our lives. And I think we’re going to be playing some favourites for people as well. Because I know that some people want to hear some of those old songs. I mean we might do a couple of really early sort of Feeder classics, you know, maybe throw in Stereo World here and there and a few songs like that, just to keep it interesting. It’s hard though because I mean the sets are getting longer and longer. I mean we were meant to do like 20 songs, we ended up doing I think about 24, 25 songs in the set. So it’s quite a workout.
Feeder will be performing at the O2 Academy Newcastle on Sunday 10th Nov. The band will be touring throughout the month concluding at the Roundhouse in London on the 23rd Nov.
Feeder UK Tour:
10th – Newcastle, O2 Academy
11th – Birmingham, O2 Institute
13th – Inverness, Ironworks
14th – Glasgow, Barrowland
16th – Manchester, Albert Hall
17th– Manchester Albert Hall
19th – Lincoln, Engine Room
20th – Nottingham, Rock City
22nd – London, Roundhouse
23rd– London Roundhouse