Friday, August 13, 2010

Interview #3 - Bill Coleman [EN]

Another artist I asked who was interested in giving us a little insight about his personal thoughts is Bill Coleman. If you havent listened to the album yet: Its basically a Singer Songwriter Indie Pop album thats perfect for easy listening. But be sure to check out his new stuff as he has released quite a few different things since then. He is also going to be featured on an upcoming Promo CD for wasfuersohr that I am going to hand out to music stores for free.

Thanks for giving me the opportunity to ask you those interview questions. Let us immediately start with the first one: Since it is always interesting to start off an interview by asking about the beginnings of everything: Where did your interest in creating music came from?

 My interest in creating music came from family get togethers we have around Christmas.  Back when I was 15/16 these started and a few of my cousins would show up, bring their guitars and lash out a few tunes.  I'd always been singing to myself in my head and those parties really gave rise to a hunger in me to write and sing.  While I'd had lesson for a load of instruments when I was young none of them had ever really stuck I think because I was taught from a very technical viewpoint.  It was all about playing the right note, at the right time, exactly as it was written on the sheet.  Those parties were very informal affairs, and it was as though I suddenly just realised that I didn't have to make the music that was on the sheet, that I could do whatever the hell I wanted to.  So, from there, I picked up a guitar book, learned a few chords.

When looking at your released records I noticed that there was quite a big gap between your first record A Long Time Coming and your second release I'll Tear My Own Walls Down. What happened for you to make such a long break or why did you decide to come back to release music after 4 years?

There are a few reasons for that gap.  Firstly, there was almost a year where I did nothing at all, because I was working, had a girlfriend, was going to college at night and so music got the put on the long finger.  Secondly, I couldn't put an exact figure on it, but I think every song on that record got recorded three or four times.  We frequently binned versions and started from scratch because I changed my mind, or to be more accurate, didn't really know what I wanted the record to sound like.  Additionally, I frequently wanted to hear things that I couldn't play, so I had to go away and practise some more, then come back, more than likely having re-written something again.  Also, I think we worked on something like 23 or 24 songs in total.  So basically there was a break, and then a long process of recording, re-recording, binning, writing more songs, recording them in three or four ways, until I came to the record as it's been released.
I described the album I reviewed als typical "Singer/Songwriter" pop album. You are free to disagree :) However recently, I got more and more the impression that the term "singer/songwriter" got a slightly negative ring to it. Would you agree? And do you have an explanation for that?

Yeah.  Hate that term, purely because it's got a terrible rep in these parts :-) As a descriptor of what I do it's accurate in fairness, just like you could describe Villagers, Jape, Gillian Welch, David Bowie, Elton John or Duke Special as a singer-songwriter.  People hear the term and generally tend to groan and say "Not ANOTHER one!"  Possibly because it's very easy to just be out some night and see someone, on their own on stage, with a guitar, only just starting to write songs, being very nervous, not playing very well, voice quavering because they're bricking themselves and it's very easy to dismiss that as crap (we were all crap once) because they're only beginning to learn their craft and this is what people most associate with the term "singer-songwriter".  Once they put in five or ten years of work, become totally amazing and you're watching them on Jools Holland you probably aren't going to think of them in the same way.
I got the feeling that you made a very distinct step forward after I'll Tear My Own Walls Down regarding the type of music you want to play. Was it just the need to expand into other musical territory? Where did that decision come from?

It was probably less a conscious decision and more a process that happened over the period before and after releasing I'll Tear..., playing with a band for the first time.  Playing with the band was a lot of fun :-) I'd always probably been more energetic live that we ever captured on that "I'll Tear..." and in playing with other people more energy started bouncing around the place and I started writing more in that direction.  Also, I'd have to admit that I became much more confident in what I was doing having released that record, began finding my feet musically and was much more single minded about what I wanted, actually knew exactly what I wanted before we ever approached recording the new songs, as opposed to a lot of groping around in the dark that happened with I'll Tear....
I read that you take your inspiration from things surrounding you. Since I would love to feature The Pull of the Pint on the Promo CD, could you explain what inspired you to write this song? Also I recognized that most of your songs are directed to one person. Is this some sort of diffuse "you" or were you thinking of someone specific? (If this question is too personal please by all means feel free to leave it out)

You could easily think of a lot of my songs as conversations I guess, but they're directed at many different people - including myself some of the time. Pull of... is a conversation with an alcoholic.  Which came I guess from being close to them for a long time, witnessing the pain and damage caused by their addiction, and trying to understand why they drank and how the drink helped them to function.

I love the thoughts and efforts musicians put into their album names and cover art. So first off: Would you explain the meaning of I'll Tear My Own Walls Down and is there any connection to or hidden meaning behind the cover art? Why did you choose to name your latest release after colours and do you plan to release these songs also on a full release album?

I'll Tear My Own Walls Down is about simply deciding that you're going to take control of your own life, make your own decisions and not live according to the rules of another.  As regards the album art, there's a connection between the title and the image but you'd have to ask the guy who designed it, John Dunne, to explain it!
The latest releases are colours because they reference back to an ep I did before I'll Tear... which was the Black & Yellow EP.  I liked the packaging and other people seemed to find it unusual and memorable so I decided to use the same idea and change the colours for the EPs in advance of the full album release, which will be coming in Ireland and digitally hopefully in October of this year.
Speaking of which: What are your general plans for the future?

The new record is going to be called You Can't Buy Back Your Life and it'll be physically released in Ireland in October of this year, all going to plan.  It'll be available digitally for everywhere else.  As regards other general plans I hope to play as many gigs in as many different countries as possible, and hopefully get it released physically in as many different places as I can possibly manage  ;-)
I saw that you already got quite a bit of experience playing live. What would you say was your greatest moment regarding your music and how is your relationship to your fans? Any amusing story regarding that you would like to share with us?

I love my fans - need I say any more?  :-)  They make it possible for me to do what I love doing!  Amusing story?  I've split the arse of my trousers TWICE while playing - I guess maybe sometimes I go for it a little bit too much!

I took a look around your Myspace blog for a while and really need to ask you to explain which ONE SMALL CHANGE gets a person one step nearer to becoming a musician. Please elaborate :)

Very simple Marco, you buy a little handcart with wheels so you can lug your heavy equipment around :-)
(Editors note: Click here to read the whole blog entry)

I can't refrain myself from asking other people's opinion about music. So for you: Is there any band/musician you would like to recommend? Or any unknown talented musician you can think of, who deserves more listeners in your opinion?

So many. But off the top of my head, around Ireland and the UK anyway people should check out Jape, Cathy Davey, Villagers, Juxebox Gypsy, Driftwood Manor, Duke Special, James Vincent McMorrow, Heathers, Resurrection Fern, Julie Feeney, Heliopause, Norabelle, Herm, SJ McArdle, Arrow in the Sky, Henrietta Game ahhh... I could keep going... ;-) 

Thank you for taking your time!

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