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Monday, January 19, 2015

Don't rule anything out

This is the second half of the Penny Black Music magazine interview by Malcolm Carter.  Here, Mike, Steve, Nick, and Neil, reveal more about the contents of the tantalisingly-close 'Parabolically Yours' boxset, including the possibility of a future standalone release of Nobody's Perfect. Last but not least, the forthcoming album by The Granite Shore - inspired by The Distractions song, 'Wise' - is discussed.

The Distractions: Interview
Author: Malcolm Carter
Published: 08/12/2014

Mike Finney and Adrian Wright.
(c) Adrian Boot (www.urbanimage.tv).

Penny Black: There are a number of live tracks included in the package; do these cover the recent reunion gigs as well as the original ones?

Steve Perrin: There’s stuff from three line-ups – Finney, Perrin, Wright, Nichols, Sidebottom; Finney, Kadmon, Wright, Nichols, Sidebottom; Finney, Perrin, Halliwell, Torabi, Kellie. Obviously we don’t want three live albums in there so we have to make decisions about which tracks to use.

My current thought is that we should include any live songs of which there are no studio versions, which might lead to more Arthur than me but that’s not firmed up yet.

Mike Finney: Not forgetting Van Den Burg and Usher, but there were no live recordings with that line-up available. The Dingwalls, Newcastle University and Hurrah! Club recordings are interesting, as are the very early ones. However, interesting is not always good.

Neil Storey: The live tracks we’ll be including range from ‘79 / ‘80 to 2012.

Nick Halliwell: Occultation had the 2012 Salford shows recorded and filmed, and I’ve told Neil he’s welcome to any material we have, with no restrictions. The 2012 live tracks are certainly among those under consideration and I’d particularly like to see the closing “Tribute to Adrian Wright” section on there, especially ‘Nothing Lasts’, a fabulous song which has never been released in any form - unless someone can find a proper studio recording of it, anyway.

PB: We’ve still not seen a complete track listing, but is this release going to bring The Distractions’ story bang up to date?

SP: Yes, there are some acoustic versions of songs from ‘The End of the Pier’ and possibly one track that didn’t make it onto the album because we didn’t get it finished in time.

MF: I agree with Steve

NH: I’ve not seen a complete track listing either but it should go at least up to 2012.

PB: Given that ‘Parabolically Yours’ has been a massive project, years in the making and, given that it will be up to the usual high standard of all the HiddenMasters releases, this understandably reflects in the price. Are there any plans to release just the ‘Nobody’s Perfect’ album at any point in the near future?

SP: Not to my knowledge.

MF: No idea, but after the last four years I wouldn’t be surprised at anything!

NS: Actually… I’d forgotten (until I cross-checked some document dates) that we’d begun this just over four years ago! Time flies, eh?!

The basic set-price has been governed by the equivalent of walking a tightrope 300 feet up; an exercise made a bit more dodgy when there is no safety net and one doesn’t really have a head for heights.

As I said a bit earlier, from day one, we’ve set out to fulfil the following. It has to be the best possible package we can put together plus, of course, it has to be something the band are happy with and proud of – that, hopefully goes without say we have to make it the best value we can for the fans.

But… we have also to recognise we inhabit a limited market thus we have to carefully consider how many we’re likely to sell in a reasonably short period of time… Going fairly low slightly stymies us because the lower the manufacturing quantity, the higher the unit price.

Then, we have to balance all of that against not pricing ourselves out of the market (and pissing the fans off) while, at the same point, pricing the end product at a level where we can pay our own bills as well as the royalties to those we pay royalties to as well.

Part 2 of the question – Yes, it is possible; the required permissions are in place. Maybe in time… Right now though, concentration is on this!

Mike Finney and Adrian Wright.
(c) Adrian Boot (www.urbanimage.tv).

PB: When can Pledgers expect to actually hold ‘Parabolically Yours’ in their hands?

NS: So long as the actual Pledge goes according to plan and we make our target (fingers crossed!), then we’d aim to start manufacturing within (approximately) a month of the Pledge closing. That interim time will be when we start to lock down the various elements.

Manufacturing this time around for us will be a slightly longer process than normal as we have the vinyl to consider plus we’re a teensy bit geographically challenged with regard to test pressings being approved by Steve… It is a long, long way round of saying, I’d imagine we’d be supplying finished copies in June ’15 or thereabouts.

There are also a big number of items that will be individually signed – to be honest, I’ve yet to figure out precisely how that will work… but, we’ll find a way!

PB: Is the package only going to be available via the PledgeMusic site?

NS: Pre-ordering is (as usual for all Hidden Masters sets) exclusive to PledgeMusic.com. If there are any copies left after the pre-ordering closes these will be made available – solely – via HiddenMasters.net.
These will only be the book-set and won’t include any of the extras which are exclusive to pre-ordering. But… just to complicate things a tiny bit (sorry!), the ‘NME’ re-imagined advert will be available via Hidden Masters as a separate item (it is another line we’re starting to develop).

PB; Are there any plans for live gigs to promote ‘Parabolically Yours’ as the band did for ‘The End of the Pier’?

SP: Geography makes it difficult but don’t rule anything out.

MF: I do hope so… but Steve being in Australia is a bit tricky and we can’t do it without him. Tried it once and it didn’t work.

NH: As Steve says, the problem is geography. At best, we all get together for maybe 3-4 days once a year, whenever Steve can get over from wherever in the Antipodes he happens to be residing at the time.

PB: To leave this exciting release just for the final question, we’ve heard that all the current Distractions make an appearance on the forthcoming Granite Shore album; can you tell us a little about that? And is that the only way we are going to hear more from the current line-up or can we look forward to some new Distractions material at some point?

SP: The rhythm section on The Granite Shore album is the same as on ‘The End of the Pier’ – Arash Torabi on bass, Nick Kellie on drums – I’m doing something – either guitar or backing vocals – on every track. Mike’s on backing vocals on several tracks.

The plans for a third Distractions album are still a little tentative, but it looks like it will be recorded in late 2015 for release in 2016. That’ll be the last record, I think but, again, you never know.

MF: I really enjoyed The Granite Shore recording. Very powerful stuff, put together with love from all parties and it sounds that way. Another Distractions album is late 2015 as Steve points out, but, as it is not yet written, it’s difficult to confirm much about it. The Distractions has also taught me that nothing is final.

NH: When I was thinking about who should play on The Granite Shore LP, Arash and Kellie were my first-choice rhythm section, then we’ve got Phil Wilson on 12-string electric and myself. Steve appears on every track. Mike and I spent an afternoon in the studio this summer, so he’s on more than half of the record in some vocal capacity. There’s also an appearance by Martin Bramah (The Fall/Blue Orchids/Factory Star) and the cast is completed by Probyn Gregory (Wondermints/Brian Wilson/Arthur Lee/etc.) who played brass on all songs, and Bella Quinn on vocals on most tracks; both appeared on the ‘Flood of fortune’ single a few years back. The LP, entitled ‘Once More From the Top’, should be out around March 2015. In some ways the process that led to the whole concept - and believe me, there is one - probably began with ‘Wise’, one of the songs I wrote for ‘The End of the Pier’.

Steve and I have just started the process of thinking about and writing the third - and, realistically, probably final - Distractions LP, aiming to record late 2015 for release early in 2016.

PB: Thank you

 (c) Once More From The Top. (c) Occultation.


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