Silent Uproar:What’s your favorite track off of Some Cities and why do you prefer it?
Jez: I suppose that “Someday Soon” is my favorite because we spent a lot of time on the arrangement and I just think it’s a bit of a step forward for us. It’s sort of a free-for-all and I like the atmosphere to it. It’s one of those tracks that not too many people mention about the album, but I think it’s got a good atmosphere.
SU: Were there any tracks that you recorded that you really liked that didn’t make it onto the album?
Jez: Yeah. There was actually. It was called “At the Tower” and we really liked that one but it just didn’t seem to fit in the whole picture of things.
SU: When you go in to record do you use the same process or do you try to do something different each time? How do you approach that?
Jez: We definitely try to do it differently each time. I think it’s important. Things would get really boring for us if we started using the same process every time. It’s important for us to try to keep changing the way we record albums because you just want to leave home. You don’t want to stay in the same place for too long. You have to be different every time so every album is related since the last one we’ve done, so it was natural for us to want to change things.
SU: Are there specific things that you did differently this time around?
Jez: We made more of a conscious effort to play more and to just move all of our gear into a room and not come out of there until we had something. And we didn’t want to get bogged down and confused in samples this time. So we wanted a more organic album, a bit more concise and a little bit less produced in a way.
SU: Well, the response in Some Cities has been overwhelmingly positive both here and over in the U.K., but what if it wasn’t that way? Supposing you dropped an album and it just didn’t get a very good reaction, would that affect the band at all?
Jez: The thing about it is that we’ve always had that self-belief and if we felt we released something that was good and the overall reaction wasn’t that good, we’d honestly be a bit miffed. But it wouldn’t necessarily change the way we do it. The initial process is that we’ve got to be proud of what we’ve done, what we’ve written and recorded. We’ve learned to listen to our gut reaction. We’ve learned to listen to how we feel as a band because earlier, we made a lot of mistakes in listening to other people and the influence cost us. Our gang is tight. We keep things within our band. It’s worked so far, you know? People sort of understood what we’re trying to do, so I think we’re going to keep that going.
I guess the thing is, there’s nothing contrived about us and hopefully, the people who listen to us will get that. So, if people didn’t like it, then I don’t think we’d do it any differently.
SU: I think that’s one thing you find with all bands that are really successful at making great music. You know what sounds good and that’s the whole reason that you are successful. It’s because you know what sounds good to you and what sounds good to you is good music. Then other people will get into it too and that’s how you continue to be successful with it.
Jez: Yeah. That’s something we’ve realized. If you stay, you’ve got to stay pretty strong in that self-belief and I think that can rub off on other people.
SU: Other than yourself, name your favorite Manchester band.
Jez: Ha,ha. Eh, I’ve got to say The Smiths.
SU: Cool. What’s the worst comparison anyone in the press has made about Doves. Who have you been compared to that just baffles you.
Jez: Simple Minds.
SU: Oh yeah?
Jez: Yeah. I’m not into that. None of us are. We’ve heard them all.
SU: That one’s a little strange.
Jez: Yeah. That one’s a little insulting. We have Deacon Blue which is actually more insulting and then we’ve had...We’ll they’re pretty much the top two.
SU: Of the summer festivals in the U.K., which one is the most fun to play?
Jez: Glastonbury. It’s just amazing. Obviously, it’s got a lot of history to it, starting with the 60’s with just one tractor in the fields and it’s got a whole atmosphere that other festivals just don’t have, but you can’t pin it down either. You don’t know what it is. It’s just got this x-factor that you can’t actually pin down. It’s just got a unique atmosphere and I think all bands playing there just really, really like it.
SU: Is it hard to transition from playing these small club shows to something that massive?
Jez: Not really, no. We’ve done a lot of festivals. We’ve done a lot of big gigs as well as club gigs, so that’s why we like it. We like playing different venues every time. Just playing small festivals all the time, it would start getting boring. One day we could be playing to two thousand. The next day we could be playing for sixty thousand. The next day we could be playing to eight hundred. It keeps it interesting.
SU: Do you approach the gigs any differently depending on the crowd you have or do you pretty much stick with the same show?
Jez: We pretty much worked out our live set at the moment. Although we’re going to start adding a few new tunes now because I think the time is right. So, we could have a few more from the new album and we just have a slightly different interpretation live than we do on the CD. Most of our songs need to be taken in a different direction for live shows, so that’s what we’ve done.
SU: Well, you have a show coming up with U2 right? Or has that already happened?
Jez: That’s coming up in Switzerland.
SU: How do you feel about how Bono puts himself out there in terms of politics and other things beyond the music?
Jez: The thing about it is, I think he’s genuine. It’s totally genuine and I can sort of see that it’s good for him. I think he’s a very important person really. Certainly someone in that position, with all of that money, he should pretty much try to use his status to try and make people aware of some of the problems out there because the media obviously draws from it, and he can use that media attention to do some good. You’ve got to applaud that.
SU: The next question I was going to ask you is if you think it’s important for bands or for famous people in general to step out there and speak up when given the opportunity?
Jez: I think if they’ve got some belief in a position where they can create moral awareness or do some good and that opportunity arises, you’ve got to try to take it. You can’t ignore it. You’re a little bit self-obsessed if you start ignoring that kind of stuff. I know a lot of bands that work with charity, and some bands like to do charity work and not make it so publicized, but I suppose no matter what kind of charity you’re working for sometimes you need that publicity to draw people to that charity.
SU: Well, I know Jimmy had an issue with his voice recently. Are there any vocal tricks he uses to keep it in good shape?
Jez: Yeah, we’re just starting to find that out slowly that there are tricks that we haven’t been using. Jimmy’s voice is on the mend now and obviously, we’re gigging again, but those things are there that we can do. A few scales and if you’ve been gigging for a year, you’ve got to try and learn some tricks. Well, we’ve managed to catch a few in the last couple of months.
SU: Are you happy with the relationship with Capitol?
Jez: (Laughing) Yeah, yeah.
SU: You started to answer with a laugh…
Jez: I don’t want to piss anyone off, you know?
SU: Yeah, I guess. Well, what is the coolest hotel that you’ve stayed in during your travels? You’ve been all over the world lately.
Jez: Yeah, we’ve stayed at some pretty cool hotels and we’ve stayed at some real fucking dumps as well, and it’s never the same deal because you never know what you’re going to get. I mean, I was in a pretty cushy hotel in London, in Portland, master suite on the twelfth floor. That’s pretty cool.
We stayed in a really cool sweet in Australia on the east coast with a one hundred and eighty degree panoramic monstrous window that overlooked the ocean. That was a bit of a trip. That was pretty cool, and out the window we could see people skydiving because it was ridiculously high up. So that was a bit of a buzz, and then we’ve stayed in cockroach-infested ones in New York. So you just don’t know what you’re going to get.
SU: Ok, well I feel like in the U.S. while you guys are definitely very respected and have a lot of fans here, that you make the kind of music that you wouldn’t necessarily know unless you’re paying attention to the non-commercial scene. Is it that way in the U.K. too or is it a little more mainstream there?
Jez: Well, we’re a little more mainstream in the U.K. We’ve got two number one albums since so we’re on a bigger scale out there. The thing about America is that it’s all based on radio airplay and I think the mainstream has to go the band, not the band going to the mainstream. The way they do it there is a whole different bag than in England. You’ve just got to keep doing what’s honest to yourself and not start caving for radio. So, that’s the way we’re going to play it and giving it some time, it will start opening it’s doors to us.
SU: I was talking with someone else about this and they said, over in the U.K. or in Europe in general the channels that music comes through…there’s a lot more of them. It’s a lot more open and there are a lot of different places that music can come from, but here it’s funneled through MTV or a major conglomerate of radio stations that has to share the same playlist. It’s so filtered that by the time it gets to people, a lot of the good stuff or anything that’s a little more risqué or out of that common mainstream gets tossed aside.
Jez: Like you say, it’s a whole thing based on fear. You know, everyone’s job is based on fear; everyone’s job is on the line. ‘Oh, we can’t do that. It’s too risky we might lose this type of advertising revenue’ and all that. And what you find is that you start ending up with a very stale, predictable playlist.
SU: Right. Exactly.
Jez: It didn’t used to be like that, but that’s just the way it’s going. It’s based on fear. Either way there’s a reaction against that which is good, as well. There’s always going to be a reaction against the mainstream and you can’t keep a good thing down so…There are stations out there where you can tune in and see. If you look for them they are there, aren’t they? It’s just that, unfortunately, the mainstream is a very unimaginative, basic playlist based on fear.
SU: And when you do things like this, like having press days where you do these things, do you do them more because the label wants you to or do you care about working towards that mainstream success?
Jez: If it was up to a band, they wouldn’t do any interviews. The first two pinnacle things about being in a band are writing songs and being on stage. That’s pretty much in a nutshell why people are in the band. What you slowly start realizing is the thing called awareness. If you don’t do that promo then, especially bands like us, you won’t get much radio airplay. It’s important for us to get out there and get the name out or you just don’t enter people’s consciousness. Without radio airplay, it’s basically impossible. So you’ve got this opportunity to get your name out there and you’ve got to do it. You slowly realize that over ten years that we should be doing this, you know?
SU: Switching gears. You made some pretty extensive vinyl and digipak versions of the new album. I saw there was a felt-lined box set with the album and DVD? Do you feel that the visuals help to bring the overall idea or feeling that you’re trying to create? What is the meaning or feeling behind doing some of those kind of things?
Jez: You mean a bit of good art or something?
SU: Yeah, I mean how important is the visual element of it to the band?
Jez: Oh. Incredibly. I mean, I think or music lends itself to visuals anyway. Everything from live projections on the stage down to the artwork is incredibly, incredibly important. I think we grew up on things like New Order where you look at the sleeve and there’d be a certain mystery behind the sleeve. It was left to your own imagination to decide what kind of band New order was and it was kind of evocative. We were all brought up on those kinds of things so it was natural for us to do our own take on that, of what we’re about to people. So we just really got into that.
Our friend does all of the artwork, Rick Myers and we work really closely with him. I think it’s very important. I mean the thing about it is, this age everything is going to be iTunes and non-physical formats so it’s almost getting to the end of this era of album covers.
SU: Does that make you want to push the packaging stuff even more? To give something extra?
Jez: Yes. Even more so, like you say. The more that is becomes outvoted, the more you’ll get really special packaging coming through and for more people to go out and buy it. I remember buying albums and the packaging was a very important part to buying an album. I’m not so sure that’s so relevant anymore.
SU: I think it depends on the audience too. A band like yours lends itself to the visual element and the kind of people that are into the band are the people that care about the packing and want to see that piece of it too.
Jez: Absolutely. Let’s hope.
SU: Well, I know it must be great touring all over the world and seeing all of the different places, but I know it can also get old after a while. Do you enjoy touring more or writing and recording?
Jez: It’s strange because when you start something it’s great and then when it’s years down the line and you’re still doing that particular thing you say ‘Aw fuck, I wish I. I was in the studio again.’ In the studio you say ‘Oh God, I want to be on the road now. I want to stop thinking.’ Our albums are very intense actually. They can take a lot out of you. Sometimes when you play live it’s like you can switch your brain off sometimes. You can just enjoy the moment onstage. So, I won’t pick either. It just depends how long you’ve been doing it for.
SU: Which do you see getting old first- is it the touring that would eventually get to you where you’d say ‘Alright I’ve had enough of this.’ Or is it ….
Jez: I think it will be the first to go, yeah…where we’ve got to start cutting down on touring. Because it does take a lot out of you. It does fuck you up in the end. It’s not the gig, it’s just the traveling that goes with it. It just takes so long to get anywhere.
SU: Well, never having a base and being on the road for six months…
Jez: Exactly. It’s tricky too trying to balance out your family life. That in the end will take its toll, so you try to get the right balance.
SU: Well, the last question I’ll ask you is- where do you feel that the band is in your career? Do you feel like you’re just getting started and you have a new energy or are you somewhere in the middle or maybe towards the end of your career?
Jez: I think we’ve got too much energy and too much music in us to start calling it the end. So, we’ll just keep trying to do things differently to how we left it and just keep pushing it forward for ourselves. I hadn’t really thought about it, but I think we’ve got too much music in us to stop now. So, I think you’re going to hear a few more albums from us for sure.