Teenage Fanclub
Norman Blake

Q: Was the single "I Need Direction" a kick back against writer's block?
A: Gerard wrote the song and we all write very personally. We don't really discuss it, its like the writing off it is just enough so its difficult for me to say specifically what that's about. I have heard him say its about living in Glasgow and whether or not he wants to stay there. Its reflective song about what he's done and where he's going which is a classic them for a songwriter.

There's quite a lot of harmonies and we though we could go really extreme with it. Were at the point where were not worried about doing something that is seen a little odd.

Q: How did you find the break up of Creation records?
A: It was kind of funny for us in the way that it happened midway between making this album. To be honest it didn't really come as a big surprise, we had an inkling that it was going to happen. He got in touch with us before he put the press release out and we could understand because we know he needed a new challenge. After he had all the success with Oasis it was obvious that there wasn't going to be a band as big again, so the time had came when it had ran its course.

We just got on with making the album and Columbia had first offer as they had a big stake in Creation. So here we are but Alan McGee is still our publisher so we have still got a relationship with him. If you look at the press today with kevin Rowland slagging Alan off, I think he's just bitter that his record didn't do particularly well. How many other people would have brought out a record by Kevin Rowland? Exactly.

Q: How did Producing the new album "Howdy" change things for you?
A: I think we do develop as a band but its very subtle, we don't go from extremes on each different album. We don't go and do a drum and bass album so its nothing like that. We think more about the arrangements and lyrics and as I said before its just the subtle changes. A song like "Dumb Dumb Dumb" has the time signature totally back to front and there's songs on there with 3 or 4 drum kits on.

If you look at a band like Blur most fans would have been disappointed with the last album but they can afford to do that. We just do it our way and have never felt we have to change, we've been given up caring whether people think were retro or not. We've never sat down and wished we lived in the 60's, were definitely of the moment.

Q: When it comes to the final tracklisting do you ever have any power struggles?
A: Generally on the past 3 or 4 albums we've done it so we get 4 songs each. The 3 of us are songwriters so it seems a good way to present what we do. On this album it goes Gerard, Raymond, Norman all the way to the end but it was coincidental, we didn't mean it be as rigid as that we just like that sequence of songs.

Are relationship is not based on conflict so there were no Tony Blair style ego trips involved. Some people thrive on stress but we can't stand that manic atmosphere.

One of my favourite tracks is "Town and The City" which features Mick Cook from Belle and Sebastian and "Happiness", one of Raymond's songs is one of the best.

Q: How do you feel being put against Travis?
A: We don't think that we sound like them or they sound like us as people have been saying. I think its quite an easy comparison because they're from Glasgow and they're quite a melodic guitar band but beyond that were pretty different groups. There's a good music scene in Scotland with the obvious comparisons being Astrid and Aerial. On a more famous slant we've got Mogwai and the Delgados.

"Howdy" out October 23rd
Tour - Oct / Nov