As the band prepare to head out for a jaunt across the UK we caught up with Neil Hannon from the Divine Comedy. "Regeneration" saw a change in both the bands image and a change to a more conventional guitar sound so naturally we expected doom and gloom. Instead we found a summers tale of Frisbees and Colin McCrae Rally.
Q: The singles "Perfect Love Song" is out later this month. What is your perfect love song?
A: Well apart from that one - I like "Suzanne" by Leonard Cohen. Its like the most depressing love song you'll ever hear. With any look it may fulfil its destiny as being this albums hit single.
Q: This year saw big changes in both the look and the sound of the Divine Comedy. Why the sudden turn around?
A: I think the old days it was mostly me being slight dictatorial and slightly mad. So we tried to open it up a bit and let everyone else have a much greater say. In fact I just played Colin McCrae Rally most of the time and left them to make the album
These days you can't keep track of my fashion idiosyncrasies...I am a fashion guru!!!! I think what happened was we just stopped caring about what we looked like....maybe stopped thinking about what everyone thought. We wear these days pretty much what we always used to wear till we got changed to go on stage.
Q: I thought the idea of being a pop star was that you're supposed to be different than the man on the street. There used to be this mini scene where everyone used to dress up (Kenickie, My Life Story, yourself)?
A: Those were the days, eh. Whether that will turn out to have been some sort of a time or an individual scene. Its always in retrospect that you can pick out scene's and I still can't look upon it as a scene purely because we didn't sound like each other. I guess it was all just Britpop-esque at the end of the day...it was all to do with that resurgence of British music.
Q: The sound is noticeably darker though nowadays isn't it?
A: I don't suppose its as in your face, perhaps its just a little more atmospheric. When we recorded it, it was the middle of summer in St Johns Wood. We'd walk up to Regents park and throw a Frisbee around....just a really lovely mood...maybe it just chilled us out so much that the record sounds distinctly chilled.
For pure fun and enjoyment the full band is better because you're with all your mates and your making lots and lots of noise. But it is nice to do the little things as well because it keeps you on your toes. You have to think a lot harder about what you're going to play because its all hanging on just you.
Q: And the future. Are you thinking of the next album yet?
A: New album...record...definately good. But i've got loads of songs - "more songs than you can stand" - as Morrissey once said.
"The Perfect Love Song" is out 29th October
UK Tour through October / Irish Tour through November