Over the past few years Echoboy have toured the length and breadth of the country with the most experimental live shows the UK has seen in years. Not content to simply spend their life's replicating the recorded version note for note they were the sort of shows where literally anything could happen. In 2002, Echoboy as we know it has condensed this desire for experimentation into an album of pop nuggets under the banner of "Giraffe" with the help of famed U2 Producer Flood and has attracted the attention of dance superstar Moby who recently proclaimed Echoboy as one of his favourite bands.
Q: We were talking about the forthcoming "Giraffe" album last time we spoke. I think people who have maybe heard the previous 2 albums or seen the live shows are going to be divided this time, but for you it's the album you've always wanted to make. How did working with Flood on the album come about?
A: He was working on the Tim Simeon record from Bomb The Bass ages ago and he came in with the Flash Legs 12" and Flood and his engineer Rob Kerwin were really into it. They'd heard this record and to be honest I was never a big fan of U2, which is the thing he's famous for, and when I met up with I was a little bit dubious because I was thought are you trying to tell me I'm no good at producing. The head I had on was producer, but within 10 minutes of meeting him it was obvious that this was the bloke that was going to make the next record and we are best friends.
We just spend the next year in the studio and it was really weird because I already had about 60 tracks. So Flood came up and stayed with us for 3 days and the idea was the usual pick 10 best songs and get a band in to record it. But we listened all the 60 and liked different elements of all of them so it was really difficult to pin it down to 10. So we put everything into Pro Tools and took a bass line from one track, a guitar line from another and a drum track from another. So basically when you listen to the album there's 60 tracks within it.
Q: How was it going from being the sole instrumentalist and producer to relinquishing that control to someone else?
A: Making the last 3 albums I'd made all the decisions which I really enjoyed. That was the thing that I was scared of, handing it over. When I were in Hybirds we had a producer and that was the only other time I'd had a producer and I did the fatal thing off not letting him make any decisions in case it changed how I had it in my head. And I think we did actually get a record that suffered for that because instead of one persons ideas of a sound you had two people conflicting ideas so you got this thing that didn't quite work.
As soon as I met Flood and got to know him I wanted to let him take control because he was so passionate about my music, it was like you love it as much as I do so you're going to make the right moves here. I wanted him to mix it because I'm not keen on mixing so much and I know he's really good at it. But he wouldn't go in the studio any days without me being there because he knew it was my album as well and I had to make the decisions.
It were a really creative thing and the one main thing he did for me personally...vocally I wasn't really confident and people talked about my lyrics before so I wasn't confident in that...but the thing that Flood liked about it the most was the vocal tracks and the lyrics. He really made me realize that I can write lyrics and sing, so that's what I should be doing. He just gave me the confidence in myself and I think that's what a good producer should do.
All along we were conscious that we wanted to make it Neu meets early Madonna. Real pop sensibilities like Brian Wilson next to german electronica.
Q: The live shows in the past have been for me the point where Echoboy really excel, Each tour almost bringing out new flavours, whereas the newer material seems a lot more set in it's place. Is their still the room for that experimentation?
A: I think it's good to have all the tapes in there. In an ideal world I'd have a 12 piece band and we'd do it all live, but it's impossible to do. The stuff were doing now is more accessible and I feel a return to a confidence in myself in a pop music way which is where I started. It's not as i've suddenly decided that that leftfield things not working so why not jump on a bandwagon and make some money. If people want to check out for themselves they can go back to Hybirds and see that I did start off writing pop records and now the electronica thing and the pop thing is all together.
I saw Andy Weatherall at gig in London the other day and he came up to me and said he really liked the album. So I asked him what his favourite track was? I thought he go for some of the more electronic stuff, but it was "Automatic Eyes" and he thought it was the tune New Order has never written. It was really nice that he liked the acoustic pop song and he was the king of electronic music.
The only reason I started hiding behind keyboards was the confidence thing. I wasn't inspired to write words and maybe I was getting into this cocooned world. A lot of great electronic people do get into this underground thing where they think it's cool that they make records in their bedroom. That's never what I set out to do, I wanted to get out to people because there's no point in making music to be cool and underground. You've got to conform a certain amount and get out there and play venues.
Q: As you said it really is crossing over to new ears with this record. I believe there's an internationally renowned dance superstar who's behind you all the way. Fill us in?
A: Moby's been name checking us on his website and the thing I like about him is he doesn't give a f**k what everybody else thinks - he does what he does. Last week he was saying that he'd got a promo from Mute and name checking "Automatic Eyes" as his favourite and how he thought that "Giraffe" was a great name for an album. You just can't buy that sort of publicity when he's got 20,000 hits a day on his website and Moby list Echoboy as one his current favourite artists of the moment!!!
Echoboy are currently on tour with Puressence throughout the UK
The album "Giraffe" is released early in 2003
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