“There’s a whole load of odd sounds on the al­bum that won’t have been heard be­fore on any­thing re­motely ap­proach­ing a rock mu­sic record”

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - Film -

Since step­ping away from band work (Long­pigs, Pulp) and anony­mous ses­sion work with his first solo al­bum eight years ago, the Sh­effield na­tive (now 42) has been con­sis­tently pro­duc­ing work of un­com­mon beauty – most notably the sub­lime Coles Cor­ner al­bum which lost out on the 2006 Mer­cury Prize to Arc­tic Mon­keys.

He’s the first to ad­mit that a ma­jor la­bel wouldn’t have al­lowed him to release Tru­elove’s Gut­ter. “It has weird sounds on it, there’s no sin­gles to be taken off it and I can’t see ra­dio play­ing it,” he says.

His boss at the in­die la­bel, Mute, Daniel Miller (“the only record com­pany per­son I’ll have within 10 miles of my house”) ac­tively en­cour­aged him to make the record he wanted to make, even if it were to be his least com­mer­cial release to date.

“With the Mer­cury Prize and all of that, there’s a dan­ger of think­ing about pro­file and ra­dio play; that whole thing of “if they liked that, then they should like this” and mould­ing your sound ac­cord­ingly,” he says. “I just wanted to get back to be­ing a song­writer and do some­thing low-key. There’s a rea­son I was al­ways a back­room mu­si­cian – I’m never re­ally wholly comfortable out front.”

He be­gan the al­bum when he fin­ished a long tour of the Lady’s Bridge al­bum. “Be­ing away on tour I found all my com­mu­ni­ca­tion with peo­ple was by e-mail and by phone,” he says. “When we fin­ished up last De­cem­ber, I made a con­scious de­ci­sion to switch my phone off and stay away from all com­put­ers. This might sound a bit melo­dra­matic but it had a pro­found ef­fect on me and how I com­mu­ni­cated with peo­ple – I even be­gan writ­ing let­ters – the pen-and-pa­per ones. I found that I was liv­ing at a dif­fer­ent tempo. I was ex­pe­ri­enc­ing things in front of my face by not con­stantly re­ly­ing on elec­tronic de­vices. I re­mem­ber, dur­ing this pe­riod, some­one ex­plain­ing to me what Twit­ter was all about – I was gen­uinely shocked by it. I couldn’t be­lieve that, as the hu­man race, we had come to that.”

The al­bum’s lyri­cally down­beat feel is a re­sult of meet­ing up with fam­ily and friends in Sh­effield and dis­cov­er­ing that peo­ple were, for what­ever rea­son, hav­ing a dif­fi­cult time. “A lot of the songs are in­spired by some of their sit­u­a­tions and it does get very dark in places, but that sort of fit­ted the mu­sic in a weird way,” he says.

This is the fifth Haw­ley al­bum which ref­er­ences Sh­effield in its ti­tle. “It’s a tra­di­tion now” he says. “The River Don cour­ses through my veins. Some peo­ple use New York or Berlin for in­spi­ra­tion, but Sh­effield works for me. It’s the old thing isn’t it: my street is your street. The ti­tle of this one comes from a friend call­ing around – for some rea­son I can’t quite re­mem­ber, he had this big 18th-cen­tury parch­ment which was a list of old Sh­effield street names. I was looking down it and I saw a street that was called Tru­elove’s Gut­ter. I just thought: ‘That’s my al­bum’.”.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Ireland

© PressReader. All rights reserved.