David Gedge from The Wedding Present tells Lauren Murphy why he can’t stop
it is kind of interesting to put yourself back 20 years. It’s a bit like looking at an old diary, or something – you re-evaluate what you thought at that time, and re-invent it, in some ways. And I came to this – and it sounds a bit pretentious, maybe – but this philosophical decision that maybe the past is as relevant to a band as the present or the future, and it’s all part of the same kind of continuum, in a way.
“And of the three we’ve done so far, Seamonsters actually seems to work the best, for some reason. When we decided on Seamonsters, it felt different to just playing the other two from start to finish – it felt more than the sum of its parts. There’s kind of like an intensity that goes through it, and a mood, really. It sounds weird, but I do feel like I get lost in it, in some way, because it's so allencompassing. I feel like I’m in some kind of film, or play, or something, playing a part in this presentation. So of the three of them, I’m really enjoying this one the most.”
Still, Gedge is also aware that there’s a danger in getting too deeply ensconced in the past; having fans react so positively to hearing their old favourites can mean that new material
becomes less of a priority. As the years have passed, has he felt less of an urge to keep up with the kids in a scene awash with young guitar bands?
“I’m not sure I’ve ever thought about it, to be honest with you,” he chuckles. “It’s been the nature of the group over the years to just always do what we’ve done, really. If anything, it puts us back with bands that I grew up with, like The Fall and New Order, who exist almost outside everything, almost. It’s like: ‘Here’s the music scene, here’s what’s fashionable right now, here’s what you should like.’ And then there’s: ‘Over here is a group of bands who just exist in their own universe.’ And often, they’re very influential and they’re great groups, but the question of relevance doesn’t come into it because nobody cares; it’s the new Fall LP, or the new New Order record. Hopefully, we operate along similar lines.” ‘Transcend relevance’, you mean? “I didn’t want to say that, because it sounds a bit pompous,” he says with a hearty laugh. “I mean, obviously we were fashionable in the late 1980s in the C86 scene, with all those bands, and we were kind of the champion of that guitar revolution scene. But since then, I don’t think we’ve ever caught the media attention in the same way, really. We just existed outside of it all – which, to be honest, is fine by me.”
Nevertheless, in a world where a band like The Wedding Present release their own iPhone app, things have certainly changed. Does Gedge think that there are any bands worthy of the Weddoes mantle, should they choose to surrender it at any point?
“It’s very difficult to answer that, because the whole economy has changed,” he says rather diplomatically. “I think we’re lucky in a way, because we’re older and we’ve got older fans who still want to buy CDs and support a band in that way. But I always feel for a new band that’s starting out now – how do they do it? Because if they’re not big enough to make money from playing live yet, there’s no income coming through from record labels anymore – in fact, there are hardly any record labels anymore – so there’s no income from that . . . it must be virtually impossible, unless you’re working and doing it as a hobby, playing gigs at the weekend and stuff. When we started, we had income from our first record, so we were able to tour and get bigger and it built in a steady way. I think now, unless you get massive straight away, I’m not sure how bands survive, really. But we’ve been lucky: we’ve had a busy year and we’ve already got a half-dozen ideas for new songs. I think we’ll just generally carry on, really. Why not?”