mU­SIC

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - Front Page -

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

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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?”

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