Q&A

SI­MON NEIL (VO­CALS/GUI­TAR)

Kerrang! (UK) - - Lives -

So, af­ter 23 years in the game, you’re still play­ing grubby lit­tle places like the Royal Al­bert Hall…

“I know! It re­ally is the most beau­ti­ful venue. There were a cou­ple of mo­ments there when I was play­ing a song, some­times on my own, and I’d look out and think, ‘Wow, this is amaz­ing.’ I’d writ­ten these songs on an acous­tic gui­tar, so to play them like that in such an amaz­ing set­ting was a priv­i­lege.”

Rock bands of all kinds of­ten use vol­ume as a shield. Was it at all chal­leng­ing to ditch that ar­mour?

“Ac­tu­ally, it was ex­cit­ing. I’m at my hap­pi­est when I’m out­side my com­fort zone, so the chal­lenge was some­thing that I rel­ished. I wanted the gigs to feel like we were play­ing in your front room, and for my part it’s re­ally helped me re­con­nect with some of our songs. In fact, it’s been nice to step away from the in­ten­sity of loud mu­sic. We haven’t turned our back on that, ob­vi­ously, but for this tour it’s been great.”

Acous­tic gigs can con­jure up a few clichés. How did you avoid these?

“I hope by re­al­is­ing that it isn’t just about play­ing your songs in the same way, only on acous­tic gui­tars. I spent a cou­ple of weeks lis­ten­ing to songs and work­ing out ways to play them in dif­fer­ent ways. We also pre­sented our­selves dif­fer­ently, too, with Ben some­times stand­ing at the front of the stage, singing har­monies. We wanted peo­ple to be sur­prised.”

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