Dea­con Blue have date in the for­est

Yorkshire Post - Culture & The Guide - - MUSIC -

DEA­CON Blue have an­nounced they will take to the stage in Dalby For­est this sum­mer.

Since re­leas­ing their de­but al­bum in 1987, the Scot­tish band went onto have a string of hits, in­clud­ing Choco­late Girl and Fergus Sings the Blues. Three years ago they re­leased their first al­bum in over a decade, The Hip­sters, and fans will be able to see them per­form live at Dalby For­est, near Pickering on June 28.

Dea­con Blue fol­low in the foot­steps of Paul Weller and Travis by per­form­ing at Dalby and to book tick­ets 03000 680400. ‘HE’S an in­cred­i­bly en­thu­si­as­tic, wide-eyed per­son about mu­sic. He loves to ab­sorb all mu­sic and all cul­ture. He’s very knowl­edge about it. You can dis­cuss things with him. If I said, ‘Let’s make a syn­the­siser opera to­mor­row he’d prob­a­bly give it a go.”

Bernard But­ler, the for­mer Suede gui­tarist turned Brit Award-win­ning record pro­ducer, seems to have met his mu­si­cal match in Jackie McKeown . The pair first met when But­ler was pro­duc­ing McKeown’s band The 1990s in the mid-part of the last decade and kept in touch. “We used to text each other and I’d say, ‘If you are com­ing next Tues­day let’s make a record in a day’,” says But­ler.

Last year that time fi­nally ar­rived. McKeown, who was also once in the in­die band The Yummy Fur with Alex Kapra­nos, now of Franz Fer­di­nand, was at a loose end af­ter the break-up of The 1990s while But­ler had be­come “itchy” af­ter five years of “do­ing lots of song-writ­ing with pop hope­fuls, pro­duc­ing records and hap­pily be­ing used as a mu­si­cal con­duit for lots of people” and yearned to do some­thing for him­self.

The cat­a­lyst came when But­ler broke his leg play­ing foot­ball. Forced to can­cel lots of projects while he re­cu­per­ated, he found so­lace by buy­ing a sec­ond-hand Fen­der Stra­to­caster – the type of gui­tar favoured by the likes of Eric Clap­ton, Ron­nie Wood and Bob Dy­lan.

“I’d never played a Stra­to­caster be­fore but I fell in love with it,” he says. “I lay on the sofa with my leg up for six weeks play­ing gui­tar on my own.”

The Stra­to­caster pre­sented not only a change from his trade­mark Gibson ES-355 semi-acous­tic which he’d played on for much of his 20-year ca­reer – in Suede, with singer David McAl­mont and as a solo artist – but also a chal­lenge.

“It’s like buy­ing a new pair of shoes,” he ex­plains. “You find you can’t wear shoes like that with a dodgy pair of trousers. Be­fore you know it you’re get­ting your hair cut. One thing leads to an­other when you’re play­ing gui­tar. You’re ad­just­ing the way you play; it leads down dif­fer­ent roads.”

Out of all this came the band Trans, with Jackie McKeown, and an en­tirely new ap­proach to song­writ­ing.

“Ba­si­cally we get to­gether and we play,” says 43-yearold But­ler. “We don’t go into a room with any songs or say ‘which Vel­vet Un­der­ground song are we go­ing to rip off to­day?’ We go into my stu­dio and the first note we do first time is recorded. There’s no pres­sure to jump into an in­cred­i­ble riff. We can play for as long as we want and see what hap­pens.” Their only edict is that 43-yearold McKeown’s gui­tar can be heard through the left chan­nel of the speak­ers while But­ler plays through the right be­cause “that’s where we were stand­ing in the room when we recorded it”. Paul Borchers and Igor Volk make up the rhythm sec­tion. They jam for long stretches then re­view the re­sults. The best bits But­ler ed­its to­gether to form songs.

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