- Fri, 2001-11-02 10:05
Ocean Colour Scene have produced some of the most outstanding music you'll ever be lucky enough to hear. Based in Birmingham, OCS set up in 1989. In the early 90s they made major waves during the Madchester craze, then after years of knock backs they found salvation in Oasis: Noel Gallagher chose them as their opening act and declared them Britain's Best Band. As a result, 1996's Moseley Shoals and 1997's Marchin' Already became staples on the UK charts. And the band have just released their Greatest Hits Album, Songs For The Front Row. We caught up with Damon before his performance with OCS live at Music Live at Birmingham's NEC (where ilikemusic.com launched).
“I like music…. because it's the only true form of mass communication that still exists to man.” Damon, Ocean Colour Scene
ILM: Do you have one gig that stands out from the rest?
Damon: Yeah, Glasgow SCC, October 30th, 1999, because it was the best gig I've every played. It was our 10th anniversary show and was just fantastic!
Ocean Colour Scene LIVE at Music Live, Nov 2, 2001
ILM: What were the biggest obstacles that you faced on your rise to success?
Damon: Apart from the obvious things like learning to play, it was record labels because they were full of shit. Although we still get crap from our record label today on the business side of things, not musically though.
ILM: Do you have any advice for unsigned acts?
Damon: Believe in yourself. Don't sign anything with anyone unless you've got a lawyer present, which is the most important thing. If you start to get somewhere and some offers you a contract, make sure you've got a lawyer, because if you don't it'll cost ya when you become famous, which it has us. And if they complain about having a lawyer there, definitely don't sign.
ILM: Did school affect your music?
Damon: School is how it all started for me. I moved from Liverpool and didn’t have any mates, and the cool kids at school found out I could play the bass, or so they thought, because I couldn’t at all but none of them could anyway, so I joined the band, so I immediately became cool and got loads of mates. So that’s how school affected my music.
ILM: Tell us about the new single, Crazy Lowdown Ways.
Damon: The lyrics are great but I don't know what it's about. We recorded it with the Stereophonics producers and it was really good. We did it nice and quickly and it's a good tune.
ILM: And how about the Best Of Album?
Damon: Well it ain't over yet. There'll be another two Best Of's.
ILM: Describe the Ocean Colour Scene process of making fine music.
Damon: Me and Steve come up with a lot of bits n bobs of music and Simon writes a lot of songs and then we all get together and something happens. We never really have a game plan, it's all just a happy accident.
ILM: Future plans for OCS?
Damon: Come January we're touring with Songs For The Front Row. Starting in Japan and then England, Spain and America.
ILM: And have any of you met your idols, Bob Dylan, Neil Young, etc.
DAMON: No, I know Simon hasn't met his idols, but I've met some of my heroes. Duncan Ferguson who plays centre forward for Everton, I've been to dinner with him. I've met Public Enemy and played bass with Paul McCartney. So I have, yes.
ILM: Can you give me one word that describes Ocean Colour Scene?
ILM: How's Oscar?
Damon: He's going to be out of action for about three months. Hopefully Steve'll cover for him (Paul Weller's drummer) and when he's unavailable, Alan White (Oasis's drummer). Oscar's gonna be like, 'That's nice, get someone who's the best drummer in the UK and far better than be, charming.'
ILM: You've had lots of praise from Paul Weller and Noel Gallagher, etc. Who have you got some praise for?
Damon: There's a band called Relish, this Irish band from Dublin. They're the best band I've seen in years.
ILM: Who would you most like to collaborate with?
Damon: Roberta Flack or Public Enemy. With Public Enemy I'd be shitting myself, but it'd be an experience.
ILM: What is in your CD player right now?
Damon: A lot of jazz music, and the Relish album.
ILM: How do you relax?
Damon: Drinking and watching football, although watching football isn't a great way to relax, especially when you support Everton, like I do.