- Thu, 2006-03-16 12:13
Looking back, Steven Bayley wouldn’t have had it any other way. If the elliptical pop of The Open’s debut album The Silent Hours had sent his band on any other trajectory, he wouldn’t be where he is today, sitting in the offices of his record label discussing his group’s extraordinary follow up, Statues.
I Like Music caught up with lead vocalist and guitarist Steven in the build up to the bands new single release We Can Never Say Goodbye to chat about playing live, e-bay and tea bags.
"I Like Music because… It is the greatest thing in the world ever. Fact. No Contest.” Steve, The Open
ILM: Your new single We Can Never Say Goodbye is out on March 13th. Can you give us your own personal description of the track's whole vibe?
Steve: It's about looking in the mirror at yourself/your life/relationship or whatever and thinking "is this it? Am I tied to myself/this life/this person for good? Can I ever properly walk away?"
ILM: Your new album Statues was released February 6th. Can you give us some insight into the making of the album - the highs and the lows?
Steve: We made the album in Avignon, France which was great and we had a really brilliant time. I look back at that time very fondly sitting in the cold in Liverpool it was a truly fantastic experience. The only low point was leaving the studio really. And seeing Rob Kirwan in his boxers.
ILM: Of all the tracks on Statues, which one was the most poignant for you?
Steve: The song Statues is the most poignant for me. I think it’s the most truthful and honest thing I have ever recorded. I really love the mistakes and the starkness of it. I wrote the song when I felt pretty low and writing it was a real catharsis and made me feel good to get something of beauty from a time when i was feeling anything but. I really like the fact the lyric is more about images than sentences and it creates a picture in your head through those images of what the song may be about.
ILM: You guys are touring this month, what are you most looking forward to?
Steve: I'm really looking forward to playing the Statues album live as its something we haven’t really done yet. I can't wait for the whole thing. Jim spilling things in the van, eating all the rider before anyone else gets a sniff, taking tea bags and sugar home with him. It’s just a delight. Seriously though meeting people is always great just having a great laugh really which is what touring is all about.
ILM: What do you look forward to the most about playing live?
Steve: I most look forward to the 40 minutes or whatever onstage knowing you can lose yourself and give yourself to that music totally and it's such a great thing to have the opportunity to do that thing. Interaction and feedback from people at gigs is great.
ILM: Is there a track you like to play live the most?
Steve: I really love playing Forever, My House, Lovers In The Rain, the more improvised ones, probably because I don’t really know what’s going to happen next. Bringing other players in is great for that also. It’s an unknown quantity to a certain extent. Having said that, I really love all the songs and the ones off our first album which we will be playing, it's great to revisit them and change them. It feels like a nice balance.
ILM: Can you describe The Open’s process of writing and recording such epic and individual music?
Steve: It varies from the one extreme of me totally writing the song and all the parts to a song emerging from a jam or a keyboard riff or a couple of chords or whatever. Mainly I'll write it, then go through drums with Roger so we have a basis, then everyone has ideas for each other on whatever instruments.
ILM: Loads of people are using the internet these days and getting their music out there before even getting a record deal. How has the internet affected you?
Steve: Well I've bought loads of stuff off ebay! The truth is, I'm a bit of a technophobe and find it all a tad confusing. I'm rubbish at computers and that but Jim and Al are really good. I understand it is a great way to get your music out to people who wouldn’t necessarily be aware of it. We have had great feedback from MySpace. It seems like a healthy community as long as you eventually get face to face
ILM: Your website has an unusual personal edge to it, which details a lot about your personal interest in art, music, film and books. Have these heavily influenced your approach to music?
Steve: Yes. Me and Al read all the time. Art in general is all linked I think and I find I can understand my life sometimes better through either films, books or music than sitting there thinking about it. I love the fact that you can connect with art in that way and that thousands of people can garner different meanings from the same book, lyric, song whatever and make it relevant to themselves. I think that every part of your life and anything you put into it affects the music you make unconsciously as so the sort of person you are. The songs are the result of everything, the expression which is what makes art such an individual pursuit.
ILM: We understand that there were many personal upheavals in the making of the new Statues album. Have you leant a lot from this?
Steve: My life perspective has changed. I no longer think in terms of beginnings and ends, only process, change and phases. It’s far healthier to think in shades rather than black and white I've found. Open doors rather than close them.
ILM: Have you any advice for others looking to come into music industry?
Steve: Just really to stay true to yourself, know what you are willing to do and where you draw the line and stick to it. If people like your music that is a brilliant thing but the main point is that you're happy with it. Do what you believe in. Fashion comes and goes.
ILM: What are the future plans for The Open?
Steve: I have been writing lots and would really love to collaborate and play with other people or write with them or whatever and just tour loads. I really want to get out there and take our music out to people.
ILM: Can you describe your favourite place on Earth?
Steve: My favourite place on earth in a physical respect is probably the South of France, although I haven’t been that many places. I also really like it down by the water in Liverpool, it's good for thinking. And trains. In a less specific way you cant really beat the place in your head when you just have just created something that has never been created before or the feeling of holding your finished record.
ILM: What’s in your CD player right now?
Steve: At the moment I am listening to Longshot For Your Love a compilation of a band called The Pale Fountains. They just have amazing amazing songs and a uniqueness that I love. I can't stop listening to it.