How has it been touring an album that you released ten years ago?
There’s always the tendency to live in a bubble as a band but getting out live in front of an audience to see if there’s any proof that people give a sh*t about your pudding, is the real proof in the pudding. This album changed our lives and to see it affects people in such a way as we’ve been seeing in this (largely) sold-out series of 27 shows has been ... no, not humbling. Quite the opposite! Invigorating. There’s been so much love in the room. For the majority of our audiences it’s the first album they ever bought but they weren’t old enough to come see us the first time around so our audiences are getting younger.
What sort of challenges have you faced re-releasing ‘The Trick To Life’?
With limited budgets we’ve had to weigh up what’s likely to provide the best return. As it’s our biggest album by far we’ve gone for radio (Hart Media), digital PR (WMA) and regional PR (Chuff) as well as upping our game on social platforms and have been really happy with such a great team. We felt confident people would want to hear the album, but, as ever, the challenge is making sure they know we’re playing their hometown.
Sony were very accommodating when it came to negotiating the licensing of the album and it’s proving a mutually advantageous endeavour.
Is it easier to reissue classic albums like ‘The Trick To Life’ or a completely new album?
The debut being an album that people grew up with having a ten year birthday marks it out as a special occasion that’s hard for a new album of songs to compete with, I’d say. That said, the warm-reception we’re enjoying has given us the momentum to start work on new materials, so that’s symbiotic.
This is the first time ‘The Trick To Life’ has been released on vinyl, despite the recent vinyl revival. When & how did you notice that your fans needed a vinyl copy?
Social platforms provide us with an unparalleled insight into what people want. That’s where we got the idea to tour the debut album for our ten year anniversary in the first place. In the same manner, people asked for vinyl. Growing up with vinyl we also wanted it. Releasing simply on digital feels like more of a hollow act than being able to point at something physical that you helped make. We always look for ways to offer something new to our fan base and it’s easy enough to ask ourselves what we’d want as fans. It’d be harder to justify a national tour if we were simply selling more of what’s already available.
Listening back to ‘The Trick To Life’ ten years on, do you still feel the same way about the album? Is there anything you would have changed about it?
Who says I’ve listened back to it?
We walked into that studio boys and left young-adults. I’m aware we were more naive about production aspects and deferred a lot to our beloved, late, great mentor Toby Smith for input. Our leanings were more alternative but we weren’t afraid of being commercial and that’s what we’ve got. I’m massively grateful for the album. I haven’t listened to it in about nine years though. Onwards!
In 2008 you were BRIT nominated for Best British Single with ‘Worried About Ray’. How did that feel?
We were tickled pink. Course that felt like validation and all the fuzzy reassurances that we/I looked for at the time, though I couldn’t help but think we’d have stood more chance of winning if it was Goodbye Mr A! Ha. If I had a business card printed it would probably be the one accolade I’d have below my name. In Helvetica font, I suspect. It was very flattering and was an honour to get to go.
I remember asking Mark Owen if we could accept the award if they won but if we won we’d accept that. He laughed and tacitly agreed, yet when they won (quite fairly for “Shine”) he still accepted the award. I still haven’t fully forgiven him for this slight.
Finally, what advice would you give to someone who is planning to reissue an old album of theirs?
What’s the point? As in what value are you adding to the pre-existing album that they can already get their hands on?
Preparation goes a long way and getting a team that you trust to deliver, with obtainable targets doesn’t hurt either.