Interview by Gareth Ware
Having recently both featured on Cherry Red’s 5CD 80s behemoth ‘Scared To Get Happy’, not to mention having played the attendant extravaganza of a live show and released a new 1983-1993 compilation ‘Heart on Your Sleeve’, The Brilliant Corners seem to be caught up in a maelstrom of activity once again. With this in mind, we caught up with Dave Woodward ahead of their imminent festival appearance to talk about what it means to him to be playing together as a group again, how the recent live shows have gone and how he feels the scene now compares to the one that existed then.
Have you been to Indietracks before? What aspect of the festival experience are you most looking forward to?
No I have never been, the setting sounds fantastic, Amelia told me it was a really good festival. Really looking forward to seeing some new bands.
How has it been for you to revisit your old material when creating the new compilation and playing it live again? Has it brought back happy memories?
It’s brought back a lot of memories about relationships, people, places. Happy and sad. I think the compilation captures the essence of the band really well. The sleevenotes are excellent.(I wrote them!). I love playing live.
Likewise, how was it for you to play the Scared To Get Happy show recently alongside a lot of your contemporaries? Was it as special an evening for you as it seemed to be for the audience?
It really was a special moment. Gigs were you feel a real connection and warmth with an audience do not happen that often when its on that scale, usually big stage big gig = awful gig. I really felt that connection, it was touching to see so many happy faces in the audience. A few days later I am still feeling quite emotional about it. It was great to catch up with bands who I had not seen for a long long time and a few I had never seen back in the day.
Have you felt in any way that the intervening time has changed the band dynamic in any way, or is this something you’ve not even considered and are simply enjoying yourselves again?
We’re just enjoying it.
James Dean Bradifeld once described The Bodines’ ‘Played’ with words to the effect of ‘C86 with an added layer of ambition’. On a personal level that was something I’d level at The Brilliant Corners’ output, especially the later releases. Is this something you’d agree with?
If you mean we did not stick with in the remit of what people call a C86 sound you would be right. It had nothing to do with ambition, more that youthful thing of absorbing everything and wanting to try stuff out, not everything we tried out worked!. Also if you were to ever see my record collection you would be amazed by its diversity.
When you were playing during C86’s formative days, did you ever envisage the movement would develop, evolve and grow to the movement and community it is now? Or even still be going in some guise or another?
I never gave it a second thought. I think back then it was just great that there were a whole lot of people making music with that kind of punk ethos of DIY and energy, people producing fanzines, small venues with enthusiasts putting on the bands they loved. What I also liked was that knowingly or unknowingly it was challenging notions of what is ‘rock music’ one could make serious noise but also playful pop. Most rock bands could not stomach that idea. I think a community exists now because some of the politics of that time is still very attractive, particularly in the corporate times we now live in. On a personal level I have always felt like a bit of an outsider bit odd really and indie seemed to suite me. Oh I should not forget there were a lot of bloody good songs too.
On the back of the compilation and the live dates you’re playing no the back of it, do you have any desire to write and release any new Brilliant Corners material? If not, what does 2013 hold out for you – anything exciting?
I am only able to do this because The Experimental Pop band are not doing anything this year and that Bob (BCs drummer) finally convinced me we should do some reunion gigs while we still had our health! I write and record all the time but no I’m not writing any material to be released as The Brilliant Corners. At the moment I am working on a collection of uplifting pop songs and I also have a collection of electronic songs. I have no idea if any of it will ever be released. Sure hope it will!
Is there anyone in particular you’re especially looking forward to seeing over the weekend during your visit this year?