phone mail2 facebook twitter play whatsapp
Advertisement

Gaz Coombes Interview

28 October 2013 Mary Howell

Ex-Supergrass frontman Gaz Coombes, now in full stride of his solo career, is about to embark on a musical tour of some of Britain’s most atmospheric Churches. London Calling talks to him about Oxford, influences and, of course, iconic facial hair.

London Calling: The London leg of your church tour is at Union Chapel on the 21st November. Why churches in particular?

Gaz Coombes: I did one church show at the beginning of the tour last year and it was a brilliant, brilliant show. At first I was like, is this going to be a bit weird? Is this going to be a bit odd? With everyone sat down at the beginning? It was one of the best shows of the tour, we got everyone to stand up and rise. It had such a great dynamic, the way the voice travels through the acoustics.

It got me thinking: maybe doing a short tour of particular special churches would be great! So we’re rehearsing and arranging the songs to work specifically with the acoustics of the venues. It’s not an acoustic set by any means; it’s still a full electrics set. Rearranging the songs, rather than playing them as they are straight off the album. It’s so exciting. After a few takes, its kind of like, if I could’ve recorded it like that it would’ve sounded amazing. It’s going to be a very exciting show dynamically, I can’t wait to get out there!

LC: With your solo stuff, are you drawing from any contemporary influences?
 
GC: Yeah, I hear little bits all the times that excite me in different ways. I try not to listen to anything when I’m writing and recording, I try and do what comes naturally, try and push something through in an uninhibited way.
 
The sparseness of someone like James Blake... It relies on a melody with very simple instrumentation, that’s kind of inspiring. He’s in a different area from me, but that’s cool.
 
LC: How do you view transatlantic success; has it affected you in your song writing at all?

GC: Not really. When I’m doing a song, when I’m in the studio, I don’t think about anything like that. It’s still a case of what excites me to listen too. Basically, the plan is always write what I want to listen to on the radio, or want to hear in my headphones, and in a way the conception is as simple as that – what’s going to really get me going, what’s going to turn me on musically. I don’t really agree with writing for a market or writing for a certain thing or approach. Just try to be honest with that initial conception of a track.
 
LC: You’ve got quite a recognisable voice, do you think that’s helped you progress into your solo career?

 
GC: I don’t know, perhaps. It’s just my voice, you know? Unless I start rapping or free form jazz then it will always be my voice. Maybe it helps, maybe it’s some sort of connection. But equally people have not known that it’s me as well, in terms of the music, because it’s been so different from the stuff I’ve done with Supergrass.
 
LC: Did Oxford nurture your music taste back in the early 90s?
 
GC: I don’t know if it nurtured my music taste. I think it’s more the environment, living in an area where it was very diverse where we were all in a house together. Down the road there were the academic students and equally there were drop out artists and drug dealers. It was just a very diverse environment to be creative in I suppose. So there were no boundaries as such. I think we could form whatever sound we wanted to and our sound was down to our environment.
 
LC: Your White Noise track is great, was it annoying when Disclosure released his track with exactly the same name?
 

GC: It just happens, you know? Sometimes there’s nothing you can do about it. I don’t own that phrase, I don’t own that term, I loosely pinched it from a Don DeLillo book called White Noise. It’s in my studio on my book shelf and I might have just been looking at it and subconsciously it went into my head. Equally, the lyrics convey that element of a fuzziness in your head where you need to get through and solve problems. This shit that you’re going through, when your head feels like static. It all felt kind of right.
 
LC: Can fans when you’re on tour expect to see your iconic side burns? Are they still there, going strong?
 

GC: Yes, they can! Do you know what they’ve done though? They’ve freaked out and they’ve carried on going down into a huge beard. I’ve got this big 70s hippie beard at the moment. It’s got a mind of its own, I don’t know whether to keep it or not. I don’t know. I need to get some input.
 
LC: Keep it, it sounds great!
 
GC:
I’m enjoying it actually, a really short haircut and a massive beard. I’m going for that look at the moment.

Alongside creating bespoke shows for intimate church venues, Gaz is working on material for his second album. For a taste of his new track Buffalo, and to bag yourself a ticket for the tour, head here.

{ad-placement-MPU1}

Most popular

What to See at The Cinema

What to See at The Cinema

Your go-to guide to what's on the silver screen
Advertisement
Top 5 Bars and Restaurants for Shisha-Lovers

Top 5 Bars and Restaurants for Shisha-Lovers

The five finest spots in London to shoot the breeze and pass the pipe
Advertisement
The Best Riverside Walks In London

The Best Riverside Walks In London

Oh we do like to be beside the canalside...
Advertisement
Advertisement
Top Theatre of the Week

Top Theatre of the Week

Where to get the best of new theatre openings in London
Top Exhibitions of the Week

Top Exhibitions of the Week

The place to come for all the best current exhibitions in London...
London’s Must-See Flower Shows in 2019

London’s Must-See Flower Shows in 2019

With the balmy weather here to stay, why not take in the sumptuous beauty that these London flower shows have to offer
Top Gigs of the Week

Top Gigs of the Week

From underground indie to rap stars to house legends, we've got you covered...
Where to Eat: Desserts in East London

Where to Eat: Desserts in East London

Even if the Easter bunny doesn’t visit your garden this month, there are plenty of ways to get your sweet fix this springtime
Where to Eat for a Fiver or Less

Where to Eat for a Fiver or Less

We go on a mission to find the absolute cheapest eats in London

Your inbox deserves a little culture!!

Advertisement