DB - As the former frontman of the
Cosmic Rough Riders, how does it feel to be out on your own, as it
DW - I've never been happier. I've
regained control of my music. I got into music to sing my own songs
and I never really wanted to be in a 'band' as such. With the Cosmics
I started to lose control of the overall feel of the songs and I felt
that the time was right to go out on my own. I think that it was the
right decision to go my own way and recover the artistic freedom that
I had sought over the past few years.
DB - The new album, Ramshackle Beauty, is, in my opinion,
full of great songs played by a tight unit. Will you be using the
same musicians from the studio in your live act?
DW - Some of them will be joining me on tour. Ex-Laura
Cantrell guitarist Zachary Ware and bassist Tom McGarrigle play on
the album and are in the touring set-up and the others on the album
were the Pearlfishers Jim Gash on drums and Michael Connaghan and
Raymond Mead on guitar.
DB - The album seems to appeal to a wide age group
- I've played it to seventeen and forty year olds and both enjoyed
it so I think that you're onto a good thing.
DW - I wanted to make a record that was timeless and
to appeal to people that are into music for more than five minutes
at a time.
DB - There's a happy, summery feeling to the album,
even down to the honeybees and sun on the cover, so was it a conscious
decision to release it just as spring was about to burst out?
DW - Yes. I thought about releasing it earlier but
decide against it. Why remind people about the summer when they're
in the depths of winter - it may well depress them even further. I
like to produce good melodies, words are important of course but there
are some great poets out there that can conjure up amazing images
with words so I want people to enjoy themselves listening to my tunes.
DB - There's certainly good tunes in there and I can
hear some Byrds, Neil Young and REM influences in the background.
DW - You're very perceptive. I'm a major follower
of Neil Young and I've loved REM since the early days. It's interesting
that you mention the Byrds because I hadn't heard of them as such
until I recorded the first Cosmic Rough Riders album, Deliverance,
and then I started to get the reviews saying that I must have Byrds
influence. So I went out a bought eight Byrds albums and heard the
similarities for myself. I'm now buying a lot of older albums such
as Jethro Tull, Tom Petty and many others.
DB - There are a few candidates for singles on the
album - what are the plans?
DW - 'Make Love To The World' was released the other
week but there's been no decision as yet about the follow up.
DB - Do you still live in Scotland or have you had
to move down to London?
DW - I still live in Glasgow and it's an excellent
place to live. After all, London's only an hour away nowadays.
DB - What's the best thing about living in Glasgow,
and in general, Scotland?
DW - There's such a vibrant music scene up here at
the moment. I try to get out and see as many bands as possible.
DB - Who's hot at the moment?
DW - There's a band called The Golden Hour - they
play 60s style pop and if they get the backing of a major label then
they're going to be big.
DB - Getting back to the album, what was the inspiration
for 'Michael The Butterfly'?
DW - That was about Michael Connaghan who played guitar
on the album. He's so elusive and hard to pin down. It's like if Michael
put together all of his good hours he would have one good day, just
like the lifespan of a butterfly.
DB - 'If You Stay A While' and 'The Grapevine' are
the only two slightly downbeat songs on the album. Was this to stop
people getting too happy?
DW - 'The Grapevine' is about gossip and Chinese whispers
and basically I'm telling people to listen and make up their own minds
about things. On the last album, Enjoy The Melodic Beauty' I think
that a lot of people missed the irony in the lyrics that were there
to counterbalance the happy melodies so I've included the lyrics on
this one so that folks can read what I'm trying to put over.
DB - As I've said before, I think that this is a fine
body of work. Do you consider it to be on a par or better than your
work with Cosmic Rough Riders?
DW - I think that it's better. I've expanded things
a little and I'm now influenced by contemporary artists as well as
those from the past. I don't want to be classed as a retro artist
forever but that doesn't mean to say that I want to leave behind those
that have followed me so far. Maybe the next album will be a double,
one could be the familiar stuff and the other could be more experimental.
DB - You say that contemporary artists influence you,
so who is exciting you at the moment?
DW - Coldplay, they are excellent lyrically and deserve
their success both here and in America. Others are January, The Stands,
The Stills and Snow Patrol. I still like the older stuff and I have
to thank my parents for my favourite album, Barnstorm by Joe Walsh.
DB - Finally, give me five words to describe the album.
DW - Melodic, sensitive, noisy, guitar pop.
Daniel Wylie's Ramshackle Beauty is released on 29th
March 2004 on Measured Records.