Even in its most cocksure and bombastic incarnation, the Britpop era never looked sustainable. From the wreckage of that bluster-fuelled juggernaut, only a select number were ever going survive the fallout.
The Charlatans we’re always a band that inspired a more cerebral response; their music is built on more solid foundations than empty posturing. They have lasted the test of time because they have never been afraid to seek out new territories – inhabiting the role of outliers but never seeking to exclude or denigrate their peers.
Last years’ Different days was an example of development in The Charlatans’ sound but also their ability to incorporated new voices – the album featured the likes of Brian Jonestown Massacre’s, Anton Newcombe, actress Sharon Horgan and crime novelist, Ian Rankin. These collaborations all contributed to a highly engaging piece of work and as enjoyable as anything The Charlatans have ever done.
Now, after finishing a European tour, Tim Burgess turns his mind to The Charlatans’ homecoming festival in Northwich, where he has teamed up with Liverpool Sound City to deliver an arts and music programme this spring. We caught up with Tim to discuss who’s on the bill, how the link-up with Sound City came about and who he’s most looking forward to seeing play.
Hi Tim, paint us a picture…where are you right now, what have you done today?
Just got back from our European tour. Getting used to the life of not being on a tour bus – it was a fantastic couple of weeks though. At the moment I’m surrounded by snow and with a four-year-old who is excited about the whole thing
After travelling the world for the last three decades, how has touring changed for you over the years?
Touring has changed quite a lot over the last 30 years but essentially, it’s kind of the same – travelling from one place to another, soundcheck and maybe some interviews, a chance to look round and then a couple of hours on stage. I don’t drink or get involved in as many post-gig shenanigans but, that’s not to say I don’t enjoy it as much. In fact, I enjoy it more. Hangovers on a bus, driving for six hours were never that much fun!
Nowadays we can call home and FaceTime is a brilliant way to chat with my son – it used to be a case of watching videos, but everyone has their own laptop, so playlists and social media have stepped in to replace 8 people watching The Exorcist for the fourth time in a week!
You’re doing a homecoming festival in May in Northwich. Please tell us your reasons for setting up this festival.
Northwich doesn’t maybe top the list of where people might put on a festival, so we wanted to see what else we could do. We looked around for a place to stage an exhibition and we found a unit in Barons Quay, by the river. The Odeon Cinema heard what we were up to and asked us to choose some films for them to play.
Paddy Considine is a good friend and we knew he had a film coming out. We also met up with Christine Franz when we were in Berlin – Christine made the Sleaford Mods film and her and the band were really keen to be involved, it turned out that Sleaford Mods will be playing in Europe on the day, but Jason is sending a personalised message from his phone. That should be interesting. The last film is Factory Floor’s re-score of the film, Metropolis.
As we made more plans we had more ideas and everyone we asked wanted to join in – I’m sure we’ll be adding a few more things before May comes around
For those that don’t know, tell us a bit about Northwich, what it means to you and why you’ve decided to do these shows?
We moved there when I was young and did most of my growing up there – it’s about an hour from the bright lights of Manchester so we kind of had to make our own fun. I spent quite a bit of time at the local record shop, a place called Omega Records – that’s how I got to meet the rest of The Charlatans. Northwich has played a big part in the band’s history and it’s 28 years since we played there
The band were based in Northwich at the very start and the place holds lots of memories for us. Before our UK tour at the end of last year, we hired the Memorial Court for a couple of days of rehearsals. It seemed to dawn on us all at the same time and we asked them if we could organise some gigs.
Once the venue was booked we started thinking about what else we could do. I’d always loved the Plaza Cinema building but it has been shut for about 10 years. We got in touch with the owner and went for a look round, by the end of the day, we’d started making plans for a record fair.
Besides your own set, what are you most looking forward to seeing?
The Blinders always put on a good show. Yucatan’s set will be hugely emotional as Iwan (their drummer) died earlier this year and it’ll be the first time they’ve played since. We’ve been working on the Vinyl Adventures Record Fair for quite a while – it’s happening in a 1930s cinema. Our friend Kelly is making paella, Professor Tim O’ Brien and Tony Walsh will be stopping by too. I
It’s a bit of a cop-out but I’m going to say everything!
You’re linking up with Liverpool Sound City for the festival. How did this collaboration come about and what is it about Sound City that fit with your idea of the Northwich festival?
We met them at Kendal Calling and they asked if we’d put a line up together for Tim Peaks at Sound City about 5 years ago and we jumped at the chance. We’ve been back every year since and it’s a brilliant place to see new and established bands.
When we started putting the events together in Northwich, we had a meeting over at the Sound City office in Liverpool – we were talking about future plans and they mentioned the Sound City Satellite – it seemed like the perfect thing to bring to Northwich. It took all of 2 minutes to decide. They’re a great bunch and we work in the same way. We’ll be taking over the outdoor space at Constellations as part of Sound City – it looks like the perfect spot for Tim Peaks. May is going to be a busy month
Out of the Sound City line-up whose albums have you really enjoyed and who should people look out for?
The Slow Readers Club have supported The Charlatans a few times so it’s good to be seeing them do well.
Richard Youngs’ album is only just out, and I’d recommend that to anybody. Average Sex have not released an album yet, but they have enough songs to – I’ve got most of their songs as they’re on O Genesis so I’m saying everyone should look out for them.
Please sum up your hopes for the rest of 2018 in five words.
Fun, festivals, songs, love and happiness.