Friday, 10 December 2010

Neil Hannon (The Divine Comedy) Interview

The Divine Comedy will bring their magic this monday in Athens. Neil Hannon was more than polite to answer my questions. Again, Neil you are my hero <3.

Tenth album “Bang Goes The Knighthood”... how would you describe it? Would you say this is your first ‘solo album’?
Well, it's got twelve songs of differing lengths and styles. It's a bit like my other records sometimes and sometimes it's not. Some songs are quite cheerful, some are more gloomy. I wouldn't describe it as my first solo album really. I would have released it under my own name if it was. Having said most of my records are quite soloish. Sorry I can't be more helpful.

Is emotion important and in what ways? Is that your first goal while creating a song?
If a song has no emotion it is utterly worthless. Each song has a different sentiment, a different reason for it's own existence. Some songs don't appear to have a big message or a grand theme. That is because they are supposed to be curious and interesting rather than of enormous importance. My first goal when writing a song is not to bore myself!

Your songs sound like reading a fairytale… is that contrived?
I suppose some are a little fairytale-esque. It's honestly not something I consciously think about when I'm doing them. I simply do what comes naturally and hope for the best.

You often have extensive arrangements with strings and horns… have you thought of stripping out pop music to its simpler melodic forms?
I care little for how simple or complicated the arrangement of a song is. It's the end result that really counts. For example Down In The Streets Below is quite epic in scale, but that seemed the best way to create the mood I thought the song needed. But At The Indie Disco wouldn't have worked like that at all so it's quite simple.

You have been related to the brit-pop era of the 90s... do you reminisce those years? [how do you feel about bands like pulp or blur reforming?]
Pulp or Blur are very different from me. They were proper bands for a start, which means they could actually split up and reform. The Divine Comedy was always me with whoever I thought I needed at the time. I enjoyed the 90's a lot but I've never been one for reminiscing. It was hard work but I thrived on the excitment of being a chart act (even if a slightly strange one). I am considerably happier now however.

Any news/future plans for The Divine Comedy? Other projects you are involved with?
My first musical has just opened in Bristol. It's an adaptation of a 1920's children's book called Swallows and Amazons. This year has been very heavy going with lot's of promo and touring, so I'm going to be more Dublin-centric next year. A spot of writing, a bit more touring, and a lot of sitting around watching the cricket!

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