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Wednesday, 9 April 2014

interview : bill ryder-jones

Bill Ryder-Jones is possibly the most underrated man in the music world. Most people know him as lead guitarist of 00′s indie band The Coral – whom he left to pursue a solo career in 2008 – but his talents stretch so much further than that. He has produced and written music for short films, as well as working with a select few individuals on various projects, such as Alex Turner and Miles Kane. He also performed with Arctic Monkeys on their latest album ‘AM‘ and its respective tour. 
Both his solo albums are very different to his other projects, and show his ability to vary and develop his sound as he progresses as an artist. On his debut, ‘If…’, he explored a more orchestral approach to songwriting, whereas ‘A Bad Wind Blows in my Heart’ is much more refined sonically, stripped back to piano and guitar and has much more personal lyrics.

What’s your earliest musical memory, and what was it that made you want to be a musician yourself?
My earliest musical memory would be hearing my brother play his violin. I would have been around 6 I think. He was learning Dvorak’s New World Symphony actually.  I don’t think I ever had the thought ‘I want to be a musician’ – certainly not consciously at least. Having said that, it was a long time ago that I picked up my first instrument so I could be wrong. My impression has been that music was always something floating around at home and at school. I’d had bits of piano and violin tutoring, but it wasn’t until I was 13 that I became obsessed.
You’re from the small town of West Kirby on the Wirral. Do you think your material is more influenced by your coastal home town, or more by the city life in nearby Liverpool?
The short answer is: I don’t know. I guess West Kirby being my home has had the most direct influence.
You’re pretty comprehensive as a musician. You write it, play it, produce it. So what’s your favourite part?
That’s kind. Like most of the people I know who do what I do, it’s the addiction to creation that keeps you going. Writing something new and pure can give you a feeling that lasts for months, well it does for me anyway. The production is great too; it’s good for the soul to help someone achieve something. Playing live is fine but it’s weird and certainly not why I do it. That level of performance seems very odd to me. I don’t really trust people who are obsessed with performing in that way.
I’ve noticed that you tend to work with the same people – such as Alex Turner on his various projects – and local lads By the Sea, producing both their albums. It must be pretty rewarding to go back and work with these people and be a part of their evolution as musicians?
I guess so yeah. Like I said earlier, being part of anything that someone you respect or love does is incredibly rewarding. By The Sea are just wonderful. It’s silly that they aren’t massive. I think they’re the kind of band that in ten years time, everybody will pretend they loved them in the early days.
On the topic of collaborations – if you could collaborate with anyone, dead or alive, who would you choose and why?
I bang on about him all the time, but Euros Childs is still my favourite writer to this day. If he ever wanted me for any kind of work then I’d be there. The others I’m thinking of would be people whom I’d love to see work and to learn how they do things… Warren Ellis is an incredible musician, and someone I’d love to be able to watch work closely. Lou Reed – I’d have loved to have seen him live or in the studio, also Bowie too. Being able to see Nick McCabe in the early Verve days would’ve been quite something. There are some people whom I’d love to work with as a producer, like Mick Head (we’ve been trying to do something for a few years now), or Echo and the Bunnymen, who are one of my favourite bands ever – I think they’ve had some top records ruined by bad sound in the past. Tell you what actually, it’d have been fun to work on some kind of collaboration with Bukowski! Don’t know what it would be but I reckon he’d have liked West Kirby.
Written for PostMusicDepression

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