Feeder have released their 10th (yes, tenth!) album Tallulah today! Ahead of release we had the great pleasure of speaking to Feeder’s lead man Grant Nicholas. We took the chance to ask him about coping with the loss of drummer Jon Lee following his suicide in 2002, working from home and those pinch-me moments of a long successful career…
GRANT NICHOLAS: THE INTERVIEW
You have a new album Tallulah [out now], the majority of which was recorded at your home studio. With children, how do you stay focused on the task at hand and not just watch cartoons all day?
Grant Nicholas: My kids are a bit older now so I can get more work done. My wife is around also to help so I have managed to find a happy balance. I find it quite inspiring watching them from my home studio The Treehouse when I’m doing vocals.
You’ve said the album is about making music in the age of social media – is it a better environment to work within now or more challenging?
Grant Nicholas: I think it’s taken a lot of the mystique out of the business but it can be a handy way of getting music and information out there to the masses. I would be lying to you if I said I preferred it to the way it was, but I think you can use it in a way that feels comfortable to connect with the fans.
So will you follow us back on Twitter?
Grant Nicholas: If you say nice things about us 🙂 Of course.
We’re big fans of you and big fans of The Strokes. What can you tell us about working with legendary producer Gil Norton after his ill-fated stint on Is This It? It couldn’t have worked out better for Feeder could it?
Grant Nicholas: It was great working with Gil and he remains a good friend to this day. He is very tough in the studio and it took a while for us to adjust to his way of working. Gil is a great producer and really gets the best out of you. I also learnt a lot after working with him on 3 Feeder albums together which has helped me production wise.
You’ve got a longstanding association with Japan. Is there anything from Japanese culture you feel Britain needs more of at this time?
Grant Nicholas: Japanese people have good etiquette and are very trustworthy so I guess we could learn from that. The food and fashion is also great there, anything goes.
Just a Day was originally a B-side but found commercial success on the soundtrack of PlayStation racing game Gran Turismo. Are you a gamer?
Grant Nicholas: Not really although I have dabbled a bit on the tour bus over the years. I’m more of a Space Invaders and Galaxian gamer, old school.
The video is one of my favourite music videos of all-time. Have you ever met any of the stars?
Grant Nicholas: I have met one at the Kerning radio office a while back in London and I also still know the two Japanese guys Kosei and Kaz who live in Tokyo now.
Edit: in April 2020 the band remade the video during the global pandemic – lookout for some of the original stars returning 20 years on!
COMFORT IN SOUND
Another personal fave is Come Back Around, an emotional tribute to Jon. How close were you to walking away from music after his passing?
Grant Nicholas: It was a really tough time and I dealt with it by locking myself away and writing songs. The end result was Comfort in Sound and that’s when Taka and myself decided to continue as Feeder.
It could be argued your music has crossed between genres over the years but it’s always been anthemic, what’s the secret formula?
Grant Nicholas: I just love melodic and more anthemic songs. It’s always been a big part of our chemistry and the way I tend to naturally write songs. Sometimes it’s also nice to rock out or do a more stripped back acoustic song. Most of the Feeder songs start out on acoustic.
What have been the “pinch-me” moments of your career so far?
Touring with U2, REM and the Stones and also being on the same festival bill as Chili Peppers, Foo’s, PJ Harvey and QOTSA at Slane Castle near Dublin The Comfort in Sound areas tour was a real career moment also.
I saw you supporting fellow Welshmen Stereophonics at the MEN Arena in 2001. Things have changed dramatically for concert-goers since then, not least due to the Manchester bombing in 2017. How has that impacted you as a performer?
I definitely think about security a lot more nowadays but I don’t think it has effected me as a performer.
You’re playing with Mancunians Doves at Brighton in July following their return this year – are you a particular fan of Manchester music?
I love a lot of Manchester bands and it’s also a great city and still a loyal fanbase for Feeder. I remember seeing the Stone Roses in their earlier days when I had just moved to London and there was a real buzz in the air. Oasis have some great songs and I have met Liam and Noel a few times over the years. Doves are great also to name but a few. The people of Manchester always seem to embrace guitar bands and love a good tune.
Do you have any plans to return to your solo projects? What does the future hold for Feeder?
I am focusing on Feeder at the moment but may do another solo album if there is a window in the future. Feeder is my main priority and I am looking forward to the new album Tallulah which is released on 9th August as well as the November UK tour. Next year we are planning more shows and festivals in the UK, Europe and overseas.
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