Interview with Unbelievable Truth by Lift Zine (1997)
First of all, could you tell me how you formed the band ?
N : while Andy was in Moscow for a year as part of his University course he started writing songs. He wrote to me to ask if I could get a band together to play them when he came home, because I 'd been doing bands since I was twelve. Me and Jason had been in a band together which had just broken up. We never found a guitarist who suited us, so us three became the band .
After doing some gigs in your home town as The Unbelievable Truth , Andy had gone to Russia to work for Greenpeace , hadn't he ? Thus made them you stopped their activities as a band for a while. Had all of you been thinking of starting as a band again someday ? And had Nigel and Jason still continued doing any music activities after Andy left for Russia ?
J : When Andy left for Russia it did feel pretty final, but as time went on, and Andy's coming home date came nearer It did seem possible we would work together again. While Andy was away , Nigel went to drum for London based group and soon after recruited me on bass.
This question is for Andy. Could you tell me about the job you did in Russia ? And I heard that you were playing a kind of music which was mixture of Eastern pop and Hardcore on your own at the time, is it true ?
A : I would as a freelance translator. I spent 6 months in Moscow ,and most of that time I was working for Greenpeace. I did some interpreting as well, and towards the end of my stay I was working for The Economist Newspaper as a PA to their Moscow corespondent. I don't know where you heard about music thing , it's not true .
Were the Unbelievable Truth the first band for each of you ? or were any of you in different band before ?
N : I've been in band since I was 12 years old , and I've lost count of how many. I was in a band with Andy at school , and I met Jason by being in a band for a few years with him.
What kind of music were each of you influenced by ?
N : My music
tastes don't seem to affect the band stylistically, but instead on a subtler,
more internal level . As for who has actually influenced me, apart from R.E.M.
I'm not allowed to say.
A : Nigel and I both listened to three bands in particular when we were growing up - R.E.M , Throwing Muses , Hugo Largo. Since then I've been into Talk Talk , Nick Cave , Tindersticks... But I don't know how much they're influenced me .
How did you name The Unbelivable Truth ? And Who named it ?
N : I suggested the name ( incidentally , now we're called Unbelievable Truth , not The Unbelivable Truth ) It was taken from a film of the same name by an american director called Hal Hartley. He's one of my favorite directors, but it just seemed like an O.K. name, which we never got around to changing.
How did you feel when your indie debut single which was released from Oxford's Shifty Disco in February this year have been sold out ?
J : Feb the band had only done a hand full of gigs , so to find out we had so much support locally was a bit of a shock. But Great !
After releasing the debut single , you make a contract with a Virgin Records. Could you tell me how you made it and also the reason why you chose Virgin Records .
N : Virgin were interested before we released the debut single. When we started playing gigs again after taking a long break , people in the record industry who'd already heard the name immediately became interested. We chose Virgin Records because they were the only people who offered us a deal , Although I think we would have gone with them whatever because the people there seemed to understand what we wanted to do , and had the belief that could do it.
It seems that you managed to make a contract with a major label pretty soon after you reunited the band at the end of last year. How do you feel about it ? Do you feel you were lucky ?
N : We had nearly signed a deal before the band broke up , so that meant We'd made a name for ourselves in the business already . We were lucky , but also we'd all worked very hard for a long time . You need both .
Have all of you always wanted to play a band and live on music since you were younger ?
N : I have
wanted to be involved with music to the exclusion of everything else since I
was 14 years old. I 'm glad that that means playing in a band now, but I have
done many other musical jobs, and probably will again before I die.
A : I've always been interested in music , but I didn't expect to end up making a living from it .
Your debut single on Virgin was released in 6th October , wasn't it ? What is it like ? And I heard that you have already started recording for your debut album and It wil come out next spring . How is it going ?
N : The
album was recorded over the summer and is all finished, and due for release
in March '98. The debut single was released on 6 th October, and it's like are
one our songs.
A : Lots of people picked up on Finest Little Space which wasn't the lead track , but that's okay because it's a double A - side and It's on the album too.
Is it true that Nigel has produced the album ?
N : Yes , with co-prroducing assistance by Jeremy Wheatley , an engineer who has worked with , among others, Massive Attack, Space and The Spice Girls. Andy and Jason also were involved in production, but since I know how all the equipment works I tended to be a bit more in command in the studio.
I find that the name of all of you are printed on your CDs as a credit of songwriters. How do you write songs ?
N : Different songs get written in different ways. Often Andy will have a melody and a couple of chords , then I will structure it as a song, and Jason will add guitar parts, with everybody's parts influencing what the other people do. Or sometimes it's completely not like that at all.
Some people have told me that the lyrics that Andy writes are brilliant. Unfortunately, I can't understand the meaning of your lyrics properly as I don't understand English much, so could you tell me what the songs are about, mainly ? And how do you Andy get the ideas from when you write lyrics ?
A : My lyrics are quite personal and illogical . They tend to spill on the page all at once and then I make a few changes until it takes shape and starts to make sense. But nowadays I'm moving away from the stream - of -consciousness method and trying to think about my lyrics a bit more.
I have heard that your gigs are quite unusual in a good way. Sadly I've never seen your gig yet, please tell me what your gigs are like.
N : If our gigs are unusual, it's only because we make an effort to be quieter and subtler than the hundreds of loud steamroller bands you hear live at the moment. It's hard, because playing to an audience who don't know who you are, they can talk over you if you're playing quietly, which they can't if you're blasting away at full volume. But when we create the night atmosphere and really connect with an audience, it can be special and beautiful.
Which do you prefer, playing gigs or recording in a studio ? Do you think you are live band or a band for recording ?
N : At the
moment I think what we've recorded is better than we are live , but we're learning
how to do it well at gigs and it's getting better every time we play. Personally
I love doing both.
A : I prefer playing live I think - being in the recording studio involves too much sitting around and doing nothing.
Could you tell me your future plans ? Are you going to release any singles or album in Japan?
N : Whether we get material released in Japan is up to the record company. tha Japanese companey will probably wait to see if we do well enough in England before committing themselves. As for the future , we want to take the music to as many people as want to hear it , hopefully by playing it live to people all over the world .
Finally, Would you please give a message to your Japanese fans.
N : Don't trust the government , don't trust the media , don't trust big business .And see you soon , I hope .
Interview made by Miki for Lift Zine, a japanese fanzine.