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28th November 2009
METAL DISCOVERY: How was the show for you all tonight? It was really good from a spectator point of view.
JOHN EMSLEY: I really enjoyed it.
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(Paul Gautrey on The Glitterati's new deal with Demolition/DR2 Records)
"When we were signed to Atlantic there was just pressure, pressure, pressure to just do this, get this song in the charts…it’s just all business bullshit really. It’s a completely different way that Demolition and DR2 deal with things..."
The Glitterati backstage at Rock City, Nottingham, UK, 28th November 2009
Photograph copyright © 2009 Mark Holmes - www.metal-discovery.com
Interview & Photography by Mark Holmes
One-time Atlantic signings, The Glitterati recently inked a new deal with Demolition Records' imprint label, DR2, and are set to unleash their new album, 'Are You One Of Us?' early next year, the first since their eponymously titled debut in 2005. I arranged to meet up with the Brit hard rockers on the second date of W.A.S.P.'s 2009 UK tour in Nottingham, for which they are main support act. Settling down in their dressing room with the entire band, after introductions are made, it is frontman Paul Gautrey and lead guitarist John Emsley who answer my questions...
PAUL GAUTREY: It was the first one for us because we didn’t play last night. It was really good; the crowd were good. I think they got into it as we went on. But, yeah, really enjoyed it.
MD: So what happened last night then in Dudley?
PG: It was just something to do with the desk. When we got there, the desk that W.A.S.P. were using meant that…it was just something to do with the venue.
MD: That’s a shame.
PG: It was, but we had a good night though! [laughs]
MD: This is the second date of the tour…well, obviously the first night of playing…how are you getting on with Blackie and all the guys from W.A.S.P.?
PG: We haven’t really interacted with the band yet so we’ve just kept ourselves to ourselves at the moment. I’m sure as we go along we’ll get to see more of them.
MD: Definitely. Are you fans of W.A.S.P.?
JE: Do you know what? I’ve not heard a single W.A.S.P. song before last night! And now I know three W.A.S.P. songs!
MD: A muffled noise through the ceiling of the dressing room at the moment!
PG: Yeah, we’re learning ‘em!
JE: There was one I didn’t even know was W.A.S.P. and I was just wandering around today singing a song and Gautrey’s like, “that’s W.A.S.P.”!
PG: [sings W.A.S.P. lyrics]
JE: Was that it?
PG: Yeah, good song that.
JE: Wicked!
MD: I’ve read that you relocated from….some of you are from Leeds originally?
PG: We’re all from Leeds, but we live in London.
JE: That’s not true anymore, is it.
PG: No, no, we’ve got two new members now since the first record. Originally, the five of us were from Leeds and we relocated to London - that was about five years ago now.
MD: Do you regard that as an important move for The Glitterati for your success, or was it more of a convenience kind of thing?
PG: No, I don’t think we’d have ever done it if we stayed in Leeds. I just think that at the time we needed to…it’s more about all being together and if we’d done the same thing in Leeds it might’ve worked out, but it was as much of a life decision as a band decision. We just felt that if we moved and were all in the same place because, what it was, our bass player at the time lived in London and it was either he relocated to Leeds which we thought was pointless, or we gave it a shot in London. It could’ve backfired but we didn’t think we had anything to lose, and everything might happen quite quickly, so…
MD: So four of you relocated somewhere else rather than one guy?!
JE: Yeah, in the same house.
PG: The same house for a long time. Two bedrooms, five people! [laughs]
MD: Do you miss anything about Leeds or being up North at all?
JE: To be honest, the longer that we’re away from Leeds, and from Yorkshire, I do miss it, do you know what I mean?
PG: I miss it. I try and get back up all the time. Yeah, I love it; I love going back up.
JE: I never go back. I go back around Christmas. It’s just every time I go back, it’s increasingly…you know, it’s lovely up there really. I don’t know if that’s just because of the accent. It’s just the familiarity, do you know what I mean? But, I mean, London’s still wicked.
PG: Yeah, London’s great too actually.
JE: But I prefer LA!
JE: Better weather!
MD: You have a forthcoming new album…
PG: We do, yeah.
MD: It’s been produced by Matt Hyde who’s worked with Slipknot and Trivium, I think I read…and Bullet For My Valentine…
PG: Yeah.
MD: Were you aiming for a harder, heavier edge to your sound in working with him?
PG: What it is with Matt is that he’s made his name working with metal bands, but his tastes are probably more similar to what we do. It’s just that he’s had some success with metal bands and the work kind of comes from there, but we’ve known him for quite a lot of years so when we did our very first recording when we first moved to London, he was the assistant engineer, and he’s moved up as well. And what it was, two guys had just left the band, we’d just lost our deal with Atlantic, there were only three guys left in the band and, basically, he was…you know, we needed to find a way to make the album…we had no money, so he was always keen to work with us. He set it up so we could…he made it possible for us to make the album. Any other producer who approached us, or we approached them, it was all about how much they’re getting. We knew to get a new deal, we needed to make an album, and we needed to make a good album, and Matt made it possible for us to make that. It took us a long time because in between recording sessions, he was going off doing Slipknot’s album! [laughs]
JE: I really think though that the fact he’s worked more with heavy bands, it was really cool for us because I think…we’re into heavy music, but I think naturally we’re all into big hooks as well, and I almost think that naturally we’re almost pulled towards melodies, and hooks, and, if anything, Matt kinda brought…he did bring a heavier edge to the project. We always wanted that; we wanted to sound heavier. I guess maybe we’ve worked in the past with people that, from a heaviness point of view, they’re on a similar level to us. So for us to go in with a guy who could make us heavier but return the hooks and stuff, that’s really cool for us.
MD: Well, it’s the first time I’ve seen you live tonight, and I think you come across as a lot heavier live than recorded.
JE: It’s that fella there behind you! [points at Rupert, the band’s tour manager and sound guy]
MD: Have you got a release date for the album yet?
PG: We’ve been told late February at the moment. Obviously we’ve got the free download out now, and I think the plan is to have another single out at the end of January, then the album at the end of February.
MD: Is it a bit frustrating having it all recorded and ready to go, and you just want to get it out there?
PG: Yeah, we finished the album a while ago now….to us. I mean, it’s not that long ago but, to us, it did take a long time to make. Not because we were taking a long time to do it but, obviously, Matt was going off doing bands that paid him! [laughs] It’s not really frustrating because, I mean, tonight was only our second gig in five months, but it seems like we’ve been stupidly busy because although we haven’t been playing live, we’ve signed the deal with the new label and setting everything up with that, and really just getting everything in place to release the album. It seems like we’ve been doing a lot the last few months. It’s more of a relief as well to get it out. You know, when we recorded that album we didn’t have a deal. We hoped it would be released as we thought it was a strong album but you never know if you’re even gonna get it out.
MD: You said you released a single, which was ‘Fight Fight Fight’?
PG: Yeah.
MD: How have fan reactions been to the new music?
PG: It’s been really good. There was a mess up though - it was supposed to come out Monday, but it actually came out Wednesday. It doesn’t matter as it’s going to be out for a few weeks and we just wanted it out for this tour really. We feel like we’re starting again because we’ve been away for so long between albums. Obviously we’ve still got our fan base, but we’ve probably lost quite a few along the way so, to us, we’re just treating it as starting again like a new band, and it’s a great opportunity for us to find new fans, and a free download seemed like a good idea to do that. People might not have been willing to pay for it at this stage, but hopefully they’ll like it and pay for the next one! [laughs] But the reaction’s been really good.
MD: There’s been a four year gap between albums - how has the whole studio experience been this time compared to the first time?
JE: It was very different because we started the record as a three piece, so that was a big change for a start. Obviously these guys [points to Baz and Gaff] came in through the process. Just working with Matt was a real positive experience. He really pushed us to kind of challenge us to do things we maybe wouldn’t have actually been comfortable doing. At the same time, there’s this guy who’s busting your arse, but at the same time he’s your mate. And that kind of relationship, rather than there’s some guy who you don’t really know and you just wanna impress and he’s busting your arse and that’s a big deal but, you know, if your mate’s just going “fucking sort it out”, that’s brilliant. It was hard work and stuff, but it was just a really cool experience.
MD: That’s good. The first album was on Atlantic and you’ve recently struck a deal with DR2 Records - why the change of labels? Was it just a one album deal with Atlantic?
PG: No, it wasn’t a one album deal. Basically, they just didn’t want to carry on. What it was, we signed for an absolute shed load of money while they probably thought rock was the in thing of the moment, and it just seemed that the label changed every…the people who signed us left; the whole team that was around us when we signed left. I just think new people came in and just, to be honest, they even told us they weren’t looking at Atlantic as a rock label. They just wanted to concentrate as a singer/songwriter style. They knew we’d never fit in. At the end of it we were just so relieved because we knew…I mean, obviously it was scary because we’d gone from a band with a huge budget and all this stuff but, at the end of it, we knew they really didn’t have any support for us. So we could’ve gone on and done another album with no support, or we could’ve done what we did which was to find a label like DR2/Demolition who obviously have a great track record with rock.
MD: So they’re sister labels DR2 and Demolition, hence you’ve got the tour support for W.A.S.P.?
PG: Yeah, yeah.
MD: You had some success in the UK singles chart back in 2005 - do you ever feel there are any expectations on your band, or pressure, to repeat that or do you just kind of do your thing?
PG: No, no, not at the moment. We did when we were at Atlantic because that’s what they were all about. Our thing’s always been about the album, and the singles are obviously to promote the album but, the thing is with a major label, a lot of it’s about kudos and sometimes they would’ve been happier with us getting an endorsement from the same…you know, rather than selling a lot of records, because we had bands on Atlantic that we were outselling that they seemed happier with, like this band got single of the week in NME. I mean, we were building a good live following, and selling a decent amount of records, and I just think that…I don’t know…
JE: I don’t think we place any expectations on ourselves with regards to chart placings or anything like that because, to be honest, I don’t think that’s relevant in the UK anymore because it just means nothing as far as I’m concerned. I measure success by the size of the venues we’re playing, and the number of people that we’re playing to. At the end of the day, the charts are X-Factor. It’s nothing to do with us. It’s nothing to do with us at all.
PG: And also, I think we’ve got a sense of achievement of even getting to where we are now, which is being on a great tour and even being at a place where we’re about to release our second album. For a long time it didn’t look like we were going to release a second album because people thought we’d either split up or not gonna release a second album, so I think the thing is now that we’re enjoying it more. When we were signed to Atlantic there was just pressure, pressure, pressure to just do this, get this song in the charts…it’s just all business bullshit really. It’s a completely different way that Demolition and DR2 deal with things, you know.