X1 interview | Leeds Cockpit | 1/6/04
'We'll just nod and smile politely!' Paul teases with over-exaggerated enthusiasm, the twinkle in his eyes as mischievous as Dave's accompanying grin - or perhaps a smile mentioned in the lyrics of the band's Snakes & Snakes song...
Thus far, Bell X1 have released three singles in England and an album, Music In Mouth, but back in Ireland they also released an earlier LP, Neither Am I. 'We've had a lot more time to conquer Ireland, or to promote the band,' says Dave. 'Our profile's bigger than here all right. Or maybe it's just that the country's half the size!' And is there any chance that Neither Am I will be released in England? 'No plans as yet.'
'We'd love to,' says Paul enthusiastically. 'I think if the single goes well and the album goes stratospheric then our back catalogue will be lashing the shops. I mean, I feel now that if anyone does have our first album here that they should spread the word - burn away.' He pauses. 'I don't know how long I'll have that altruistic attitude for - I might get all Metallica...'
'Eve was probably one of our oldest songs,' says Paul, 'so every time we went to record it, we added a bit. As a result, it ended up about five and a half minutes long.'
'We wanted to make it Bohemian Rhapsody you see,' Dave jokes, adding weight to Paul's theory that 'it was going quite "rock opera".' So which version do the band perform live - or is it a hybrid of both? 'It is a hybrid,' nods Paul. 'A bit of both.'
'Just to confuse the fans a little bit,' smiles Dave.
'There were some high-level negotiations and a compromise was reached in the wee hours,' says Paul. 'We tried it the old way, but to me it just didn't sit well. We're doing it with the old structure and the new kind of feel and instrumentation.'
'That song in particular was the first where it was really obvious that we would co-write, where people came together with very solid ideas,' says Dave. 'For that reason it's almost like a little celebration song for us. I just had the lyric "Time pulls a face when I'm next to you" and then Paul had this classic second line which was "I hope the wind changes" - the question/answer kind of thing. But musically as well it all just fell into place on that song in particular, which was a lovely feeling. It's nice that we've got a healthy respect of each other's style of writing.'
'Admire each other's work,' adds Paul, not entirely seriously as Dave turns to him and feigns an American accent: 'I love your early stuff, man!'
The mischievous glint has returned to Paul's eyes. 'Well, you know, it took a while to actually...' (he pauses, looking for the words) 'not feel starstruck in your presence!'
Backstage, the laid-back attitude and gentle Irish lilt belie Paul's onstage persona. One of the liveliest frontmen you will ever see, his manic tambourine-playing has already gained him a reputation - although perhaps he's a little too enthusiastic at times?
Paul inspects his hand. 'Oh, it's gone now, I can't show you, but I had a huge blister after the first show of this tour. It was chafed!' he pouts. 'It was all chafed and swollen! I often lose bits of tambourine,' he continues. 'The jangly bits on the more modestly-priced models - they fly out into the crowd. Now I've got a bit of a posh one. It's a sign of progress...'
And hopefully far from the last, for with songs and performances like theirs, it would be a tragedy were Bell X1's career not to take off here in England as it has for the boys back home.
Huge thanks to Paul, Dave, Brian and Roger. Visit www.Bellx1.com for more information.
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