Record Overplayed
* *
* *
* *
* *
* *
* *
* *
* *
Easyworld interview | Middlesbrough Central Gardens | June 2002

Taking It Easy

Interview and Photo by Dawn

If you attended Middlesbrough Music Live back in June, you may have been lucky enough to witness possibly the best new band in Britain playing the main stage. Forget Toploader; Easyworld are an Eastbourne act worth getting excited about, as anyone who saw them will testify.

With a handful of impressive singles and a mini-album already under their belts, festival day also saw the release of the trio’s full debut LP, This Is Where I Stand, which includes updated versions of several old tracks as well as some excellent new ones.

"We’d recorded those old songs largely as demos and then, to our shock and surprise, [record label] Fierce Panda thought them worthy of release," explains the beautifully eloquent Dav Ford.

"They were all either demos or just things we recorded at home on a computer using vastly outdated software, so it was all very low-tech. When we finally secured a record deal, we looked at our back catalogue and felt that we hadn’t really done justice to those songs yet. They were sort of old friends and we thought they deserved a nice, new set of clothes. We thought we’d dress them up nicely and spend a bit of time on them because we could."

The album name comes from the fifth song on the CD; an impassioned, melodic effort typical of Easyworld. Why was it chosen as the title track?

"For the want of anything better!" jokes bassist Jo Taylor with a grin.

"How dare you!" frontman and songwriter Dav scolds her. He explains: "This Is Where I Stand was one of the tracks we weren’t sure we would include on the album, but when we came to record it, we did it incredibly naturally; Glenn and I did the drum, the guitar and the vocal bit live and then Jo overdubbed the piano. But, other than that, it’s pretty sparse, it’s pretty simple and it’s completely to the point. It seemed to say that the album had arrived as far as being a record and being an entity of little artistic nuggets, instead of just being a collection of songs. It’s partly a way of saying thanks to that song for pulling everything together – and it’s also one of my favourite songs on the record," he admits. "In addition to that, it does what it says on the tin: ‘This Is Where I Stand’; this is where we, as a band, are now. And as a first album it’s a statement of intent, if you like."

The Music Live leaflets gave a strange description of Easyworld’s music, as Glenn Hooper points out: "’Punk? Pop? Metal? We can’t decide!’ – I don’t know what the metal thing’s all about! Punk/pop possibly, but other than that I don’t know really. Just great music. I’ll just blow my own trumpet!" There’s a glint in the jovial drummer’s eye as he adds, "I don’t even play the trumpet!"

"The NME said ‘fireworks on ice cream’," says Jo. "I think that was quite sweet."

Dav feigns an exaggerated, upper-class accent: "Whenever anyone says to me, ‘How would you describe your music?’, I just simply say, ‘I wouldn’t’." He continues: "Well, how would you describe a brick? It’s like, why would you even bother to describe that? Just listen to it; it is what it is. How would you describe a spanner? It’s a spanner!"

We can understand what he means, but by now Glenn and I are smiling at the thought of Dav listening to a spanner.

"We can actually find him sometimes in the back of the van with a spanner against his ear, swapping it from his left to his right to see if it sounds any different!" Glenn laughs.

Luckily, Dav sees the funny side. "I was listening to a bottle of water yesterday; that was very nice! I could hear the sea in it!"

What strikes me about Dav’s songs are his unpretentious lyrics - and he acknowledges that he tries to approach songwriting from a different angle:

"That’s completely our manifesto. Anyone can think about, ‘What does Paul McCartney or Noel Gallagher think on any given subject?’ because they always communicate in the same old clichés you’ve heard a million times before. But to actually distance yourself from that… it’s ‘say what you mean’ rather than ‘say what you’re expected to say.’"

With such an obvious flair for songwriting, I ask who he would consider to be his inspiration.

"William Shakespeare. Very inspirational man. Fine way with words, which is a very important thing," says the ever-articulate Dav. "In modern senses it’s thought of as very stuffy, but most of the turns of phrase that we use in everyday language were invented by him. I think he’s undervalued, as is the quality of verse that goes on in popular music these days."

And Dav is full of praise for Middlesbrough: "One of the things I’m impressed by is that they make an effort. How many other towns have this whole ‘get bands in and play free’ idea? The town we come from, if they tried anything like this, they’d end up with two local school bands! Or they’d forget to hire a PA and say, ‘Oh, you need some equipment?’"

"’Can’t you just shout?’" adds Glenn.

"Yeah, ‘Just play loud!’" says Dav.

So is Eastbourne famous for anything?

"Tommy Cooper and Russ Conway," offers Jo.

"Michael Fish lives there!" grins Glenn. "And Michael Aspel’s wife is from Eastbourne!"

"See, it’s like a ‘Who’s Who’ of C-list celebrities!" Dav grimaces.

"Bob Mortimer!" Glenn adds.

"He comes from Middlesbrough; now he lives down our way," says Dav. "Sorry!" He looks thoughtful: "Who’s the other bloke from Middlesbrough? Chris Rea! There we go – you’ll always have Chris Rea!"

There’s not much you can say to that, is there? I say thank you very much to the trio.

"No, no – thank YOU very much!" says Dav sincerely.

A true gentleman indeed!

Huge thanks to Dav, Glenn, Jo and to Doug and Steve. Easyworld split in 2004, but visit www.DavidFord.mu for more on Dav's subsequent solo work.

 

^ Top of Page


© Record Overplayed, 2002-2016.