‘We have always tried to make music that we think is good and be true to ourselves. Songs can be timeless, whereas trends come and go.’ HOLLY STEVENSON uncovers the secret behind FEEDER’s long-term success from frontman GRANT NICHOLAS.
Feeder is 20 this year. As am I. Unlike the band, however, I have not gone through three name changes, released nine albums and racked up 20 top 40 singles; putting me way below Feeder in terms of lifetime achievement. Their new project, Renegades, is proof that they are still hungry to sound musically fresh, but also that they need to escape the Feeder ‘brand’ every now and again. They could have taken the easy option of dining out on Cindies favourite ‘Buck Rogers’ until they were too decrepit to bounce around the stage; but, as you will find out, front man Grant Nicholas has never been a fan of taking the easy option…
Holly Stevenson: Kerrang! Called you ‘one of the most successful British bands of the past decade.’ Is there a secret to your success?
Grant Nicholas: We believe in what we do and have always been more of a song based band rather than a band that rely on hype. It’s been hard work but at least we are lucky enough to be doing something we love.
HS: What have been the best and worst moments of your long career?
GN: The worst moment was losing Jon Lee and it took us a long time to recover as a band. The best moments have been touring the world and the success of Echo Park , Comfort in Sound and the Singles album.
HS: Buck Rogers is still being played, 10 years after its release. How do you feel about it a decade on?
GN: It’s not my favourite song that I have ever written but it seemed to reach a lot of people and bring a whole new audience to Feeder shows. It’s become a bit of a cult song and everyone knows it. Sometimes it’s the simple songs that connect.
HS: How did writing ‘Comfort in Sound’ help you to cope with the sudden death of Jon Lee? What advice would you give to others in a similar situation?
GN: For me it was the way I dealt with it and a way of putting all those feeling into something positive. It was a very tough time and I feel lucky that I had music as a vessel to gather all those emotions. I would say try and find something positive in your life and it will get you through.
HS: You have been compared to Coldplay and Keane in your time, much to your annoyance. Why do you object to these comparisons?
GN: Feeder have a much broader music dynamic musically, and we are a much heavier band, both live and on record. I have a lot of respect for Coldplay and we have toured with them, but we are two totally different bands, both dynamically and musically. I just think it’s lazy journalism.
Feeder’s latest single, ‘Call Out’.
HS: What were the circumstances surrounding the departure of your drummer Mark Richardson?
GN: The chemistry at that time wasn’t great between us and Mark wanted to do Skunk Anansie and Feeder together.We knew this wouldn’t have worked, so I felt it was time for both of us to move on. It was time for a change and nice to work with some new people.
HS: What inspired the side project ‘Renegades’? Did you feel the need to escape ‘Feeder’ for a while?
GN: We just wanted to road test the new album and do something different. We felt small clubs where we started out was the best environment to hear the new songs. We wanted to focus on new material rather than our back catalogue . it was great fun and created a new connection with our fan base.
HS: Why do you want to avoid playing your Feeder hits?
GN: I don’t want to avoid playing the hits as they always get a great reaction, but it’s nice to play some new music and a few older numbers live as well.
HS: Do you feel caught between two genres?
GN: Not at all . Feeder is about the tunes and we have always tried to make music that we think is good and be true to ourselves. Songs can be timeless, whereas trends come and go.
HS: What can we expect from you live in Cambridge in February?
GN: We will be playing a lot of songs from the Renegades album as well as some old favourites. We may even try out a new song or two, if we get a chance.
HS: What are your plans for the future?
GN: The next leg of the Feeder Renegades tour, festivals and releasing our next album. I am also writing songs for a few other artists which is a new venture for me.
So, next time you hear Buck Rogers through a sweaty, VK-induced haze, perhaps stop dancing insanely for a second and think, ‘Yeah, most charted all-male group of all-time!’ Or, if that’s too much, perhaps think ‘Yeah, Feeder are a little bit awesome!’
Feeder is performing at the Cambridge Junction on 16th February.