The Feeling love their pop music
EMMA LEE Kings of the MOR rock revival, The Feeling, play UEA on Friday. Emma Lee spoke to guitarist Kevin Jeremia.
When you're interviewing bands and you ask them who their influences are, you can pretty much predict who will be on the list.
Obviously there's The Beatles and the Stones. Bob Dylan and David Bowie are names that are often bandied about. With one eye on appearing 'cool' and 'credible', you don't really expect bands to admit that their formative years were spent listening to Supertramp and 10CC's back catalogues - especially because they genuinely like them, rather than in a post-modern, ironic student disco way.
The Feeling love their pop music - and it shows. Tracks like their hits Fill My Little World and Sewn put a big daft grin on your face - which makes a refreshing change from the current crop of consciously cool indie bands' output.
The group play a long sold-out show at Norwich UEA on Friday. In fact it's the first date of a national tour - and guitarist Kevin Jeremiah says that they're really looking forward to it. “It seems like ages since we last did a tour, but it's only been a month. It's going to be on a larger scale - we've spent more money on silly lights,” he laughs.
There's no wonder they can afford to spend money on “silly lights” now - 2006 was a fantastic year for them.
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Hailing from Sussex and London, Kevin, singer Dan Gillespie Sells, bassist Richard Jones (who's married to singer Sophie Ellis-Bextor), keyboard player Ciaran Jeremiah (Kevin's brother - the surname is a bit of a giveaway) and drummer Paul Stewart have know each other for years. “We've all known each other since we were kids,” Kevin says. “Ciaran's my brother, so obviously I've known him forever and I've known Paul since I was 11 or 12, and we've been playing in bands pretty much since we met. And Richard, Dan, Ciaran and Paul all went to college (in Croydon) together.”
They were all working musicians in their own right, but formed the band that became The Feeling when they spent a ski season playing together as a covers band in the French Alps. Video Killed The Radio Star by The Buggles was one of their favourite tracks to play.
Frontman Dan is also the band's tunesmith and lyricist - his fondness for Queen shows, and he's previously said that he wanted to capture the spirit of early Elton John tracks and the Carpenters.
Kevin, on the other hand, grew up a rocker - if you discount one early blip in his musical education. “The first record I bought was probably a Wombles record from a jumble sale. But the first tape I bought from an actual music shop was the best of Stock Aiken and Waterman - you got all three volumes, so it was good value for money! The next one was Appetite for Destruction by Guns N Roses. It was actually that which was responsible for me taking up the guitar. “I was in a Scout group and two guys from another Scout group came along with a guitar and keyboard and played Sweet Child O Mine. I thought it sounded amazing,” he says.
Rather than cutting their teeth on the 'toilet pub' circuit like many fledgling bands, The Feeling, named after a bar in Paris, began in the studio. “It's been a fairly organic process and we worked on the songs from the ground up,” Kevin says. “The first time we played live was when we decided we should play some gigs. We'd pretty much made a whole record by the time we did our first gig. The whole process of writing and getting signed took two-to-three years.”
Their debut album, Twelve Stops And Home, has gone platinum - and Kevin is rightly proud of the achievement. “The degree to which it has all been successful is fantastic. We were never expecting that. And that means we're able to keep doing it at a certain level and we get to make another album. It's what we always wanted,” he says.
And what have been the highlights so far?
“It's all one big high - you do one thing and think it's great and then something betters it,” Kevin says. “The festivals were fantastic. It was the first year we had done V and you really can't get better than that many people, in the summer, singing all your songs. Then there was the first time we toured the States. The first time we toured here without doing it in the back of a van. All of our videos have been good fun to make. I don't know if you can go as far as calling it acting, but we get to play about. Hopefully there'll be lots more firsts.”
That includes trying to succeed where Robbie Williams and Oasis have failed and crack the American market. “It's just starting to build up in the States - we've done one support with The Fray, who are supporting us on our February tour. That was great, their audience took to us really well. We're just about to do another tour supported by VH1, and the album's coming out over there. It's a tough market over there, but we have to give it a go,” he says.
“We've always worked as musicians and it's always going to be more fun that having a day job. “We hope to be going back into the studio in May, which is when we get back from the States. But it depends how it goes over there.”
They could do it - as their success at home as proved, it's hard to fight The Feeling.
t The Feeling play the UEA, Norwich on Friday, February 16, with support from up and coming American band The Fray. The gig is sold out, but call the box office for returns on 01603 508050.
t The Feeling's album, Twelve Stops And Home, is out now.