The Charlatans

After spending most of the year denying rumours of a split in the Charlatans camp, the band are set to return in a blaze of glory at the Move Festival 2003. Designer Magazine caught up with the bands keyboard player Tony Rogers, the man responsible for the Charlatans new found funky direction which produced the best album of their career in "Wonderland". With nearly 30 tracks already written Rogers reveals that the bands break to allow Tim Burgess to promote his solo album has given the band a new found sense of freedom and confidence.

Q: 2003 has been quite a strange year for the Charlatans in the fact that you spent most of it denying you're going to split up. How mad is that?
A: We haven't really had time to thing about things like that to be honest. As soon as anybody decides they want to do a record outside of the band then everybody jumps onto the idea that it's the end of the road for the Charlatans. I think every individual musician or artist always has ideas that they probably want to do for themselves rather or something that they can't see the band doing.

Basically Tim has wanted to do a solo record for a while and he's had years and years to think about. It's just that now he's got enough songs to do an album himself and that's all it was. We've put the main recording on hold, even though were writing over the summer, so Tim can concentrate and get this done for himself. Because if we were trying to juggle the two - the Charlatans and himself - he would be spreading himself too thin on the ground and he wouldn't be able to focus on the Charlatans

Q: Has Tim doing the solo album put any pressure on the band or have you taken this a chance to take a step back and look where the Charlatans are going?
A: It's probably given us a little bit more time to write to be honest with you. Instead of just going with what we've got, it's given us a chance to write twice as many tracks in that sense. We've got a big choice of about 27 or 28 songs we've actually written and it's going to give us a bit choice to narrow it down to the best tracks.

It has been strange not knowing what's been going on. Sometimes you'd find out something through the back door and that's been confusing. We wish Tim all the best with his venture, but first and foremost were a band. Were not jealous or bitter people and thank god the ego's aren't too big in the band...we would allow everyone in the band to do what they want to do otherwise the band wouldn't function.

Q: I guess the Move Festival gives you the chance to prove on home turf that you're very much a unit still?
A: I think so. It's especially good to break up the writing and get back to what we want to do in the first place, why we make records. Just get out there and literally play and enjoy ourselves. I don't think we've got anything to prove really...but we'd just like to go out there and play a few new songs and play "Wonderland". I don't think we did actually play "Wonderland" enough last time and in hindsight we should have done. I mean there was only two songs released off the album and there were a lot more singles on the album that we could have worked a lot harder.

Q: As you said Move is going to give you the chance to air a few new songs. I've heard various rumours from "Feel The Pressure" to "Blue For You" - what's going to be the first single of the new album?
A: With singles it's all about timing and with what you'd release in June of the year you wouldn't necessarily release in September. And as the album takes shape, matures and develops then your ideas of what a single would be changes. It would have been "Try Again Today", now the first single probably will be "Feel The Pressure". it was one of the songs we did with the Chemical Brothers and it's a big move on from "Wonderland" again.

Q: No pun intended. But do you feel the pressure following up an album such as "Wonderland", an album everyone says is the best of your career?
A: I agree it's definitely the best album we've done and it was also the most natural as well. We nearly lost it at the beginning by going to LA and some guy who was working on it was trying to turn it into something like Fatboy Slim. We only did 4 or 5 songs out there and the rest was recorded back here at Big Mushroom so it was quite natural for us once we'd found our feet.

At the moment with the amount of songs we've got there's no pressure whatsoever. It's moving onwards, but I think it is "Wonderland" Part 2 in the sense it's still going down the funky route, but you still can't help throwing an old ballad in there. There are a few tracks which would suit the Chemical Brothers, but whether or not that would be too much on an album I don't know.

Q: Over the Move Festival Weekend you've got the intimate London show on the Friday, Move on Saturday and then ending up at T in The Park on Sunday. Who are you going to check out at Move when you have the chance?
A: I really wanted to see the Super Furry Animals and the Flaming Lips, but they're playing the Friday night. I wish we could actually mix the dates up just to see them.

On the Saturday I'm going to check out Puressence because I was always a fan of them. It's going to be interesting to see what Dave Gahan's coming up with because he'll doing his new solo album.


The Charlatans headline Move Festival 2003 on Sat July 12th
For more information and support acts
The Charlatans Office Site
Designer Magazine Move Festival 2003 Microsite

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