Feeder's Grant and Taka discuss recovering from the death of their drummer, his replacement and their nerves before their Irish gig, which opened their tour.
Grant Nicolas and Taka Hirose are nervous. The singer/songwriter and bassist of the popular British rock group Feeder are by no means new to the music world, but today their opening tour show in Dublin's Ambassador has them feeling "twitchy". Sitting on the floor of the venue, they do seem a bit more nervous than the archetypal image of a brooding rock band.
The show has been sold out for weeks, like many of their other European dates and their new album "Comfort in sound" has been received to high critical and commercial success. However, it has been a long and difficult year for Feeder. Last year saw the band tragically loose their drummer and long-term friend, Jon Lee, when he committed suicide in New York.
In a time when a lot of bands would have been destroyed, Feeder has persevered. With the memory of their fallen friend and a love of their music, Taka and Grant are back, albeit with a tense disposition.
This will be Feeder's second recent visit to Dublin, having performed at the Brown Thomas Fashion show. Commenting on their involvement, Grant offers an insight into their involvement. "Well, it's just cause we're such dedicated followers of fashion! Ah no!! We got a call from Bono's wife and we said yeah sure, we'll do it."
Their latest album "Comfort in sound" offers a more structured and mature sound from Feeder. Contrary to what many people think, this new sound was not influenced as such by Jon's death as Grant had written the bulk of the material before the tragic event. "I mean, I know no matter what happened, even if Jon was with us today, that we would have made a great album because I felt I had some really good songs coming and, y'know, I felt like the chemistry was still there,' offers Grant. "But how that album would have ended up, I don't know. All I know is that we made the best album we could at that moment in time."
"Comfort in sound" is just that; it marks the best and most diverse material offered by Feeder who, in the past, were best known for throwaway punky pop hits. "It definitely is a next step for us," says Taka.
"Personally, I think this album is probably a little bit closer to our second album in some ways, y'know musically, there's strings and big songs, a little bit old-standing," continues Grant. "But, I mean, each album we do we try to make it a little bit different because it's boring for us and it's probably boring for the fans with the same songs and the same style over and over again. But it's all still Feeder's."
There has been a lot of airplay on both TV and radio given to much of their new material. Significantly, in the video for their song 'Come back around', Taka and Grant perform with a number of female drummers, a tribute to Jon it seems.
On 'Comfort in Sound', Feeder recruited the drumming talents of Mark Richardson, formerly of Skunk Anansie. There has been speculation about Mark's position in the band, but, Grant put all rumours to rest. "Yeah, well, we're taking it one day at a time. I think it's something that will happen naturally. Mark did the album as a session drummer and did a few gigs, but he's a bit more than that now."
Feeder plan to finish their European tour and then head off to Japan, with hopes of touring America and possibly some more recording. In a message to the fans, who have shown a lot of support to Feeder in the recent past, Grant concluded "Really just to say that it's great to be here and thanks for all the support. Hopefully we'll be back in Ireland soon."
While Feeder's music may not be the most innovative sound or smash genre boundaries, there is an honesty to these guys that makes you feel that their love of music and their appreciation of their fans is sincere. You can't help but wish these guys all the success in the world.
by Bernadette Johnston