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An Interview with Ocean Colour Scene's Simon Fowler, June 24 2014 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sam Lightle   
24 06 2014
ImageOcean Colour Scene have been around for a heck of a long time and this year just for you Split Festival has been fortunate enough to grab Simon Fowler and Oscar Harrison to perform an acoustic set. 

However, this year's line-up has paired the folk rock feel of Ocean Colour Scene's discography with Dizzee Rascal's grime background to attract people from all walks of life...

But in preparation for that we caught up with Simon today (June 24) for a few words:

ImageSL: Morning Simon, pleasure to speak to you, are you excited about playing Split?

SF: Yeah, I mean when is it going to be?

SL: (Laughs) August...

SF: Right August yeah yeah. We're going to do some concerts in Austria so we've haven't done festivals for quite a while but it's always good to play festivals and playing outdoors as well.

SL: I'm interested to know how this ‘acoustic set' idea came up?

SF: We started doing it probably about 12 years ago, I think it was because when Steve (Craddock) was working with Paul Weller at the time and we suddenly found that we had time on our hands and we thought ‘well we could do these songs in this format which is how they were originally written really', so making the transition from the whole band to doing it acoustically is pretty easy. 

SL: You have said yourself Ocean Colour Scene are a ‘heritage band', would you argue this is your way of keeping things fresh?

SF: I guess so... Yeah it's a way for us to go and play at places Ocean Colour Scene probably wouldn't usually play at. So we play at more out the way places, smaller festivals than Ocean Colour Scene wouldn't play. As a band this year we are only doing I think one gig of Ocean Colour Scene because we did so much last year that we're going to have a bit of a break this year and then we will tour early next year.

SL: Cool...

SF: So yeah it's a way of keeping it fresh.

SL: And again you've often been noted saying you prefer the folk side rather than the rock part, would you say this acoustic set helps to bring out the real you?

SF: I think yeah probably, I'm pretty hand fisted with an electric guitar (laughs). I'm a strummer, so it's the way I would naturally play and perform. Whether you want to call that folk music or not, I don't know. My early influences were Bob Dylan and Neil Young as I was learning on the guitar as a child, so I sort of did what they did really.

SL: Yeah definitely you mentioned Neil Young and Bob Dylan - The Stone Roses helped to combine all those sounds into one unbelievable record. What was it about them that specifically inspired you? 

SF: It was contemporary, it was what was happening when we formed, the songs were great and it definitely brought a lot of the elements music ally together in one place. But I guess really it was the songs.

SL: Do you miss the Britpop era at all? There was a great few lines from Noel Gallagher who said about OCS being the second best band in Britain and then Steve Craddock (guitarist in OCS) responding by saying "It's nice to be put behind The Beatles".

ImageSF: Well it was encouraged I think because the press really got into the Blur Oasis thing didn't they and really what everyone else was doing was playing the past, you know. They were playing The Beatles and The Stones and ultimately it sells records and magazines and it was having that rivalry. I mean who is going to have that rivalry now? Jake Bugg and Ed Sheeran? (Laughs) ‘I'm better looking than you'.

SL: (Laughs) Spot on, I mean would you ever be open to doing a collaboration with Jake Bugg? 

SF: Yeah I would love too. 

SL: Really?

SF: Yeah I like Jake Bugg a lot and Steve's got to know a little bit about him.
SL: Cool! When you wrote ‘Moseley Shoals' and then the rest of your catalogue of albums, did you aim to write something better than the last or was it a case of trying something different every time?

SF: I don't really plan it like that you just sit down and I would start writing songs and that's how they are planned really...

SL: Nice one! Just before we wrap up, you're effectively supporting Dizzee Rascal...

SF: (Laughs) Cool...

SL: (Laughs) What's your feelings on such a diverse line-up?

SF: I guess the idea behind that is that you have to cater for a large age group of people and I guess that's why they do it. It's always the same I mean if you look at the Glastonbury line ups you've got a whole, I mean you've got everything and I guess that's what you should aim to be doing...

SL: Finally, is there any chance I could tempt you in to playing the cover of ‘I Am The Resurrection'? on your set? It was a breathtaking version and completely different to The Roses one.

SF: Yeah yeah, I mean we probably won't do that actually (laughs). Dan (Sealey) sings that anyway he sings most of it but I sing the chorus, and that was Dan's baby really. But I'm seeing him tomorrow though, so I'll pass that on to him, he'll like that! 

SL: (Laughs) Oh thank you very much! Cheers for your time, have a good day and see you in August.

SF: Nice to speak to you, thank you. 

Now before you head off, just check this video out of Simon performing 'The Day We Caught The Train', at Strawberry Fields Forever in 2012, here.

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