Noel Gallagher - MTV Europe - 12th April 2002
Noel Gallagher spoke exclusively to MTV about the new releases, and talked frankly about the information overload in today's music industry.
PART I – THE NEW OASIS DVD
You've said that you find making videos quite dull. For the first time, Oasis is releasing a DVD with the single "The Hindu Times". Did you find making a DVD more interesting than a video shoot?
Can I be frank? It's a major pain in the arse. I don't own a computer, right. I don't even know what DVD stands for. When we get into meetings and stuff about what we're going to do with the new stuff, this new format's appeared –DVD. So all right, hang on a minute, what have you got to do for that? 'Well you've got to...' and there's all this new stuff you've gotta do, more work and that. But, having said that, the DVD single we're putting out, I think is pretty good, because we've got a lot of... instead of having the video on it, which I think is pretty naff anyway (not the video, but the idea of having the video on it – you sit down and watch the video – fantastic, you've not really learned anything new about the band or the song.) We've got a lot of backstage footage of us on tour, last year, which is pretty funny. And I think it just gives a tiny insight into what it's like. 'Cos I think we generally come across as sullen, angry geezers who are drunk all the time, whereas on the DVD footage, the drunk bits are all still there, but it's actually quite funny. But what's it going to be next year? There's gonna be some other format next year, and to me it's just an exercise in the electronic companies making shit loads of money.
Have you heard about this Super-CD that's coming out? Super-sound CD... oh yeah, I got told about this this morning. All our old albums are going to be re-mastered onto this new CD, and it's like, what's a super CD? 'Well, it sounds better than a CD'. Yeah but, didn't you say 15 years ago that nothing would sound better than a CD you lying bastards! So there you go...
Anything that's got the band's name on the front, that people are going to pay money for then yeah, absolutely, you have to [get involved]. If you don't, you really have to trust the people you're leaving to do that kind of thing. So we picked the footage and the extra tracks that are going on the DVD and that. But say, adverts and stuff like that, we don't really bother getting into all that nonsense.
PART II – WEB SITES...
What about the Oasis web site?
We do have an official web site, I've not the faintest idea what's on it, I've never, ever, ever been there... for the simple fact that I don't like to feel that I'm ever preaching to the fans. They've got to make their own opinions up about each member of the band and what the songs are about.
Remember when you were a kid and your favourite band, for instance let's say it's The Smiths right, had put out "The Queen Is Dead". And you hadn't heard anything for two or three years, and then you think, 'I wonder if they split up?' or 'I wonder of they're back in the studio'. Fast-forward to now and there's a fuckin' web cam in the Radiohead studio while they're recording their album. And they write a diary. Like, 'Well today, we got a fuckin' fantastic hi-hat sound for a track that's yet to be named, and Tom laid down his vocals'.
It's like, alright, there's too much fuckin' information going on here, you know what I mean... I don't want to know how you make your records and I don't want you to know how I make my records. I don't want you to see me in the studio looking like an arse, when I've just got out of bed! I don't think you should see that, I think the more information you give people, the less magic there is in the music. Kids can come to my website and natter to each other, or see some funky little picture maybe doing a little move or something like that, but they better not be, in any way, expecting to speak to any members of the band, because it's like, 'How did you record the fucking guitar solo for...' well it's none of your business, y'know what I mean?
I just think there's too much information involved these days in making music, and the thing about the web cams in studios, I just find that appalling. I think it's disgraceful. Ours would be quite interesting as it goes, you'd just see a load of people sitting around drinking. It would be quite funny. But that story about Radiohead... you could watch them recording the album... I mean, how fucking dull can you get?
Something you do have on your site, which is quite unusual, is a whole section dedicated to the lyrics to Oasis songs learning the songs that you have recorded...
That's for Liam!
Do you like the idea if fans sitting down and learning your songs?
Do you mean to play them? Yeah, of course. I learned to play the guitar out of getting a Beatles songbook, and if it hadn't had the chord shapes written down, I don't think I would have ever learned them because it would have been too complicated. Teachers who learn people how to play instruments... it's all very complicated the way they teach kids music. You should draw it on a piece of paper and say 'that's how you do it, go away and learn it yourself'. So if kids are going there and seeing that's a C and that's an F and that's a G and that's an A Minor, then yeah – maybe they'll go and start a band.
So it's not all bad...
Yeah... I just contradicted myself.
But that's more relevant content for you to have on your site...
I just think people have web sites to promote themselves. I don't get the concept of this 'too much information' malarkey. You see these people in these offices out here... they're all e-mailing each other when they could actually stand up and say 'did you get that fuckin' fax I just sent?' so everybody emails each other – what's all that about? You email your girlfriend in the morning... 'Did you get my e-mail saying good morning?' 'Nah sorry, I haven't checked it yet' it's rubbish... rubbish.
PART III – THE NEW ALBUM
Liam's written three songs on the new album "Heathen Chemistry", Gem's written another – that's almost half the album not written by you! Are you making a conscious effort to share the writing credits around now?
These are not the first songs Liam's ever written. He had a song on the last album. And the reason "Little James" is on the last album was that was the poke in the back he needed with the stick, because he was always under the impression that if anybody wrote a song other than me in Oasis, I would just dismiss it out of hand. So it was like, 'right, ok then mister big mouth, let's stick it on the album and let's see what people think about it'.
And this time round it was, 'right – we're gonna record some of your songs'. 'Oh yeah, but do you think they're any good enough?' I went, 'you've changed your fucking tune haven't you, you've spent that last ten years telling me that they were better than mine. So let's hear it'. As it turns out, they've turned out brilliantly. I don't want people to think that I'm giving Andy and Gem and Liam the opportunity to write songs – they're good songs. Liam's three songs are better than the three songs of mine that didn't make it on to the album – it's as simple as that. The best songs go on the record, it doesn't matter who's written them.
I'm more of a critic of my own stuff than anybody else's and if any of the rest of the boys in the band think 'I'm not going to play that tune to him because he might not like it' then more fool them.
Liam's songs take on a completely different form once we get involved with them because Liam can't play any instruments you see. So he's got it all in his head. He can play guitar vaguely, acoustic guitar. So whereas my songs, I can go to a studio and demo them myself because I can play drums and bass and keyboards and blah blah blah, so they're pretty much formed when say to the band, 'I've been working on some stuff, check this out'.
So with Liam it's all in his head and you've got to get it out of his head, and he's always saying 'No I don't want it to sound like that' and I'm saying, 'what do you want it to sound like?' and he can't articulate in music terms because he's not a musician in the pretentious sense of the word. So I actually like that about recording Liam's songs, it's getting it out of him and I wonder what he's going on about, and he's saying 'I want it to sound like this... or that'. It's great when you finally do it for him and he say's 'that's it'. And you feel like you've actually achieved something. In the case of my songs I can play all the instruments anyway so it doesn't really matter to me. Same with Gem, he can play all sorts.
All of us are from the same background anyway. We're all working class, we're all brought up on the same music and we're all influenced by the same things. There is a sense that we have our own identity and we're a rock'n'roll group. We're not the Beta Band or we're not Gomez or anything like that. We always want our records to sound like Oasis. I hate putting on the radio and hearing a song you thought was by the Beach Boys and you hear somebody going 'And the Manic Street Preachers there'. And you just think, well fuckin' I want the Manic Street Preachers to sound like the Manic Street Preachers, I don't want the Manic Street Preachers to sound like the Beach Boys. The Manic Street Preachers might want to sound like the Beach Boys, but then that's their problem – know what I mean? It's like, you don't want Neil Young's new album to sound like Bob Marley... what the fuck's all that about? I don't agree with any of that shit anyway, I think it confuses people. You know where you are with Oasis.
PART IV - TOURING IN 2002
When can your European fans expect to see you on tour next?
In the week leading up to the release of the album, we've got four or five gigs in four of five cities: one in Italy, one in Spain, one in Stockholm, one in France, I think we're playing Belfast and then we go and do Finsbury Park. At the end of July and beginning of August, we're doing Europe.
Nothing's been set in stone yet, but the time's been set aside to do it. I personally want to go back because I didn't do Europe last time. So I've not been back since the 'Be Here Now' tour and believe you me, I was absolutely bollocksed every single night, so I think I owe the fans one or two pretty good gigs when I go back there. It will happen, it's just a case of when.