Beyond The Tracks – Interview with Nick Power from The Coral

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Beyond The Tracks is is a new festival for Birmingham and the BrumLive team are excited by the line up which includes Editors, Ocean Colour Scene, The Twang, Orbital, Leftfield, The Coral and many other emerging artists.  The three day festival takes place at Eastside City Park from 15th -17th September.

We arranged for our reviewer Imran to chat with Nick Power from The Coral ahead of the event.

With the Beyond the Tracks festival on the horizon for Birmingham I got asked to interview the Coral. Being a fan of the band it didn’t take long to put together some questions. I got to have a chat to the multi-talented, multi-instrumentalist Nick Power about the heat, their music, DJing and of course festivals.

What have you been up to during this mini heat wave?

Sitting in the house, trying to cool down, it’s insane – too hot for me!

The band formed in 1996, you joined the band in 1998 – didn’t really emerge until the early 2000s, but essentially that’s over 20 years as a band – what have been the highlights of your career?

Glastonbury 2003, playing our own festival in New Brighton, the last album, touring America. Glastonbury 2003 was one of those gigs that we all sort of say was one of the best.

 Your last record is possibly one of your best – what makes you say that it was one of the highlights of your career?

We’d had sort of 5 years off before we came out and we sort of unsure, you know as you are when you have time off from anything, and how you’re going to be perceived or how it’s going to go down or whatever. And it did really well in reviews and sales and stuff so it was great – it was one of the best feelings in music

It took me back to your debut album. When you think back to your debut album does it bring back good memories?

Yeah, when you’re 18 and you go away to a residential studio in Sussex or somewhere with a bag of weed in your hand (laughs). I’d been out of school for about a year and a half and it was brilliant – it’s just a great memory.

Dreaming of You has clearly stood the test of time – it’s still requested now when I DJ. Do you think your music speaks to all generations? 

I hope so, I’m not sure if it speaks to the youth – you’d have to ask them. I think yeah, I think kids who are into a certain type of music will always like us, we’ve got quite youthful songs in that way. We always record the tunes to be not attached to any sort of time.

So you aim for timeless classics?

I think so but not in an REO Speedwagon kind of way (laughs) but yeah. I mean if I put a Motown track on now it still sounds exciting to me and that was what ’64 or something. So I always thought… You think of Motown as a cliche but if you hear a Motown track anywhere in the world you go “oh that’s Motown” and I’d love something like that, if one of our tracks came on and someone goes “oh that’s The Coral” or hear another band and go “oh that sounds like The Coral” that’s brilliant that for me.

 Talking about your influences, you mentioned Motown, do you have any specific influences now and has that changed over time?

I think when you start you have your influences and you sort of wear them on your sleeve and you get to your 2nd, 3rd, 4th and then you start trying to sort of mix it up and try different sort of avenues but then there’s a point where you come full circle I think and you start using your influences again and you write in a different way –  a bit more experienced way.

 So has the creative process changed as you’ve grown up?

Not really, no, it always starts with an idea, like a word or a title, and you take it into rehearsal – like the bare bones of it and then it’s all constructed in rehearsal – that’s how we’ve always done it really. When we get a nice surprise that always works well.

How did the hiatus help?

Just by having a break, just by calling everything off for a bit. We’d done like 7 or 8 albums in probably under a decade. So you have to just do something else for a bit and come back with fresh ears or eyes – however you want to put it.

Did you do any solo projects?

Yeah, we all did solo projects, I did a couple of books, Jay did a solo album, Ian did a solo album and we were all playing on each other’s stuff so it was good to get ideas outside of the constraints of the band.

 Two brothers in a band. What are the positives and negatives of such an arrangement? Do the positives outweigh the negatives?

I think it was always great because um, they were always on the same page, with regards to in the early days, anyway with things like how much we should be rehearsing you know what I mean? It’s good – they get on. They are brothers so there are bits and bobs of rivalry but not fist fights or anything like that.

You mentioned touring in America – how do you go down there?

We’ve toured there a few times but we haven’t been for ages because it’s virtually impossible nowadays for bands at our level. We did one tour supporting Supergrass and then we did another tour where the Kings of Leon supported us and they were the two big tours that we did. And it was amazing really. The visas and all that have put pay to it really. It’s sad really because I fucking loved playing the States.

You’re doing quite a lot of festivals this season I think I counted 11 on the website – is that a lot?

I’d do more if they were offered. I’d do one every weekend if it was offered in the Summer, because if you do that you can have the rest of the year off (laughs) 

What keeps you going?

Money (laughs) – I don’t work so I have to do something to pay the bills and doing festivals is a fucking brilliant way of doing that and I love playing festivals and I love doing it. But if I didn’t do them I wouldn’t be able to sit at home playing music or writing new songs and all that so that’s the reality of it.

What do you prefer festivals or gigs?

Festivals probably. When you tour it’s all on you – you go in you’ve got to soundcheck etc, but festivals are great you can just roll up, sit at a table, have a few beers, go on stage, there’s no soundcheck and it’s just rough and ready innit. It’s more fun. It’s good – it’s just relaxed. Everyone’s on the same page, you know, everyone’s got to just turn up and do the best they can and the audience feels that as well – so yeah it’s good.

 You’re playing Beyond the Tracks Festival, a new festival in Birmingham, you looking forward to it?

Totally, yeah

What challenges does a new festival bring?

I don’t know what festival I’m turning up to until about 10 minutes before, to be honest. But I think that this will be a good one. We played in Birmingham last year at the Moseley Folk Festival and it was great we really enjoyed it like. I think the line up on our day is really great, with bands like Maximo Park, The Twang and Ocean Colour Scene and some younger bands too. We know that Twang – they’re good lads. I know Phil quite well and we’ve played with them a couple of times and I’ve done a couple of DJ spots for them and that.

You DJ yourself?

I actually DJ’d when we were last in Birmingham for an aftershow party at the Night Owl. That’s a great little venue that.

Maybe you could come and do a set with me at the aftershow for Beyond the Tracks?

Yeah maybe that would be great – see what happens yeah. I always struggle to get spots in Birmingham.

We go off on a complete tangent talking about promoters, the DJ scene in Birmingham and DJing in general particularly random tracks that you play during your sets and how sometimes you see the floor disappear.

 When you play the festival, and with such a big back catalogue, what can we expect?

It will be a mixture of hits, it’s a festival so people want to have a good time, so you want to give them singles and then there are the tracks that we only play live like going into certain jams and stuff like that so it’s a good mixture.

In rehearsals a the moment then, anything you’ve forgotten to play when you’ve gone on stage?

No, nothing like that, we’ll be match fit before we go on. People are paying money so you can’t turn up shambolic or anything like that.

Finally, I’m going to ask all the bands this if I get the chance. If you could go off the beaten track, anywhere in the World – where would you go?

(Laughs) I wouldn’t mind going down to the deep South in America. I didn’t get the chance to do that last time we were there. So, maybe driving through the deep South in particular New Orleans.

It’s been a pleasure to talk to you Nick, enjoy the summer festival season and we’ll see you, and your band at Beyond the Tracks in September.


Beyond The Tracks – 15th to 17th September, 2017 tickets are available here 


Interviewer: Imran Khan

Photograph: Courtesy of PR.

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