Irish rockers the Answer have just released the new Raise a Little Hell album on Napalm Records, so we chatted with Micky Waters about it.I
Yellow Scene: Raise a Little Hell is the new album – do you think you’ve grown from previous records?
Micky Waters: Well, the thing about this one is, we had no agenda at all going into the studio. I think we’re at a certain stage in our lives – we’re all in our early 30’s now – we spent our 20’s touring around the world in a rock ‘n’ roll band, having the best time you could imagine for a bunch of working class Northern Irish lads, and now we don’t really give a damn what people think of us. We’re not trying to write a song for radio and we’re not trying to follow a trend. We’re just doing what we want to do. So yes, I think we’ve finally grown up a little bit. We’re less urgent about having to write a song in a certain style. I think, in the past, we have been guilty about trying to write a song for radio, listening to producers too much or listening to management, or record labels. Getting caught up in that whole mess up that is the music industry. What’s hot and what’s happening? Is it Queens of the Stone Age now, or is it Alterbridge? We don’t give a damn any more, and we’re just trying to do what we want to do. This album reflects where we are as individuals, and as musicians.
YS: What is the rock scene like in Northern Ireland, and in the UK?
MW: I live in London myself, and I can’t keep up with that, to be honest. It changes by the week. Northern Ireland, and Ireland in general, is a very creative country and it’s always been a haven for artists. Northern Ireland has always had a punk scene. Belfast has always been one of the main punk cities in the UK. It’s still happening – there’s still loads of punk bands playing around Belfast, and that’s healthy. There’s that angst around it, but the problem is, no one wants to leave. They don’t get up off their arses and get out and tour around Europe. Go to London and play the whole scene. Play every pub and toilet around London. They hope that they get noticed. We did that because we were at a juncture when it was like, do we all go and get jobs, or do we give this a go? We gave it a go and got lucky, I guess. I think you have to at least try that or else, it’s not gonna come to you with a record deal and success. It happens to some very lucky people, but not many.
YS: What’s been the reaction to the record so far?
MW: Great. We’ve been doing a hell of a lot of press. I just came back from a BBC session where we did a tripped version of quite a few songs. We listened back, and it sounds really good stripped as well, which is always a good sign. I think a lot of our fans have heard it, because the pre-orders went out this week, and the word is that it’s our best. I really it’s because of the attitude that it was a bunch of fresh ideas off the back of the last tour, and we captured a bit of a sweet spot last summer. We had good ideas, good lyric, good riff, shelved it and kept going. We accumulated about 20 ideas for songs. We went into the studio with that, and we relied on each other’s talent, if we have any, to come up with stuff on the spot. So it’s all very one-take and a little bit edgy. It’s not calculated – it’s quite raw – and it’s actually captured a bit of a moment right there. It’s got an edge to it that maybe our first album had, because that was recorded like that as well. Since that, we’ve done records where we’ve rehearsed, rehearsed, rehearsed. Every kick drum, every guitar solo, sorted before we went to the studio. So it was a different approach. Less clinical, more musical.
YS: Do you have plans to tour the States?
MW: We do. It’s actually happening right now – the manager and our agents have been on to us. For quite a while now, we’ve been trying to put a package together for the last two albums and we’ve kind of been like, ok, not sure if that suits us. But we’ve found one that suits us – it’s a part support tour and a lot of our own shows. We’re coming to Colorado. It’s a six-week tour starting June 18 to July 25. I can’t say who the support is right now, just because they’re announcing the tour next week. But basically, watch this space. We’re really excited. We had a good shot at it over your way in 2008-2009, and I don’t know why we haven’t been back. We changed record labels for our third record, Revival, which caused a bit of a stir in our camp. That affected that one. But for the last record, we really should have been out your way. We’re excited because I think our music fits good in the States.
YS: What else do you have planned for the year, besides that?
MW: We kick off our UK and Europe tour tomorrow night – a hometown show in Belfast. I’m actually shaking at the knees about that one. It’ll be 1000 crazy rockers, a lot of them people that I’ve known for a long time, who will be shouting all kinds of abuse at us. I’m looking forward to it because we’re playing a lot of new material in the set. The material lends itself to replace a lot of the stuff that we caned in the past. We’re quite excited about getting up and playing the new stuff to be honest. So we’re doing a UK tour, a European tour, all the way through to May, and then we’ve got a bunch of festivals in Europe, and a bunch of festivals in the States as well. Towards the end of the year, around September, we might do a live release or something like that. We’re planning ahead for the year. We’re just going to go out there, play our asses off, and see what happens. You know what it’s like – this rock ‘n’ roll is good fun.
Raise a Little Hell is out now on Napalm Records.