BLANEY ‘The Severance’ – Exclusive GIGsoup interview

Blaney is probably best known for his work with The Fall and Mark E Smith. However, he’s also had success in his own right with the band Trigger Happy and as the organiser of Salford Music Festival. Last year, Blaney launched his solo career with the acclaimed album ‘Urban Nature’ and has just released his second solo album ‘The Severance’. We caught up with the Salfordian musician, to discuss the new album, song-writing, Native Indian chanting and breaking from the past.

Congratulations on the release of your new album The Severance. What’s the theme or idea behind this album?

Thank you. I’d had this crazy idea of renting a 3 bedroom house in Blackpool, on a whim, a gut feeling, I’d gone down there with my eldest daughter looking at buying a caravan, ending up getting a hotel and having a good session, woke up the next morning and felt the rain on my face and had a moment, I just thought I could live here for a bit, get away for a bit and write, within a minute I saw a house online for £50 a week, 3 bedrooms, perfect. That was the start , by 4pm that day I had the keys and moved in. ‘The Severance’ had begun, the break away.
I started writing pretty much straight way, the buzz was flowing and along came the chant/ melody for The Severance, almost angelic running around in my head, this kind of native Indian chant, to be honest at the time it was a bit scary, I thought I was losing it a bit, then I recorded it on my phone and listened back. It was incredible hearing it, as if I’d had a visit or something, a really strange experience, but that was it. The Severance was written that same day, powerful words, deep and very poignant for where we, as a band, were heading.

Is your connection to The Fall something that you get sick of talking about?

Yeah it’s like the mis-understandings that come with it. For instance I’d already made a noise, a big noise on my own, with my 1st band Trigger Happy, we’d been playlisted on BBC Radio 1 and played on almost every radio station across the UK prior to me working with them. “You were in The Fall” no actually I wasn’t, yes I tour managed, then managed, co wrote/produced but was never a member as such. We had some great times Mark & I, real fun stuff, we achieved a lot together, some people have a thing about The Fall, an obsession, for me I’d say its an unhealthy one. How Mark deals with that is incredible. He’s always been a fan in his own words of my stuff, that’s more accurate, if the truth be known.

How does ‘The Severance’ differ from your previous album ‘Urban Nature’?

It’s a complete breath of fresh air, ‘Urban Nature’ did great, as Ric Gibbs our drummer said, “It’s a gathering of ghosts” all pretty much stuff from and in the past, yes a great album, but one I just had to get out, and also out of the way, the first one. ‘The Severance’ has a lot more realness about it, more freedom, more energy, I can’t slate ‘Urban Nature’ in anyway, this new one is another great extension to my catalogue to quote a fan, but to me & my children it’s in many ways a return to form, a happy return. More direct and much more now.

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Do you think there are higher expectations on you as an already established artist? Do you enjoy that pressure or do you ignore it?

To be honest I find it one of most pleasurable experiences ever, writing, being in the right place, with a pen, an idea, its amazing because you never know where it’s gonna go or end up. I’m honoured and very flattered most days, the way some people approach me and compliment me, it just goes over my head though, I feel normal. A lot always say to me I put myself down too much, but I just get on with it, I’m no different in my head than anyone just starting out.

A couple of people in the business said I’d struggle to top ‘Urban Nature’, I just laughed, I’m a prolific song-writer with literally hundreds yet to release. The team around me band wise are great, that’s a massive support and boost.

It would be interesting to hear about your song-writing process, can you explain it?

I’ll try too, I had no schooling as such in music nor do i have a single qualification in anything, I just listen to my inner thoughts, as I said earlier it can be scary at times, but I have learnt or am doing so, to develop it, allowing it to flourish. Some of my ideas, techniques are completely out there, people’s faces at times are great to see when I reveal them, but again I see that as an opportunity to go further, I don’t think really there is a valid course to learn to write songs, maybe, but I’m not sure.

I’m now at the point where I believe anything is possible to achieve songwriting wise, any musical instrument , lyric and or sound i find inspiring and very usable for whatever I want to do. That’s a great thing having no boundaries or preconception’s.

Do you have a favourite track on The Severance? Which track is it and why?

It changes every couple of days depending what kind of mood I am in, today it’s “Blackpool” because if the intensity, it almost catches the powerful waves of the sea crashing into the walls, like a storm, but a measured one. It has a lot of true feelings and emotions in there that we managed to capture in the recording, it’s a good song, one that people think they understand what its about but also don’t quite get it, and I’m happy with that, it is what it is to each listener. A bit of a secret lies within it.

Did anything memorable or interesting happen during the recording of this album, which you can tell us about?

The whole experience has been incredible, very strange the way it’s all come together, myself & Ric often shared crazy ideas in his kitchen, drinking, partying till all hours, and pretty much everything we joked about, talked about has come true and is happening now. Turning up in a studio in Berlin with just a couple of ideas, no instruments, a new band almost, and now the finished album is out and in people’s homes and cars etc..incredible. I suppose the best thing lies in the songs themselves, there was no cheating as such, it’s all very real and on the record, pretty much all highs I have to say. In a way I’m lost for words thinking about how special it was making it.

Have you got a tour or any gigs coming up you’d like to tell us about?

We’re playing the album launch party in a great cool place in Berlin called The Posh Teckal on November 23rd, then we’re having one in Manchester at The Castle Hotel November 30th, there’s a very small amount of tickets left for that one. We’ll be putting a single out in January and kick the new year or ‘Yerrrr’ off in style, plenty of shows in 2018 to look forward too. It’s pretty much a live thing and very organic which suits us all very much.

Where can people get hold of the new album or find out more about you

The best place to find out more about us & order the new album is via we’ll be more than happy to sign it too, its also available to order online all over the world and is in all the well known record shops.

Original Artwork by Ric Gibbs