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Roddy Woomble (Idlewild) Interview

Roddy Woomble, the lead singer of Idlewild, has just released his second solo album. "Before The Ruin" is collaboration with Kris Drever and John McCusker and is a stunning record, recorded in a single week.

"Before The Ruin" is coming out shortly. Do you feel as excited as you felt when "My Secret is My Silence" was coming out?

well, it's out now, and i'd say it's more pride I feel than excitement. I think it's a great album. I'm saying things the way that I want to say them.

"Before the Ruin" is your second album without Idlewild. This time around Kris Drever and John McCusker are equally credited as artists. How was it working with these, if I may say so, legends for those 6 or 7 days it took to create this album?

You're quite right to say legends, because they are, as people and musicians. It was a pleasure. It's very much a debut album because we were finding out a lot about each other (musically speaking) while the songs were being written. there's a freshness to the music that surprised us all.

What influenced the direction the album took? Was there any moment when it might took off in complete different direction?

No, we just met up, sat down and started to play and the songs appeared very quickly in the room with us. We never discussed shared influences. I think we all want to contribute in some way to our country's music.
[ Roddy Woomble ]

Roddy Woomble   © http://www.roddywoomble.com/

"Before the ruin" is truly beautiful album but it is also a lot calmer and softer than "My Secret is My Silence". What brought the change in sound? Is it a natural progression that comes with age or something else?

It's less of a 'band' album than 'my secret..'. There's more focus on the words and the mood. It was unplanned though, so I'm glad it turned out this way.

The underlying theme of the album seems to be around water. Is there a story behind these themes?

Yes and no. The sea and the ocean play a big part in the record. Standing 'before the ruin' of the sea etc. But explaining lyrics is never
much fun.

A truly impressive cast of artist such as Norman Blake (Teenage Fanclub) and Phil Selway (Radiohead) joined you on making the album. It shows in a way that a lot more artists like traditional and folk sound that you are creating here. How was it working with them? Was the sound of their bands a baggage or a blessing, and do they also share love for traditional folk music?

Norman is a friend and John knows Phil Selway. both are fans of folk music and what we do, so they were keen to come and play on the album. It worked out well, it never felt like 'special guests' were playing. These people are our pals.
[ Roddy Woomble ]

Roddy Woomble   © http://www.roddywoomble.com/

How hard it is to keep switching between Idlewild and your solo career? Does it feel something like being Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde? Do you still feel the same playing Idlewild songs or is the folksy Roddy real you?

I like to do different things. It keeps life interesting. I'm as happy to record and play with Idlewild as i am on my own little projects. At the moment i'm thinking about writing some lyrics for the new idlewild LP, which we'll tour, then I imagine I'll start thinking about another solo thing.

So what's in the future for solo career? Can we expect additional solo records? I'm sure I speak for many when I say that I hope we do.

Yes they'll be more solo records and more with Kris and John. Not for a year or so though, as next year i'll be busy with Idlewild.

What are you listening/reading at the moment?

I'm enjoying new records by Jenny lewis, Calexico and seasick steve.
I'm re-reading 'Magnus' by George Mackay Brown. 2008 has been the year of re-reading for me.

"Before The Ruin" is out now!

kris // 26/11/2008


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