Music Q&A:
Space Monkeys

Richard McNevin Duff chats as the band prepare to perform their debut album in full on 4 Nov, Manchester Academy. The one off show marks 20 years since it became the last Factory Records release

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What informs your music?
I grew up in the 1980s living in a working men’s club in north Manchester and it had the best jukebox you could imagine. I fell asleep at night to the sounds of Smokey Robinson, Bob Dylan, Fleetwood Mac and Otis Redding, so I got to listen to great music from an early age. Good drinking and dancing music, so that has stayed with me personally. The rest of the band all have similar great taste in music – just anything that is good really and no barriers to what we listen to. Lyrically I was inspired at an early age by Dylan and surrealism. All the kids TV shows I grew up with like Magic Roundabout, Mr Benn, The Adventure Game were all psychedelic and seemed to be about magical journeys so that’s always been an influence on me – escaping from reality.

How have you evolved as an act over the years?
We reformed a few years ago after 15 years and the line-up has changed as a couple of the original lads didn’t want to be involved. The current line-up is a six piece and it helps us to create the sound of the recordings. When we made The Daddy Of Them All I was the only guitarist so I would layer about five or six different guitar tracks on each song and we did the same with weird sounds and keyboards and samplers, which we can do a lot better now with more of us and better technology. We have better recording equipment on our iPhones now than the Beatles had throughout their career so it would be a shame to waste it.

What are you up to at the moment artistically?
Space Monkeys are writing and recording a new album, hopefully to be released in 2018. It’s sounding really goo – we just need to find a way to get some money to get it over the finish line so we might do some kind of crowdfunding thing. Pledge Music looks like a really good idea. The hardest thing is finding the time. I write songs all the time and the other guys are all top musicians so it’s just a case of finding time to throw everything into the soup and let it stew.

What’s on your rider?

Lager, lager, lager. Jack Daniels. Rum. And Wagon Wheels. Loads of Wagon Wheels. And a smile.

Tell us your most embarrassing or surreal experience.
I was walking down Deansgate a few years ago in Manchester with my mate Johnny Jay, who produced our album The Daddy Of Them All. A voice behind us shouted “Hey Johnny!” We turned around and it was Ian Brown, one of my all-time heroes. He’d known Johnny for years from when he used to DJ at clubs in town like the Gallery in the 1980s. Ian was with his son, who was wearing an Avengers T shirt and while Johnny was chatting to Ian I remember mumbling something to his son about his dad being like Spider-Man to my generation and the kid just looked at me like I was 100 years old. I met Ian again a couple of years later after a Stone Roses gig and had a proper chat with him and he was inspiring, a really nice guy. Whoever said you should never meet your heroes obviously had the wrong kind of heroes.

What song do you wish you’d written?
Tangled Up In Blue – Bob Dylan. I’ve tried to copy it hundreds of times but failed – it’s totally unique. The lyrics are a story that unfolds and you can’t quite work out what’s going on or if it’s real. Nobody even comes close to Dylan for song writing. Especially these days. Nobody tries anything new in any way, shape or form. Just because someone can write a song, doesn’t make them a songwriter. You don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.

What’s your worst lyric?
Where do we start? Do you want to run a competition?
a) “I was blue for what it’s worth, like an uninvited Smurf”
b) “Said she’d be round in a while, just like Barbapapa’s smile”
c) “It was ten to ten, cowboy time again”
All from the same song!

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Interact: Responses to Music Q&A: Space Monkeys

  • Ste
    29 Oct 2017 12:53
    Life's a trip and then you get off.. ...... MARCH OF THE SCARECROWS top space monkeys tune
  • pj
    27 Oct 2017 20:38
    my personal favourite lyric by the space monkeys-'maim me with your names and break my bones with stones and sticks.but we didn't lose the magic girl,we just ran out of tricks'

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