The Coral frontman has taken his love of Motown and channeled it into a new album called Love Undercover. He’ll be touring it with his new band The Intenders in June.
You have the word “love” in the title of your album. Weren’t you weary of having such a universal theme to work around as it’s such an overused word in pop music?
I try not to think like that. If I did I would end up releasing a barcode, unless Radiohead have already done that.
There’s a strong Motown blues feel to the album. Was this just the direction you were heading in?
Yes, I love Motown and Northern Soul stuff – I listen to it all the time. Blues like Chess Records and songwriters like Van Morrison and Jackson Browne – I think it all comes out on the album.
Your voice seems to have become more bluesy as you’ve progressed throughout your career. Do you feel as though you’ve learnt a lot about what you can do with your voice?
Yes, I try and adapt to the song I’m singing. I’m more confident about it now than I used to be.
How did you approach the lyrics on this album? They all seem quite timeless. Did you self-edit a lot?
Not really. I do that more with Coral lyrics. Most of this album was written in the initial inspiration and then I finished the bits I didn’t have. Once the mood of the song was established. I didn’t want too much metaphor – I wanted it to be a direct album, straight to the point.
What A Day really makes the most of girl-boy harmonies. Was that fun?
It was fun later on when I’d forgotten how long it took to work it all out. By the time we got it right, we realised we liked it more when it was wrong.
How will you or how do you react onstage to requests from fans for old Coral songs?
I don’t have a problem with it – people pay the money and they can do what want, and we do play some Coral tunes. A lot of the time people shout out songs to let you know they’re not just there for the hits, and that’s great.