Getty Images / PA Photos Coldplay are not the only British guitar band to…
- Posted on Jun 17th 2011 3:00PM by Joe Tacopino
Simone Joyner, Getty Images
"We think of ourselves as music lovers before we think of ourselves as anyone else," Garvey tells Spinner about the band. "If it was my favorite band that crossed over to the mainstream, I would be worried that there would be some kind of attempt to perpetuate the scale of success with a commercial record. We're conscious of it. It's a consideration that we're commercially viable, but it's never been a primary motivation for making albums."
For the band's new album, 'Build a Rocket Boys!,' Garvey sought inspiration from his early days as a songwriter, before the concerts at Glastonbury and Coachella. As a 20-year-old college kid, he was holed up at an apartment in Rochdale, a town in greater Manchester.
"That period of my life is important because that's when I started writing lyrics in earnest," he says. "It is easier to write about the past because you have a detachment to the events. You write about the present and there's all kinds of background noise that you have to tune out. But writing about the past is simpler because you only remember the important details or feelings."
This influence is perhaps most evident on the track 'Jesus Is a Rochdale Girl,' a sober song about regret and hope that describes his old stomping grounds in detail. But after it was revealed to the UK in February, the song piqued the interest of locals who wondered if the girl was real.
"Yeah, she was a specific girl," Garvey admits. "This angel used to visit me, fell in love with me, would bring me food and comfort, and we would listen to music together."
When the band refused to reveal the woman's identity to the Rochdale Observer, the paper ran an article asking readers to contact them if they were indeed the person who inspired the song.
"She was over the moon about that," Garvey says about the article. "She lives with her husband. She just had a son, and we're still really good mates. But she was very, very touched by the song."
Garvey also found another source of inspiration for the album in British songwriter Peter Gabriel. He was a Gabriel's studio in Bath, England when the legendary artist gave him some songwriting tips over tea.
"He told me that train journeys were good for lyrics," Garvey says. "I was at his place specifically focusing on lyrics. Peter popped in for a cup of tea, which is very flattering. We talked about writing and he told me how he loves to write lyrics on train journeys."
'Build a Rocket Boys!' is out now via Downtown/Cooperative Music. The band is touring around the world this summer and just announced a US trek for this fall.
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