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:: Spotlight :: Doves - Set to sparkle at Splendour

By: Carmine Pascuzzi

They are known for their challenging brand of pop music and are one of the more significant bands in Britain. Manchester band Doves is now into their third recorded album and set for an Australian tour – their first in three years. The tour had been postponed a month due to lead singer Jimi Goodwin needing to rest his voice on doctor’s advice.

The band has come through a few US shows and the recent Glastonbury festival and is now set to unleash their craft on Australian audiences, including an appearance at the Splendour In The Grass festival over the weekend July 23-24, 2005. As a three-piece act, Doves is at the peak of its career, playing vibrant beats and dynamic guitar riffs. Their latest album is the terrific Some Cities. I spoke to drummer Andy Williams just prior to them heading downunder. He has fond memories of first visiting Melbourne on a promotional tour and playing a set at Revolver in 2000. Then the band returned for a full tour to support the “Last Broadcast” album in 2002. They played a terrific show at the Metro Theatre in Sydney.

Q. Australian audiences can’t wait until the band arrives. You must have a better live show with the additional material of the latest album…

A. It’s a really good position to be in now. We’ve got the three albums so we can pick and choose our songs. As far as our live shows are concerned, I feel that we are at our strongest. Our playing is getting better It should after fifteen years together! We’ve lasted longer than most marriages actually. And it feels like a marriage.

Q. You seem to keep producing the goods (great for the fans) and, over three albums, have received great acclaim for what you’ve produced…

A. We sometimes think that we should be doing better than what we are. It’s quite weird. None of us think about how great an album we’ve done. It’s always about what’s next and how we’re going to better it. We’re quite restless in that way. It’s a shame really. I wish we were able to enjoy what we’ve done more.

Q. And it’s not as if the band stays still with what they’re giving listeners. You took a different approach with the “Some Cities “album…

A. We’re keen to make things a bit different each time. You never know how or what it is that will be different. We do a lot of songwriting, so you tend to let that lead you. We always seem to find our way.

Q. The Manchester landscape is referred to throughout the album and the songs paint interesting images…

A. It’s partly about that. I suppose it came from touring a lot. You find out what’s going on in other cities, then relating to the changes back home. That’s what we looked at – the social aspects.

Q. Do you often feel inclined to write about the socio-political climate in Britain, where it’s been quite volatile in recent times?

A. We’re not very politically minded. British people’s trust in politicians is virtually down to a zero level these days. They feel powerless about changes that go ahead and they don’t have much control. A million people marched against the Iraq War, yet politicians don’t seem to listen.

Q. How do you look back at those early Sub Sub days to where you are today?

A. Well, we’ve been together fifteen years. In those days we had to endure the loss of our manager and there was a fire in the studio. The thing that kept us together then was that we hadn’t had a chance to make the music that we wanted to, and we weren’t developed enough to make our own statement. We’ve done that in Doves, and there’s still a long way to go. We can make better music. I know that we’ve made three good records. I feel good about the fact that the album has done a lot for people despite not having huge commercial success.

Q. What can we expect in your live show?

A. We’re a lot rawer. We try to make the gigs as exciting as possible. People expecting a full re-creation of the CD won’t get that. We put everything into it and it’s quite different from the records. People are surprised by our live shows. We take a different approach. The raw edge and quicker tempos make for a good show.

Q. What sort of music are you listening to these days?

A. We’ve got into downloading recently, from iTunes, especially stuff that I hadn’t heard for years. From music by The Kinks and Brian Eno, through to Smog and Arcade 5.

Q. How’s the Manchester music scene these days?

A. The Manchester music scene is as active as ever, although we’re constantly away for us to keep properly in tune with it. There’s plenty of live music venues and some good labels there.

Q. I read that you met with Nancy Sinatra and that the band is looking to work with her?

A. It turns out that Nancy Sinatra is a really big fan and we loved all her work with Lee Hazlewood many years ago. I can’t remember how we got in contact with her but we ended up meeting her at a festival and we had this song called Medication that we sent her. We hadn’t finished it as yet but she absolutely loves it and we have promised to finish writing it for her. She is a unique character and we’ll definitely get around to it.

Q. The support from Australian fans must be satisfying for you…

A. Yes, Australia has been good to us. It was one of the first countries to pick us up when we did Lost Souls. Radio stations like 3JJJ and 3RRR supported us really well.

Q. You’ll be performing at Splendour In The Grass again. What’s your best memory from Splendour In The Grass from 2002?

A. I was sitting on the beach all day (on the previous day to our gig) and playing football there too.

Q. What’s on for the rest of this year?

A. Loads of touring in the remainder of this year, including the Fuji Rock festival after the Australian tour, and then back to the United States in September.

Doves play at various Australian venues starting July 16 at Melbourne’s Forum Theatre. Check our National Gig Guide for dates.

The album “Some Cities” is available through Heavenly/EMI Records.

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