Kettle Mag interviews The Feeling

The Feeling have been around since 2005 releasing hit after hit. Songs such as ‘Fill My Little World’ and ‘Sewn’ were wildly popular, making their way onto every radio station and into everyone’s heads. Having consistently released albums over the last 10 years, they’ve returned with their self-titled fifth studio album. This time, some changes have been made and Dan (the band’s frontman) feels they’re better than ever. 

Obviously you’re a very well known band. In 2006, you were the most played band on UK radio, with one of your songs being played 267 times a day. Is that something you’re proud of or aiming for again?

I don’t think it would happen again. I don’t think any artist would get that kind of coverage again. It was a time when all the radio stations were all playing the same kind of stuff. Because we didn’t have a very specific style ourselves, we kind of crossed over. We were sort of pop so we got played on Radio 1 and Capital, then we were sort of rock so we got played on Kerrang and XFM, Radio 2 played us a lot, and then also Magic and those kind of stations played us as well. There was a period in time when bands were played on everything and I just don’t think that landscape exists anymore. It’s much more separated. It was a real moment in time and I don’t think that will happen again. 

So what kind of style do you guys like to identify as?

I’ve always struggled with that because when you’re making a record you don’t really have anything in mind other than making the best record you can make. For us, I just write and make sure it sounds the way I want it to sound and then it’s up to the radio stations whether they play our stuff or not. Stylistically I’ve never been able to pin us down.

I think it’s just important that the songs are well structured and viable in their own world. I feel that that’s why our music crossed over to so many different people and so many crowds. At gigs, I think people would be surprised at the other people there – there’d be white van drivers and hipsters all there at the same time enjoying the music and I don’t think anyone really thought we were there to represent a specific group or a specific crowd. It was just people who could enjoy the songs and sing along and to this day that’s still all that really matters to me; that people want to hear tunes and melodies that say something to them. 

You’ve chosen to make this album self-titled. That’s often done with a band’s debut album, whereas this will be your fifth. What was the thinking behind this? 

Mostly because of the nature of the record and the music. The way that we recorded this album was to all get into a room together and represent what we are as a live band and represent that on a record for a change. We didn’t want to make our record in a very straight-structured modern studio way which is to put down the drums, then the guitar, and make sure everything is really perfect. What you don’t get when you do that is the slightly wilder live element that is what people get when they see us live, so we were thinking let’s try and capture that live energy in a really honest way. So I think in many ways, this album represents who we are as a band more so than other albums that we’ve made because of the way we did it. What you see is what you get, so we felt to self-title the album made sense. 

So would you say that this album represents not necessarily a change in style but a change in the kind of band you are? 

Yes. I don’t think we would have had the confidence to do it this way if we hadn’t already made a lot of records and hadn’t been playing for nearly 20 years. It takes a bit of confidence because you have to be able to nail it – you have to rehearse the songs, have them all written and very much finished, and then you have to commit to them and press record. When you press record there’s no going back. That’s probably the ethos of the record more than anything else, to capture the realness of what it is when a band plays as a band. There is something magical about what happens when a band who has been playing for years together gets together because we work with each other and adapt to each other in way that is slightly different to when you’re multi-tracking. This is an old-fashioned process that The Beatles and The Rolling Stones recorded with and it’s a way that a lot of our heroes would have made records. 

If you had to describe your new album in just 3 words, what would they be? 

Honest, lively and melodic.

Every couple of years you guys have released an album. What inspires you? What keeps you going?

We spend a lot of time on the road playing gigs. The last couple of summers we’ve played about 25 festivals. We’re always making stuff and regularly playing live, so it keeps you feeling like this is all valid because there’s always an audience in front of you and that keeps us engaged. For all of us, our music is an outlet. I think we’d be doing it anyway because it’s our therapy and our way of expressing ourselves. Everyone needs a way to express themselves and we’ve found a way of doing it that also provides us with a living, so it’s that and the fact that we’re aware of how lucky we are to have a fanbase and a string of hits behind us that allows us to carry on doing the work. Also we want to develop and get better at doing this. I don’t think we’ve ever felt like we’ve quite nailed it. I think it’s important to still feel like you’ve got somewhere to go. 

You’ve got some tour dates lined up this month to promote the album. They’re all quite intimate venues. You’ve played the likes of Glastonbury in the past. Which kind of gig is preferable? Or is it impossible to compare the two? 

When you do a big production tour, or you do a big festival, you’ve got a slightly different job to do. You’ve got to provide a level of slickness and win over a big crowd compared to playing to hardcore fans. When we play to those hardcore fans, we’re a little more artistically free. The reason we wanted to do a mini tour was because we wanted to showcase the songs in a really intimate way and get that excitement that we had in the studio, in a crowd. Our studio is a lovely studio but it’s only one room so it’s just five guys crammed into a room making a lot of noise, so we wanted to get that across.

We wanted to start the set with the new album, start to finish without the pressures of a big production and pressure to play the hits to keep people interested. We wanted to give the audience that experience of hearing the album exactly as it was recorded. In festivals, you often play to a crowd who are a mixture of fans and people who kind of know your old stuff. Your job with a festival is purely to entertain the crowd in the most joyful way you can which is different to a tour. A tour is for people who are genuinely interested in the band and the new music. We’re playing Glastonbury this summer on the Friday night and we’re just going to blast the hits and give everybody a good time. 

Do you like to play the hits and reminisce or are you at the stage now where you just look forward to showing off your new stuff? 

I think it’s a mixture of the two things. If I hated playing the old songs, I wouldn’t play them. There are certain old songs that we get asked to play all the time that were hits and I don’t really like doing so I don’t do them. With the really big hits like Love it when you Call and Sewn, I’ve still got a lot of love for those songs and they feel good to play, so why not? We don’t do stuff we don’t enjoy. We do it because we love it otherwise we could easily just stop and retire. Life’s too short I think to have it any other way.


Anything you’d like to say to our readers? Any advice for aspiring musicians?

Get out and play. Learn your craft, every gig is worthwhile. Even if your crowd is a couple of guys and a dog, it’s still worth it! 

Are you a fan of The Feeling? Let us know in the comments below!