An Interview with Andy Bell – Shipwrecked, 15/4/22

It’s the start of Easter Bank Holiday weekend and the sun was shining over Birkenhead for Liverpool quartet The Shipbuilders’ notorious quarterly all-dayer; Shipwrecked. The long awaited festival which was postponed during the pandemic was now able to celebrate a full day of home-grown talent from music to spoken word. Headlining with an extremely warm, Liverpool welcome was Ride’s very own Andy Bell who was showing off his new project, Space Station.

Dani Tomlinson: You’ve played in some of the biggest venues in the world. How is that different to playing venues such as Future Yard?

Andy Bell: It’s way more scary because you can just see people right there and tell almost like you’re having a conversation with them whether they’re having a good time or not. Whereas in a stadium, it doesn’t feel real somehow. It kinda feels like, on a stage, there’s a place like between you, and at the end of the stage there’s a few metres and then there’s a big gap and photographers who leave after about 3 songs and then there’s a barrier and then at some point there’s people in the audience and it doesn’t feel as real.

DT: I suppose it’s a lot more intimate and you get more crowd engagement and it’s a lot more human

AB: The more human it is the more scary it is in a weird way. This Space Station thing that I’m doing now is not the same as the albums I’ve been doing but it’s a practical way that I can perform that music without having to employ a band. I was doing it to have a musical outlet during lockdown so I was streaming it through a cafe near my house. Then I did an album under the name, GLOK like electronic music and then there was no way of me playing any of that stuff live without using any kind of backing so it came about like a normal step, but it’s not one thing or the other it’s just a semi little thing but it works for now.

DT: Who are you listening to at the moment?

AB: Loads of people. There’s a lot of bands I like; NewDad are really good. BDRMM, Lemondaze, bands in the sort of shoegaze genre and Khruangbin are a great band.

DT: What is the Space Station and why have you chosen that name?

AB: I started off doing these gigs in lockdown with decks and my guitar in this local cafe and I was streaming them from the cafe and I had no name for it then and the cafe was called Lo-Fi and it would just be put out as “Andy Bell Lo-Fi”. They’re all on YouTube if you want to check them out. This stuff, that is longer and is not so much like a gig but background music. Then I got a call/email from the band, Stereolab asking if I could do that Lo-Fi cafe thing at their gig. Then I had to think of a name for it because if it had gone out with my name, people would have expected it to be songs and singing and I didn’t want to get in there under false pretences. So I called it Space Station to sort of say that when I do a Space Station gig it’s going to be abstract. It’s just a way of saying “look this isn’t gonna be me; a singer songwriter type deal”

DT: After this, have you got any future projects lined up?

AB: Yes. So, I play York tomorrow, then Manchester on Sunday and then on Monday and Tuesday, I rehearse with Ride and then on Wednesday, I go off on tour. We’re doing a tour of the anniversary of our first album which came out in 1990. This tour was supposed to happen in 2020 so it’s the 32nd anniversary but we’re still calling it the 20th anniversary. We don’t count the last two years, it didn’t happen. So we’re doing a lot of anniversary stuff for that album and then after that, we’re gonna put a new album out ourselves which we’re working on now, early stages.

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