looking to follow up onÂ theirÂ debut LP The Sums front man Digsy dropped by LTW to let us in on the groups plans for album number two.
Credited by many down the years for his song writing, neatly twisting theÂ sensitive and deep with a cynicism/whit and socialÂ realism, as well as for having a pretty awesome voiceÂ Peter ‘Digsy’ DrearyÂ is now into his 4th decade of making music and has probably never sounded as good. Tunes like ‘Who Care’s’ and ‘Scared of Missing Out’ from their first album ‘If Only’ are fine examples and apparently they now have enough material for a couple of LP’s, so bring it on.Â We sat down with the man and went over what its likeÂ for him being in The Sums and playing in a band today, theÂ influenceÂ of kiddiesÂ favoriteÂ ‘Camberwick Green’ on his new songs and why he missed a dedication from old mate Noel Gallagher at Liverpool’s Echo Arena…
AlightÂ Digsy, what are you and the band up to at the minuteÂ
Digsy– Right now were just waiting to start work on our second album, the first release ‘If Only’ has been out about 6 months now so its time to start putting the next one together. Its just a case of getting the money in to do it, we’ve enough material for a couple of albums. I reckon we’d be able to get it all down in two weeks with a bit of planning up front because we know all the tunes really well, our manger has got a few irons in the fire so just waiting for that to come together, then get in the studio.
Do you find it hard getting the funds in to work these days
D- Well it has been for us because we were banking on selling enough copies of the album to fund the next recording you know but its obvious that we haven’t really so we’ve just go to go down otherÂ avenues. The days of record companies going ‘here you are, go get on with it’ are gone mate. Every thing’s just built around forecasts that show you how you’ll make enough sales, which is supposed to happen but never does really.
Really liked The Sums debut album ‘If Only’, Â some really good tunes on there like Who Cares’ and ‘Scared of Missing Out’, would you say its a sign of the times with everyone rather skint these days- can it put you off wanting to release music
D- Yeah, I’d say its down to that more or less but no, its never put me off because were all fuckin used to it to be honest, I mean weÂ haven’tÂ had any money really since we were on ‘Better Records’ back in the 90’s, so its just carry on regardless really.
I have actually heard some of your new material like ‘Hose Me Down’, is that on the new album,…is their any particular song the albums based around
D– ‘Hose me Down’ will probably be for the album after this one, we’ve got a lot of material and weÂ haven’tÂ compiled all the songs yet, you know some songs might go better with others rather than just arranging them by age or when they were written, so weÂ don’tÂ know yet, though a song that’s pretty central to the album is a tune called ‘Get Out Clause’Â
What are you saying in that song then Digsy, selfÂ explanatory I suppose but whats behind the songs meaning
D– Well its more about the sound to be honest with you, it might sound a bit weird but you know that old kids programme that had Windy Miller in it ‘Camberwick Green’, and that sound his windmill made, thatÂ ‘shsss chit cha cup boing’ type of rhythm –Â that’s a fuckin great sound that, well I got it down, sampled it then put these lyrics to it and it sort of came out as this sweet and sour effect, you know. Where the chorus of ‘Get Out Clause’ goes sweet and in the verses its kinda sour,Â that’sÂ how I’dÂ describeÂ it anyway, mixing something dark with something light you know, and the contrast between them.Â The album itself will be darker than ‘If Only’ was, but there’s still big chorus and that on there but overall a darker mood.
The Sums were looking for a keyboard player right, to go into the studio for the new albumÂ
D– That was for the lives shows really, IÂ wasn’tÂ that bothered about looking for a keyboard player to join the band to be honest, we just wanted to use some of the samples we were using like the sirens and the kids playground and stuff like that for the live shows as well, so we can put a really good show on and really sound like the album.Â As far as recording goes I’ve got the 8 track up stairs in the bedroom, so I just use that to get down all my ideas then me and Chris get together and finish them off at a later stage.
Last time I saw The Sums was at the very 1st ‘Don’t Buy The S*N’ gig in Liverpool which was also in remembrance of local lad James Mcvey , a fantastic night- and you played theÂ originalÂ HillsboroughÂ
concert at Anfield as well didn’tÂ you so thought maybe we might of seen you on this summers ‘Justice for the 96 tour’Â
D– We’ve actually just done another for him called ‘a concert for Jamie’ about 3 weeks ago, with the Justice tour we justÂ didn’tÂ get asked to be honest. It was more Peter Hooton and Pete Wylie and that lot who were running the show. But my manager did get a call about the Justice band supporting the Roses on a Sunday night and if I could get over there and get up to sing a Clash number, Rock the Casbah. This was supporting The Stone Roses so I’m like ‘fuckin right I will’ you know just to be a part of that would of been great. But we never heard anything after that so it just fell through which was a shame but there you go. It seemed like it got took over by Wylie and Mick Jones and I believe that Wylie had already left orÂ somethingÂ so…you know there allÂ egotistic fuckers aren’t they, you know what I mean (laughs) but when things like that happen everyone wants to be involved but theyÂ weren’tÂ all there at the start of it were they.
Whats yourÂ personalÂ view on the recentÂ HillsboroughÂ inquest findings
D- Well all that I’d say isÂ untilÂ the people who wereÂ responsibleÂ have been found guilty of the crimes they’ve committed and have been brought to justice then we’ll have a proper result, you know people have said ‘we’ve done it’ and we’ve got the result’ but to be honest its just theÂ beginningÂ isn’tÂ it.
So now all these years on still writing, recording and playing how do you feel when you look back on Smaller. You had the band, some good songs and a top voice, (still have) but the band justÂ didn’tÂ get that brake really, do you feel that way about as wellÂ
D– Yeah, right I do,…the thing is with theÂ benefitÂ of hindsightÂ you look back and go ‘IÂ wouldn’tÂ of done that’ ‘ IÂ wouldn’tÂ of bothered with them’, or ‘IÂ wouldn’tÂ of signed to him’ but you know, rock’n’roll’s in your bloodÂ isn’tÂ it, IÂ don’tÂ think I’ll ever stop playing to be honest.
But the label Smaller were on went bustÂ didn’tÂ they, which must of been hard on you all
D– They went into liquidation, administration or what ever you call it. We signed to them first then they got busy signing loads of other groups instead ofÂ concentrating on us and helping the group to some sort of level of success. It was like any band they’d come across or seen they’d sign, and for no fuckin reason at all !, and that’s where all the money was going so by the time we went to record our second album it was ‘Oh we’ve got no more money so its finished!!!’.
So comparing the 90’s to today, was it more exiting back then or are you happier these days as an artist and making music
D– Back then I was still learning and striving to be a song writer so I’m a lot moreÂ experiencedÂ now getting my songs down as a craft, if you like. I just love putting each record out and getting better as we progress, I still love it.Â
Turning to the recent Noel Gallagher gig at the Echo Arena, when he asked the crowd ‘where’s Digsy’ I instantly remembered you telling meÂ aboutÂ the last time you saw Noel play there a couple yrs back when you were, lets say- caught having a quick ‘pick me up’ in the toilets, then shown the way out…
D- Yeah, (starts laughing) and guess where I was when he shouted that out,…in the bog having a line, straight upÂ Â
D- I swear (still laughing) I came out the toilet and my mate says ‘he’s just mentioned you there’. But I’ve got to say that fuckin arena’s shite because you have to Que up for hours to get a drink, so you miss the bloody gig because your eitherÂ queuingÂ for a drink or the toilet and on top of that you can’t even have a fuckinÂ ciggie. Sat there listening to ‘CigarettesÂ andÂ Alcohol’ with noÂ beer or ciggies, you know what I mean!.
Ha ha, I do yeah- arenas do have their pro’s and consÂ don’tÂ they, so where we can we catch The Sums next Digsy, anyÂ plans for gigs beforeÂ Christmas..?Â
D– Yeah were doing aÂ ChristmasÂ gig at the Zanzibar in Liverpool on the 24th.Â The Water Rats in Camden have contacted our manager as well so we might do some thing there, a massive gaff which IÂ rememberÂ playing in the 90’s so I wouldn’tÂ mind getting down there but I’d like to do a warm up gig first which our manager has been contacted about, playing some boozer in Brixton. Then I suppose tour the album but right now its all about looking to start it, then we’ll look to touring.
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