As Echobelly decided to make the effort to come all the way to Warwick University, Tony and Dave thought they'd wander down to see how life was treating their drummer, Andy.
The conversation begins with Echobelly's current U.K. tour...
It's going really well! We did a European tour before we came here to let everyone out there know who we are. There are certain countries which are a bit slow; Germany is a bit slow - they seem to prefer their techno and rock but Italy, France and Spain went really well. We haven't toured here in the U.K. since last October.
Have you been playing a lot of small venues like this on the tour?
Well, we've been playing to about a thousand people a time. Because we've been away for a time we didn't really want to try really big venues; we'd rather play in a small place that was sold out - there's more of a vibe.
As this is a campus University there will be a lot of people here who might not usually have travelled to Echobelly shows... Oh, right! That's good; I like that. We'll be doing some converting!
Glad to be back on the live circuit?
Well, it's a bit weird but not that odd as we never really stopped touring but it's great to be playing back in the U.K. That's what we've really been looking forward to.
The band recently released their new album [On]. Was Andy pleased with the outcome?
Yeah, very pleased. A lot of people were saying it would have been really different but we've been so busy touring that it was all written on tour so we wanted it to be representative of us a live band. On the first album the arrangements and the were slightly more complicated and we wanted to simplify it all and make it heavier and rawer but keep it poppy at the same time - which I think we've done! We did it quite live, for example Dark Therapy was done in just one take and the whole thing was done in nineteen days so it was really quick.
Do you not treat studio time differently, a chance to experiment and expand your sound?
Well on the first album we didn't really want to play with it we just wanted to record the sound; on the second one we put down a few keyboards but the songs didn't really need anything. However, the next album is already looking like being far more complex with different instruments but we won't be recording that ëtill next June or something. But are live sound is different; we all love playing live and our sound gets much heavier - we like to rock out!
After being on tour were you under any pressure to come up with the songs in time for the new record?
No, it was really cool actually! A lot of people talk about that 'Difficult Second Album Syndrome' but Glen [Guitar] was rattling them off on an acoustic guitar and then Sonya [vocals] gets the lyrics together and it all just happens. In fact, it was really good being on the tour bus so you're all together and you can get things done a lot quicker.
Does it ever get a bit difficult being in a bus, living that close together for such a long time?
Yeah. It stinks for a start. There's about thirteen of us on this bus in a row of bunks and clothes and suitcases. It's pretty bad for Sonya and Debbie [guitar] sometimes as there's absolutely no privacy; you have to go and hide behind a curtain somewhere.
Who on the bus has the most annoying habits?
I do. I talk in my sleep which really bugs everyone. It's really embarrassing when you wake up and they tell you that you told someone to fuck off in your sleep.
Does anyone always leave the lid off the toothpaste or...?
No, we all have our own toothpaste because other wise the band would split. Personal hygiene is not something to be shared as a band!
It must be said that the album wasn't too well received in the weekly papers. How did you take that review?
I don't really think I was that bothered myself; I'd rather have the review - at least people see our name but his review did get too personal. It seems that some people really tend to dig at Sonya; rather than talk about the music they'll have a real go at her. That's all it ended up doing; the review didn't seem to talk about the album so I don't listen to that sort of thing.
Do you think people take a lot of notice of that kind of review in the N.M.E.?
Definitely. In this country it's really over the top and their desperate for power and making up these new scenes. Abroad people do read it but it doesn't seem quite so important though it's important for us as this is our country and it's nice to go down well. We have had a lot of good reviews, it's just the N.M.E. and Melody Maker who have been a bit lukewarm. I think a lot of them are scared of Sonya; most of them are men and they don't quite seem to be able to handle her.
Sonya does have a definite public persona through the press. Does any of it really reflect the band?
Well, Sonya does get all the spotlight but all of us get on really well. Actually, I really like the fact that she stands out because a band needs a focal point, and she does that really well. I've been called one of the anonymous blokes in a band but no, it doesn't really bother me. It does put more pressure on Sonya though as all the crap's directed straight at her.
One thing which is striking about Echobelly is the cheerful, uplifting melodies and the darker subject matter that the songs deal with. Are the two aspects approached separately?
Yeah; I think Sonya's done that really well this time. The tunes are easy and great to sing along to but there's also something there that you could think about if you want to. That's the way we wanted to do it, make the music uplifting...I think defiant and confident suits Sonya quite well.
In our insatiable thirst for irrelevant information the interview now turns to the facts that the fans need to know (or at least the issues that Smash Hits seem to think the kids need to know)...
So Andy, what shampoo do you use?
I don't know; I don't really use shampoo - I haven't got enough hair!
Who has the most bizarre breakfast?
Debbie. No, actually one of our crew who has an Embassy, speed and cider - now that's pretty bizarre for breakfast!
I suppose that must be a more effective pick-you-up than coffee...
Actually Glen always has really strong coffee and a fag - that really does my head in first thing in the morning.
Are you a tea of coffee man?
All of us are coffee drinkers...oh, except Sonya - she likes tea.
Black or White?
And most importantly: are you a cats or dogs person?
I'm a big dog person, especially West Highland Terriers but Sonya and Glen are the biggest cat people you could ever meet. They've got two cats they had to give to someone's sister to look after so there gutted know - they just have too look at lots of little pictures to remember them. If you ever want to make them happy, just give them a postcard of a cat!
Echobelly were talking to Dave and Tony, in October 1995.