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Q+A: Euros Childs

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Late last summer, former Gorky's Zygotic Mynci frontman Euros Childs put out a killer album called The Miracle Inn which we briefly spazzed about at the time but have since overlooked. In the meantime he's toured the States and continued to record new music. We caught up with him recently to talk about all of that, and like, Wales and stuff. Click more to check it out.




So you’re in Wales right now?

That’s right, in Cardiff.

We were talking about doing a story on the young Cardiff bands in the magazine because it seems like there’s quite a scene going on.

Yeah.

You’ve been there your entire life?

Kind of, yeah.

Do you go out to see a lot of shows?

Not really. Well, I do. Yeah, I go out now and again, yeah, yeah, yeah.

How is the solo life been treating you?

Oh very good. It’s been very nice so far. I’ve been playing live a lot and very busy writing and recording. So it’s been a very busy time but it’s been fulfilling. Very good.

I feel like your output has been very prolific in the last year and a half. 3 albums in 18 months or something like that. Is that right?

Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Do you feel like you’re living in the studio?

Well, they were done very quickly, you know. The albums, if you put all the time together, 2 and a half months. I started the first album right at the beginning of 2005. It didn’t come for nearly a year. So there have been lots of gaps between sessions and the sessions have been very intense and done very quickly, much quicker than any albums Gorky’s ever did.

Do you feel like it’s a better use of your time doing it on your own or do you get lonely? Bounce ideas off of people ever?

Yeah, Chops was different. That was very much me in the studio on my own with Pete coming to play drums every now and again. I did most of it myself with a few overdubs from people I knew. I realize that it would be nice to go play songs live with musicians with people writing their own parts, as it happened in Gorky’s. So I put bands together with different musicians. We’d play live and go into the studio and record the songs pretty quickly playing them live.

People don’t know what to think of Wales and Welsh musicians. Do you consider yourself a Welsh musician? Do you think of that as being integrated into the music you make?

It’s very difficult to say, really. I’m definitely Welsh. Obviously the countries that make up Britain have got a lot in common musically. But I’m sure Wales…. will have it’s own…

A Welsh sound?

Pop music wise, maybe because we are Welsh, there is less of an inclination to copy what currently is the trend. But then again, there are bands that do that as well. There has been a good example over the years of bands that have certainly been set apart from average British bands.

The idea that you’re pulling from a lot of different sounds and it’s very varied, multi-colored hues to the albums… I don’t know if that makes sense.

Yeah, we probably drew as much from Meic Stevens, who is a Welsh artist that sang in Welsh all his life, as the Beach Boys.

I read in a BBC article that you said you didn’t discover the Beatles until much later in life, because there wasn’t a great record store in your town and you were thankful for not growing up with the Beatles, but discovering them later so you could write songs independent of them.

I was 14 or 13 when I started listening to the Beatles, really. Started writing at probably the same time. We didn’t listen to the pop music as much growing up.

So you listened to more traditional things?

No. Well, we sang in church. So we sang English hymns and Welsh hymns as well. We went to chapel now and again. I was in choir. Me and John who formed Gorky’s
Would sing a lot in church every Sunday. John was head choir boy. So we did listen to music growing up I suppose, but it was certainly 13 or 14 was when we really started to get into it.


So it was the hymnbook before the White Album?

Ohhh yeah, hymns. We didn’t mind the practice so much, it was just the talking in between that was boring.

And by 16, you were involved with Gorky’s, is that right?

Yeah, I only sang at the start and I did a bit of keyboards. I gradually started to pick out chords and work out maybe something on the piano. I don’t consider myself a proper musician as such; I’m someone that’s kind of winging it, certainly on the guitar.

Can I ask you a weird question? The album art for Chops, the meat. Did you come up with that or did the artist come up with that?

I came up with the idea that I wanted meat. I gave him a cookbook with lots of meat in it, from a cookbook I found in what you call a thrift shop. I found that and I realized that it was exactly…. I’m a vegetarian and it didn’t bother me that I had meat on my cover. Also the producer, he’s a vegan and he liked it as well, so that’s okay.

So it wasn’t as much a statement about meat as it was just an artistic decision?

I don’t know really. Sometimes an album cover just needs a horribly ugly bad looking horrible meat. It just needed that. I don’t know why.

You just put out The Miracle Inn. Are you still writing songs?

Yeah, yeah. Hopefully get to record another one before the end of the year. Yeah, so there’s a new batch of songs, yeah.

You’re going to record another one before the end of the year?

Yeah, that’s the idea. I don’t think it’s too much to ask for someone to record 24 songs. It’s only recording two albums in a year. It’s not too bad.

That’s prolific output these days.

Yeah, these days, yeah. The Beach Boys were recording at least four or five in one year, so that’s only half of it. I can’t carry on doing it because people will tire and won’t want to buy two albums a year by anyone. The creativity, it’s collecting things to do… it feels like two years have gone past already. I’m so used to doing an album a year. It feels like this year has been lots of years.

Can we talk a bit about The Miracle Inn? It’s semi-autobiographical. Is that right?

The place did exist and I went down there when I was a teenager. I mean, the character in the song sounds like he has more of a social life or knew more people than I did. Because I went down there a lot of the time with a friend or sometimes even let’s say, on my own to watch bands. But the character in the songs lives in town and he gets attacked again. So I know a lot of the people I know think it’s a straightforward autobiographical kind of thing. I’ve taken bits, obviously because I know the place and I know people who have been there and I know bands that have played there. I’ve probably expanded it a bit, maybe. Made things up.


There is a sort of wistfulness in a lot of the songs. Not depressing, maybe just the Welsh grey skies.

Yeah, The Miracle Inn isn’t a laugh a minute. I don’t want to make records that are moaning or complaining about being on tour or being on a tour bus. I hope it doesn’t sound like one person complaining about their life because I don’t like to listen to records of people complaining about their life. At the same time, It’s hard to write happy songs all the time. The Welsh one probably is, though a lot of people don’t understand it. But it’s a very happy album back to back.

It’s happily nostalgic.

It’s about nostalgia itself or how it comes back to haunt the character in the song. He’s kind of consumed by nostalgia.

Posted: December 14, 2007
Q+A: Euros Childs