Malcolm Middleton
feb 2nd 2004 - Salle des Fetes de Ramonville - Toulouse, Fr
interview by Barbara H and SEB WOOd  

Barbara H: Hi! How are you ?

Malcolm Middleton: i'm fine, thanks

BH: How do you know if a song is going to be an arab strap song or a malcolm middleton song when you write it ?

MM: when i write for Arab Strap I just write music and when i write my songs the music and words come at the same time, so that's the main difference. it's not like i thought "i'm going to keep this one for myself instead of using it for Arab Strap"

BH: Have you toured to support your album before?

MM: yeah i just finished a month-long tour in America, opening for Arab Strap. I haven't really toured, the album came out in october 2002 i did like, one-off things, but at the time i was recording with Arab Strap so i couldn't do it properly.

BH: What would you say is the difference between your songs and Arab Strap songs ?

MM: Aidan tends to write lyrics of specific events and i don't think my lyrics are as succint and they're more universal and not just about one experience, they are more vague, they're not so... brutal ? I suppose there are some similarities but... i don't know

SEB WOOd: Are you influenced by Aidan's lyrics ?

MM: I don't think so because... i think Aidan's a very clever songwriter but i don't agree with everything he sings about

SWd: who do you relate to as a folk songwriter ?

MM: i don't listen to folk at all, i grew up listening to heavy metal, so...

SWd: was it your idea to cover the ACDC song ("You Shook Me All Night Long") ? 

MM: funnily enough no, because i've always hated ACDC, i was more into Black Sabbath and Iron Maiden, but Aidan likes ACDC so that's why we did that terrible version

SWd: we really like your version

MM: it's terrible. 

SWd: no!

MM: i think it's horrible. it's a joke, it's good when we play it live and loud but that was not to be taken seriously

BH: the Van Halen cover ("The Good Part") sounds more serious

MM: yeah, i love Van Halen...

BH: what are the next plans for you ?

MM: i'm doing another American tour, and i want to record another solo album and we're gonna tour with Arab Strap in April, Italy, France and Spain...

SWD: what will be the line up for the Arab Strap tour ?

MM: it will be the same as the last one, a seven-piece band. 

BH: what was the motivation behind your album ?

MM: i just like writing songs, i write songs i was happy with, my record label heard them and liked them, they said i should release a proper album, so i went in the studio and recorded an album and released it, but there's nothing else to it...

SWd: do you always play on your own ?

MM: yeah so far, i'd like to put a band together at some point but not at the time...

SWd: what kind of band ?

MM: a really good drummer and a really good bass player and a really good piano player and.... play folk-rock. I hate folk but yeah...

SWd: there's a legend told around here about you naming Monday at the Hug and Pint after the pub because you owed them money... is it true ?

MM: yes. (laughs) but i can't really say anymore in case there's someone from the pub who hears this but the fact that you heard that over here... rumours spread fast...

BH: well it started more like a joke actually

MM: alright! (laughs) i was thinking that maybe Aidan had said something about it in an interview in France or something... well it's not all true but there are some bits and pieces here and there yeah.

BH: do you plan on recording another live album with the new line up ?

MM: no, not a live album but we're considering taking the new line up into the studio and for a change do a proper "band record," rather than doing what we usually do, make up as we go along... they're very good players so we might use them

SWd: do you know what direction the band is going to take ?

MM: no idea. i know i need to do something different because we've done five albums and they're pretty much the same formula, so we need to think about it and see what's going to happen

BH: Monday at the Hug and Pint was a bit different though...

MM: I don't think it is so different, i mean it was probably the album we had been trying to do for years and eventually we could do it, different styles, like rock songs and kinda folky songs and moody songs... but we're not laying plans for the next record yet...

SWd: well, if you want to say anything...

MM: no, i'm fine thanks

BH & SWd: thank you

MM: cheers!

/mar 1st 2004/