This is your second record after a long break away from music and i think something has changed in your music in-between…
Bill Pritchard : I think that basically i came back to what i like to do which is guitar based pop using real instruments that i like and that evokes memories. We used real piano, horns and getting away from anything synthsized or electronic. It's very important.
Was that an input from your producer Tim Bradshaw on your music ?
BP : I've known Tim for a very long time. I needed somebody to translate my musical ideas into music. I would write the songs, get the bare bones of the songs. The skeleton. And he would dress the whole thing with skin. I suggest thing. For « Saturn & Co » i told him i wanted to sound mid-sixties B-Side Brigitte Bardot. That sort of thing. And then he goes, i understand that, let's do it ! I can do it.
Like « A trip to the coast », the new album is released on the Tapete Records label which happens to have an impressive roster of 80s songwriters. Lloyd Cole, Robert Forster...
BP : Yes, a big collection of them (smile).
How did you got in touch with that label ?
BP : I played a gig in France, and Vincent Lemarchand, a bass player in the band with me, asked me if i've got any stuff recorded. He has all my old albums. He listened to some demos made with Tim and some friends and he told me you've got to have this released. So i thought about it. A german fan suggested Tapete Records so i got in touch with them. The first label i've approached and they said yes. That is very rare (smile). Fantastic.
Funny thing is you often sings about France, songs like « Paname », « Mont Saint Michel », but you don't sing in French much…
BP : « Mont Saint Michel », i was there with my family. I was suddenly going through a bleak period in my life. That happens sometimes in life, you know. So i was there and it felt fantastic. Suddenly it all made sense to me. That's why the song is there. Interestingly i did a tour in Germany recently and i played « Rien de toi », a song from « Parce que » wrote by Daniel Darc. I've been singing that in french really enjoying it and i got good reactions. In Germany ! It's really strange. I did « Tout Seul » on « A trip to the coast ». The origin is a song by an American band from the 60s The Fugs. « Morning morning ». A french Canadian Richard Drouet wrote a french version, in the early sevneties and he brought this beautiful lyrics to it. I loved it so we did our version of it.
« Vampire in New York » has a very surprising jazz angle, almost New Orleans…
BP : I loved New Orleans jazz, Dr John, i love all that stuff. I've played with him once ! I never had the opportunity to do it. I wrote the song on the piano. We got some french people to do the trumpets, to get that New Orleans feel.
Do you like to fool around in the studio while recording ?
BP : I like to experiment especially with harmonies. I love the idea of being spontaneous. And also lyrics. I write lyrics down but i would change lyrical sentences depending on how it sounds. I like to play around changing an adjective or a verb.
Do you often shop in the « Deja vu boutique » ?
BP (laughs) : I'll tell you a secret. The « Deja vu boutique » is actually an hair dresser in Newcastle. I was driving and i saw the title « Deja Vu Boutique » on the left i thought what a brilliant thing ! So I used it. I'll send you a picture of the Deja Vu boutique. I must take a picture of that. In the middle of the midlands. What was the odd of that !
And what lies in the « 50 A Holy Street » ?
BP : 50A holy street is a place from Erfuhrt, Germany. I wrote it there i was there with a friend.
Some songs like « Victorious » are ambitious with a very big sound and it's quite opposed to « A trip to the coast » that was more intimate…
BP : We wanted to develop our sound. And we had more of an idea of what the overall sound was going to be because we knew we will released it. « A trip to the coast » was written and recorded over a long period of time without an idea of an end thing of releasing it. This time it was very specific and that was better for working together. We had a very good idea of what we wanted. For example we got a live drummer, we got horns in, we used different guitars and strings. We had an idea of what we wanted, that was the reason.
One of my favourite on the album is « Lily ann », i thought the song has some sort of a 60s Gainsbourg quality…
BP : Oh wow, thank you very much ! That is a really nice thing to say.
Actually thinking about it, it's a little like the Brigitte Bardot thing we talked earlier…
BP : Yes definetely. It has an very specific atmosphere like a Parisian club in a certain period when certain people used to hang around. You could just imagine Dani in her heyday. All the 60s style, that sort of vibe.
The last song, « The lamplighter » ends the album on an harder note. It reminds me the song « In june » for the previous album.
BP : It is strange because i had an repetitive piano beat. It was two songs put together. The second one worked with the first one. And we build it up, build it up and it felt like an natural conclusion to an album. I always think of albums. 12 songs 6 songs side one, 6 songs side two. I always think vinyl in my head. That was the natural finisher it had to be powerful.
Did you had an specific idea on how to sequence the songs ?
BP : I spent a lot of time sequencing. An album is a whole, two sides. Not as much as Carole King did with « Tapestry », she spent months. We spent a couple of nights over it.
How does it feels being back in Paris ?
BP : Absolutely fantastic. I sent an instagram on my way in saying : Brilliant Paris, why did i stayed away for so long ? It has an nice feel to it. I was heartbroken after what happened in Le Bataclan (sad). I had history there, i've played there years ago. I knew people who know people who were affected by what happened. I just thaught why ? I was just sad.
And how would you discribe your bound with France ?
BP : I think it's still there. I can't grow out of it !