a short site about The Divine Comedy

The Divine Comedy Love What They Do

Ask The Divine Comedy a question

dotmusic are interviewing Divine Comedy tomorrow (Thursday February 08, 2001) and want your help. We want to put some fan questions to the band so get your thinking caps on.

Neil Hannon spoke to dotmusic about the return of the band and the release their new single 'Love What You Do' (out today).

"Regardless of the size of your pay cheque, it's more to do with what you've been doing that week to be enjoyable," revealed Neil. "Because that's the way you spend your time and life's to short.

"It's also a statement of intent for the new record and what we do now. We wanted to enjoy what we were doing a little more."

Mr Hannon, talking along with the band members Bryan and Rob, described the vibe of the album as "optimistic" and also confessed that dropping the "millstone" of the grand, suited image of the band was "probably commercial suicide but what the hell, we wanted to join the human race."

dotmusic also learnt that the band had no master plan when the band headed into the studio.

"We just put the various wheels in motion to take it somewhere but we didn't know where that somewhere would be," explained Neil. "But we're very happy with the place that it ended up."

Bryan: "It's a fluke really."

Neil: "A happy accident."


The Divine Comedy interview

It's all change at Divine Comedy central. The suits and the grand orchestrations have been replaced by a 'normal' look. The quality of the new music is still suitably high as Neil Hannon and co. prepare to unveil another set of modern classics. dotmusic went in search of all the answers. Watch the video interview below:-

The Divine Comedy release their new single 'Love What You Do' this week. What's it all about Neil?

Neil: "Regardless of the size of your pay cheque, it's more to do with what you've been doing that week to be enjoyable. Because that's the way you spend your time and life's too short.

"It's also a statement of intent for the new record and what we do now. We wanted to enjoy what we were doing a little more."

It's been well publicised that the new album's title, 'Regeneration', isn't simply a throwaway gesture. The Divine Comedy in 2001 have a major producer on board, a new look, a stripped down sound and a new record label, Parlophone.

"Obviously it's great cos Parlophone have a bit more money," grins bassist Bryan. "And they can let us do what we want. We've always been scrapping through and now they are there to help us through."

Neil continued: "It's the first time when we're been into the studio and not had a fix date to be out. Which is very nice."

dotmusic suggests that the band might have enjoyed a higher profile if you'd been on a major since the start. Do they agree?

"I think we would have been dropped by now," says Neil. "Starting on an indie was the only way, especially with the odd stuff that we've made. If you get signed to a major straight away you don't have that time, people are very quick to say that's not working, go away. Thankfully we signed to a major when...we can stand on our own two feet and not be bossed around."

It's clear from talking to the band that the image and public perception had become too much for them to bear. Neil confesses that the band had been a very firm unit for the last five or six years yet this wasn't being reflected in the records and they wanted that to change.

"It was becoming a bit of a millstone round our necks" is how Neil describes the whole pre-'Regeneration' Divine Comedy package. "It's probably commercial suicide but what the hell. We wanted to join the human race."

Their last 'greatest hits' tour was the final nail in the old 'Comedy coffin. The mood in the camp was summed up as "boredom".

"Touring the best of was quite tricky, hard work," reveals Rob. "The singles weren't necessary the songs we enjoy doing most. We did eight or nine months of single after single. We were begging for new stuff but it would have been nice to do some older stuff."

Did they think of packing it in?

All: "No! What would we do?"

Neil: "Up til now every record has sold a few more than the previous one, it's a nice trend so we'll just keep doing them until we start going back down again."

Another major change for the band was that Neil relinquished the production duties, handing them to Radiohead, Travis and Beck producer, Nigel Godrich.

What kind of impact did he have?

"He didn't like the Hammond," said Bryan. "So poor Stu sulked for a month and didn't play a note. He sat around playing PlayStation and table tennis and wondering if he would get on the record at all. And he'd just bought a big new one."

Neil explained that they needed someone with a firm hand in the studio.

"It's a matter of finding new roles. In the past it had been arranged on four-track at home and generally we did that in the studio with Jodie's huge orchestrations.

"We wanted to see what we could do as individuals. A change is as good as a rest. It's a necessary part of the evolution of the band."

What about the album?

"Get beneath the dark exterior and there's optimistic vibes going on," reveals Neil. "In the old days we tried to grab people round the neck...and this is more about people coming to us."

Was there a clear vision of what the band wanted when you entered the studio?

Bryan: "Not at all, we just went for it. It just turned out like that. We didn't know what it was going to sound like, no-one did, the producer didn't."

Neil: "We just put the various wheels in motion to take it somewhere but we didn't know where that somewhere would be. But we're very happy with the place that it ended up."

Bryan: "It's a fluke really."

Neil: "A happy accident."


Chris Heath
dotmusic 26/02/2001