Exclusive chat with Richard 18 February 2009


For the latest in our exclusive interviews, we caught up with Richard before the final shows of the UK tour at the O2 Arena.

Hello Richard. How are you?
Very well, thank you.

How has the tour been?
It’s been brilliant. Not least because of my amazing coffee machine, which I’ve literally just made a coffee with.

Are you a good coffee maker?
I wouldn’t say that. I’m not at Monmouth Street standards yet, but I intend to improve, as in all things.

Is there a particular bean you’ve been rocking?
I’ve just got some of the Monmouth Street espresso blend, which is pretty good.

How many cups do you have a day?
One or two. I used to have a lot more, but I couldn’t sleep.

Talking of sleeping, you’ve been on a tourbus for the past few weeks, do you sleep well on there?
Totally. I think I must’ve averaged at least ten hours a night.

Yeah, it’s wicked. We had an amazing driver Paul, who appeared in my Paris to Bournemouth thing. He was a very smooth driver.  And it never gets light in your bunk, even if it’s light outside. I sleep like a log.

Was it a posh tourbus, with a lounge?
There were two lounges actually. One upstairs and one downstairs. The one upstairs had a big TV which we watched Reservoir Dogs on on the way back from Brighton. I’d forgotten how good a film that is.

Then you said goodbye to the bus when you reached London?
We did. It’s always a little sad in the sense that the guy driving the bus is as much a part of the crew as anyone. But we’ll hopefully see him soon.

But you won’t be on a bus in Latin America?
No, it’s all flying, sadly. We’re doing 16 flights in three weeks. It’s the one part of the world where you really can’t take the train or drive.

Are you all set for the trip out there?
Yeah, I’m looking forward to every aspect of it, other than the flying. I’ve just bought a new digital camera to help with blogging. Not that I really needed a better one, but Rob kept going on about this amazing camera, so I went and had a look at it and next thing I know I’d walked out with one in my bag. Having paid for it first, obviously!

What is it?
It’s a Nikon D700. It has a full-frame sensor, which means it’s like an 35mm camera, so I can use all my old lenses.

So in a way, you’ve *saved* yourself money.
That’s right! I spent a fortune to save myself loads of money. I used it for the fish eye pictures on the blog, which would’ve looked very cropped on my old camera. Whereas with this you get the whole circle.

Have you been enjoying doing your photoblogging?
I have. It’s actually forced me to get up off my arse a couple of times. Like in Brighton, for example, where it was really nice to just go for a wander. I even bought some rock, with Brighton written down the middle of it.

Can we expect more of the same from Latin America?
I’m certainly going to try. Obviously it requires an internet connection and some patience, but wherever I can find a connection, I will endeavour to do it. I’ll certainly be taking pictures. The only regret about the photoblogging is that I’ve been taking a lot less pictures with my film cameras. And with a dark room at home, that’s a little bit of a shame. So I’ll have to discipline myself to take both digital and film cameras out and about with me.

The background on last week was the robot from the sticker on your laptop. Where did he come from?
It was from an amazing interiors website that I love, called Thorsten is brilliant and he’s a really lovely bloke as well. He has a very funny blog on his site too, actually. It wasn’t made by him, but that’s where I bought it.

What else do you have on your laptop?
I’ve got a Johnny Cupcakes sticker, a CND logo, an Onion sticker and an emergency exit sticker which I bought in Berlin.

If we ask you what the best gig on this tour was, what springs to mind first?
Well, Liverpool was really good. It’s a great new venue, and the crowd was really up for it. A venue really is only as good as its crowd. But all of the gigs have been great. It was nice to play in Brighton and actually get to the end of the gig without any lights falling on us.

The production looked great on this tour.
We’ve been working on it for about a year, on the films, the set and the way the screens work together.

Did the reality live up to the plans you’d made?
Well the sad thing about being the guy sitting at the back facing forward is that I can’t see any of the show. I can’t see the screens and I can’t see the videos. Like, for example, there’s a video of us on a night train trip to Berlin which I actually shot myself. I gave it all to Rob, our lighting guru, and he turned it into a film to be used behind one of the songs. But I can’t actually tell you which song it is, because I’ve never seen it. I’ve only ever seen it on a computer screen. I should maybe get a rear view mirror fitted to my drumkit. Tom gets to go out front and look back and see it all. One of the cool things about doing that DVD was that I actually got to sit back and see how the show was.

And you’re back at the O2 today. Last time you were there, there were floods. Today there’s snow. It’s your extreme weather venue.

Indeed. But then the other night in Brighton there were people there from Brazil, Japan and America. They’d all travelled to the UK to see us play. So if they can make it all that way, a little bit of snow shouldn’t stop anyone.

Is it nice to be finishing with the London gig?
It is, yeah. I was at home this morning. It’s nice to get the tube to your gig! And I’ve got a lot of friends and family coming to both shows, so it should be really fun. We played here before and it was great, which gives you a certain amount of confidence. Hopefully it’ll be as good as it’s been on this tour so far.

What sort of thing can go wrong for a drummer?
Well, my in-ear monitors broke the other night. The left ear just blew. That was quite challenging; Scott had to go and get my spare pair. So if they break, I’m screwed.

What would happen?
Well, I think there’s a really old pair somewhere. A spare spare. I’m sure they’ve got that on standby.

And someone in the crowd will have some headphones.
Exactly! But that’s about as bad as it gets really. You can break a stick, but I haven’t been breaking as many in the recent past.

But you’ve got spares next to you?
I have, although the company that distributes them has apparently gone bust, which is awful. They’ve been really great to me.

Maybe the fact you’ve not been breaking drumsticks was a factor in their downfall.
No, that would’ve kept them going longer, as they gave them to me at cost price.

How’s Frankmusik been on this tour?
Great, actually. He had a couple of voice issues early on. He got a very bad cold which was really unfortunate. But Brendan Campbell stepped in for the Glasgow show, which was great. But it’s been really good having Frankmusik along. He’s a lovely chap and his band are really nice too. It’s cool, because you go into catering every night and you just sit down where there’s a space. It’s been a really fun tour for that. Everyone’s been very sociable. And I don’t think that’s always the case with tours; you hear horror stories from crew members about bands who are just utterly wrapped up in their own egos. Frankmusik seem to have been going down really well with the crowds too. They always get a really good cheer when we say thank you to them during our set.

And now you’ve got a few days off before South America. Do you have plans?
I’ve got to get a yellow fever jab. Oh, and I need to get my sister a birthday present too. But my main priorities will be just to catch up with friends and family and to chill out at home. We’ve got an exciting few weeks coming up, so I need to be ready for them!

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