Read the article on the Liverpool Echo website or the full interview can be read below.
THEIR debut album was nominated for the Mercury Music Prize the day after it was released, a record company was created around them, and they were hailed as the saviours of indie music – all before The Coral reached their 21st birthdays.
It was a been a whirlwind 10 years for the unassuming Wirral lads, so it was no surprise that they’ve been taking a bit of time out over the last few years.
A number of solo projects have followed, tinged with the retrospective indie, spacey, guitar-based psychedelia.
Cut From A Star is the debut album from drummer Ian Skelly.
“It’s a psychedelic album that I have been working on for sometime now,” says Ian. “It features a few different musicians and is colourful sounding, with layered guitars and keyboard landscapes.”
The music is deliberately lo-fi – it copies the techniques of 60s and 70s recording, achieved by using a Tascam tape cassette machine, tracked vocals and layered guitars.
“I have been working on various tracks for the last two years, on and off between recording and touring as The Coral,” says Ian. “Most of the album was recorded on an 8 track Tascam in late night sessions after Coral rehearsals.
“Cut from a Star the title track was an old Coral tune but we never got the right angle on it. It was written by me and our Jay (Coral singer and Ian’s brother James Skelly) for an album called The Curse Of Love. That album was shelved when Bill (former guitarist Bill Ryder Jones) rejoined the band and we started work on a new album Roots and Echoes.
“I thought the track was great so reworked and re-recorded it. I started with me on keyboards and vocals and built the track up from there adding drums next and acoustic guitar.
“Our Jay plays bass and Liam Power from By The Sea plays guitar at the end.
“Fiona and Niamh from The Sundowners sing backing vocals on the track and throughout the album.”
There are plenty of guest musicians on the album – as well as James Skelly, there’s Coral musicians Paul Duffy, Nick Power and Lee Southall as well as singer/songwriter Miles Kane.
“I’m just putting a band together at the moment,” says Ian.
“When the band is solid I will be doing live dates.”
How does it differ doing solo material from performing in The Coral?
“Quite a lot,” says Ian. “For a start it’s only me so the only person I have to argue with is myself.
“I’ve always recorded and written music by myself but for this album I had to produce, engineer, sing and arrange all the tracks. However all the members of the Coral have played and helped with this album.”
Is this the end of The Coral?
“No, The Coral are still together,” says Ian. “We are just taking a break from the music – not from each other.
“We are all playing on our Jay’s new solo album, which is sounding really good. The Coral does have new material. We have half an album which has been recorded with John Leckie.”
Ian is turning to a variety of sources for his inspiration.
“The same stuff has always inspired me – art, books, comics and music,” he says.
“At the moment I am listening to a lot of Chess recordings blues and soul stuff like Muddy Waters, Howling Wolf and Koko Taylor.
“I like northern soul and Stacks all the good stuff really. Recently I’ve been listening to King King – a live album by The Red Devils an American blues band from the 90s.”
Ian started the Coral when he was just 14, when he and bass player Paul Duffy started jamming.What advice would he give to a young Merseyside musician starting out today?
“I’d say be a banker or a lawyer,” he laughs. “That’s a hard question because the music industry has changed so much over the last 10 years.
“The internet has changed the game what with downloads, but it has also given bands the freedom to market and promote their work without having a record deal. I would say only do it for the love of playing music and if you’re good enough the rest should come.”
Now that the album is almost ready to release and he’s planning live dates soon, are there any ambitions as yet unfulfilled?
“I co-produced with my brother James on The Sundowners’ single Hummingbird and his solo album which is released next year,” he says.
“I’ve really enjoying producing at the moment and that’s something I’m moving into.”
Cut From A Star by Ian Skelly is out next month.