E-mail interview by Rich Wilson. The interview appeared in an edited form in the April edition of 'Record Mart and Buyer' in the UK.
Rich: Is this the your most 'complete' album to date?
Fish: Most definately. The confidence derived from the Sunsets on Empire album and the subsequent touring together with the space discovered from the removal of business activities such as the Dick Bros label and the Millennium Studios allowed me the freedom and energy to devote to this project. I was able to fully concentrate while at the same time the realisation that this album has a 'do or die' element to it meant that there would be a sense of bravado and a definate maverick spirit in the approach.
Rich: How would you summarise 'Raingods', both lyrically and musically?
Fish: I think the album illustrates my fascination with an eclectic combination of styles. Three of the tracks namely Tilted Cross, Mission Statement and Incomplete were written at the Castle Marouatte, Miles Copeland's writing retreat in the South of France. Being introduced to a number of musicians with whom I would have never have contemplating writing with provided a new source of excitement and a realisation that my writing abilities were not just confined to 'progressive rock'. The arrival of Mark Daghorn and Tony Turrell with their 25 minute 'ambient piece' sparked off a writing frenzy and the return to dealing with an 'epic track' I found challenging and envigorating. The maturity and confidence that is represented by the creative skills of the team involved are done justice to by producer Elliot Ness and the mixing and mastering skills of Calum Malcolm. I never felt at any point that I had to remain in a formula mode and I was stimulated by the convergence of different styles and lyrical subject.
Rich: Is 'Raingods' an extremely personal album?
Fish: As always there is a number of personal elements which are brought to light, some consciously some sub-consciously. When I am involved in writing lyrics they tend to cluster around ideals, notions or observations from the time period of a construction. The emotions that guided the album were very powerful and we were lucky to manage to trap this energy in the recording process.
Rich: What is the background to Plague of Ghosts?
Fish: Plague of Ghosts was introduced to me as a very loose 25 minute ambient section called All These Christs. Originally it was intended that I supply vocal samples but after hearing Mark and Tony's piece I saw something on a far more grander scale. The concept is too difficult to explain in a few words but it loosely concerns itself with a deconstruction, a journey and a resurrection of spirit.
Rich: How did you come to be working with Rick Astley?
Fish: Rick was invited to the Castle my Miles Copeland and as always with these writing sessions, we were introduced to each other by lots which were drawn. Every day there are 8 3 person writing teams put together from the 24 musicians that take up residence in the Castle for a week. Every morning you are introduced to another 2 individuals who make up your team, all from difference genres of music. Your mission, which often does seem impossible, is to write and record a song to demo form from scratch over a 24 hour period. Mission Statement came about from a collaboration with Rick and top country writer Paul Thorn.
Rich: Is there an extensive world tour planned?
Fish: I don't really think that touring directly benefits record sales but can feed from a vibrant album and be led by its energy and success. Long term touring is something I find hard to justify having spent 8 months playing 130 shows in 23 countries in 1997 and loosing a shed-full of money in the process. It was great fun but realistically hard to justify and I now have to find a balance in my life for creative energies as with an acting career starting to take off I have got to provide opportunities for my other agent to get commission as well. The initial tour is starting off in Europe in early May and continuing to the end of June after which we will probably be going to America both north and south for over 2 months. At this point, further touring may be considered but it seems more likely that I will be getting involved in a movie project in the early Autumn.
Rich: Do you have any regrets?
Fish: Not having practiced foorball more often at an early age and never having fully learned a martial art as well as not having thought of computers as a passing fad!
Rich: Whats the worst on stage experience you've ever had?
Fish: Losing my voice on stage three numbers in to a virus in Krakow in Poland.
Rich: What's playing on the CD player in the Fish household?
Fish: Picture House - Karmarama
Marillion - Clutching at Straws Remaster (second CD, the one with the 'missing album')
Rich: Following your successful role in 'Young Persons Guide to Becoming a Rock Star, whats next for Fish thespian?
Fish: There are two or three offers being considered but nothing definate yet. I consider it bad luck to mention projects before they are signed off.
Interview 6th February 1999