Music Interview: RIDE – Andy Bell
In an unexpected twist for those who were around during the initial breakup of the band, Ride are back. And, whisper it, perhaps even better than ever. We caught up with Andy Bell prior to the band rolling back to Glasgow and Aberdeen to promote This Is Not A Safe Place, their new album.
How was Japan, and do your shows over there differ to gigs here?
I loved our trip to Japan. We played Tokyo and Osaka and the audiences were great. They seemed to be especially into our new album, which felt really cool. It’s one of my favourite places to play.
This is your first UK tour since the release of This Is Not A Safe Place. What should fans expect?
We’ll play most of our new album, as people have been responding really well to it, but also plenty of old classics. We are pretty tight as we have been on tour for a few months. What else to say? It will be loud!
When you recorded ‘Future Love’, did it feel like the song to come back with?
Yeah, as soon as we recorded ‘Future Love’ it became a band favourite. It’s good when you’re making an album and you have an obvious first single; it takes the pressure off while you are recording. Things can always change, but on this occasion they didn’t. ‘Future Love’ was earmarked from day one as the first track people would hear, and that’s what it became.
With two albums since reforming, what is your approach to balancing your set-list?
It gets harder with every album. With the last tour, for Weather Diaries, we chopped and changed the set every gig, playing a wide variety of songs, but getting the set list together every night was a headache. This time we have settled on a really good list, which we’ve been working on throughout the tour. There are small changes, but it has such a good flow that we’re keeping it similar every night.
When you were in other bands, did you see Ride reforming, and reaching the levels you have now?
No, not really. I’m surprised how well it’s worked out so far.
Was it important for the band to produce new material when reforming, and not just riding the gravy train others have?
We did the reunion thing once, and took it all around the world. At the end of that tour we felt that we couldn’t do it again without new music. So, we thought we would give it a try. The result was Weather Diaries, and now we’re up and running, feeling like a regular band.
Do you see Ride continuing alongside solo projects such as GLOK?
Yes, I see everything working together. Everyone is free to keep various other musical avenues open at the same time as Ride.
In the current streaming-focused climate, how vital are niche and specialist radio channels?
I think they can be really positive and good breeding grounds for new music, untested or marginalised DJs, and fresh ideas. Mainstream radio is very playlist orientated, and radio has the potential to be so much more open. Community radio stations such as Boogaloo and NTS are out there showing the big stations how it’s done, very rough and ready, but full of enthusiasm and love for the music. You can be as niche as you like if you’re archiving shows online; people will eventually track it down.
Do you have any plans to re-join Boogaloo Radio, or any other channel?
I loved being part of Boogaloo Radio. It embodies the community radio aesthetic and I met some great people doing it, as well as learning loads. Saying that, I have no current plans to go back, or start another show somewhere else at the moment. I’m putting all my energies into making and performing music for now, but I’m sure I’ll end up
doing more radio at some point.
You may not be able to give much away yet, but will Ride be busy in 2020? Are festivals likely?
In the New Year we start off with some dates in Europe, and from there the year is completely open. Yes, I’m hoping we’ll get some festivals to keep us occupied through spring and summer.
This Is Not A Safe Place is out now on Wichita Recordings and the band play Glasgow’s SWG3 on Wednesday 4th December and The Lemon Tree, Aberdeen on the 5th.