TIM WHEELER'S OH YEAH CENTRE SONGWRITER SESSION - A VIEW FROM THE CROWD

On Tuesday 11th January we headed down to the Oh Yeah Centre in Belfast were we met up with Tina (Cosmicgirl) and her boyfriend Aaron. We were here for the first ‘Scratch My Music’ of 2011 with the special guest being none other than our very own Tim Wheeler. The evening kicked off with an introduction from Stuart Bailie, founder of the centre, before four tracks from four different bands were put to a panel of five NI music scene peeps who rated or slated tracks from new Northern Irish bands. We liked the sound of Colly Strings and were pleased to hear when they asked a band member some questions that they are supporting Feeder at their Spring & Airbrake gig in Belfast on 4th February which we are going so will have to make sure we get down early to see them.

You can check out the songs & the panels thoughts here

An hour later they took a brief break before bringing Tim onstage. The talk was lead by Scott Edgar in a story like fashion with questions thrown in, he went back to Tim getting his first Guitar for Christmas aged 12 and taking the story right though to today. We heard Tim talk of the fact that he didn’t always want to be the singer, starting out they had a couple of other singers but they kept walking off stage so it ended up that he had to do it himself (luckily for us!). When writing it’s always the music that comes first and the lyrics are written later. He said that he writes about his feelings and things that are personal to him but doesn’t like to talk about it in interviews and admitted that when questioned about it he’ll often changes the subject. He has also found influences in books and of course other music and is currently listening to Bulgarian choir music! (Seriously!)

During the interview stage Tim’s mic was playing up badly but he didn’t let this put him off and continued on regardless. He told us that the record company didn’t push Kung Fu due to them doing their A-Levels at the time so they wouldn’t have been able to promote it properly. Girl From Mars then came out just 2 weeks after they had completed their A-Levels. His brother Pat who was there in the Oh Yeah centre watching from the front row had been the one to suggest to him to try the slow quiet part in Angel Interceptor. When they both lived at home in Downpatrick he used to be able to go into the next bedroom to see what Pat thought of what he was writing saying it was very important to have people you can trust who will provide honest feedback on ideas & Pat and Mark are particularly good at this. He talked about their time recording 1977 and not knowing how everything worked in the studio, he said that at times he would hear recordings played back and would think to himself that it didn’t sound like them, they were very much at the mercy of the producer Owen Morris at the time until they learnt how things worked and were able to have more input themselves.

They were then commissioned to write A Life Less Ordinary for the movie of the same name, the Danny Boyle film after Trainspotting, he struggled to write it in his flat in London so went off for a week to a friends house in the country and it all finally came together on the last evening. He said that Burn Baby Burn & A Life Less Ordinary were hard work to write, so he didn’t think they were going be that big saying sometimes stuff that’s hard to write or that he hasn't though has been his best has often become the fans’ favourite stuff.

The A-Z Series came about out of frustration with the album format, how it is promoted, and the changes in the ways people purchase music. People don't buy albums so much anymore and pick and choose single songs, resulting in so many tracks on an album not getting enough exposure. This was particularly true for Twilight Of The Innocents at the end of the album, which Tim said is one of the best songs they have done.

At various points they paused for Tim to do acoustic versions of Jack Names The Planets, Girl From Mars, Goldfinger, Shining Light and he finished with none other than Oh Yeah. They then opened up to questions from the floor where he answered about 10 questions from various members of the audience. A few that stick in my mind included a guy asking about the biblical references in Shining Light and Tim answered saying he was brought up going to church. He was then asked if the Shining Light video was difficult to make and apparently it was made in an underwater tank used by TV & Film crews, it was hard work for him during filming as he spent all day being taken down by divers and then swimming up… he joked that he suffers for his art. During the first part he mentioned going to the Linen Hall Library in Belfast to write and he was asked what he read while in the library and he said he was writing Shining Light at that time.

All in all it was a great wee evening and didn’t cost a penny, it was really interesting and nice to hear Tim talking about all the songs and the acoustic solos were an added bonus!

Added on 17/01/2011 by jedisteve