Updated: Thursday, 18th April 2019 @ 9:36am

Still going after all this time: British rockers Feeder stronger after 15 years, eight albums and countless tours

Still going after all this time: British rockers Feeder stronger after 15 years, eight albums and countless tours

By Phil Jones

Indie-rockers Feeder were one of Britain’s biggest bands in the early noughties with two top-five singles, a BRIT award nomination and a number two album.

The band released their eighth studio album, Generation Freakshow, in April 2012 and they return to Manchester this November to play Academy 1.

In the final part of MM’s interview, frontman Grant Nicholas talks about the band’s longevity, commercial success and starting out in the business now.

Feeder have been together, in one form or another, for over fifteen years and are described on their management’s website as a British rock institution.

Nicholas told MM: “I don’t know if that’s a compliment or makes me feel old.

“We’ve survived in a very competitive and a very difficult industry that’s changed a lot since we started, so we’ve obviously done something right.

“Hopefully we’re a good role model for younger bands to show you can have long careers if you work hard at it.

“We’ve always made music that we felt was right for us and ignored any negative press.

“I wouldn’t want to be a new band starting out now though, the industry has changed so much and it’s so tough.”

Since 2005’s Pushing the Senses, the band have enjoyed little commercial success but kept their loyal fan following, adding to it with every album release.

But Nicholas admits the band have never courted radio stations or aimed for chart positions when writing.

“We’ve only had two or three very commercial songs that have come along and were blatantly radio friendly – but we didn’t know at the time that they would do so well,” said the 44-year-old.

“We just want to be a band that has good songs, if you write a handful of timeless songs in your career you’ve done well and that’s something I’m still trying to work towards.

“Commercial success introduces the band to a bigger audience but with the way the business and radio are at the moment it’s a tough time.

“If you’re a new band it’s hard to make money because you can’t necessarily play big venues to make the money, but then you might get more radio play.

“Then if you’re an older band like ourselves it can work against you, because the radio likes to come up with what’s new and the happening thing.”

Nicholas recalls the days when they were starting out, supporting larger bands, and hopes he can give the same leg-up to today’s new bands.

“It was a big break for us to tour with a big band – playing to a bigger audience is a great thing,” he said.

“We obviously do have value out there because many bands want to come out on tour with us.

“I think that’s down to the fact that they know that our audiences are open to new music as they’re pretty diverse.

“Hopefully it’s a stepping-stone for a band to play to some big audiences, and a chance for me to hear some new music.

“I don’t think many people do in this day and age, there’s so much out there, albums come and go so quickly it’s just ridiculous.”

Reading Festival has been the site of some memorable moments in the band’s history and they returned to play there in August for the first time since 2008.

“They offered us headlining the third stage and we thought we maybe shouldn’t do this,” added the Welsh rocker.

“Then we thought, oh what the hell, we love that festival, we see ourselves as a Reading band – it was a great day.

“The tent was absolutely rammed and in some ways, I enjoyed it more than being on the main stage because it just had a better atmosphere.”

The band headlined the second stage ten years ago in their first major show after the suicide of drummer Jon Lee.

And Nicholas credits that show with convincing himself and Taka Hirose to persist with the band.

“That was a very tough gig but it gave us the belief that there was still a lot of support for the band and that they’d accept us without Jon,” said the songwriter.

“It was a very difficult decision to carry on but we did, it set the path for us and we realised that there was so much good will towards the band, from the fans and even the media.”

Nicholas told MM the band would take a break next year, with no shows planned, as he works on a new album and other side projects.

But Nicholas couldn’t confirm how that album would sound: “I’m not sure what the next album will be like, but I won’t be going dub step or anything like that.”

Feeder play Manchester Academy 1 on November 18 with support from Virgin Mary’s and Sound of Guns.

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