When I decided to ask Gareth Icke for an interview, I wasn’t quite sure which route to go down with regards to questioning.. He’s a beach soccer player, radio presenter, author, musician and not to mention David Icke‘s son. Here’s what he had to say about his new album and playing Wembley arena…
GeeksUnleahsed: Tell us about your music and how you started writing.
Gareth Icke: I don’t really know to be honest. I almost kind of fell into it. I grew up on an Island where you have very little options to choose from. You grow up, get a crap job you hate, bang out a couple of kids, get divorced, your kids grow up hating you, then the process begins again. I didn’t really fancy that so decided I’d do something different.
I was an angry kid and was told to “stop being an obnoxiousness prick and start a band or something” by a guy called Dan Damage who ran the local music venue and that’s where it began.
I think I started writing in the same way a young lad gets into boxing. To vent and let out anger that would probably otherwise consume them.
Now I’m older, and I like to think, wiser, the songs are a lot less aggressive, but the process is the same. I write to vent.
GU: Your album A Brand New Battle is due for release later this year. Are there any running themes?
GI: Not consciously no. I didn’t sit down and say I’m going to put together twelve songs that say this particular thing. But I think if you listen to the record, there probably is a theme somewhere. The album was written in a really tough time. I’d gone through a divorce and stuff and moved back to the Isle of Wight with nothing. I didn’t write a lot at that time. To be honest, I just got very drunk. But then things started picking up. That’s when I started writing the album. I guess there is a theme of rebirth in there. It is a positive album despite being about negative things. Sometimes hitting rock bottom can be massively positive. You are forced to look yourself in the eyes. A lot of us try at all costs to avoid doing that.
GU: Which tracks mean the most to you and why?
GI: I think off this record, ‘Paint the town red’ is probably the most significant to me personally. It’s about realising who you are, and what you’ve become. That no matter what your surroundings are, you’re always there. You can’t run away from yourself. You can drink and try and escape, you can have women in your bed, but it’s all just trying to polish a turd. I realised I needed to change me, to change my experiences. I made it catchy though, so it isn’t too heavy, don’t worry!
GU: You’ve got a massive show in support of your father at Wembley arena on October 27th. Is that somewhere you’ve always dreamed of playing?
GI: It is a bizarre thing and I’m not sure it’s kicked in yet to be honest. A few years ago I think I would have felt differently. I was so obsessed with not riding my Dads coat tails that I think I would have found playing a show like this difficult. But then you grow up. Will I ever play Wembley Arena off my own back? No. So even if people think I’m there through genes and not ability, that’s their opinion. I’m playing Wembley Arena!
It’s not so much the venue I’m bothered about. It could be Manchester, Derby, or Beirut Arena for all I care. But playing to THAT many people! That’s the dream come true part.
I’ve played to a couple of thousand before and that blew my mind. So 6 or 7 thousand people is crazy. I’m shitting myself, but in a good way.
GU: Do your father’s writings have any influence on your lyrics?
GI: They do yeah. I don’t read a book and say right, I’m stealing that theme, or that line. But I have grown up with this information for two thirds of my life, so it’s bound to affect the way I think, and the way I write. The only time I’ve done it consciously was with Remember who you are. My Dad asked me to write that song to go with the release of the book. At the time I was in a massive creative phase, so another tune was easy. I knocked it out in twenty minutes and that was that.
I work in phases like that. Like now, I haven’t picked up the guitar in two weeks. Yet the week before, I banged out three new tunes.
GU: What bands are you listening to at the moment?
GI: I’m listening to Post Electric Blues by Idlewild. Literally on repeat. They’re my favourite band of all time and that album is perfect. If I could write any album ever written, I’d write that. It’s beautiful.
GU: If you could tour in support of any artist who would it be?
GI: Alive or dead? If they’re allowed to be dead, it would be a toss up between Nirvana and The Beatles. I’d love to sit down with Kurt Cobain and John Lennon. Just to have a couple of beers and get inside their heads. And the crowd would be pretty big. Mind you, if they started screaming through the songs, like they did in the Beatles first US tour, my guitar would be thrown, in their direction.
If they have to be alive, Idlewild. Just because I love them.
GU: You’re also a published author. Tell us about your new book.
GI: I used to be in a punk rock band called Kody, a few years back. We nearly made it and had some crazy experiences. We toured the USA and played all the big UK festivals and venues. Some of the stuff that went on was insane. From killing a Welshman to being held at gunpoint. I realised that the stories of a failed band were actually far more interesting than those of a successful one. So I wrote ‘How NOT to be a rockstar’, I hope people enjoy it. It’s certainly interesting.
GU: What’s next for you and your music?
GI: No idea. I’ve just signed a one album deal with a Manchester based indie label. I’m going to tour the album through October and see what happens. I’ve spent years trying to ‘make it’ and realised it’s all bollocks to be honest. Now I’m older I’m just going to go with it and see what happens. As long as I have a smile on my face and a beer in my hand, I have all I need.
If the album does great, that’s amazing. If it doesn’t, so be it.
Gareth Icke – Remember Who You Are
Image disclaimer: I’m happy to give credit where credit is due. email me Kerry [at] artisanrecords .co.uk