Friday, June 1, 2018

Interview: Henry Lipput Talks to Trip of Super 8

Turn Around Or…: SUPER 8's Trip Talks About His New Album

By Henry Lipput

It's been just about six months since SUPER 8 released T-T-T-Technicolour Melodies! and on June 15th the new album Turn Around Or... will be available. In the 60s, bands like The Beatles were under contract to write and record two albums a year; and, in the case of The Beatles, they also put out three non-album singles each year. There hasn't been much of that lately but I do recall Badly Drawn Boy's releasing two terrific albums, Have You Fed The Fish? and the About A Boy soundtrack in the same year.

I had a chance to talk to Trip, the mastermind behind England's SUPER 8, in a lengthy Twitter exchange (a twinterview®, if you will) about the new album, his working methods, his influences, and whether fans in the UK at least might get the chance to see him in a live setting.

Henry Lipput: Your new album Turn Around Or… is a follow-up to T-T-T Technicolour Melodies! which came out earlier this year. That's two albums in a six-month period. Did you have a backlog of material or a burst of creativity? 

Trip: Good question. BOTH! It came directly off the release of the T-T-T-Technicolour Melodies! album back in January. I guess I was fired up by the positive response to it and just continued to keep writing. I knew I'd be away for the month of May so I thought it might be a fun musical challenge to see if I could "turn around" (see what I did there?) another album in just a few months. I already had a number of songs in different stages of production plus a few that I'd actually finished and was happy with, so it was really just a case of filling in the gaps for those ones then writing and recording a handful of brand new "Trippy Toons!" that would fit the vibe for the rest of the album. I'm actually quite pleased with the way this batch of songs all segued together -- a happy accident!

There's a fuller sound to Turn Around Or… T-T-T-Technicoluor Melodies! was you as a one-man band. Is that the case with the new album? 

Yeah, the new one's pretty much the same: me beavering away and just trying to let the songs inform me as to where they want to go. That said, I did have a bit of outside help on a couple of tracks for this one that made for a pleasant change. The talented Nick Bertling (also on the Futureman Records roster) did his very best Keith Moon impression on the opening track "Hey! Mr Policeman," plus Bill Philips and Owen Hodgson really helped me to realize the horn riffs on said song from the second chorus onwards. I'd also like to thank Sunnie Larson for, again, helping me to realize the string arrangement on the track "Wild Apple Girl." Hand picked by Keith Klingensmith (head honcho at Futureman Records) they're all fabulous players who really helped to interpret my ideas.

As for the "fuller sound" you mention, yes, that was intentional. The T-T-T-Technicolour Melodies! recording took me the best part of six months to put together (in isolation).  I wanted Turn Around Or.. to sound more ... rushed! Ha! Ha! No, not rushed, but more "just bash 'em out" really! As in twelve upfront Pop songs -- ALL killers, hopefully NO fillers!

I didn't really think about this album too much. I was just vibing off the back of the debut and getting to enjoy myself -- no pressure! I'm not really taking myself too seriously with this one (as you can probably guess from the video I've just finished for the opening track! It was shot using just one mobile phone on a budget of £20.)

You cover the song "Serious Drugs" by The BMX Bandits on Turn Around Or… What made you select that song?

Well, I've always loved the song from the moment I heard it. I just related to it on every level and, like "Paperback Writer" by The Beatles and "There She Goes" by The La's,  I just think it's one of those perfect Pop songs -- it resonated with me (and still does!) Anyway, I hadn't heard it in ages. Then, one day, it popped up on an old mixtape (that I'd probably made for some ex-girlfriend! I forget the name of the girlfriend but I definitely hadn't forgotten the song as it turned out!)

I had my guitar with me (as I often do!) and just started strumming it through. It seemed to suit my style (whatever that may be!) but I wasn't playing the right chords so I somewhat impulsively contacted one of the song's writers out of the blue on social media (namely Duglas T. Stewart lead singer of The BMX Bandits) and asked if it was okay if I had a shot at covering the song. Much to my surprise, he came back pretty much immediately and in the affirmative, so I asked him for the chords. Then, after having completed my rendition in one short recording session, I sent it to him as a sonic thank you and rather timidly awaited his response. Fortunately, he liked my interpretation; and, well, here it is featured on this next SUPER 8 album. In the words of The A-Team's Hannibal: "I love it when a plan comes together!" not that there was that much of a plan really -- it just sort of "organically happened!"

You have a gift for melodies and arrangements. Who would you say are your major influences? 

You think? Thank you! I have quite eclectic tastes when it comes to music I suppose but, as for actual influences, I guess off the top of my head I'd have to say: Brian Wilson, Paul McCartney, Burt Bacharach. Paul Simon, James Taylor. Ask me tomorrow and I'll give you a completely different list but, right now, that's where I'm at! At the core of everything I do though is... The Beatles (yeah, I know!)

Any chance of fans in the UK seeing you perform live? 

Hmm ... tricky one! I'm definitely not ruling it out but playing live right now would hold me back I feel. What am I talking about? Well, there's no way I'd have been able to do another album so quickly with a band. I'd have to find one for starters and, well, I have "a way of working" on this end I guess -- I only have myself to blame. As things stand, if I get an idea, I can just go "bash it out;" and, sometimes, (if I get lucky!) my first "solo jam" effort can get to be the finished version (like my cover of "Serious Drugs" for instance). Were I to go down the road of actually trying to form a "proper band," it would first take me ages to find the "right" folks, and then we'd have to spend ages working out the songs (two albums worth of songs from the last six months) and, knowing me, I'd probably have to drive the van as well. All the while I'd be playing songs that were already "out there" as opposed to working up new ones. I do still like the idea of playing live; but, when I think about the practicalities of it all, I suppose I'm just more of a studio guy these days. I manage to get more done this way.

You can pre-order Turn Around Or... here.

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