During 2022, The Wedding Present, old-time indie band of yore, are releasing a 7” single to wander amongst the steaming masses, every month during that year
That’s right, 24 Songs presents two songs per month, every month, occupying the flip side of a 7”. This is not the first time the group has done this sort of thing. Like Halley’s Comet though, these things tend to come around again every now and again.
24 Songs, as it’s called, sees WP main man, David Gedge writing with Sleeper guitarist Jon Stewart for the first time. In fact, the first release includes a duet featuring David and Louise Wener (Sleeper vocalist) on We Should Be Together, and it’s coupled with Don’t Give Up Without A Fight.
We Should Be Together’ is viewable/listenable at the band’s YouTube (YouTune?) channel (www.youtube.com/weddingpresenttv)
Subscription details for 24 Songs (with an early bird incentive) can be found at linktr.ee/24songs. Individual singles and a collector’s box can be ordered from the same site or via all participating record shops.
I decided to confront David Gedge directly with questions relating to the above shenanigans.
Audiophile Man: Why Sleeper? The band is not the first name to roll off my lips as a potential collaborator(s). Is this a ‘Seemed like a good idea down the pub, last Friday’ type of idea or was there more to it?
David Gedge: Well, you’re surely aware that The Wedding Present are always full of surprises?! But, actually, Sleeper are my favourite band from the Britpop era. I’ve always liked bands who are good song writers and that’s surprisingly rare. And I also have a lot of respect for Louise Wener. I wasn’t aware that the, erm, admiration was mutual until Sleeper guitarist Jon Stewart was mentioned as a possible new guitarist for The Wedding Present a couple of years ago. It turns out that we’re one of his favourite bands too, so it all just fell into place, really. Shortly after I met Jon, he played me a demo of We Should Be Together which was an old Sleeper song and, when I discovered that it had never been released, I said: ‘That’s a great tune… The Wedding Present should cover it!’ He asked Louise if she’d be up for duet and the rest is history.
AM: Creating 24 Songs, a series of songs for 7” – were the songs created for those singles or were they from the trunk of written songs, already written?
DG: We’re writing them as we go. I am viewing this more as a continuous project than an album so, so far, we’ve just written a handful of songs and recorded them – they’re currently being pressed for the first couple of singles – and we’re back into the studio soon to finish another batch. It’s a little risky because vinyl pressing times are ridiculous at the moment but I just think that the idea of having them all written and recorded in advance sounds like a bit of a cheat!
AM: Related to the above, do songs targeted for single release have to be created in a modified or different manner to those who you know will end up as ‘mere’ album tracks. So, for example, do single tracks need more oomph, more punch because you’re making a short, sharp statement in a relatively short amount of time?
DG: I’ve never ever written a song specifically with the notion that it’s going to be a single or an album track, even though the last time we did something like this – in 1992 – we had a pretty strong inkling that each of the songs we were writing would end up as the A side of a 7”! But we generally work with whatever musical ideas that have been brought to the table by various band members and just see where it takes us. Some Wedding Present albums, like Seamonsters, which we’re currently playing live, sound like they have a definite theme running through them, but others don’t. It’s never planned. It depends on the writers, the musicians, the songs, the recording sessions and, to be honest, that’s kind of the beauty of it.
AM: Again, does the limited running time affect your choice of song and or the creative process?
DG: Ha, ha, that’s a good question! There are actually already a couple of the 24 Songs songs that are on the longer side but, rather than shorten the arrangements, we’re looking at making ‘7” Versions’. We did that with a Cinerama track called Wow which is nearly seven minutes long. For the 7” single we just faded the end section early, and that worked fine.
AM: Is the single-song creation process a more enjoyable one is it more stressful because you may be fitting the songs into a set template package, as it where?
DG: Like I say, we’re not really fitting anything into anything! I think the most stressful bit will be getting everything finished in time… much like it was 30 years ago, in fact! This time round, though, I’ve had the added distractions of writing the second volume of my autobiography and continually re-arranging pandemic-affected concerts!
My thanks to Mr Gedge for his time. Check out the links for 24 Songs here to fill your house full of 7” singles. I can’t think of a better way to fill it, to be honest.
To learn more, click www.theweddingpresent.co.uk