Thursday, 12 February 2009

MJ Hibbett speaks!

Oi, Hibbett! Answer us a few questions for a layer of chips! New album ahoy.

Tell me all about why you decided to play so many gigs last year. Are you popped out?

"Decide" is perhaps putting it a little strongly. I spent many many years finding it incredibly difficult to get gigs (because I was crap) so now when people are nice enough to ask me to come and play I find it very difficult to say "no" - largely because I believe that, if I do, that particularly promoter will bring it up at the next Grand Council Of Promoters and ensure that I never ever get to play anywhere EVER AGAIN.

Last year loads of people very kindly asked me to go and play, so I did. It was GRATE but yes, very VERY knackering.

What's happening with the new album? Is it the same band? Any radical new departures we should look out for?

What's happening is it's FINISHED - it's called "Regardez, Ecoutez et Repetez" and it should be out on May 11th. We like it a LOT.

It's very much the same Validators, but in a slightly different order, with Mr Tim Pattison in the production chair this time. In the past, whenever we recorded something, Tim would always email me or Frankie (depending upon who was producing) with a list of, we thought, KRAZY and/or DERANGED IDEAS so we thought we'd give him a taste of his own medicine this time.

Much to our surprise this turned out to be a FANTASTIC IDEA, and as a result this album's PACKED with all sorts of sounds and strangeness. We finished it last week and suddenly realised that, actually, it's a bit weird. I think it sounds like "Giant Steps" by The Boo Radleys, Tim insists it sounds like "Rise And Fall" by Madness, and we are both convinced it is going to benefit from the much heralded return of SHOEGAZING. There's loads of sound effects, a classical PIECE, tons of samples, and more SEGUES than you can shake a prog stick at. Everyone else will probably say "Hmm, a touch more Wedding Present, a shade less Half Man Half Biscuit than usual", but we think it's AMAAAAAAAZING!

How do you think people see you and your band? Are you regarded as - gasp! - an elder statesmen now?

Maybe not "statesmen", but certainly the former, yes. I think most people who think of us at all think of us as a bit shambolic and ropey, based on the fact that we WERE a bit shambolic and ropey for the first half of our existence. After ten years together we've got a little bit FUNKADELIC - INDEED, when we supported Half Man Half Biscuit last year Geoff The Manager said "You were better than I remembered". I think we're going to have that as the next t-shirt!

Who are you favourite pop stars at the moment?

The same as ever - Take That. I Never Forgot!

What do you make of bands like Pains of Being Pure at Heart, Vivian Girls and Crystal Stilts? Style, or style over substance?

Mmm, yes, yes, it's a tricky thing isn't it? So many ways to look at it - I tell you what, what do you think?

I couldn't possibly comment.

Did that sound convincing? If you can imagine me nodding, possibly why sipping on a glass of red wine, does that make it sound better? To be honest I've utterly and completely no idea. I've spent the last year listening to pretty much nothing but my own records - either to RE-LEARN songs for Edinburgh or MIXES of the new album - so have rather lost touch. I did buy the First Aid Kit album the other week, which was rather excellent, is that any good?

What's the most dangerous situation the Validators have ever been in?

We once went to play in Cleator Moor, which is as far away from ANYTHING and ANYWHERE ELSE as you can GET in England. As we drove for hour after hour over deserted moorland we gradually began to wonder if it wasn't some PLOY to bring in FRESH MEAT for the local werewolves, and when we arrived at the tiny pub full of surly, BURLY, men playing DARTS it looked like our worst fears were about to be realised. We were TERRIFIED!

We played our whole set AFEARED, being GLARED at, convinced we were in for a DUFFING UP, but when we finished and started to pack up everybody BAYED for a second set, which was one of the best gigs we've ever DONE, with the entire pub singing along as we struggled to remember age old songs and ended up repeating most of the first set, slightly more slowly and a lot more drunkenly. Then we had a lock in until about 3 in the morning. It was fantastic, until the next day when we had to get up at 6AM and drive to Leeds. That drive, THAT was the most dangerous situation we've ever been in!

What is your life's ambition (apart from playing Indietracks this summer)?

Man alive, you would not BELIEVE how much The Validators want to play Indietracks this summer. The only thing we talk about more is how we can get back into The Festive 50 this year. Our current best plan is to kidnap Pete Green and The Bobby McGees and STEAL their votes!

Apart from that tho, my only musical ambition was to make an album that sounded a bit like "Giant Steps" by The Boo Radleys. Done that!

Will you please release a DVD of your videos? I'd buy it.

That's very nice of you, thanks - I'll put it on the BIG LIST. At the moment we've got "Regardez Ecoutez et Repetez" in May, "Dinosaur Planet: Official Soundtrack" in time for the Edinburgh Fringe, a re-release of "This Is Not A Library" (double CD with b-sides from the accompanying singles) next year, then "The Forest Moon Of Enderby", the next "rarities" (more rare than the rest of our stuff anyway) album. After that though, yeah, why not? That'll be 2012, we should have enough to fill a DVD by then!

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