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About the new album and not only
Interview with Chris Norman
 
 
 

Chris, so what are your current news? I guess the main ones your fans are waiting for are about the new album...

— I've just finished recording the new album. I did it with my band, normal live band, with everybody. Everybody came and we did it in Yorkshire. Everybody was there, we all lived there, we stayed there, we had rooms at the studio. And we got up every day, went in and started to work by 11 o'clock in the morning and finished about anything between 12 and 2 on the next morning. We recorded every day, and we recorded 14 songs. I co-wrote 5 of them with everybody in the band. One with Geoff, one with Axel, one with Dorino, one with Ina Morgan, one with Martina. I co-wrote a song with each of those, so there's a Chris Norman and one of those. I co-wrote 2 songs with Pete, Pete Spencer. And then I wrote 7 just on my own. So there are 14 songs, they are all brand new songs, all completely originals.

What kind of songs are they? A traditional Chris Norman stuff?

— They are all different really. It's like a band, it's played live, you know, it's like you would hear us on stage, it's the same sound really. Piano, guitars – acoustic sometimes, electric sometimes. There are a couple of really rocky kind of songs, there are some almost Smokieesque type of songs. The ones I wrote with Pete sound a bit like the songs we wrote back in the 70s, you know, they sound a bit like that. There are a couple of bluesy, souly type of songs. Every kind, all the kind of music I like. It can be all of different styles, but stuff that comes out of me. I didn't record anything that is something I wouldn't listen to, you know. Sometimes in the past I have recorded stuff that I didn't really like that much and it wasn't my kind of taste. But this album is, because I've written everything, either alone or with somebody. They are all songs that came from within me. So they are all the stuff I like, which is a variance because I like all kinds of stuff. But all stuff that suits me to sing, you know. And we recorded it like a live thing and mixed it and everything. We put strings on 3 songs, so there are some violins on them. There are no synthesizers – keyboards with just normal piano or organ. Apart for one song we put a mellotron on, which is by the beginning of “Strawberry Fields” – that sound. We only put it on just because I wanted to use it as it was in the studio. So I played it on a song – just a few chords, just to give it the sound of that mellotron, so I could say it was on the album.

It's a great album, I think. And it's my favourite album, I think, I've done – for my taste. It's my favourite album up to then. Including... My favourite albums before, I think, were “The Interchange” maybe and “Reflections”. This is better than any of the ones Ive done before – for me, you know. And there's no outside influence at all, which is great. It's really well recorded because of Neil Fergusson, who used to be in my band years ago, but also he's been an engineer for a long time. He co-produced it and engineered it with me, so the sounds on the album are good.

Did everybody enjoy the process of recording?

— Yeah, we had a great time, we had great fun. The band – all of them were really excited about playing on the album and how it sounded and how great it sounded at the end. They were so amazed how great the sound was. I mean, Geoff obviously has done a few things with me and he went used to it, but the others didn't, and they were so thrilled with the way it turned out. And the way, the technique of getting it to that point, they were quite happy with it.

At what stage the work on the album is now?

— It's finished, it's mixed. I might master it differently – you have to do it just to make sure all the tracks are even sounding. But they sound pretty good already, I might not do much mastering with them either, just a little bit.

Do you know already what should be the title of the album?

— I can't decide on the title, I can't decide... You know, I've had a few ideas, but I'm not happy with any of them really. The title of the album could be one of the tracks. There are 2 tracks that I thought I might call it after, but... One of them was the song that I wrote with Dorino, which is called “Did The Monkeys Take Over The Zoo?”, which is all about the world and all crazy things in it, you know. The lyrics are all about things that are going wrong in the world. About the money crisis and about the wars and about the fact that people don't listen to the people and all that. And then at the end it goes to say, “what do you think, did the monkeys take over the zoo”? And I thought, maybe I'll call the album “Did The Monkeys Take Over The Zoo?” (laughs). But then again, I said that to a couple of people and they went, “no, it's too long, and nobody knows what are you talking about, and in some countries they might think it's weird”. So I think they are probably right – I have to find a short and snappy little bit title. And then I thought of another one, but I'm not sure about that either. So I don't know yet.

You said that you are planning the release on spring?

— I hope so. But all recording commitments I had before are finished. So at the moment I'm a free agent, I don't have any recording contract that I have to give it to anybody. Which is great, because before I had to give it to some people, and I didn't like it. Now I don't have to give it to anybody I don't want. So it means that probably within the next couple of weeks I will be trying to get it to some people, some record companies that I would like to be with, and see if they want to do it. I mean, they might not want to do it, you know...

There's one song on there which is really commercial, catchy. I mean, if I could get somebody to do something special with this one song, like feature it or something, it would be a good kick for the album. It's an obvious catchy song that people would sing along with. I mean, everybody that I've played it with just thinks it's that instantly catchy.

But I don't know what record company I'll be with. So that's the thing, and I can't say for sure it's going to be out in spring, because it might take me longer then to get a record deal that I want, you know. But I would like it to be out by May at the latest.

What about any touring plans?

— It all depends on the release, because you can't start to say, “I'm going to do a tour in October” if your album doesn't come out until the following January, you know. But if I'm going to start touring, it would be probably in autumn next year. Or, if the album doesn't come out in spring, it would be even later than that. I mean, if the album doesn't come out in spring, I would imagine it will come out in September. Because, if you miss May, you can't release an album between June and August. And if the album comes out in September, then I couldn't tour it until, possibly, February the next year.

You know, if I was going to write the script, I would say, the album comes out in May, I start to tour in September... And next weeks I have to start having meetings with the agency in England, trying to open that market up as well, that's what I want to do. They book a lot of tours in the UK, Australia, Japan, Canada, those places. So next weeks I want to see if I can get some of the big labels in the UK interested. If I can do that and sign to a UK label, then it'll come out worldwide. Though when you sign to a German label, they don't have the capacity for that. So I hope that works, but you never know. It's all depends. Like, let's say, if I could write a script, I would get a record deal out in the UK with a big major label who were really into the album, who would promote it like doing their best. And then I would go on tour in the UK, in Canada, Australia, Germany, maybe come and do some selected shows in Russia – like in Moscow, St.Peterburg, Ekatherinburg – the big cities. And everywhere else as well. If I was to write the script, that was how I would write it. But, you know, this business doesn't go like that, you have to wait. And you could be talking to me next year and I'll be going (jokingly crying) – ooooh, it didn't happen... (laughs).

I love the album, I really do it and the band does, too, that's the great thing. So if we just have the same positive things happening now afterwards...

What about your kids' band?

— The kids' thing is on hold. Because Michael has decided he doesn't really like the idea of it. So he doesn't want to do it.

And recently we saw 2 videos from Susan on Youtube...

— Yeah, yeah. She did that just as a favour to this guy. They wanted to do something... They were sitting in my studio, but they weren't using this studio.

   

Didn't you help them at that?

— I wasn't there, I didn't even know about it until the next day. I knew she was going to do it, she told me. Then they must have brought a little tape recorder and just put the microphone in, and they just sang like live in the room.

How do you estimate her singing?

— I thought she was great! I think she is. She's my daughter, you know, she's the best (smiles). I like both of the songs, but, to be honest, the second song (Kodaline - All I Want) – I thought it was just blewing me away... 'Cause I listened to the original version of it, and I listened to her singing then. The catch she has in her voice is so emotional, I was like with tears in my eyes listening to that... I thought she was just fantastic! She's the best! (smiles)

But time is going and nothing happens...

— But she's only 21. It's not desperation, you know. And if I could get a record deal with some big label in the UK, then I would have an easier way to trying to get her... Because the trouble is – I already got somebody in the UK that was interested, and they said, she sounds great, tell me when she's playing somewhere, I want to come and see her. But she's not playing anywhere because the band is not running. But really she needs to get a deal first, and then put the band around her. That would be a better way.

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