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The Peace & Freedom Magazine The Orchids Interview

Interviewed by Paul Rance in 1989 for the Volume 6, Number 3, Autumn/Winter 1989 and Volume 6, Number 4, Spring/Summer 1990 issues of Peace & Freedom magazine.

The Orchids are a super-fine band on Sarah Records, they consist of: Matthew Drummond - rhythm/lead guitar, keyboard; J. H. Hackett - vocals, rhythm guitar, keyboard; James Moody - bass, backing vocals; Chris Quinn - drums, percussion; John Scally - lead guitar, keyboard.

Chris, John and J. H. formed the band in 1986, the last member, James, joining in September 1986. They have released three singles and a debut LP, "Lyceum", in September - a mini LP of 8 songs. The band have, up to now, played in Switzerland, Germany, England, and their home city, Glasgow.

Just listening to "Tiny Words", which is a beautifully poetic song. Is that how you plan your songs to be - do you seek a set pattern lyrically and musically?

Not necessarily - each song is treated differently, individually. We maybe work on three or four songs at a time in rehearsal, and each member tries out different things, until the song comes together properly. Later, we play it live, then record it not too long after, if it can be helped.

What are your plans for the next year or so?

There's nothing exactly planned - our budget doesn't allow for much forward planning. We have to see how the album and third single, "What Will We Do Next", goes. In November we'll be playing Manchester, Sheffield, London (TBC) and Paris. The LP has sold more quickly than expected, so we'll be recording some new songs soon, and have a new single out by January. There's also a deal coming through (slowly!) on Midnight Music for an LP/Cassette/CD compilation of all Orchids stuff (excl. first EP) in France.

Who do you most admire in the music biz, and in life, generally?

We don't admire anybody in the music business. In life, in general, we admire those who are willing to fight for what they believe.

Does making a good record bring you more satisfaction than playing in front of a receptive live audience?

The two things can't really be compared. It's good that playing can bring two such diverse highs! When playing live and it's going well and the audience respond, then it's great (but it's rare in Britain!). However, we feel our records could be much better. Within our budget we feel our records are good but when you know you can do better...

What is your best work to date, would you say?

Each time we do something, it's always better than the time before. The more we record, the more we become aware of arrangements and good ideas.

Ambitions, musically, and generally?

Ambitions, musically, are to progress, make an LP that'll be remembered as a true classic and to get a massive record deal!! generally, things to fall back on would be: J. H. Hackett - cartoonist; James Moody - philosopher; Matthew Drummond - florist; Chris Quinn - photographer for London transport, and John Scally would be a Burnley midfielder [apart from Andy Savage I can't think of anyone who has the ambition of a Burnley footballer high on their priority list! Up The Clarets... -Ed.].

Pet likes/dislikes?

Matthew likes dogs, hates cats; James likes people who don't laugh at his jokes. Hates people who don't laugh at my jokes [my, being??? - Ed.]; John likes G 'n' R and hates Orchids (!?); J. H. hates going in for a pint of Guinness when the glass is wet at the bottom and your white shirt gets Guinness-stained. Likes the friendly bar staff to wipe the Guinness on their shirts; Chris likes drummers, hates guitarists, bassists and vocalists!!!

How well have you been received in the media so far, and does that bother you anyway. Has it had any marked affect on your career?

We haven't been well-received at all in the media. All the Sarah bands are generally lumped in together as wimpy jangly bands, when really nothing could be further from the truth. I think the bands on Sarah are quite different but our music will come through, eventually. We can only believe that the media will realise we write well-arranged, crafted songs. All we've had so far are a few good reviews and also a few bad.

John Peel has also picked up on us a little now. He'd never played us before recent releases. Radio play is important as that's how most people will get to hear your records, but the music press is not important to us. I mean, a review is only one person's opinion, so it's not important (although we know people will be affected by it).

When it comes to it we're not bothered about the media but you also can't help being pleased/disappointed at a good/bad review. We're only human, after all. We don't feel the media has had any affect on our careers.

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