We called up Richard to talk about recording, snowboarding, comedy imposters and smashing TVs with a hammer. Big thanks to Rich for sending through the pics. Leave your comments below. And if you have a question for Kev next time, please email it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Play it like you mean it...
Hello Richard. How are you?
I'm very good, thank you.
What have you been doing?
We've mainly been in the studio recording. It's been brilliant. We're loving it.
How much progress have you made?
It's hard to say. We're taking a bit of a splattergun approach to this album, where we're just throwing down as many songs as we possibly can. I think at the moment we've probably got about 11 underway, in varying states; some are nearing completion and some are just tiny little ideas.
Where have you been working on them?
Lots of different places; at Dan's house, at my house, down at the Moon. We're just trying to mix it up and do different things, just making music and seeing what comes out. It's been really good.
Kev takes the experimentation a little too far...
Is it stylistically different to what we've had before?
Well, it's in lots of different forms at the moment. It won't be until later on that something consistent might start to come out which will shape the album. But we do tend to be pretty schizophrenic with our styles. We just sort of do whatever feels right. Some of the stuff sounds like traditional Feeling, but some of it sounds like nothing we've ever done before. Actually, there's one that sounds a little bit like the soundtrack to Robocop. That's definitely a new thing for us!
Hang on, did someone cover the drums with pillow cases?
So you're just having fun and seeing what happens?
Yeah, exactly. Just having fun making music. We've been swapping instruments about and we're recording songs with at least two bass guitars, sometimes six! Plus, we're enjoying having time to be at home with our families and socialise and do all the stuff that we didn't do much of for the last few years.
Bass in the place...
What kind of socialising have you been doing?
Been out to some gigs and went to Meribel in the Alps with my brother-in-law to do a bit of snowboarding.
King of the slopes...
How was that?
Great. I love it. We'd planned to go on a family skiing holiday this year, but as Sophie's pregnant it's obviously not the best time for her to learn to ski, so I went for a few days with her brother Jack. It worked out really well.
How lovely does that look?
We did a Google news search on you to see what you've been doing and apparently a Richard Jones has been in trouble for smashing a TV and a bed with a hammer. Was that you?
Ha ha ha! No.
You've pleaded guilty, apparently.
This is the problem with having a common name. I went to a comedy night in Camden last week, where a friend of ours called Sally was taking part in a competition. She won, actually, and it was great. But the idea was that each comedian got five minutes each and they'd call out names from a list. Then halfway through the night they called "Richard Jones"!
It was one of those moments where I felt this cold flush. That's the kind of thing that happens to you in a nightmare; the idea of being told to do an impromptu stand-up set in front of lots of people without having prepared anything. Everyone who knew me turned round and looked at me. For a moment, I thought somebody had written my name down as a wind-up. But, luckily, it was another Richard Jones.
How did he get on?
He was quite good, actually - he was one of the three that got through to the next round. Then, funnily enough, they emailed me by mistake telling me I'd qualified for the quarter finals. I'd emailed them to get tickets and they'd obviously got us confused. So maybe I should prepare and turn up for it!
That'd be great.
Hmm, I'm not sure it would be. Public speaking is the most scary thing in the world as it is, but public speaking and having to be funny?! That's just terrifying.
Richard: "We decided to have a 'worst picture' competition between the band. For each catch-up we'll send in our contribution to the worst aesthetic shot - which must include a band member. Look at the appalling framing and horrible background (basically an air conditioning unit dominates the picture) GCSE photography mark - F for fail (or U as they say)."
In other Richard Jones news, you've apparently been to a film premiere.
Yes, that was me. We went to see Revolutionary Road. It was a good film, although very bleak and depressing.
Do you get invited to a lot of premieres?
From time to time. We only went to that one because one of Sonny's friend's mum was the producer. We went to a little party afterwards as well, with some of the cast and the crew, which was fun.
Now, of course, we must talk about this week's snow.
Loving the snow! Snow day was brilliant. An impromptu national holiday. We built a snowman in the garden, had a snowball fight and had Sonny off school for two days. It was really nice, everyone was in such a good mood.
Did it disrupt The Feeling's studio time?
It disrupted the day when we were due to go to this industry conference thing about the future of music. It would've been quite an interesting event, with lots of other artists involved. But it was postponed because of the snow. Otherwise, no, we've managed to carry on as normal and we've done some interviews for the Island Records 50th birthday celebrations.
So, what's coming up over the next few days and weeks?
Just more recording really. Plus, of course, I've got a baby coming at some point! So I'll be taking some time off for that.
There's no deadline for the album?
No, it's a bit of a "how long's a piece of string?" thing. We're gonna keep writing until we feel that we've done enough material and the best material that we can do. And we're very much looking at what we're doing as demoing, whereas with the last two albums we produced ourselves. Not to say we won't this time, but we're just throwing the songs down and then maybe looking at playing a few small shows to road test them.
Right, readers' questions. Anna would like to know what your son's middle name is and why you chose it.
It is Douglas and we chose it because that was my grandad's name and he actually died the very day that we found out Sophie was pregnant. We named him in honour of him.
Life through a lens...
Kirsty wonders if Dan has ever played you a new song which you hated but didn't know how to tell him.
Ha ha! No, I don't think I've ever really hated anything that he's done. Hate is too strong a word. But I've known him since I was 16 and one of the things that works about the band is that I know how to communicate with him. He actually knows if I don't like something he's doing, and the other way around, even without us saying anything. You can just tell by the body language. It's almost like a look is enough!
Ruthy thinks bass is the coolest instrument and wonders about your favourite Feeling bassline and your favourite non-Feeling bassline.
Well, I agree, it is the coolest instrument! My favourite Feeling bassline is probably Without You. It's quite a bass-heavy song, with quite a Motown-y feel to it. And favourite non-Feeling bassline... ooh... there's so many. I love the great simple stuff like Under Pressure. And most of the stuff by my biggest influence, Paul McCartney. Come Together is one of the most influential basslines that's ever been done, I think. Listen to Give It Away by the Chili Peppers and that says it all.
Final question is from Karen who'd like to know if you have any plans to tour or play festivals this year.
Well, there may be a gig in March. I can't say anything more yet. Watch this space on that one..