We gave Ciaran a shout to chat about foot shaving, progress on the new album and never sitting on the front row of a comedy show. Leave your comments below. And if you have a question for Paul next time, please email to to email@example.com. Thanks!
Hello Ciaran. How are you?
Good, thank you. I've just had lunch.
Was it nice?
Well, it was quite speedy, cos I'm off to this Featured Artists Coalition thing this afternoon. It's basically a lot of musicians getting together to discuss their rights.
That sounds quite interesting.
Absolutely. I'm not really sure what to expect, to be honest. I'm going more to listen than to offer any opinions.
So, how's recording of the new album going?
Good. To be honest, we're not doing much this week in terms of recording. Dan's away, which might be a good thing as he's got a fair amount of lyrics he wants to work on. We did some more recording last week, but this week's been fairly quiet.
Have you enjoyed having some space and time to make this record?
Yeah. I think Dan is probably quite happy to have all this time because it means he can spend more time on lyrics. He's fairly quick at coming up with the chord sequences and melodies, but the lyrics take a bit longer. But we are making progress. It was all a bit different with the last album, when we were thrust into Bradley House and it all happened pretty quickly. I think in the back of our minds we knew it had to. We're not so much under pressure this time.
Do you have a favourite song rising to the surface?
There's a couple, yeah. There's one in the style of Crosby and Nash's stuff; they did a few albums together without Stephen Stills. I'm enjoying that one. And I think Kev already mentioned the Robocop one, didn't he?
He and Richard both did. Is that a favourite of yours too?
Yeah, I'm liking it. It's probably undergone some changes since it was last mentioned. There's the possibility of a quite dramatic key change in there now.
Have you set yourselves any kind of deadlines, or is it really as open as it can be?
It's pretty open at the moment. There's a few songs that we've already done quite a lot of work on. I think it maybe makes sense to go back to them and try to finish them off, if they're sounding like they're almost there. But there's no set dates or anything. It's a case of it being done when it seems right.
The label are still leaving you well alone?
So far, yeah. But I'm sure there will come a point where they do ring up and tell us to get on with it!
And presumably you guys want to make progress?
Yes. But I think the main thing is that Dan really wants to get the lyrics right. I think he maybe felt with the last album he didn't have as much time as he'd have wanted with that aspect of it. I think that's really quite important to him for this album.
Are you having more time to have a bit of a life then?
Yeah, although I feel like I'm twiddling my thumbs a little bit at the moment. I'm trying to think of other musical things to keep me busy - just like recording stuff at home, for the fun of it. Not with any particular intention, just for the hell of it really.
So, even if you've got spare time, you like to play music?
I think so, yeah. It's good to keep busy.
Have you been enjoying your free time too?
Well, I need to get out to more gigs, to be honest. Although I did do the gig with Iain Hornal which Kev told you about in the last catch-up. And I went to a comedy night recently, at the Bedford in Balham, which was really good. They had four different comedians and all of them were great. We decided to sit in the middle, because I've had a bad experience before when I sat on the front row.
It was a few years ago at the Edinburgh Festival and every single comedian based their act around taking the piss out of me. It was horrible and I was scarred for life!
Did you try to stand up for yourself?
No, I just sat there sweating. It's quite tricky when their job is to be as quick-witted as possible. But, happily, that didn't happen this time.
You revealed on The Feeling's Twitter this week that you've been shaving your feet.
Well, it was my first time using it, so I thought I'd start with something interesting.
Um, do you shave your feet often?
To be honest, there wasn't a whole lot of truth in it. I was really just typing in a few random words to see if it worked. And it did. A few people sent replies about the foot shaving, so I think it was a successful first tweet. I didn't reply, though. I think that would've revealed the fact that there was no truth in what I posted. Although I've just done that here.
Ciaran's non-hairy foot, yesterday (really, it is)
Can we expect more revelations about your personal grooming?
I think maybe the subject matter will be slightly different next time.
Right, readers' questions. Monica would like to know if you have any other siblings other than Kevin.
I think I've been asked that before in a catch-up, haven't I?
Really? This is the 83rd one, which means you've done 16 or 17 of them. So, yes, there is a good chance.
I think they did. But the answer remains no! Just Kev and I.
He was very sweet about you in the last catch-up.
He was, yes. That was very nice.
Next question is from Joyce who asks about when you're creating backing vocals. She'd like to know how you decide whether to sing "ooh, ooh, ooh", "la, la, la" or "shah, shah, shah".
That's a great question. Some of it's fairly instinctive - you just know what's going to sound best - and some of it's trial and error. There's no set method, really.
Do you have a favourite backing vocal noise?
I don't think so. "Ooh"s are harder to get in tune. I think that's maybe because of the mouth shape being smaller, so you have less room to project the noise. Something where you can open up your mouth seems to be easier.
So, if we see people doing good "ooh"s, we should be impressed?
Oh yes. Absolutely.
Matt in Leeds would like to know the names of the keyboards you play. We're not sure whether he means your pet names for them, or the brand and model.
Ha! Well, I don't call them by human names as such.
Perhaps you should.
Maybe you're right! Anyway, we've got a load of keyboards in the studio, but on tour I've got a couple of Nord Electro 2s and there's a Roland Juno.
Matt thinks he's seen you playing a Wurlitzer.
Yes, there's that too. But there's also a secret weapon in my arsenal which is this incredible system Owen built, which means some of the sounds I use are off a computer. For instance, the piano sound which I use isn't actually on the Nord, it's a different software piano sound.
Do you have a favourite keyboard?
The Wurlitzer which Matt mentioned is a great thing. It feels lovely and it has a very distinctive sound. The main thing with the Nords is that they do lots of different sounds, but they don't feel that great. They don't feel like playing a real piano.
Final question is from Gina, who claims to have searched through all the catch-ups, the forum and the entire internet to try and find out when your birthday is, but with no joy. Do you have a birthday?
Indeed I do! It's the 15th of June and I was born in 1980.
It's curious that that isn't online anywhere.
I'll tell you another curious online thing: I looked at The Feeling Wikipedia the other day and there was a sixth band member. A chap called John Merchant on "backing vocals and guitar".
Oh, so there is! Who is he?
I don't know.
But you can officially confirm that he's not in The Feeling?
Yes, I can. The name does ring a vague bell, so we may have done some work with him. But he's certainly not in the band!