We called up Ciaran as the band made their way to Birmingham for tonight's first show of the UK tour. If you have a question for Paul next time, please email it to email@example.com.
Hello Ciaran. Where are you?
I'm on the tourbus, somewhere between London and Birmingham.
Will you be sleeping on it tonight?
Well, we'll be driving back after the gig, so there will be the opportunity to stay up and watch TV or catch some sleep.
Or, perhaps, to party.
Well, indeed, yes. That's the other option.
Are you all set for the tour?
I think so. We had our pre-production at the Kentish Town Forum yesterday - which was like a proper run through of the show, That all went pretty well. So I think we're as well prepared as we can be.
Do you have lots of exciting plans for the tour?
We have quite a ridiculous encore planned. It involves the swapping of instruments and the hitting of various peculiar objects. But I don't want to give too much away.
You'll also be recording 'Without You' each night, with each one then being made available for download.
I believe that's the plan, yes.
And you're doing that because 'Without You' has been confirmed as the next single!
It has. It's definitely one of my favourites from the new record. What people seem to miss about it is that it has that '70s soul feel to it.
Have you filmed the video for it?
We have. I probably can't go into too much detail, but it has a space theme. Dan is the main focus of the video and the rest of us do appear, but only very briefly, in cameo roles.
What's your role?
I play a technical boffin type fellow inside ground control.
Did you enjoy your time as a technical boffin?
I did, although I didn't really know what the hell I was doing. I just twiddled knobs, pressed buttons and hoped for the best. It was fun.
Did they build a set or were you at a real space place?
They built an incredible set in a film studio in Twickenham, with loads of really old machinery. It looked very authentic. We're really pleased with it. I think it's definitely one of our best videos so far.
Of course, since the last catch-up, you've had a Number One album!
Yes! That was everyone's dream really. We all celebrated in various different ways.
What did you do?
I went to the pub with my girlfriend and had a nice meal and a few drinks. Nothing too crazy.
Did you tell any strangers that you were a Number One artist?
No, I didn't. That might have seemed slightly obnoxious. But we're all really happy about it. We got a few slightly scathing reviews, but the general public seem to like the stuff and I think that's what really matters.
So, did rehearsing for the tour take a while?
A little while, yes. We've done a few tours in the past where we came straight back from America and had to rush and that's meant the first few gigs have been a bit ropey. We had a lot of time to get it together this time, which made a big difference, I think. It feels like a far more relaxed affair this time.
Do you have tour dates outside the UK planned?
There's lots of things in the pipeline. It looks like we'll be going to Germany in the next few months and then hopefully Japan at some point. That would be great; we all really loved Japan last time.
Is there new merchandise for this tour?
Indeed there is. A fair amount of it.
What sort of things are on offer?
Well, a friend of us does this thing where he turns people into a cross between a human and a robot. He's done a bunch of cool T-shirts which are going to be onsale. And there's some other stuff as well. To be honest, I won't know the full range until we get to the venue!
Are you nervous about the first show?
I am a bit, yes. I think you have to get nervous really. I don't know anyone that doesn't. But I'm looking forward to it too. It's always fun, especially during the songs when people are singing along. Those are my favourite moments really. That's when you feel like people are involved in it and that they've made the music part of their lives as well. It's touching.
Right, readers' questions. Lara wants to know which song from 'Join With Us' was the one you worked hardest on to get right.
Probably 'I Thought It Was Over'. It kind of got worked and reworked several times. The verse actually got changed quite a lot; it had a different vocal melody and different lyrics before. They changed two or three times before we settled on the final version.
Gareth would like to know if there's going to be a songbook for this album?
Done by your friend again?
Yes, she already did the first single and she's waiting to find out if she's going to be doing the full album, but she said it is a possibility.
Vicki would like to know what you folks changed the lyrics to 'Join With Us'.
It was Dan's decision really. He just didn't feel comfortable singing them the way they were. The song has changed in the way it's been recorded, with the instrumentation, and I think he thought in order for it to go with that it needed to be slightly different. So he changed it accordingly.
Finally, Katherine would like to know if you've ever crowd-surfed?
Um, no. I've done some moshing here and there. Although, saying that, when we were in the Alps they used to do this thing where you could hold onto the beams across the ceiling and sort of run upside down across the ceiling as long as people kind of held onto you from underneath. I unwittingly got involved when they grabbed me off the stage and proceeded to do so! It was quite terrifying.