British band Toploader release their album 'Only Human' in May 2011.
When I first heard their new single "Never Stop Wondering", I played it about four times in a row. By the second play I was singing along to the melodic chorus like I'd known it for years. With this being the band's first new material in eight years, it's great to see Toploader back with such a strong lead track.
The band has announced a short series of dates around the UK at the same time as the single's release in March.
Dan Hipgrave from Toploader EXCLUSIVE interview
Jenny May: How did you come up with the band name Toploader?
Dan Hipgrave: Seems so long ago now. To be honest it was a bit of an in joke between us when describing something Joe used to do. Probably not worth getting into. We thought about changing it back when we got our first deal but names stick don't they.
Is the band made up of all original members? Who are the original members in the band?
We are now a 4 piece consisting of myself, Joe, Matt and Rob. Our previous guitarist isn't with us anymore.
How long did it take to write and record your latest album 'Only Human'?
With the exception of the tracks 'Only Human' and 'Paradise', the album was written from Feb - Aug 2010, we spent September working on pre production, October and November recording then December mixing. Everything fell into place naturally on this record, there was no indecisiveness about tracks and both the studio and the producer we wanted were both available when we wanted them. That doesn't normally happen so we felt positive going into it and I think that comes across on the record.
Do you write together? Where did you spend time writing - and where did you record the album?
Joe writes the songs - he has a gift for melody. He trained classically on the piano so is a great player too. In years gone by he overcomplicated stuff but now, through experience I guess, he has an amazing balance of simplicity and melody. The rest of us aren't bad either, we add our touches that give the band its sound. I guess it comes with years of playing together but everything we do we do to compliment the songs. We recorded the album at Hook End Studios - the best residential studios in the country. It was a privilege to record there.
It's great to see you back with a new release. What have the band members been up to for the last couple of years?
All different things. I think we all did things related to music in the main. Joe spent a few years living in California where I think he really developed as a song writer. I started up a travel company focusing on music travel called Original Music Travel (www.originalmusictravel.com).
With 'Only Human' being your first new material in eight years, why did you decide to start writing and recording again? What prompted the process?
We all got back together socially on my stag night a couple of years back. A few beers later we were hatching plans together. When you have been through what we have together I think you will always be a band whether that is just in spirit or making music.
Will you have a new video out soon for your single "Never Stop Wondering" - or for a different track?
No Never Stop Wondering is the first single out in March so we made a video. It was fun. Everything is more fun the second time round as you realise how lucky you are to be doing it.
Do you like making music videos? How do you come up with video concepts? Is there someone who normally takes the lead with ideas?
Kind of. They are long days, keeping up performance levels for hours on end is taxing but videos are like time capsules, they are around a lot longer than we are. Actually we all had a vision of what we wanted from this video, so much so Joe wrote a treatment that the video is very faithful to.
Your version of Dancing in the Moonlight is top notch! Why did you choose to cover that particular song?
Why thank you! Actually it came through a producer friend of ours, George Drakullious, he had a vision for this old classic and it turned out better than we all expected. We still get a kick out of seeing people enjoy our old material but we prefer to move forward as a band.
How did the Dancing in the Moonlight video come about - the idea, location - also, where was it filmed? Are the people in the video friends…or actors?
The video was a lot of fun to make. We rented a house for the day, hired a load of pretty extras, got drunk and made a video. Couldn't tell you where it was, all I remember was the owners turning up at the end and finding drunk people and leaves, motorbikes and flame throwers in their house.
Toploader - "Never Stop Wondering":
What has been one of your favorite concert experiences as an audience member? Who did you see/where?
It would have to be Glastonbury in 1996 (I think this was the year), Radiohead headlined and played Ok Computer in its entirety before it was even released. They played an unknown album to 90,000 people and blew everyone away. I'm getting goosebumps just thinking about it.
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