Arguably one of the most influential bands of the 90s, Oasis famously split up ten years ago. Yet even now we can still find lots of people who consider Liam the arrogant and cocky frontman of a band long gone. Nevertheless, these days Liam is so much more than this outdated perception. With his second solo album reaching the top of the UK Charts, there are few doubts left he’s found his feet as a solo artist. In a new interview with the Music Feeds magazine, Liam opened up about his ambitions, love-hate relationship with Noel and the desire to remain in the spotlight.
“I just want to reach as many people on the planet as possible”, he says. “That’s exactly how I felt with Oasis too. Therefore, you want to make good music, music that gets on the radio. But I also wouldn’t sacrifice a good tune just to get on the fucking radio. You’ve got to compromise a little bit, but you shouldn’t do that too much. I want to get heard by as many people as possible, and at my concerts I want to move the fans. That’s always been the name of the game, after all”.
Liam’s reasoning indeed sounds very understandable. To tell the truth, his work ethic has significantly improved these days. The legendary frontman has brought out his second solo album only two years after the release of its predecessor As You Were. He’s played lots of gigs to a huge critical acclaim and even released a documentary depicting his solo journey. Liam’s passion is obvious, it penetrates all of his music endeavours. Today Liam reveals that even in the Oasis days he used to be much more hard-working than everyone thought.
“I want to make albums. Even when I was in Oasis, I always was the first one going, “Let’s make music, let’s get back to the studio, let’s see what we’ve got”. I get bored easily. And making music is not as hard as people tend to think it is. I’ve got a lot of help making music, which I enjoy. We all do it collectively and none of us pull our hair out. We’re not tortured artists – we have fun making it”.
By “we” Liam apparently means Greg Kurstin and Andrew Wyatt who collaborated with him on both of his solo albums. However, it wasn’t always this way. In the heyday of Oasis, the majority of songs were penned by Noel while Liam only got to sing them. After Oasis split up, in Liam’s new band Beady Eye Gem Archer and Andy Bell contributed a lot of songs alongside with Liam himself. Nevertheless, Liam’s first solo album As You Were has sold more than both Beady Eye records together and received better critical feedback. And yet, Liam still fondly speaks about the band’s legacy.
“I think we wrote some good songs with Beady Eye as well. I believe it might’ve been the wrong name or it just happened too soon after Oasis split up. But the guys I’m working with now know how to write tunes. We know how to get them on the radio and stuff. So I’m quite happy with that”.
No matter how good and catchy Liam’s new solo songs might be, people mostly know and admire him due to the immense popularity of Oasis hits. These days Liam’s and Noel’s perceptions of ‘a good tune’ certainly differs, but at least Noel also does know how to pen a great hit, doesn’t he?
“If I can’t work with Noel anymore, being solo is the next best thing”, Liam admits. “But honestly, Noel and I never had a working relationship. He’d go in and hog the fucking studio for weeks and then say, “look, here’s a song, sing it like this”. I’d get in then and make it my own. So we never had much debate about lyrics and melodies and that. I much prefer to work this way now than what I did with Noel, because he’d go in and do it all himself, and it felt like we were working for him. I much prefer it when I’ve got a lot more input, like now”.
When embarking on his solo career, Liam chose a completely different path from his brother’s. While Noel seems keen on experimenting with different genres and styles of music, Liam sticks to what he’s best at. Both approaches can be justified in their own way, but Liam insists he feels at ease in his comfort zone and would never want to do anything different.
“I don’t want any loops or dance beats. For me it’s just going to be classic straight-up rock’n’roll, and that’s what I’ll do always, forever and ever. People might call that boring. But I don’t! I dig it! I’m not up for change just for the sake of it. I like singing good old classic rock’n’roll or the odd ballad here and there. I’m quite happy in my comfort zone”.
For many years Liam has been the living epitome of the rock’n’roll lifestyle. His self-confident, life-affirming attitude has inspired many other musicians and even ordinary people who come to his gigs. And still, for Liam rock’n’roll isn’t really about being tough and cool.
“For live shows I do like getting up there and belting it out like the Pistols or whatever. We’re not all walking around with leather jackets on swigging bottles of Jack Daniel’s though. I don’t mean rock’n’roll like that. I mean it actually has to come from the core – it has to start from the guitar”.
With his unbreakable faith in staying true to his legacy as a rock’n’roll frontman, isn’t Liam scared of the fans losing interest in him? It turns out Liam is too busy with trying to get better to sit and dwell on such thoughts.
“I don’t have worries about people losing interest in me. I already had that with Beady Eye before. You can only do what you do. If your best ain’t good enough, then so be it. I get it, people grow up, their priorities change. They’re not just sitting there following people around. They have children, they lose jobs, members of their families… The last thing on their mind is some geezer in a parka putting out records. So I get it, but I’m lucky that I’ve got the love again and people are still coming to my concerts. All I know is I did my best on this record and all my gigs, and that’s it”.
In his previous interviews Liam has already mentioned he prefers playing live to recording in the studio. At every gig he’s giving it all to the fans – and seems reasonably proud of it.
“I’m making it count on every tour. I think I’m the only fucker that comes off sweating. Maybe that’s because I have about four jackets on, but even when I was with our kid, he’d come off and there’d be no fucking sweat! I remember looking at him and going, “Am I the only one grafting up here or what?”
Liam fondly speaks about the Oasis legacy and the songs he and his brother Noel have made timeless together. His passion and ambition haven’t changed ever since. His music taste has remained the same too – just like before, he isn’t into obscure, underground type of music.
“I think big and I sing big. I’ve got no time to be underground, and even if I wanted to be underground, I still can’t be. The genie bottle is open. You might as well just embrace it! Even when we were in Oasis, we wanted to be popular, we wanted to be big. I don’t want to be small. I feel that even when Oasis first started, we wanted to climb the fucking mountain and see what was over the other side. We wanted to kiss the sky”.
But if it all really is so dreamy and ambitious and in such a great demand, wouldn’t Noel and Liam be better off together? Liam seems filled with controversial feelings. On the one hand, he’s open to patching things up with Noel and finally letting bygons be bygons. On the other hand, there’s obviously too much bitterness in their relatiosnhips these days.
“No way do I go into the studio and think, “Right, let’s put this little lyric in there to freak our kid out”. He knows my opinion on him after all. It just happens that some lyrics pop in, and some people take it a bit more serious than I do, make a big mountain of it. But our kid knows exactly how I feel about him. Some days I think he’s a cunt, and some days I love him. No, I always love him, but he’s a bit of a cunt”.
Apart from anthemic choruses, passionate vocals and great lyrical depth, ‘brotherly feud’ must definitely be one of the first associations we have with Oasis. Ten years after the split, the band’s legacy still lives on, while both brothers do exactly what it says on the tin. Long may it continue.
Source: Music Feeds magazine