Damon Minchella plays bass in British ‘modern R&B’ band Ocean Colour Scene. The band’s previous two albums were well received in their native homeland with Moseley Shoals (1996) and Marchin’ Already (1997) selling in the millions. Already their latest release – One from the Modern – looks set to emulate (and maybe surpass) its predecessors.

Kevin Mathews spoke to Minchella and found him to be a straight-talking, down to earth fellow who takes none of this success for granted. After all, it’s not as if it’s been smooth sailing all the way…

Kevin: It’s the band’s 10th anniversary this year; did you ever dream that you’d be as successful as you are now?

Damon: Well, I can’t remember exactly what we were thinking in 1989 – but yes, we did dream about being this successful.

Kevin: The new album is called One from the Modern  - any significance in the title?

Damon: I came up with all our album titles and as a rule I always try to have a capital ‘M’ in there. It was partly inspired by (legendary blues master) Howling Wolf’s One from the Hip and also a reference to ‘mod’. British journalists hate it, which was part of the idea.

Kevin: Talking about British journalists, they seem to attach the label ‘Dadrock’ to you-

Damon: Yeah, previously we were ‘Britpop’ and then ‘Dadrock’, which is rubbish. My Dad doesn’t like my music and I don’t have any kids-

Kevin: I think it is meant as a derogatory, why these attacks on OCS?

Damon: That’s because we became famous without their support. But I’d rather have the support of millions of record buyers than the music papers, which is more important?

Kevin: One from the Modern is your 4th studio album – is it getting any easier?

Damon: No. After every record that we make, we’re usually happy at the time with the results but not so later on. So, we try to make it better the next time around.

Kevin: I understand that there was a different approach to the songs in One from the Modern?

Damon: Yes, these songs were all built up from scratch. On our previous albums, we recorded old tunes that had been written and rehearsed ‘live’ over the years; this time we had a different perspective.

Kevin: I sense that this time the songs are more spontaneous, more organic. I felt that parts of Marchin’ Already were a bit too dense-

Damon: Especially the second side. We tried to keep it as simple as possible. Simon (Fowler) would come into the studio strumming out the new songs on an acoustic guitar with a basic melody and Steve (Cradock) and myself – the guitarists – would flesh it out.

Kevin: What influenced the making of this album?

Damon: Northern soul and black music. Soul music, I suppose.

Kevin: What do you hope to achieve with this album?

Damon: For the rest of the world to hear it and like it. We are fairly successful in the UK, Japan and Western Europe. We would love it to do well in Australia, Poland and of course, Singapore.

Kevin: What about across the Atlantic?

Damon: You mean America? Well, we have no concrete plans about that cos it’s difficult to break into America – it’s not a place I’d like to spend too much in and you need to in order to make it there. I would rather spend that time in other parts of the world. In any case, we don’t really need the money, we just doing this for the music now.

Kevin: What are your comments on the UK scene?

Damon: It’s strange. A couple of years ago, bands like Radiohead, Verve, Oasis, Supergrass and us had number one albums. Now, there seems to be an effort to phase out guitar music and promote dance music. I guess it’s just the British way to knock what is successful.

Kevin: What’s in the future for OCS?

Damon: We scheduled to tour Birmingham, then from November to January next year, Europe, Japan and Australia before returning for a UK tour in February. After that, we will be touring the USA. Hopefully, if the record label (Universal Singapore) is interested, we’d like to play in Singapore sometime in between.