The world has changed, and so has the music business, but Deacon Blue are still riding high.
Last year, they had a hugely–successful tour to mark the 25th anniversary of the release of their debut album Raintown.
They’ve now added the new album The Hipsters, and they’re back on the road with dates taking in the Brighton Centre on Sunday, December 1 and Guildford’s G Live on Monday, December 9.
Founding member Ricky Ross said: “We had a lot of old stuff from the past, but the new album out meant that there was a real momentum to what we were doing, a real sense of creativity.
“That was the first new album for over ten years. The last had been in 2001. We had got to the point where we either said we are going to do something new or we didn’t, but the point was that the band was really playing well. We were thinking there was this great sense of enjoyment that we had, and that we should go for it.”
As of 2012, Deacon Blue’s total album sales stood at six million, with 12 UK top 40 singles, along with two UK number one albums.
“People say they have heard you on the radio and that it was great, but you don’t want it always to be a song from years ago,” Ricky said. “It was great, but it’s good to have that energy that comes from new stuff.”
But clearly you don’t want to neglect the past. As Ricky says, people always associate the older tracks with whatever they were doing at the time, and that’s a powerful pull in the present.
“But actually the music business is completely different now. People used to buy records. Now you make the money from live work. You used to tour to sell the records, but now it is the live work that is the pot of gold. Before that, tours were the way you used to advertise the album. Now the emphasis has changed.”
Plus there has been a democratisation of music in the sense that more and more people feel they can do it, with home studios, with internet audiences etc.
“But I suspect the power and the decision-making is still coming from the same few people.”
That’s where experience comes in. Even so, Ricky admits he would never have dreamt a quarter of a century ago that Deacon Blue was going to last him so well.
“I think, being an artist and being creative, you just don’t think that way. You think ‘This is what I want to do and I have got to find out my way how to do it.’ You go into a studio, and you hope to be able to get away with doing it and making your way with it. It’s quite a big ambition in itself. You don’t really think that far ahead.”
Now, there’s the added bonus that it is all so much more fun anyway: “We all have other things that we do. When we come together to do Deacon Blue, it’s really great fun. You can appreciate the joy that you can get from music-making. We all do interesting, other things, but there is something very special about being in a band.”