It has been two years since 80's revivalists, the Departure, released their brilliant debut album, 'Dirty Words'.

In the time since then Northampton-formed group, who have drawn favourable comparisions with the Cure, the Chameleons and Echo and the Bunnymen, have been through line-up changes. While vocalist David Jones, guitarist Sam Harvey and bassist Ben Winton all remain, the band's other guitarist Lee Irons has left the group and drummer Andy Hobson has been replaced by Simon Alexander.

The Departure will be releasing their second album, 'Inventions', in January. Like its predecessor, it will be coming out on Parlophone Records. The band have been preceeding its release by touring extensively and giving away a free one track single single, '7 Years', at their shows.

Pennyblackmusic, in our second interview with the Departure, spoke to David Jones and Ben Winton just before a gig at the Social in Nottingham.


PB : The Departure are different now and from when we last spoke to you because you no longer have Lee in the band. Did he quit or was he asked to leave ?

BW : He was nicely asked to leave. I think you can say that, but he wanted to go.

DJ : We were all pushing in different directions. He wanted to do something different and we wanted to do something different.

PB : Maybe it's my eyesight but it looks like you have a new drummer too.

DJ : The drummer is new.

BW : Actually he is our first drummer. He is our original drummer, so he came back to us.

PB : Is the new gig only single, '7 Years', the first release since the album?

DJ : No, it's the first release since the 'Arms Around Me' single which was released after the album.

PB : Why has there been such a big gap of almost two years between records ? Was it because you had to tour the album ?

DJ : We did a bit of touring and then we wrote a lot of songs for the new album. We love the new album and wanted to make sure that we had the best songs for it.

BW : We rewrote the new album about seven or eight times. We wanted to make sure we had got the strongest album possible and one that we are totally happy with. That took some time.

PB : Are you still based in Northampton ?

DJ : I have moved to London but we are still based in Northampton. Northampton is our home town.

PB : As Lee has left, and you had that double guitar Chameleons thing going on are you going to replace him, or you happy with what you have and the way things are now ?

BW : On record there is more then one guitar, but live we are managing and it sounds really strong.

DJ : We really rock now. We have strapped a pair of balls onto our sound. When we had two guitars, it was quite jangly. Now its more like we are the Smashing Pumpkins or Foo Fighters. The power that you get from one guitar is amazing. We like glammy stuff like T Rex too and that has been an influence on this album also.

PB : All your singles went Top 40. Did the album do as well? It seemed to me that the album came out and then we didn't hear from you in a while.

DJ : To get into the singles chart you don't have to sell as many copies as to get into the album chart. We had our underground fan base and we didn't get past that level of awareness. In this day and age you have to have a Top 10 hit and if you don't have that then your album is not going to do much. We have learnt more about how to write songs and have had to write songs which are a lot more easy to get. Songs are all about getting everyone involved really and that everyone can relate too.

PB : The longer you do it the easier it gets ?

BW : So they say.

PB : Everyone's dream if they were in a band used to be that they wanted to be on 'Top of the Pops', but we haven't got that now. What is your dream ?

DJ : Was that our dream ?

PB : I'm not saying that!

DJ : Our dream ? It would be amazing just to play somewhere where you can stop traffic when you are in town. That would be nice.

PB : Why are you not releasing '7 Years' as a proper single then ? Why are you giving it away ?

DJ : It's just to build a fan base really.

PB : If you are giving away 50 copies a night on tour then more people are going to hear it than if it was a standard release.

DJ : Exactly and straight after that is the next single, so it's just a way to get out on tour and playing again and getting good live.

PB : What is the songwriting process ? Do you write the lyrics, David, and then take them to the band ?

DJ : No, Ben and I write a lot of the lyrics actually.

BW : Dave will come up with the main melody first, and then we will stick in some lyrics.

PB : Are Parlophone still happy with you guys because the last time we spoke to you they let you get on with things and didn't interfere ?

DJ : They do interfere sometimes.

BW : But not in a bad way. We have been lucky. They have let us get on with it and let us develop and come up with the material we want too. You can't ask more from a label really. They have really given us time to grow.

PB : Now venues are non smoking have you noticed the difference ?

BW : You can smell the toilets. You can smell the piss and shit everywhere especially in dirty small venues.

PB : This is the longest tour you have done in a while. Have you missed the road ?

DJ : Yeah, we have missed it a lot, being on the road.

PB : What are your future plans ? When will the album come out ?

DJ : It will come out in January.

PB : Thank you for your time.












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