Steve Cradock is best known for playing guitar in Ocean Colour Scene and carrying out the same duties in Paul Weller’s touring and studio band. In fact Cradock has been a part of Weller’s band since around 1992 and with every new album the Woking Wonder releases Cradock seems to be playing a bigger part. On ’22 Dreams’ Weller’s latest and most well-received album in years Craddock not only features on his usual guitar but plays drums, celeste, piano, mandolin and mellotron as well as co-producing some of the tracks. We are now at the point where a Weller album without Steve Cradock’s distinctive input would be as odd as Ocean Colour Scene touring or recording without him.

Having been in bands for half his life now Cradock, in 2009 entering his fortieth year, is releasing his first solo album, ‘The Kundalini Target’ within the next few weeks. Not only has Craddock written, produced and arranged all the songs on the album (with the exception of a gorgeous cover of Goffin / Mann’s ‘Something Better’) but he plays all the instruments apart from guitar on one song where Paul Weller steps up. But make no mistake; ‘The Kundalini Target’ is not one of those ‘solo’ albums where the artist calls on his famous mates to help out. Because of his reputation Cradock has played with numerous other artists, Amy MacDonald and the Gallaghers, to name just a few, and he no doubt could have called on his musical buddies to lend a hand and add some extra interest and therefore sales to ‘The Kundalini Target’ so it is not only a tribute to his musical talent that he can handle just about everything on the album but also to his integrity that he has made the album without having to rely on the publicity it would have created to have his friends on board.

The fact is Cradock doesn’t need any other musical heavyweight to help out on these songs. He’s proven that he is a strong writer and can pen melodies that are instant but not forgettable. The album as a whole is a more mellow affair than what might be expected from the guitarist in a band who are best known for their driving r’n’b sixties-influenced music and the eleven songs on ‘The Kundalini Target’ flow together well evoking warm, dreamy summer days.

As the release of ‘The Kundalini Target’ draws near Pennyblackmusic took the chance, while Cradock still has the time, to ask the talented musician a few questions about the making of his first solo album and the reasons behind it.

PB : You’ve been playing in bands since you were about 19, the Boys being your first band. Why release ’The Kundalini Target’ now ? As it’s your first ‘solo’ album it’s been a long time coming!

SC : I haven't written a themed bunch of songs before and never taken songwriting seriously. I also fell in love with these melodies.

PB : I understand you are not so keen on the term ‘solo album’ but that’s truly what it is! You play most of the instruments on the album, wrote it (apart from one song) and produced it and it’s released on your own label. Why wouldn’t you be shouting from the rooftops that it’s (almost) entirely all your own work ?

SC : Well it’s obvious it’s my own work, I like the idea of releasing it into the ether and see what happens. The rooftops are cold this time of year.

PB : You’re a busy musician. Most people know you from your work with Ocean Colour Scene and Paul Weller but you’ve also helped out other musicians like Amy MacDonald. Was ‘The Kundalini Target’ something you worked on when you had a little free time or did you purposely set aside time to do the writing / recording?

SC : While I was at Paul's studio doing ‘22 Dreams’ he had a few days off so I stayed down and recorded the songs, 11 tracks in 6 days so it was a case of whenever I could really.

PB : I heard that ‘The Apple’ which was obviously written for your children was the starting point for the whole project. Is that true ? And did that song motivate you to make a whole album ?

SC : That song was my test to see if I could write songs, a song about my children without it being too saccharine or tacky, if I could pull that 1 off I could maybe go further.

PB : The only non-original on the album is a version of Goffin and Mann’s ‘Something Better’. Why did you choose that song as the only cover? While not an obscure choice the only other versions I’m aware of are by Marianne Faithfull and Harpers Bizarre and it’s not the composers’ best-known song.

SC : I love Marianne's version. The Harpers Bizarre version is terrible. The chorus' reminds me of the beautiful Ronnie Lane. It has great time signature changes which baffled me while recording it and a really beguiling oboe melody.

PB : Why didn’t you just present the songs on ‘The Kundalini Target’ to Ocean Colour Scene to record ? Is it because the songs have, in a way, a mellower vibe to them than what is usually associated with Ocean Colour Scene ?

SC : At the time Simon was meant to be doing a solo album with Jon McCusker, Oscar was doing one with his mate Chas so I tried this.

PB : Ocean Colour Scene is still very much a recording / touring band that you are going to be heavily involved with, isn’t it?

SC : We are doing an album in May and touring around September.

PB : Thank you.

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Commenting On: Interview - Steve Cradock

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18141 Posted By: Pete Smith (chester)

Hi Malcolm, this comment has nothing to do with the interview. Couldn't access your email address so I've posted here instead.

I was just surfing the interweb when I cam across a review you did for "Songs of hope and Despair" by Antiqcool a couple of years back.

Some interesting comments you made. If you would like to know what the band are up to follow this link and leave me a message.

You're right about the singing.


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