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Interview: Debunking the Myth of Being a Slave with Gabrielles Wish

After a cracker of a sit-down with Gabrielles Wish frontman Robert Corless last year that spanned DIY longevity, Showaddywaddy, and the Bury real ale scene, Far Out decided we just had to head back for some more pearls of musical wisdom.

As well as the recent release of his band’s new EP, Debunking the Myth of Being a Slave, we chatted to Rob about clothes shopping with Rob Gretton, turning down the artistic services of Peter Saville and Les Dawson’s guitar work…

What was the new EP like to put together?

We didn’t write all the songs together as such. For example ‘Cognitive Dissonance’ was written by Stephen Bunn, and then I put my thrills on it. ‘Tree of Life’ was written by Darren, then the same thing followed.

There are a couple of groups track too, because that’s what a group should fucking do at the end of the day! I met this mad professor in The Castle Hotel called Neil. He basically just wangled his way from the pub to the studio and got himself on there, so there are some sax bits that are very good, very interesting.

It’s been recorded at Butterfly Music to keeps costs down and keep control then post production was done at 6DB studios in Salford with Simon ‘Ding’ Archer who’s a very good friend of mine.

It was all done pretty quick really, we got in the there and did it and then put it out on Eromeda Records. It’s been a out a few weeks and looks like it’s doing alright.

You’ve stuck with Eromeda for a very long time now, is that something that allows you to maintain that control?

There’s nothing wrong with a bit of support, but that can never become a handrail or a crutch. They like what we’re doing, he let’s us get on with it, we do all of the design and stuff ourselves.

It’s the same ethos as when we worked with Rob Gretton at Manchester Records. He used to say we’ll get Peter Saville down to do some artwork like he did for everyone on Factory, but I said ‘nah, fuck that, I’ve got mate who can do that and is good at it’.

Although, then another day he said to me ‘if I give you a budget for some clothes, will I be able to take you clothes shopping?’, so I said ‘you cheeky cunt, I’m the smartest guy in the fucking room’. We’re digressing a bit now, but the general ethos was basically if he came to you with things like that and you told him to fuck off, he would like it! It’s better to keep control all the time than be smothered by some label. It’s a dangerous world once you start getting your arse wiped.

Is it important to have that personal relationship with someone who is, for example, creating the artwork?

The artwork on the new EP was a photo of me and our Elizabeth [Rob’s daughter] and Karen Leatham [former Gabrielles Wish band member]. There are quite a few metaphors in the artwork. Now the title of the record, Debunking the Myth of Being a Slave, is just a fuck you to collectivism and group thought. You go around Manchester now and it’s full of bumble bees with a group mentality, all thinking the same way. It’s like religion, or politics, or even relationships to a certain degree. It’s all bollocks. It’s a bit of a tongue in cheek reference to that. And yet, I’m talking about being a slave and I’m holding our Elizabeth’s hand, but she’s in mid-air, so it’s kind of about rising above all the bollocks.

I was really pleased with what we caught with it. And it’s all about having the control to do that. I don’t understand any rock ‘n’ roll group, or any group at all for that matter, who are prepared to get down on their fucking bony knees and say yeah to anything. Don’t get it but there’s plenty out there. I’m just trying to be sane in an insane world. Actually that’s not fair on the world… an insane society.

You mentioned that different bits of the album were written independently by a few different people, do you find this the most interesting way to work?

Yeah that was very interesting. This time we just wanted to do two band tracks and sort of do more electronica with the other stuff. Originally every track had beats on it, but we stripped it down a bit. It might sound simple but you basically just get a feeling whether something is right or wrong. And that’s a good mantra to have for life really, knowing what’s right and wrong.

There’s a bit more of a blissed-out 60s sound on the new EP, intentional?

Well that’s interesting, I’m a massive Arthur Lee fan. All these people who could play like fuck.  If you turned up to the studio playing some guitar like fucking Les Dawson you’d be chucked out of there in the 60s. The 60s vibe is definitely there. There’s a bit of that guy from Pink Floyd who went crackers in there too. Who do I mean?

Syd Barrett!

Yep that’s right! The delivery of the words is very interesting, even some of the verbs that are used. I know it’s bit anal talking about all that, but sounds good with an acoustic guitar. It’s works as a singer-songwriter, whatever a singer-songwriter actually is. You’ve got to be a it awkward about it.

The new Gabrielles Wish EP, Debunking the Myth of Being a Slave, is out now on Eromeda Records.

Questions: Patrick Davies