In 1992, The Wedding Present emerged from the shadows of the C86 scene with a historic run of singles. That year, they had 12 tracks charting, one for each month, a feat which tied with the one and only Elvis Presley for the most top 40 hits in a single year. The difference between the two is that The Wedding Present were borne from the cottage-industry ethos of punk, whereas Elvis had the first army of the music industry behind him as the wheels got turning on pop culture.
Now, the group are set to revisit that landmark achievement 30 years on with their latest project. 24 Songs aims to provide a 7” double-sided single for fans every month throughout 2022. Thus, the band will have their work cut out, but it is a task they seem to be excitedly facing up to.
“I wouldn’t say it’s a return, as such, because I don’t think we ever stopped being a punk cottage industry,” David Gedge remarks. “Even when we were signed to major record labels like RCA and Island Records, we still tended to run everything ourselves. We’ve never had tour managers or used merchandise companies, or anything like that. We also run our own record label – Scopitones – and, even though 24 Songs is on Clue Records, we are in control of and heavily involved with all aspects of the series.”
This notion in itself is a novelty in this day and age, but oddly in the world of streaming and overheads, it is one that more bands may well adopt. What’s more, The Wedding Present’s project is one that will help to keep the physical format alive and as such the stores that sell them. “I guess they probably help,” Gedge accepts, “but it would be wrong for me to claim that we’re being all altruistic, here! We’re doing this because I like 7” singles – it’s the ultimate format for pop music – and also record shops… and I’ve always been fond of a collectable series myself!”
Naturally, however, it is one that presents a hefty challenge for Gedge and the band. Fortunately, they are already well underway. When chatting about how many of them have already been written, Gedge confidently asserts, “About a third of them are completely finished and there’s probably another third that are in the final stages.”
Adding: “When we did this last time, with the Hit Parade in 1992, we wrote and recorded the songs as we went along, and I enjoyed the way the series evolved. So that’s what we’re doing again. The idea of having all 24 written and recorded in advance seems a bit too… calculating… to me.”
While some bands might find this free-form approach a bit daunting, Gedge claims it suits him and his bandmates well. “Most of the time when we’re writing, we’re not specifically thinking: ‘This will be a single,’ or ‘this will be an album track,’ we’re just writing a song. That being said, we did write the material for the last album, Going, Going… with the idea that they would form part of a continuing narrative.”
He adds: “And, with an album like Seamonsters, which we’re currently playing live, it does kind of feel like all the tracks have a certain mood or theme. But most of the time we just assemble a batch of songs and then work out what to do with them! The 24 Songs tracks are being created from ideas that various members of the band have brought to the table over the last couple of years.”
So what can fans expect as the singles pop through their door each month or they roll down to their favourite record store? Well, it would seem a complex mix is in the working, as Gedge explains: “It’s been very interesting working with Jon Stewart, who’s also the guitarist in Sleeper. He’s an exceptional songwriter. You’d imagine that coming from a platinum album selling Britpop band like Sleeper, that his contributions would be of a poppier disposition, but he’s also a massive Wedding Present fan of old so he’s not averse to the gigantic, layered sounds and aggressive strumfests! As with any new Wedding Present line-up, though, the band gets pushed and pulled into new territories. I’ve always loved the challenge and results of that!”
Subscription details [with an early bird incentive] can be found by clicking here. Individual singles and a collector’s box can be ordered from the same site or via all participating record shops.
The Wedding Present are also currently on tour and you can check out their remaining dates in the UK below:
Wedding Present Tour Dates in 2021:
17: Edinburgh – Liquid Room
18: Manchester – O2 Ritz
19: Chester – Live Rooms
20: Nottingham – Rock City
21: Norwich – Arts Centre
24: Cambridge – Junction
25: Bristol – O2 Academy
26: Reading – Sub89
27: London – O2 Forum Kentish Town