Interview done by Alistair
for the official Monaco at
( DAVID RAMS IT
HOME - October 2001 )
Stories of splits with fellow band member and New Order bassist Peter Hook, rumours surrounding Oasis, what's been going on in the last year and why his new band RAM is now attracting so much interest and excitement ...
The official web resource is proud to bring you this interview, conducted two months ago. Of sure interest to New Order fans also, this is a rare glimpse into the workings of one of Manchester's up-and-coming songwriters ...
David Potts (DP):
Monaco enjoyed a lot of success with Polydor around the world, and particularly
in the U.S. Things were going well after an almost sell-out American tour and a
fantastic British tour supporting The Charlatans. We had 3 top singles and one
top ten album, well number 11 is near enough! So we thought, right let's ride on
it, get cracking on the next album straight away - so that's what we did.
Polydor gave the impression that they were loving the new stuff. Then came
boy/girl band mania which we didn't quite fit into, so we basically got our
marching orders. It didn't feel too bad being dropped 'cos a lot of other good
bands were also dropped around this time too.
DP: There can't be any cover ups of whether we did split or didn't, we actually did. Whether we got back together or not is another question. Certainly not in the foreseeable future anyway. When there are only 2 people in a band, it's very close, like a marriage. We loved each other but we also fucking hated each other. During recording there would be two of us in one room working together for often 16 hour days, constantly for over 3 months. As I played most instruments (apart from Hooky bass) & programming, there was never any relief or relaxation on my part. I would almost constantly be working. I'm not moaning about this, that's just how it worked. I am very controlling so this is largely my fault for not letting anyone else get involved; "It was my baby and precious to me!". I enjoyed it a lot but towards the end it became stressful. I wouldn't record that way with RAM - we're a band, so when we record, we'll record as a traditional rock 4 or 5 piece set-up.
Then the "New Order sound"
problem that we were both completely aware of but didn't really care about,
became a problem. My musical interests were definitely growing away from that
sound. I would write a song and bring it to the studio,then after working on it
together, Bang! it's gone New Order again. It's a natural route taken when
working together, it wasn't just the bass, but something happened during the
process to fall into that mold. I knew I couldn't carry on much longer working
that way, I had to find my own thing, my own sound. I often tried to bring in
different influences - tracks like Marine, Bert's Theme, Ballroom, A Life Apart,
End Of The World were all a departure, sound-wise. I thoroughly enjoyed Monaco
and learnt a hell of a lot from the experience. So to answer the question, we
just got on each others nerves.
MR: What was the motivation for the Monaco split?
DP: There was a disasterous gig at the Eclipse festival where things came to a head. We both had a massive argument and there was no going back after that. After we returned to our corners, we let the land lie for a bit then had a meeting in which we both jointly aired our views. It was done very amicably because we both wanted it to happen and remain friends. We had actually split before New Order got back together. We're OK with each other. I love the daft old bastard, we spent a lot of time together and most of it was fantastic.
DP: I know in the back of his mind he wanted New Order to get back together on certain agreed terms. I know he hated the fact that they had tons of great tunes that may never be played again live. He missed playing the old faves, which is fair enough. I didn't have a clue they would get back together, but I wish him the best of luck with New Order and hope he is a lot happier with them this time. I knew I wanted to return to the studio and get everything out that had been building up inside me. It was a release, no blinkers, no reigns, just write whatever I wanted, with no-one else in mind.
DP: No, not at all. That was an experience though. That happened a while after we'd (secretly) split, but we didn't tell anyone we'd split because we still had a record to release, so we carried on for the sake of the record.
I think it didn't quite click with Oasis - I thought they were a charming bunch of lads though. I know from getting my own band together that it's very difficult to get the right people in. If I had joined I'd have been sacked within a matter of weeks, no doubt. I've got to be my own boss and in that band I know I wouldn't have been. The offer to rehearse with them came completely out of the blue. I know Jason their roadie; he'd suggested to Noel that he phoned me, so a week later I was down at the studio. I'll never feel right playing bass, the f****** thing just doesn't look right on me. It was great being there and not many people go through the experience of playing with one of the best and biggest bands around. We clicked in the pub better, we found a common denominator there, and it wasn't just eyebrows!
MR: Your new band's called RAM - what's the story behind the name?
DP: The name comes from when I was writing a CD of my own demos on the computer. When I clicked to write it came up "initiating RAM..." I thought it looked great written down, and spookily enough I was listening to Macca's (Paul McCartney) "Ram" album because I love the song "Heart of the country". So I went downstairs, said to the Missus, "What do you think of RAM for a name?" She said 'Random Access Memory, very fitting for you'. She thinks I'm a bit feathery in the brain department but I know it's just selective memory, it comes in very handy sometimes.
There are five members in the band. There's some really good talent in there - they're certainly making me into a better musician. I don't want to say too much because there are some changes going on.
There are maybe elements of Monaco in the music because it's me. People have
mainly been saying, "Is that you? it doesn't sound like you." So I suppose it is
quite a departure. There's definitely more of a 60's influence in there. You'll
have to see for yourself; it's horrible trying to describe music. It started off
very stripped and acoustic but has gone a lot heavier and band sounding now. I
play all the instruments and sing, then deliver it to the band and they make it
DP: Easier in terms of doing what I want. When I get an idea I don't have anyone or anything to distract me, I just do it and finish it quickly and get on to the next one. If the ideas are flowing, I don't really want to stop them flowing by lingering. I probably do miss the bounce that a partner brings, but at demo stage all I want to do is get the idea down. I can mess with it when it's time for recording properly, you know, pour a bit of acid on it, dirty it, mess it up. I do get cabin fever though - drink and weekends tend to ease that.
DP: Quite a lot. I've been writing for a year and a half and only just settled on a line-up that suits and compliments the music. About 40. Now it's time to stop writing and rock it out on the road. As for singles, I don't really know. I don't write songs to be fillers or singles, they have their own life and I'd never want to label them. There are more commercial ones than others so iI suppose they'd be the singles. "I'm not sleeping", "Ticking Bomb", "My Favorite Onion" perhaps. Who knows?? DLT the Hairy Cornflake??
DP: The music has only gone out to three labels, two of who are very interested and want to see the band up and running in a live enviroment. I've had the biggest problem finding a good manager - they are very thin on the ground.
DP: It's what i do when i'm fed up of writing songs. I just go off on one. They're a bit out there, from very filmy soundscapes to out and out 60's rock, a bit of spy, a bit of lounge. When Ram get going it would be nice to release it as a free CD with the Ram album - dunno yet, it's got to be heard though. It's good.
DP: peut=etre! :)
Reprinted with permission from the author