Ritchie's Interview

World Of Five (22 Dec 06)

What have you been doing for the past five years?
The band split of course, then I left the record company and management and started on my musical journey. Exploring different styles and stuff like that. I'd have to call it almost like my own personal therapy after the madness of five years. Spent a lot of time in Ibiza in clubs dancing... just found myself on the dance floor. I had fun, a real good time, letting my hair down and reminding myself who I was... which has been a steady thing for the past five years. I was trying to feel like myself again which has been really cool. What else did I do? I fell in love. Had an on-going four year relationship, moved to the countryside, played the bumpkin for awhile and learned to cook.. in between having my rock band and doing a university tour. I went to India. Being a hippy. Loving music, loving people, meeting more people. Growing up. Well, not growing up too much. (laughs)

You began a solo career doing rock music but you suddenly stopped. Why?
I'd come to a point where I really couldn't do music anymore. It would send me into a weird place in my mind. I fell out of love with music for a little bit. And when you've loved it so much, it's a weird thing to happen. Five years in the music business kind of takes that veneer off it. What is an airy-fairy dream turns into a reality and you can get a little jaded with it. There's a lot of sharks out there. And for many reasons basically fell out of love with music. And it's only in the past six months that I've fully started back. I've always loved music, don't get me wrong. It hasn't been five years not listening to any music. I've just been out and bought myself an iPod because it's been too long and I haven't had one. And I'm just totally in love with music again. I'm looking forward to getting in the studio and letting it all come out.

Also the management I had at the time, that was the final straw, had a difference of opinion on some money, shall we say. And that was my final thing. It still gets to me. Finding people I can trust for looking after your affairs. I also needed to explore what I could do outside of the music industry. I needed to open my eyes, look around at the world and go, "OK, if I don't do music, what is it that I'm going to do?" So after doing that for awhile, I realised that music was what I did. So there's no getting away from it, no hiding from it. I've just got to stare it in the face and just do it. And do it because I love it and not focus on other things.

How do you think you've changed as a person in five years?
Massively, massively, massively. There's just so much. From who I was in the early days, all those stresses and strains that were put on top of me in the following years. I didn't even realise how much I've changed until recently, how the music industry and just being so young would effect me so massively. There were so many pictures and they didn't portray who I really was. I was always a rocker and a bit of a hippy and they didn't show me as who I was. It gets in the way of knowing yourself. It's confusing but it's nice to have come back to earth.

Has your musical taste or style changed in the past five years and how do you think it will affect Five's new music?
Fundamentally, no, it hasn't changed. I like all sorts of music from classical to house to rock/soul. At the moment I'm blown away by Ray The Mountain (Le Montaine). He's American. Kinda rocky, soulful, funky. And I really like JET. Rock I suppose is a general theme with me but there's all manner of other types of music that I listen to, that I can say "that's crap" or I think that's really good. Anything that's musically good and lyrically intelligent. I'm not really fond of modern hip-hop because I think hip-hop's lost its way. Compared to the old-school stuff, it's just watered down and cheese now.

We know what we're gonna do musically with the band and we're just gonna do it. It's gonna be a lot more from the heart and a lot more what we want to do. Lyrically a lot stronger than before.

How would you like to see Five represent themselves to the press and their fans this time around?
Honestly and truthfully, I'm not going to contrive an image on how we present ourselves. Such as in certain clothes, which becomes an image in and of itself. Just more real, more saying the things we want to say. I don't really know because it's like an evolution at the moment. We're kind of evolving something and we're really just at the start of that process. We are just going to be ourselves.

What do you see is your role in the band? What do you contribute personally and musically?
For sure I'm the rock-head. Definitely representing rock. (laughs a lot) The rock guy. I'm not gonna try to analyze myself too much because it can get a bit weird. So I just try not to think about it and just bring whatever I bring.. and whatever anyone else thinks that I bring to them. Rather than going, "I wanna bring THIS to the band". Again, its an evolution. It'll happen naturally.

Ideally, what do you hope Five can accomplish with this comeback?
Hopefully we can touch hearts and minds with our music and we can be very successful again. Sell a lot of records, do some really big gigs. Have fun and be on the road, singing again. I'm just totally up for it now. Yeah. I'm so up for being out and about all over the world.

What's it like being together with the boys again?
(Laughs) It IS very natural. It never felt weird. It IS funny. The studio can really be quite funny. You've all got a lot of different influences coming into the mix and it can get a bit overwhelming at times. You know, whoooooah, where we gonna take this? But the end product is tending to be really quite good, you know? We're happy with it. But it's really fun and it's really cool.

I feel that like before, we were put together. We were almost forced together. And we were all from very different parts of the country, very different upbringings. And none of us, we were too young, had a wider understanding or an acceptance of other things. I guess in a way, we clashed before whereas now, it just enriches everything that we are so different. We're older now and we understand each other. We give each other space to be ourselves. Before we would try to change one another a little bit because we were together all the time. And it can get weird anyway being with the same people 24 hours a day for years on end. So its cool now. We have room to breathe and acceptance of one another. It's really a nice working environment. Everyone just wants to get the job done and get it done right.

The band dynamic is different too. We used to record a lot separately. Now we're together and all involved. Something that all bands struggle with sometimes is writing splits. Whether, for arguments sake, I wrote all of a song, I'm still gonna split it four ways with the other guys. So whatever anybody earns, it's all gonna be split four ways. Because when you do it the other way, people are clamouring in, "I want my bridge in there" even though its not really the best bridge but you've got a verse in there and no one gets the royalty unless their name's in it too. None of that will come into it with us now. It's all about music. It's really really cool. Best way to do it.