Doves Release 'Kingdom Of Rust'

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Kingdom of Rust is the latest album from the British indie group Doves. Host Scott Simon speaks with lead singer and guitarist Jimi Goodwin about the group's first album in four years.

SCOTT SIMON, host:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon.

The British band Doves used to go by the name Sub Sub. They made music like this…

(Soundbite of song)

SUB SUB (Band): (Singing) Ooh, with the rain on the love, is it raining on you?

SIMON: But dance music just didn't work out for them. They changed their name to Doves. That was four albums and 11 years ago. Now they make music that sounds like this…

(Soundbite of song, "Compulsion)

DOVES (Band): (Singing) We laid and stared at the stars. Woke up in the storm. Am I yours?

SIMON: Doves are three Manchester men - Jimi Goodwin and brothers Jez and Andy Williams. Their new album: "Kingdom Of Rust."

Jimi Goodwin joins us in our studios. Thanks very much for being with us.

Mr. JIMI GOODWIN (Musician): All right. It's a pleasure.

SIMON: Your lyrics are remarkable. I'm going to read from "Kingdom of Rust."

A sound above my head. The distant sound of thunder booming out in the moor. Blackbirds, they flew ahead into the cooling towers.

Mr. GOODWIN: Andy wrote those lyrics. There's a lot of that on the album. It's almost just like walking through the landscapes and it's almost like you're jotting down your observations. And - but yeah, I love that image. It reminds me of almost like of an industry that's declined.

(Soundbite of song, "Kingdom Of Rust")

DOVES: (Singing) I hear a sound, a sound above my head. The distant sound is thunder booming out on the moor.

Mr. GOODWIN: Just like an abandoned factory floor or something and then gradually it makes you sort of come in and reclaim it.

(Soundbite of song, "Kingdom Of Rust")

DOVES: (Singing) Blackbirds flew ahead into the cooling towers. I packed my bags, thinking of one of those hours with you, waiting for you. My God, it takes an ocean of trust in the kingdom of rust.

SIMON: What's that time like in the studio for the three of you?

Mr. GOODWIN: This one was a tricky album to make. It took longer than any of us anticipated, but that's after 19 years we worked together. It took a while for the juices to really get flowing. We were writing. We wrote a ton of tracks this time, probably more than we've written for an album project.

Without saying it, you kind of know though that the first things that you write are maybe just stepping stones till you get to the really juicy stuff. We had to go for a least four or five months of just not really knowing what we wanted to do or where it was going, and allowing it to go there really to make sense of what we were trying to do together.

SIMON: Mm-hmm. Let me ask you about a song. In fact, let's listen to a little bit of the song, "Greatest Denier."

(Soundbite of song "Greatest Denier")

DOVES: (Singing) The English skyline falls down to the future. But no one noticed in this empire...

SIMON: So tell us about this song. What's it about? How'd it get here?

Mr. GOODWIN: Jez had the line, I'm the greatest denier but I can cut you with a look. And that was just like, I was like, oh, that is great.

(Soundbite of song "Greatest Denier")

DOVES: (Singing) 'Cause I'm the greatest denier and I will cut you if you look.

Mr. GOODWIN: It's about a racist or a bigot of some sort who realizes that his views and his ideals that he's always, that he's stood behind, are just redundant. And he's realizing that, you know, like he's been living a lie for a long time. You know, and...

SIMON: And the English bloodline clashes in the sun.

Mr. GOODWIN: That's about (unintelligible) sort race riots that - you know, in the North of England a couple years ago there was a lot of Asians, and mostly kids clashing with white kids and all that sort of stuff. And you know, the English skyline falls down to the future but no one noticed, it's maybe seeing it from the perspective of someone who's quite reprehensible, maybe do a character and not be yourself for a song.

SIMON: Another song I'm going to play for you - and unless my producer has set me up for one of the most embarrassing moments of my broadcast career, and I don't put that past her - we're told this song is going to mean something particular to you.

(Soundbite of song, "Cretin Hop")

Mr. GOODWIN: Yeah.

(Soundbite of song, "Cretin Hop")

RAMONES (Singing) There's no stoppin' the cretins from hopping it. You gotta keep it beating. For all the hopping cretins. Cretin. Cretin.

SIMON: The Ramones.

Mr. GOODWIN: I saw the Ramones when I was 10. You know, my dad was into punk and stuff and...

SIMON: He'd bring you to clubs, is what I heard.

Mr. GOODWIN: Yeah. Yeah. It was great. But my old man was a bit of a cat. He was pretty funky and he's definitely how I got into, you know, music and...

SIMON: So your father would say, come on, son, we're going to a club?

Mr. GOODWIN: Well, that was - the Clash was the first band I saw, and it was my ninth birthday.

SIMON: The Clash was the first band?

Mr. GOODWIN: Yeah.

SIMON: You saw it on your ninth birthday?

Mr. GOODWIN: Yeah. I thought I was going for a Chinese meal and I turned up at the Apollo Theater in Manchester, and see: tonight only the Clash. And I just nearly wet myself. I had to get out of there though at the end because they played "White Riot," and the speakers started getting ripped and all that. So my dad be like, right, come on son, let's go now.

You know, I was only a kid but I got the feeling of it - the spirit - I understood it.

SIMON: I guess for a kid in Manchester, "London Calling" is a big song, right?

Mr. GOODWIN: Yeah, that - that record was amazing, you know.

SIMON: And then (singing) (unintelligible) do I have that right?

Mr. GOODWIN: Yeah, (unintelligible) the USA. I think that song was actually, I'm in love with the USA but they didn't think it was punk enough (unintelligible)

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. GOODWIN: (Unintelligible) has to be anti-authoritarian, all that stuff.

SIMON: I never heard that. I like that explanation.

Mr. GOODWIN: No, apparently that's true, that Joe Strummer - I think Mick Jones and Joe Strummer went, It's too nice, turn it into - let's make it a negative.

SIMON: Oh, that's hilarious. Well, he is a great showman. Can I ask you about the dedication of this album?

Mr. GOODWIN: Well, to my dad, really, who passed away.

SIMON: Right, Francis James Goodwin.

Mr. GOODWIN: Yeah, at Christmas. He passed away while we were making the record. (Unintelligible) finished it.

SIMON: He must have been very proud of you.

Mr. GOODWIN: I guess he was, yeah. We were quite estranged at the end, which is the sad part of it.

SIMON: I'm sorry.

Mr. GOODWIN: I'm still just sort of making sense of it.

SIMON: Really?

Mr. GOODWIN: Yeah.

SIMON: You've had a lot of success as the Doves after changing your name and your style. What do you see in the future?

Mr. GOODWIN: I think we've got an album (unintelligible) we need to shake it up again.

SIMON: Mm-hmm.

Mr. GOODWIN: Possibly by doing things separately or doing a film soundtrack or something like that. We love film music. It's definitely big part of the inspiration for Doves and - so if anyone out there and wants to offer us a massive Hollywood movie, we'll entertain the idea.

(Soundbite of song)

DOVES: (Singing) (Unintelligible)

SIMON: Thank you so much for being with us, Jimi.

Mr. GOODWIN: No problem.

(Soundbite of song)

DOVES: (Singing) (Unintelligible)

SIMON: Jimi Goodwin of the Doves joins us in our studios. Their latest album, "Kingdom of Rust," is out now.

(Soundbite of song)

DOVES: (Singing) (Unintelligible)

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