Published Jun 29, 2016Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds are set to land here in North America for a two-week tour in July. This will be the second time Gallagher has crossed the pond in support of his most recent album, last year's Chasing Yesterday, but he doesn't see it as another go around. It's just part of his routine. Though he doesn't seem to remember the first tour.
"I haven't been to Canada yet, right? Did I? No way! Why am I going back? I don't know. Will I enjoy it? I better say yes, shouldn't I?" he tells Exclaim! in his usual facetious tone. "When I'm in between touring and going into the studio, I rarely stop working."
Gallagher spent a good chunk of the last 18 months playing gigs all over the world, but that hasn't stopped him from working on his third album with the High Flying Birds. Still in its early phase, he and producer David Holmes (Primal Scream, Jane Weaver) have been working on the album over the course of two years. It's because of Holmes that Gallagher ended up producing Chasing Yesterday.
"I did all of the demos for Chasing Yesterday, and I was trying to get a producer to do the album with me," he explains. "I'd met David on the previous tour with Primal Scream, and I've got all of his records and his soundtracks, and we said we should do some stuff together. A few years passed and I called him and he came to London and I played him the stuff and he said, 'Yeah, no that sounds finished to me. Why don't you just finish it off?' So it was his idea to produce my own record.
"And then he said, 'Why don't we make another record?' So I would work two weeks finishing off Chasing Yesterday, and then go off to Belfast, so we've been in the studio on-and-off for the last couple of years now. Even though it sounds like it's a long time, we've only done about four weeks together. Because he's busy and I'm busy, obviously."
Working with a hands-on and visionary producer like Holmes has been a unique arrangement that Gallagher has never experienced before.
"It's a different way of working for me," he says. "It's not a different way of working for anybody else, because people do this shit all of the time. But I don't generally work this way. In fact, I've never worked this way at all, so it's interesting for me. I'm not allowed to write anything at home when he's not there. So I write in the studio. He's kinda being a proper producer. I'm not allowed to go in with any pre-written riffs. He's got an extensive record collection, so we'll listen to them and go, 'Let's do something like this.' And then I'll play something and he'll go, 'Hmm… how about do this right there?' That kind of thing.
"What's frustrating is that you kinda don't really know what you're doing until it was finished. But then again, most people work like this. I walk up to the studio with a fucking guitar and a notebook that contains 30 songs already written, where I'm constantly moving towards finishing it. This is a bit more like constantly throwing ideas up in the air and seeing how they all land. But it's been rewarding so far."
Gallagher feels that some people might assume that working with a producer like Holmes might result in a dramatic shift in sound, but he wants to nip it in the bud.
"Can I point out that it's not electronic? Everyone thinks that it's an electronic record, and it isn't," he insists. "Well, not yet, anyway. The first six tracks aren't electronic. For some reason they all associate David with electronic music. To be honest, I was hoping we might do something electronic, but it's turning out to be a rock'n'roll record, which is fine with me."
As for Gallagher's former band Oasis, who never seem to leave the news or gossip cycles, Gallagher has seen the forthcoming documentary, Supersonic, though he says his involvement with the actual production was limited.
"Well, I'm in it," he says about his role. "And I was in it at the time. I've done 20 hours of interviews. I'm involved to the point of I was interviewed, I've seen it, and I've gone, 'Yeah.' I've been on tour and making records, so I'm kinda not really in the fucking mood for jumping onto something that happened 20 years ago. When I seen the thing it was nice to see old footage I'd never seen, and it was funny. It's great, and then I kinda went off and had lunch. It's not really the most important thing that gonna happen to me in the next two years. D'ya know what I mean?"
While the documentary might not be something he will ruminate over much, he does feel it will mean a lot more to the band's fans.
"I do think the fans will love it because it looks great. I had forgotten about the size of Oasis and what it meant to people and the impact we had on people's lives. I'm a bit too close to judge it, aren't I? Liam comes out of it well though."
See all High Flying Birds' North American tour dates below, where you'll also find some concert footage via the video for "Lock All the Doors."
07/01 Atlanta, GA - The Tabernacle
07/02 Nashville, TN - Ryman Auditorium
07/05 New York, NY - Beacon Theater
07/06 Lewiston, NY - Artpark
07/08 Ottawa, ON – Ottawa Bluesfest
07/09 Montreal, QC – Montreal International Jazz Fest
07/10 Toronto, ON - TD Echo Beach
07/12 Rochester Hills, MI
07/13 Pittsburgh, PA
07/15 Columbus, OH – Promo Fest West
07/17 Pemberton, BC – Pemberton Music Festival