DEACON BLUE are one of Scotland’s most famous and successful bands, from their million selling debut album Raintown (with classic singles Dignity & Chocolate Girl), and follow up, the chart topping When The World Knows Your Name (featuring Real Gone Kid, Queen of the New Year and Fergus Sings the Blues), through to 2016’s Believers, their highest charting album in 22 years, Deacon Blue are consistently one of the most respected and best loved bands of their generation. Ricky Ross spoke to Hi Fi Way about their Australian tour which starts tomorrow in Perth and heads to Adelaide on Wednesday.
Congratulations on thirty years, what has been the secret to keeping going so well for so long?
We got to a point where we weren’t really enjoying it, we stopped for a while and when we came back for the last ten years or so we felt if we were going to come back to do shows we should make records and be creative. Our secret is being creative and since 2012 we have made three albums and another one that’s going to come out next year, we’ve made a Christmas EP and have done a lot of touring. It has been a creative period and that’s the secret of it the fact that we want to do new things and try new things. That has kept things fairly fresh, people all around the world want to hear the old songs but we feel when you are doing something new and creative they want to be part of that.
Did you feel that the time When The World Knows Your Name that you reached the top of the mountain?
At the beginning of being a band you have no perspective of things and what it is going to be. You’re just busy and on tour and that’s all we did. When that album came out we felt like that’s what we wanted to do. I don’t think we’ve ever given it too much thought really. When you start to sell records and tickets that’s when you can start being in control of your destiny. That was the biggest advantage for us in that we could just do what we wanted without too much interference.
Was it exciting watching singles such as Real Gone Kid climb the charts?
It was definitely exciting because it had never happened to us before. That song opened up a whole heap of doors which have never been opened before. A song can change everything, a song can change your life and your audience.
Did that start to create pressure and expectation for more of the same?
Maybe, I’m not sure! I thought we rode the bumps fairly well. We got to a point in 1993-1994 we didn’t feel creative and stopped doing it. We always tried to keep being creative, we avoided making the record that would have been quite hard to make. When we came back we had that creative rush.
When you were being creative and releasing new records did it help knowing that they charted well?
Yeah, we’ve always built our reputation on being able to change things around and being creative with that. I think people have always thought we have always given a good account of ourselves live so when we came back doing stuff people came along with it.
I’m not really that bothered about charts, the thing that concerns me is making a record that people want to get to the end of. You want to make a record where people listen to the whole thing then that starts a conversation about certain tracks and that’s important for me in making music that matters.
Have you noticed the generational shift in the fan base?
I guess there must be, I think you have be realistic about these things. There’s so much more music now, so much more choice for people and music that I don’t even know about. World music, dance music, I have no idea what’s going on. I think you do well with the audience that you have and they might bring their friends along. I guess people do come back but you have to be realistic about it as there is so much stuff out there. Hundreds of records come out every week, the world of music is just bigger and more congested and I’m grateful to be able to hold on to the people we have got.
Any word on album number nine?
It’s all there, made and ready to go. City Of Love will be released March 2020.
Interview By Rob Lyon