I first came across Euros Childs quite some time ago (I doubt either of us would care to recall the exact year writes Andy Wood) fronting the excellent Gorky’s Zygotic Minki playing in the old Westport Bar. Like that venue, Gorky’s are long gone but provide many a fine memory. For some people they remain that band with the strange name but over a number of singles and albums they produced some brilliant songs on several labels before splitting in 2006. Prior to their demise Euros Childs released his debut solo single and album on Wichita Records. Since then Euros has gone onto release a further eight albums under his own name plus several collaborations including last year’s Jonny with Norman Blake of Teenage Fanclub. Not only is the man incredibly prolific but the quality control of the songs and recordings is set very high.
The current album Situation Comedy appeared in October and is a fine collection of quirky, beautiful songs full of delicious melodies and populated with an array of characters. Each of the first ten songs could stand up as a single but the surprise climax of the album is the epic ‘Trick Of The Mind’ which begins so gently with a simple piano motif and develops over almost 14 minutes into a sweet, lush string-laden song. It’s an album that is full of surprises and varied moods – funny, poignant and, at times, curious, but always beguiling.
Euros and his band have just finished the first leg of a U.K. tour and tracks from the album have been getting a fair bit of airplay as they gear up for the second leg of the Situation Comedy tour kicking off with dates in Scotland including a visit to Dundee. Thankfully Euros, possibly one of the busiest men in music, was able to kindly spare some time to answer a few questions.
Hello, how are things with you at this point in time?
Hello. Very good thanks. The new album came out a few weeks ago and people seem to like it and the same goes for the gigs too. So can’t complain at all.
You’ve just completed the first leg of your tour. How has that gone so far? Any highlights you’d like to share?
It was a lot of fun. There were no bad gigs, I’m glad to say. I’m lucky to be backed by four great musicians: Stuart Kidd (drums vocals) and Marco Rea (guitar vocals) both from The Wellgreen, Adam Stearns (bass) and Laura J Martin (flute).
The London gig was a highlight just because it happened at all. We turned up at the venue and the place was being evacuated due to a gas leak. It looked like it wasn’t happening for a while. Luckily it went ahead.
How has the response to Situation Comedy been so far?
Very good. We’re playing a good portion of it live and it’s going down well with the audience. That’s the proper test for an album I think
Was there an overarching concept behind the songs on the album and the title?
Not really, the only thing that the songs have in common is that they’re all sung from the perspective of different characters.
Most of the characters in the songs are stuck in unfortunate circumstances and also there’s quite a bit of black humour in there too. So the title Situation Comedy seemed appropriate.
Are you a fan of Situation Comedies? If so, what attracts you to the genre and what are your favourites?
I’m a big fan. When it’s done well it’s as poignant and affecting as any other artform. My favourites are Ever Decreasing Circles, Seinfeld, Porridge. The list goes on and on!
Would you ever contemplate writing or pitching one yourself?
No, I wouldn’t know where to start!
You are an incredibly prolific writer and release high quality music with regularity along with running your own label National Elf and booking your own tours. How do you find the time? Are there ever periods when you are doing stuff away from music?
The running of the label and tours takes up a lot of time but I enjoy it and it feels like a proper job as opposed to songwriting and performing which has always felt like a hobby.
I walk a lot and follow football and read. So there’s plenty of other things to be getting on with.
How much has the music world changed since you first started out with with Gorky’s Zygotic Minki in 1991?
Obviously the industry side of things has changed with the introduction of the internet but in many ways things are still the same. It’s still about people listening to music and seeing bands live.
You recently collaborated with Norman Blake on the Jonny album and also appeared on the Short And Curlies album this year. What attracts you to such collaborations and where do they fit in with the solo recordings?
I enjoy the collaborations, there a lot of fun and I’m lucky to have been in the company of some very nice people. Also it’s a nice break from just writing on my own, which is what I do day to day.
Have you ever considered writing an autobiography or memoir?
What influenced you first to play and write music?
Just being a fan of music really. Myself and John (GZM guitarist) started getting into music when we were 14 and it seemed natural to try and write music ourselves. Up to that point we’d made homemade comics, radio shows and comedy sketch videos so making music was a natural extension to all that. After we started making music we dropped all the other stuff.
Anything else that you would like to add?
Come along to Dundee’s Beat Generator on the 20th November to see Euros Childs and The Wellgreen!
Euros Childs plays at the Cool Cat Club, Beat Generator Live in Dundee on Wednesday 20th November with support from Panda Su and the Wellgreen. Tickets for the show are available in advance from Grouchos in Dundee and from We Got Tickets.
Euros Childs photo (c) Kirsten McTernan