jodrell bank

Guardian Interview

A few things to catch up on. Lets start off with a cracking interview that was in today’s Sunday Observer. The band spoke to Luke Bainbridge last week whilst at Jodrell Bank performing a couple acoustic tracks for the Guardian website.

Highlights of the interview include the band talking about bouncing guitar riffs off the Moon like a giant delay pedal, as we reported on last year. Jez also confirmed that Hot Press misquoted him with regards to the coming tour being the band’s last.

Even given their habit of recording in strange locations –including under a flyover on the M62 and a deserted Benedictine monastery –Doves‘ wheeze last year was far-out stuff. Sitting in the shadow of the towering Lovell telescope in Cheshire, guitarist Jez Williams is telling the tale of the band’s cosmic rock experiment here. “I basically used the moon as a massive delay pedal…” he laughs. “It doesn’t get more prog rock than that!”

It’s not quite what Sir Bernard Lovell had in mind when he established Jodrell Bank observatory in the aftermath of the second world war. Lovell was primarily concerned with investigating cosmic rays, and the observatory has since played a key role in the research of meteors, quasars and pulsars. But last year Doves, who have a love affair with Jodrell Bank that stretches back over three decades –to when they visited the site on a school trip –came up with a slightly more rock’n’roll suggestion.

After Jodrell Bank had successfully bounced voice recordings of astronaut Buzz Aldrin and Professor Stephen Hawking off the moon (to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 landings) the idea was hatched with resident astrophysicist Dr Alastair Gunn to do the same with a Doves guitar riff. Dr Gunn is a “huge fan” of the band whom he sees at “the pinnacle of British indie rock”, and when he’s not staring at the skies, he plays lead guitar in a local group who cover “Catch the Sun” by Doves (“Pretty well I think!”).

“He had a load of dials on a box. I plugged into it, he just dialled the moon, like you do,” explains Jez Williams, who it’s fair to say is a better guitarist than he is an astrophysicist, “and two and half seconds later it [the riff] comes back. It messes up the signal beyond recognition, it’s pretty wild. We’ve got a recording of it that we’ll definitely use at some stage.”

“Put that in your fucking pipe, Rick Wakeman!” laughs singer and bassist Jimi Goodwin.

The guitar signal was actually sent from Jodrell Bank’s control room, via ISDN, to its sibling radio telescope in Cambridge, which transmitted it to the moon, and then the Lovell at Jodrell Bank picked up the part of the signal that was reflected back off the Doves’ side of the moon… like a cosmic delay pedal.

“You should have been rocking a cape when you did it,” smiles Andy Williams, the drummer and Jez’s twin.

To read the full interview and see an acoustic version of Kingdom Of Rust, click here.

Also check out the video of the first ever interview by parabolic reflectors!

Then yesterday (Saturday) the band performed a couple acoustic tracks for BBC Radio 2’s Dermot O’Leary. They performed Andalucia & kingdom Of Rust, they also spoke for a little bit. To hear it it all, head over to the BBC iplayer link from here.

Andalucia live at Jodrell Bank

Head over to the guardian music website to watch a live acoustic performance of Andalucia live at Jodrell Bank. Another track from the session will be at on Sunday. An interview with the band will be in the Observer on Sunday.

Jodrell Bank

Today Doves visited Jodrell Bank in Cheshire to perform a couple tracks for the Guardian Newspaper. Jimi & Jez played acoustic versions of Andalucia and Kingdom Of Rust.

See the video & interview here.

Pictures From Jodrell Bank

Here’s a couple pictures of the band at Jodrell Bank Centre for Astrophysics, as Jez attempted to bounce guitar notes off the moon, to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the moon landing.

For the full story, see our previous post here.

Jez Moon tuning at Jodrell Bank

Andy & Jez at Jodrell Bank

Click on the images for larger view.

Doves Celebrate Anniversary Of Moon Landing

Buzz Aldrin walks on the surface of the Moon Photograph: Neil Armstrong/Corbis

We just got this in from the band, it does not get much cooler than this:

To celebrate the 40th anniversary of the moon landing, doves were invited to Jodrell Bank, the Cheshire based Centre for Astrophysics last Thursday. Where they attempted to bounce notes from Jez’s guitar off the moon! The signal was sent from a dish in Cambridge and was to be picked up by the lovell telescope at Jodrell Bank.

Unfortunately they couldn’t align the dishes whilst the band were there. But yesterday, Dr Tim O’Brien successfully sent and received the signals. Which is believed to be a world first!

More as we have it. How cool is that?

Kinda related bit regarding Jodrell Bank from an interview the band did with back in April.

So, Jodrell Bank –that’s fucking brilliant isn’t it? I used to love going there when I was a kid.

Jimi: “The first thing we ever did as Sub Sub, ‘Space Face’, had Jodrell Bank on the cover. It’s like our spiritual home. You can see it from here and from our studio. We were there for three months before I realised you could see it. I was out the back having a fag and I was like ‘It’s fucking Jodrell Bank, man.'”

Andy: “Every time I went out for a drive to get away from the studios I’d always end up there.”

Jodrell Bank tracked the Russian Luna 9 probe to the moon’s surface and received the first facsimile photo from the surface. They ended up doing it because the Russians were about to launch this thing but then realised that they could send something to the moon but they didn’t have a telescope strong enough to track it and receive messages from the surface. They couldn’t ask the Americans obviously . . .

Andy: “It’s amazing. It’s about 50 years old now but when it was first built it must have been like ‘What the fuck is that thing?'”

Jimi: “I like it as well because it represents that 1950s vision of the future, that shining steel and massive design from the golden age of flying and space travel. Future retro. It reminds you of a time when it was your ambition to fly. Now you daren’t mention that you flew to get to a concert.”