Why release a best-of now?
I have to admit it wasn’t our idea to do it, but then we got over our reticence. We’ve cleaned out the vaults now, so whatever we do next, the slate’s clean. We’ve put three brand-new tracks on it, which sweetened the pill for me, and we wondered when was the right time to get nostalgic, because none of us are really and we haven’t listened to a lot of those tracks since we recorded them.
So how involved were you in compiling it?
Very involved — we’d never let anyone else do it. It took longer than we expected, but mind you everything always does in Doves. Hopefully, it stands up to things like ‘Songs to Learn and Sing’ by Echo And The Bunnymen, because I look at those as albums in their own right; you forget that they’re compilations.
Where did the title come from?
It’s inspired by a book by Rory Stewart, ‘The Places In Between,’ it just seems to fit because it bookends this part of our life. It’s closing the last 12 years. We’ve all read his story now, it’s an inspiring journey this guy did after the invasion of Afghanistan. He travelled on his own from village to village. The guy’s got balls.
How has working on this changed your perception of what you have achieved so far?
We were unanimous on the songs that haven’t aged so well that didn’t go on it, but on the whole, it’s a good run of music from three kids. ‘Sulphur Man’ was a moment for me — I was back there recording it, writing the lyrics in my front room with ’em both, bouncing ideas.
I think someone could cover that really well and I never earmark my songs for other people, but I think someone female could take it somewhere else. Someone huge, Lady Gaga because she’d make a mint. I need the dough [laughs].
And I look back fondly at the ‘Some Cities’ period, going to this old schoolhouse in Scotland with Ben Nevis out the window. I spent six weeks up there and didn’t want to come home; my mum had just died and I just wanted to be away.
Before this, you took four years to put out ‘Kingdom of Rust,’ which you have admitted was a frustrating time for the band. Did you come close to breaking up?
It was never said, but I’m sure it crossed everyone’s minds. There were weeks when we didn’t want to be there. I had a lot of family things going on, so did Jez, so did Andy, but we just couldn’t give up. We’ve never had out-and-out throwing things at each other. It’s just not the way we operate. Maybe it would be nice if we did sometimes, maybe we just brood with each other.
You have some live dates coming up this spring and into the summer, but what then? Can we look forward to another Doves album?
We’re looking forward to going out and having some fun with existing material. It’s not about buying time, but it’s good not to go on this treadmill of album, tour, album, tour. These days there’s no rules and we’ve not decided … there’s been talk of people doing, not solo, but collaborations and songwriting with or for other people, then hopefully bring it back to the table at a later date.
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