16. Do you think that social politics are an item that fits your music or the genre overall? Do you care? Or is it that music (like sports) are or should be non political!?
I'm very wary about using songs to talk about politics. The title track of The Underfall Yard is about as far as I go. The political stuff I pick up in songs is often very obvious; war is hell, poverty is bad, we're wrecking the world sort of stuff. It's difficult to disagree with any of it but I don't find it very thought-provoking or well thought-out. There is also a lot of obvious anti-American sentiment in some songs and I think that's a bit crass. I'm more interested in telling stories in songs these days. Sometimes there's a message in the stories, but buried deep.
17. What´s new? Any new plans? Solo albums or tour´s? Would touring include the guest musicians? I guess the latter is a matter of schedules and contracts!?
If we tour, it'll definitely be with Nick and Dave. Jem has a huge work schedule and Francis is based in the States, so it is less likely they will be in the live line-up. At the moment, we're working on lots of new material for the next album which will be called English Electric. We have a download single coming out early next year which includes a cover version of an Anthony Phillips song and David is also working on his second solo album.
18. Big Big Train, now with six albums to its name, has developed, changed and truly progressed from album to album! Is that important? I mean, of course it is important to develop as musicians and you surely have, but is it important to you ..that the final "picture" changes from one album to another? Or is it, that the process of creating / composing / recording naturally finds its way from scratch to the final outcome?
Gathering Speed had a slightly retro sound and was more appealing to prog fans and that is the album that helped to start building a bigger audience for us. It would have been tempting to do another retro sounding CD with lots of 12-strings, but the following album, The Difference Machine was very different and The Underfall Yard is different again. None of this was pre-planned, it really depends on what we've written at any point in time. I think where we have got better is with the quality of our writing - I think it's pretty good now. And we've surrounded ourselves with talented musicians who can make those songs even more special.