Interview: Former Oasis Guitarst Gem Archer Discusses Beady Eye's New Album, 'Different Gear, Still Speeding'
Anyone who is familiar with British rock knows all too well the antics of the Gallagher brothers, Liam and Noel. Their love/hate relationship made for great music — and press — during Oasis' 18-year run.
But in August 2009, the brothers put an end to Oasis, and Beady Eye was born.
Beady Eye is Liam Gallagher, Gem Archer, Andy Bell and Chris Sharrock — essentially Oasis minus Noel Gallagher. Their debut album, Different Gear, Still Speeding, was released in February.
Archer — whose first name is pronounced with a hard G, as in guitar — had been with Oasis since the original band lost a few founding members in 2000. Before Oasis, he was the singer/songwriter/guitarist for Heavy Stereo, so he added something of an all-star feel, as did Bell, the founder of Ride, when he joined Oasis.
Archer comes across as the sort of guy you’d share a beer with while watching soccer. Sorry — football. Guitar World spoke to him before Beady Eye's recent show in Toronto.
GUITAR WORLD: How have the shows been going?
Truly fantastic, man. We played Chicago the other night, and it was kind of like playing to a home crowd. It was mega. It reminded us of Manchester or Glasgow. It was great.
Are you guys hoping to pick up more dates in the U.S.?
Yeah. I mean the whole tour has been kind of bit by bit. It's not like we booked it like we would've in the old days, you know, booking an 18-month tour. This is segment by segment. We definitely want to come back, but also keep it special, and these gigs, we already noticed a lot of people traveled. The Chicago show wasn't full of people from Chicago.
How long after Oasis broke up did you guys know you were going to stick together?
Well, it was that night. It really was. We all just sat around in a hotel in Paris, looking at each other, going, "Well, I'm not done with music, and it ain't done with us." And it wasn't like we were going to retrain ourselves and become hairdressers. You could tell. It was kind of coming. You know what it's like — something in the air. Also, we hadn't recorded with Chris [Sharrock, drummer] yet, so that was definitely something to get involved with.
It seems this album came about quickly. Is that an accurate assessment?
It felt really fast, but it wasn't rushed. I think we all kind of felt that if we didn't get on with it, it may have been harder — if we had left it for a year or something. We'd just done a long tour, and that was straight on the back of recording the previous album, so we thought we'd have a month off. But we literally had a few drinks one night and went, "Ah fuck, should we just start on Monday?" It was about six weeks to record and six weeks to mix. And that was it.
In terms of writing, did you do a lot of it together, or did members bring songs to the band individually?
We all write individually, but when we start demoing, the songs just become all of ours. And that's why we used the joint songwriting credit, because that way, you can't be precious. Anything can be changed at any time. And usually we work backwards from Liam, from the vocals, because he's the guy who's got to sing them. That was one of the things with this one; when we were recording it, we got the vocals down as soon as possible, and a few of them were live takes. We're all just pitching in all the time.
Was that a big change from Oasis?
Yeah, because Noel being the main songwriter, he would have a vision for his tune and an overall vision for an album — the feel, the vibe, what songs would fit. But with this, everything we did was pretty natural. Very intuitive. That's the word I keep coming back to.
Did you already have new songs lined up for the album?
All musicians have songs over the years that have just cropped up, but for whatever reason never came out, it just wasn't their time or something. So we'd do one of Andy's, one of Liam's, one of mine, one of Andy's, one of Liam's — just like that. Which was great, because you knew your turn was coming around again. So you had to get your shit together.
In the new band, is it competitive or is it friendly, like, "Hey, I can learn something from this guy"?
It was mega, man. There's enough changes in there, as well. I had never recorded with Chris before. Andy is now on guitar. And even now, we didn't pay any thought to it, because it might not have even worked. I mean in playing together. We're different enough as guitarists, as well, to fit together. And we were so involved in the production. I mean, we almost recorded the album in sequence. We had it all mapped out. That was great, because all you do in the studio is perform it. You're not worried about, "Fuck, should we change the key?" It was all about being there.