SONGWRITER AND PRODUCER BOZ BOORER IS KNOWN TO MANY AS A FOUNDER MEMBER OF NEO-ROCKABILLY BAND THE POLECATS, AND AS GUITARIST, CO-WRITER AND MUSICAL DIRECTOR FOR MORRISSEY SINCE THE EARLY 1990s.
He’s also worked with Kirsty MacColl, Edwyn Collins and Adam Ant, is half of the rap-rock crossover Happy Martyr and, this week, issues a single with Eddie Argos, GIRL FROM ATLANTA. In a new interview with The Mouth Magazine, Boorer talks about his collaboration with the Art Brut frontman, his work with Morrissey on recent UK number two album WORLD PEACE IS NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS and his new record shop, Vinyl Boutique in Camden…
GIRL FROM ATLANTA IS A BIT OF A SURPRISE! PRESUMABLY YOU WERE AWARE OF ART BRUT – WAS EDDIE SOMEONE YOU PARTICULARLY WANTED TO WORK WITH?
I’ve known Eddie for a few years now and Michael Martinek at my record label – Fabrique – suggested him. I sent him a few tracks and he picked that one. I liked a few of his Art Brut songs and have seen the band live, in LA.
WHAT SINGLES HIM OUT FROM THE OTHER COLLABORATORS YOU HAVE? WHAT DOES HE BRING TO THE TABLE THAT NO-ONE ELSE DOES?
I think he has great humour in his lyrics and an interesting way of vocal deliverance.
IN TERMS OF THE SONG ITSELF, DID YOU SEND EDDIE A ‘FINISHED’ TRACK TO WORK ON?
It was a finished track but after he sent me the vocals I did some editing and added my Beach Boys-styled backing vocals.
I OFTEN WONDER WHETHER THE WRITER OF THE MUSIC HAS THEIR OWN SPECIFIC IDEA OF WHAT THE LYRICS MIGHT BE… HOW DID YOU FEEL WHEN YOU FIRST HEARD WHAT EDDIE WAS SINGING ABOUT?
I usually write backing tracks so, usually, I have no preconceived vocal ideas… I’m quite excited to see what people have created on top of my landscapes.
HOW WAS EDDIE TO WORK WITH?
I sent him the track and he sent me the vocals. I finished it off. If you see the video teaser I did in Portugal (here), I pretended he was in the studio doing a vocal.
I’VE NEVER VISITED ATLANTA, BUT YOU MUST HAVE BEEN. HAVE YOU EVER BEEN TO THE DRUNKEN UNICORN, EDDIE’S FAVOURITE CLUB?
I don’t believe I have been there… I usually head up to the little Five Points area where there are a couple of record shops, a few bars and a gig that has an Elvis shrine…
THINKING ABOUT WRITING… WHEN YOU WRITE FOR MORRISSEY OR FOR HAPPY MARTYR, OR ANYONE ELSE, ARE YOU SPECIFICALLY WRITING WITH MORRISSEY OR HAPPY MARTYR, OR THE OTHER, IN MIND? WHEN YOU HAVE A MUSICAL IDEA AND YOU BEGIN TO FORM A SONG, DO YOU KNOW WHO IT’LL BE FOR? OR IS IT MORE ABSTRACT THAN THAT?
It usually follows that I write for that particular co-writer to avoid any confusion. But sometimes it crosses over. For instance, GIRL FROM ATLANTA started off life as one of a few songs I wrote with Pete Doherty in mind.
PRESUMABLY YOU KEEP THE BEST SONGS FOR YOUR SOLO STUFF THOUGH?
That’s another thing entirely!
… AND WHERE IS YOUR SOLO STUFF AT RIGHT NOW? YOU’RE WORKING ON AN ALBUM…
Yes, I’m about halfway through the new record. But I’ve been a bit busy this year!
WHEN MIGHT IT SEE THE LIGHT OF DAY?
Hopefully it’ll be out next year. Again it’ll be a cross section of styles featuring special guests.
MORRISSEY’S WORLD PEACE IS NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS HAS BEEN DOING PRETTY WELL. REVIEWS WERE MIXED BUT MOST WERE IN AGREEMENT THAT IT’S A GREAT PIECE OF WORK. OF THE SONGS YOU DIDN’T WRITE WHICH APPEALS TO YOU MOST, AND WHY?
That changes all the time. At the moment KISS ME A LOT (a Morrissey / Jesse Tobias co-write) is sounding incredible. There’s some great unusual sounds on that song.
BETWEEN MALADJUSTED AND YOU ARE THE QUARRY THERE WAS A LONG GAP, AND AN ONLY SLIGHTLY SHORTER ONE BETWEEN YEARS OF REFUSAL AND WORLD PEACE IS NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS. IT MUST HAVE BEEN REALLY FRUSTRATING FOR THE BAND – AND FOR MORRISSEY – TO BE SITTING ON ALL OF THIS MATERIAL FOR SO LONG?
Not really frustrating… but it’s a great feeling to record the definitive versions of the songs.
DID MUCH STUFF GET DUMPED ALONG THE WAY IN THOSE GAPS? IN PARTICULAR WHAT’S HAPPENED TO THE THREE NEW SONGS THAT WERE PERFORMED IN CONCERT DURING RECENT YEARS; ACTION IS MY MIDDLE NAME, PEOPLE ARE THE SAME EVERYWHERE AND THE KID’S A LOOKER?
I think those songs wouldn’t have fitted in on this new record. They have a different feel to them.
STAIRCASE AT THE UNIVERSITY IS A REALLY UPLIFTING ‘POP CLASSIC’ WHICH CONTRASTS WITH YOUR FOUR OTHER SONGS (OR EIGHT IF WE INCLUDE THE DELUXE EDITION TRACKS) ON WORLD PEACE IS NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS. DO YOU WORK TO GIVE MORRISSEY AN ARRAY OF STUFF THAT CONTRASTS?
Not intentionally, no.
I HAVE TO ASK – DID MORRISSEY NOT FANCY RECORDING THE ALBUM AT YOUR STUDIO IN PORTUGAL, SERRA VISTA?
It never came up in conversation. The facilities in France (La Fabrique in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence) were perfect for the making of WORLD PEACE IS NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS.
IS THE TOUR LIKELY TO GO BACK ON THE ROAD AT SOME POINT?
YOU’VE JUST OPENED VINYL BOUTIQUE, A RECORD SHOP IN CAMDEN, WITH YOUR WIFE LYN. YOU USED TO RUN A RECORD STALL ON THE MARKET YEARS BACK. I GUESS THE LOVE OF RECORDS (AND NOT JUST THE MUSIC THAT’S ON THEM) IS ‘IN YOUR BLOOD’, AS THEY SAY… WHAT WAS THE FIRST YOU BOUGHT?
I think the first record I bought was I’M A BELIEVER by The Monkees.
… AND YOUR ‘ALL TIME FAVOURITE’ ..?
My all time fave 45 might be GET IT ON by T-Rex.
WHAT’S THE RAREST IN YOUR OWN PERSONAL COLLECTION, AND WHICH MEANS THE MOST TO YOU?
The rarest record in my collection is probably MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S SCENE by John’s Children… but TEARDROP VALLEY by The Lonesome Drifter holds a special place in our hearts.
WHAT IS IT ABOUT VINYL THAT APPEALS TO YOU? HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT THE DIGITAL ERA?
I love the sound, the information carried on the sleeve, the artwork… I think vinyl sounds better. I compared the two many years ago and found that to be the case. I think it’s something to do with the ear liking more of a mixture of sound. I think CDs are a necessary evil, but most things about them are annoying… like those plastic cases that always break.
WHAT’S YOUR MESSAGE TO THE WORLD FOR THE REST OF 2014?
One: Be tolerant. Two: Don’t be a stranger… Pop in and see us at the Vinyl Boutique in Camden Town!