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Interview with Ginger (The Wildhearts)

The Wildhearts may currently be on an indefinite hiatus, following the release of 2009’s ¡Chutzpah!, but frontman Ginger has remained as active as ever with a host of upcoming projects.

Over the last two years he has performed both electric and acoustic sets at the Download festival, recorded alongside former Hanoi Rocks frontman Michael Monroe on last year’s Sensory Overdrive, toured with the likes of Wolfsbane and appeared at Sonisphere.

Even since the release of his debut solo album Valor Del Corazon in 2005, Ginger has remained a prolific artist. Through his Twitter updates, he has been whetting the appetites of his fans, with several albums currently in the works, including the ambitious 555%.

Ginger reveals what he has in store for fans over the coming months.

You have just completed the recording your new album, what can you reveal about it and what can your fans expect?

Which one? Ha-ha. I just finished a triple album called 555%, I finished all backing tracks and my vocals for an album I’m making with Victoria Liedtke, that project is called Hey! Hello!, and I just got back from demoing another album called Mutation. I’m enjoying something of a creative surge that I’d be crazy not to ride for as long as I’m healthy enough to do it.

On Twitter you recently said, ‘Album in the bag. Starting a new one in less than a week.’ Can you elaborate on this comment?

That was in reference to Hey! Hello!, which I recorded in April, then I started writing and demoing Mutation in May with members of Cardiacs, Napalm Death, Young Legionnaire and Hawk Eyes. It is an insane body of work which I can’t wait to unleash.

There has been a lot of activity on the Wildhearts site and your Pledgemusic profile regarding the 555% triple album. Can you explain what the idea behind this is?

It is a direct to fan campaign that allows the listener to invest in a new album, or not. It’s a great way of finding out if people actually want your new project or not. We had no intention of our campaign being as successful as it was. Once again the fans proved that we have the best bunch of supporters in the world.

I’d wanted to make a triple album for a very long time, but the sheer volume of the workload scared me off. Still, the idea stayed with me and the only way of exorcising this project from my mind was to just do it. Once the fans said ‘yes’ there was no turning back for me.

The internet plays such an integral role in the music industry these days and it has allowed you to release new music as and when you please? Do you feel there have been negative repercussions for you as you have entered the digital age?

I can’t see a single negative point in the way music is evolving. I’m discovering freedom as an artist that I’d only dreamed of before, and working digitally has so many advantages that only the most bull-headed of purists would complain at this stage. I still love my vinyl and I still like to use mixing boards in the studio and analogue stuff, but the digital age is something I appreciate and embrace totally.

In 2010 you released a decade-spanning retrospective called 10, which was available as a free download. Was this an attempt to combat illegal file sharing and downloading or did you just want to give something back to your fans?

I just wanted to share my music. It kind of burned us, as we had a commercially available version of 10 and a free download, both with entirely different tracks. I thought it would be funny to have two different sets of songs supporting the ‘best of’ cliché. Trouble was that a lot of people, and I suspect you are included, thought that both albums contained the same songs, so the joke kind of backfired.

In the business of moving forward and learning how best to survive in the current climate you have to make a few mistakes, and I think that was a small but healthy learning curve. And I’m all for making mistakes. I think it’s really important.

How often do you Google yourself and do you try to monitor how you are portrayed by fans and the press online?

I don’t Google myself. I can’t say that I ever have, although I saw my Wiki page once so I must have followed a link some time back or something. Someone asked me about Wiki recently and I told them that I’m too busy getting up to stuff to care what people think I’ve been up to. I honestly have no interest in gossip, so I don’t care if what’s being said about me is true or false, I’m just flattered that they’re talking about me.

Out of all your songs, which would you say are among your most autobiographical and are there any you feel uncomfortable about performing because they touch a nerve?

I’m honestly not the kind of person that can sit and talk about songs I’ve recorded. If you pulled one up specifically then I could tell you all about it, but for me the most important thing is always the collection of songs I’m currently working on. I like to stay in constant motion so I don’t have a lot of time to think about the past.

Ginger

Ginger

It has been almost a year since you parted ways with Michael Monroe’s band, do you have any regrets?

None at all. Leaving was a brave move that I was pretty nervous about making at the time, but it really paid off. I love the guys and it was a fantastic band to be involved in but just not for me. I need to be constantly creating. I will have released six albums from the time they released Sensory Overdrive to the time they release its follow up.

Possibly even more. I think this tells you all about how my need to create operates and how the structure of a band is too restricting for me. Plus, I really didn’t agree with how his manager operated, and one’s relationship with a manager has to be a positive one, otherwise it poisons the well.

Over recent years a lot of musicians have been involved with the remastering and re-issuing of their back catalogue. Do you intend on re-releasing old Wildhearts albums with additional material in the foreseeable future?

I honestly have no interest in that at all. Maybe one day, if I completely dry up of any other ideas then I’ll consider it, but I really can’t see that ever happening.

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