Simon Harper catches up with perennial student idol David Gedge of the Wedding Present...
Eight years on from his previous tenure as the mainman of the Wedding Present, David Gedge decided to return to his earlier moniker. In between, Gedge was as involved in music as ever, with Cinerama proving to be his new plaything.
After the release of Take Fountain, the first Weddoes' album since 1996's Saturnalia , Gedge has enjoyed a renaissance of sorts, with the faithful old band name reviving interest in his career.
While he has every right to feel aggrieved at the difference a name makes, Gedge is surprisingly philosophical when discussing his band's recent fortunes.
"The reaction to Cinerama wasn't negative; it's just that not many people heard about it. I think the Wedding Present's got a big name, so whatever you do people hear about it.
"With Cinerama, I think the people that did hear it liked it, but I'm forever meeting people - even now - who say to me that they were a massive Wedding Present fan and they only just realised that I did Cinerama as well. They just assumed that I'd gone into retirement for eight years. And then they go, 'I bought the Cinerama records and I really like them'.
"It's just the way it goes really, it's like if you're a really big fan of music then you know what's going on, and you keep tabs on it. But if you're half-interested and something like Cinerama comes along, it's easy to miss it. In the same way that I like films but I'm not a massive fan so I kind of miss out sometimes, and it's a similar situation."
Gedge admits that the real reason behind the change of name was because of the sound of the material.
More of a darker, grittier sound than anything he had written under the guise of Cinerama, he clearly felt natural about returning to his more famous nom de plume.
"It was a completely artistic decision so I'm tempted to say that I'll see what the next artistic decision is.
"If it swings back towards a Cinerama-sounding record I'll probably go back that way; or if not it'll be the Wedding Present.
"Or maybe it'll be something completely different. I don't know.
"I've not written a song now for over a year because I can't really write on tour, so I don't really know how it's going to go for the next phase, until I actually sit down and start thinking about it.
"When I started Cinerama I wanted to do something completely different from the Wedding Present, but over the three Cinerama LPs it gradually came back to the Wedding Present again.
"I suppose I'll have to wait and see how it starts working out."
It's a simple progression for Gedge, who has long been renowned for his overtly personal lyricism, although the praise tossed his way for his particular brand of song-writing leaves Gedge noticeably embarrassed.
"People say, 'David, you're such a great lyricist', but if I'm honest I feel like a bit of a fraud because all I ever do is observe what's going on around me," he says, bashfully.
"I'm inspired by stories that I hear, or that people tell me; things I see on TV, in films or by reading books.
"Or it could be from overhearing conversations sometimes in the street or on a bus, and I've thought 'That's a great line for a song that that person's just come up with'.
"I just write it down in my little book and regurgitate it, make it a rhyme, and turn it into a song. I feel like I'm a big sponge in a way. I'm just absorbing all this stuff, and when it comes to writing I just sit down and go through my notes.
"I do feel like it's my kind of style now, and that I can do it pretty well. I used to think it was such a small subject, but now I'm not so sure any more because it's such a big subject - the subject of relationships, and the way people behave to each other. It's a universal theme, and I am kind of interested in that.
"When I first started doing it I thought it was too narrow a style, and that I should try to widen it by writing about other things. I have had a crack at going a bit political, and a bit science fiction like the Pixies used to do, but I'm just never as proud of the work as when it's purely about relationships, and the way people speak to each other - why they speak to each other and how they speak to each other. I think it lends itself to pop music anyway.
"If I imagine all my favourite songs and classic songs, going back to Motown and stuff, they do tend to be love songs, so I do think it seems to be the most appropriate style for it really."
The Wedding Present are currently touring Europe and promoting Search For Paradise - a collection of singles, b-sides from the Take Fountain sessions, and the accompanying videos - which came about primarily for fans from America and mainland Europe, as the singles are usually only made available in Britain.
It also proves to be a veritable treasure trove for UK-based completists, as Gedge acknowledges, because they are rarely aired on mainstream music TV shows. "[The idea] appeals to my sense of being a collector," he laughs.
Counting Lou Reed and John Peel among his inspirations, the Wedding Present head honcho looks back on his career fondly, and is positive about what he feels he's achieved.
"I think with the Wedding Present, with the possible exception of the first couple; each time we've experimented and moved on. Not many people do that and manage to continue for 20 years, which is what we've done, so that's what I'm most proud of."
Whatever the future holds for the Wedding Present, one thing remains certain - Gedge will be doing it on his own terms.