The Comsat Angels, C.S. Angels, The Headhunters, Dream Command...  All this & more
Hybrid Interview
If there was one band who deserves to be successful it has got to be The Comsat Angels, a band who have produced some remarkably fine albums.  They have just released their excellent new single, I’m Falling, and their second album for Jive Records 7 Day Weekend is set for release.  With The Comsat Angels on the verge of stardom I thought this would be a good opportunity to have a few words with lead guitarist / vocalist Steve Fellows
Up until now The Comsat Angels have released a substantial number of singles and LP’s, but have yet to break into the Top Of The Pops mode.  I wondered with their new deal with Jive Records and a period of their most commercial music to date if this is what the band were aiming for?

Steve: “Jive Records make no secret of the fact that they want to sell records and I suppose their attitude has had an effect on us, sometimes the ‘sell, sell, sell’ they have has made us despair (picture discs etc) but other times we think that’s what we need.  The main thing for us at the moment is to ensure the survival of the group, the only way to do this is to gain some sort of foothold in the commercial market.  So far its proved difficult for us, maybe because we’ve never gone far enough.  So far we’ve done everything else e.g. tours, music papers, radio etc and we feel having a hit would complete the set.  The whole TOTP mentality, though, we regard as a joke, but we would take part because we do have a sense of humour.”

Do you think there will come a time when you will all feel you’ve had enough and want to do something different, having had the same line-up since Waiting For A Miracle?

Steve: “We always want to do something different!  Maybe this is part of the problem – several of our records sound like they could have been made by different groups.  I can’t really see the line-up changing, mainly because we are all good friends.”

Two of The Comsat Angels recently played with The Human League as a stand-in for the departure of two of their musicians.  However, some of the music papers seemed to think that this was permanent, and I wondered if there was a story evolving around that?  

Steve: “The Human League association came about because they wanted to do a benefit for the Ethiopian appeal and they needed a guitarist and a keyboard player at short notice. As we had known them for some time, I suppose me and Andy were an obvious choice.  However it went so well that there’s a chance that we might play with them again.  Also I’ve been writing a few things with Phil and Ian and Jim, their new drummer, but I don’t know if they will get used.”

Was there any reason for re-recording Independence Day after it originally appeared some 5 years ago on the 1st LP?

Steve: “We always wanted to do Independence Day again because we were never happy with the original version.  It was mainly done because Mike Howlett wanted a crack at it, but I think it somehow both gained something and lost something at the same time.”

There are a few British bands who find better success abroad than over here.  Have The Comsat Angels found any of this success?

Steve:  “I suppose we do fall into this category, because we are better known in Canada, the US and Europe, particularly Germany, Holland & Italy. I suppose this is due in part to the unique climate in the British music scene i.e. if it’s more than a year old its no good.  Obviously we would like to be more appreciated here because this is our home, but ultimately we don’t mind who likes our records.

The Enz album was a compilation of early singles put together for the Netherlands.  How well was the response to the LP?

Steve:  “It went down well in Holland but was only available as a highly priced import anywhere else.  I think something like that is only going to have a limited appeal anyway.”

The Comsat Angels have been very quiet in the last year and a half since Land, with the release of two singles in that space of time – You Move Me and Day One.  I wondered if there are any plans to release a new LP or even tour this year.  If so do the singles show the new direction of the band?

Steve:  “This is true I suppose publicly at least.  I don’t think it matters though we like to think we’ve got all the time in the world, well at least until we start collecting our pensions anyway.

We spent most of our time working on our new LP.  It seems to have taken a long time but we didn’t want to rush it (Fiction was rushed and I think it shows).  I’m glad to say we’ve finished at last and its called 7 Day Weekend.  I don’t know when its released in England but it comes out on June 20th everywhere else.  The title incidentally comes from a song about unemployment which we didn’t get round to recording.
Marquee Advert NME 7/12/85
Its hard to say whether the two singles you mention are indicative of the direction although they are both on it.  Its certainly a lot tougher sounding and less keyboard orientated than Land and the production is infinitely better.  At the moment I think it’s the best we’ve done but then again I’m biased!
Setlist from The Limit 29.9.85 Its hard for us to tour in England because unless you are a big name you can’t make any money,, and we certainly can’t afford to lose money, our finances are precarious to say the least.  Its very different abroad  because generally gigs pay more realistically, but who knows.  We certainly want to play everywhere we can.”

Every band has an ambition.  Do The Comsat Angels still have a certain ambition that they would like to fulfill?

Steve: “Difficult one this!  I suppose our main ambition is to survive at the moment.  We would like to move up a couple of rungs of the ladder at the same time as well." 

"Critical respect is something we are not even slightly interested in – you can’t eat it and it doesn’t pay the bills and it’s a very superficial thing.  Anyway don’t forget that those people don’t have to buy their records.  I am always deeply flattered when someone is willing to part with their hard earned cash to buy one of our records. 
My personal ambition is to make the best record ever, however something tells me we still have someway to go.”
Hybrid Fanzine No 1 12/85
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