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Feeder talk ahead of Camper Calling performance

They are the perfect festival band. Feeder have more anthems than a gospel choir and will be lighting up Warwickshire’s Ragley Hall from August 24-26.

Feeder. Picture by: Aatish Ramchurn
Feeder. Picture by: Aatish Ramchurn

They’re among the headliners of the three-day event, alongside Melanie C and The Coral, and are looking forward to delivering a greatest hits set. They’ll be in good company at the event, with the supporting cast featuring Scouting For Girls, Craig Charles, From The Jam, Neville Staple Band, The South and Showhawk Duo, among others.

The festival will also feature newcomers with the Freshly Squeezed stage giving BBC Music Introducing acts the chance to shine.

Feeder are looking forward to the show after a busy summer of festival shows.

“We’re been doing a lot of festivals this year, probably the most we’ve ever done. I think it’s getting on for almost 20. We did Isle of Wight earlier in the summer, which was great. We had our Best Of album out last year, which got into the top 10, so this is like the last push for that,” says lead singer Grant Nicholas.

The Best Of album reminded us that Feeder have been a part of the furniture since 1996. From Feeling A Moment, Come Back Around, Just The Way I’m Feeling and Comfort In Sound to Buck Rogers and Forget About Tomorrow, they have provided the soundtrack to many people’s lives.

“We were proud of the record and it’s been great to take it to the festivals. You know, you rock up to somewhere like the Isle of Wight and there’s no soundcheck and a packed tent. It’s like the big tops at Reading. You’re up against bands like Kasabian but it doesn’t affect us. We can still pack a tent.

“It was good to get into the top 10 but I think if we’d done the week before, we’d have gone in at four or five. It just always depends on what’s out in any given week. But you know what, I’m really chuffed that we went in at top 10.”

The Best Of was a stop-gap, following their return to form on 2016’s All Bright Electric – another record that dented the top 10. Nicolas also took the time to focus on his solo album, releasing Yorktown Heights in 2014 to give himself a break from his 20 years in Feeder.

“I loved All Bright Electric. I’d been working in a very organic way on the solo records, before that. Then when we came back, I think we really captured Feeder and did better than a lot of the previous records. We got closer to the sound I like. It rocks but it’s not forced. I didn’t feel like I had to scream to get the power out of the songs.”

Grant, who was born in Newport, is happy to still be in the game. He started out playing the trumped as a kid and was soon in bands; his first being Sweet Leaf, named after a song by Black Sabbath.

His parents brought him his first guitar after he’d passed his exams. It was a present and the Aron Les Paul set him on a different path. He’d been inspired by such Midlands rock bands as Judas Priest and Black Sabbath and wanted to create his own sound.

These days, it comes naturally. Making music and playing live is the way he’s spent his adult life and he has no plans to slow down. It’s a way of life, a vocation, rather than a career.

“I’ve been in the studio all summer, rehearsing or doing festivals. I’m at it every day. I’m tired but really enjoying it. I’m on a real roll. I’m always writing. I’m fortunate that I still have the drive and feel that way. Some people lose that but I’m writing more now than ever and some good stuff too.

“I’m not sure how things will go in the future because the industry has changed so much. It’s not the same place that it was when we started out. So we might just drop some stuff on Spotify. The new stuff is quite melodic and more indie than some of the other stuff we’ve done. I think I’ve tapped back into the catchy side of feeder. I’ll do heavier tracks further down the line.”

Camper Calling is just around the corner and Grant is looking forward to it. Other bands on the line-up include Uncle Funk and the Boogie Wonderland, Noble Jacks, Artful Dodger, Phats & Small, Lewis Watson, Into the Ark, The Wandering Hearts and Martha Hill.

There’ll also be a Dance Big Top with numerous dance workshops. From Tango to Salsa, African to Break Dancing, there’ll be something for everyone to join in with.

Finally, as the sun sets each evening, there’ll be a dance headliner to keep fans moving through the night.

Tickets are available online.

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