With 25 top 75 singles, seven top 10 albums, and over 5 million albums sold, Feeder has proven itself to be one of England’s most successful bands of the past two decades. However, Feeder’s founding members, Grant Nicholas and Taka Hirose, have not been known to rest on those past successes, as Feeder has put out new music in both 2016 and 2017; Nicholas also released a full-length solo album in 2014 and an EP in 2015. This year’s The Best of Feeder may sound like your average greatest hits set, yet the multi-disc set includes Arrows, which includes nine new songs. Long-time fans of Feeder ought to be happy to know that the Best Of — as released on September 29, 2017 — is available in several different configurations: 2CD, deluxe 3CD, deluxe 4LP (which comes with a book), and digital download.
To learn about the past, present, and future of Feeder, I had the pleasure of interviewing singer Grant Nicholas for the Inquisitr. Nicholas kindly opened up about his metal past, working with producer Gil Norton, how he views Feeder’s success, and whether there are plans for the group to make a return to North America. Feeder — which has a sister band in the Muddy Apes, which includes Hirose and frequent Feeder touring guitarist Dean Tidey — can be visited online at www.feederweb.com.
If the rumors are true, your first band was named after a Black Sabbath song. Did you get to see Sabbath on their farewell tour?
Grant Nicholas: Unfortunately not, but I did see them a few years back when they played Hyde Park in London.
In your early days as a musician, you were inspired by a lot of hard rock bands. What was your gateway into playing music that is more melodic and layered than early influences like Judas Priest and Black Sabbath?
Grant Nicholas: I listened to a lot of music growing up and was always interested in sound and production. Bands like Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, the Police, Sex Pistols, Neil Young, Pink Floyd, and Rush were definitely an influence. I was also very into ELO, Tom Petty, and loved the guitar sounds and harmonies on the first Boston album.
Arguably Feeder’s break-through album was Echo Park, which Gil Norton produced. Was your selection of Gil as a producer inspired by his prior discography? Or was he someone you had known?
Grant Nicholas: I loved Gil’s work with the Pixies and Foo Fighters, so he was an obvious choice for us to work with. I also managed to get a meeting with him through our manager, as he was looking for someone to possibly co-write a song for a U.S. band he was producing at the time and I was mentioned. We went on to make three Feeder albums with Gil, and he is a very good friend to this day.
At what point for you did it feel like Feeder was a real career band, as opposed to a group dependent on singles?
Grant Nicholas: I think it was seeing our fanbase grow with each show we did and when we started to get booked to do big festivals like Reading. I remember hearing us on Radio 1 for the first time was a great moment.
— Propaganda (@PropagandaClub) September 22, 2017
What was your involvement with putting together your new Best Of? Did you select the retrospective tracks?
Grant Nicholas: I have been very involved and it has been a lot of work going through everything and getting the sequences right. We decided to just put singles and rarer double A-side singles on as there would have been too many tracks otherwise. It also includes a new body of work called Arrow, which gives people something new and brings a spark to the whole thing.
Where did the idea come from to combine your Best Of with nine new songs?
Grant Nicholas: I originally planned on just writing two or three new singles, but it grew into a body of work and added a new energy to the Best Of. It’s a celebration of old, classic and new.
Do you have a favorite of the songs on Arrow?
Grant Nicholas: I really like the title song “Arrow” and “Figure You Out.”
Is there an accomplishment with Feeder that you are most proud of?
Grant Nicholas: I think this Best Of is something we are proud of. But on a personal level, Comfort In Sound and All Bright Electric — our last studio album — are my favourite Feeder records.
As a musician, is there something you are still hoping to accomplish with your career?
Grant Nicholas: I think just reaching more people with our music and playing in different countries has always been our goal. I also try and push to write that perfect, timeless song that connects, whatever that may be.
— Drowned in Sound ⚓️ (@DrownedinSound) September 20, 2017
Any idea if Feeder will be touring North America anytime in the near future?
Grant Nicholas: We would really love to come back, and it’s constantly in discussion in the Feeder camp. We still have fans there, but it’s a massive country so expensive to tour. We are however working on it and have some great memories of our days touring the U.S. in the mid-90s. The last time we toured there was for our Comfort in Sound album, which is crazy.
When not busy with music, how do you like to spend your free time?
Grant Nicholas: Music is a massive part of my life, but I have two children now, so I try and spend a lot of time with them. I travel to Europe with the family when I get a window in my schedule. I also love vintage stuff, especially cars and furniture.
Is there something you wish more people knew about you or Feeder?
Grant Nicholas: Feeder have always been a people’s band and that’s what still matters to us the most. When we connect with the music, we feel complete and it’s a dream to still be doing it.
Finally, Grant, any last words for the kids?
Grant Nicholas: Turn it up loud, it’s all about the tunes.
[Featured Image by Steve Gullick]