Currently out and about with the awesome Archive we catch up with Steve "Smiley" Barnard to talk about "Vinyl" and to try to get him to spill the beans on the upcoming Archive album!
How was the Archive tour?
Well, it's ongoing! We have done shows in Turkey, Germany, France, the UK and Eire. We are off to France next followed by a summer of European Festivals.
Has the recent success of "With Us Until You're Dead" meant that fans can expect more UK shows than there have been in the past?
Definitely. There is a solid plan for the UK. Last weeks shows were a great success so expect a UK tour in the Autumn.
What's The latest on the new album?
It's finished! It's Amazing!
Any proposed titles yet?
I do know but I'm currently sworn to secrecy!
There has been some speculation that there is more than enough material for one album, will we see another in a short period of time or is it likely to be a lengthy album?
It's a short album, we are recording the next one in May.
The rumour is we will see the album in October with a tour to support it, can you confirm this?
There are many plans afoot!
Both Maria Q and Steve Harris weren't present on the latest tour, Archive has always been a collective and we understand Steve had a scheduling clash but why wasn't Maria Q featured?
Initially Maria was unavailable due to Anastasia shows. She may be doing some festivals.
Archive will be playing an extensive list of European festivals over the summer but as of yet none in the UK, is this likely to change?
I haven't seen any UK festivals planned. I think that may be next year.
Do you know yet how many tracks on the new album will feature each vocalist?
All 4 are on it.
On "With Us Until You're Dead" Holly made an immediate impact with "Hatchet" and "Violently" already firm fan favourites, will she play a greater role on the new album?
Yes, the 4 of them share the record. It's very well constructed.
How did you come to play with Robin Foster?
He supported us and had a few shows that his drummer was unavailable for so he asked me to sit in. We are really good friends and I really love his work so it was a pleasure.
Are there any plans to work together again?
We have spoken about recording together so hopefully the opportunity will come up.
Are there any plans to record a follow up to your "Friends In High Places" solo album?
Not as yet. When I get a bit of down time I may look at starting another.
Would you like to work more with Kerry on a professional level? (Note : Kerry is Smileys wife and one of the featured vocalists on "Friends In High Places" as well as being in The Bond Band http://thebondband.moonfruit.com/# )
Anything I do in the studio that requires female vocals include her, she's amazing!
After a long time coming the "Vinyl" album seemed to come together very quickly, how were the recording sessions?
They were great! Very quick, I think we did everything in 2 days.
How was it working with Steve Allan Jones, had you met him before?
Yes, I know Steve. He's a lovely man, very talented.
The normal Alarm line up wasn't present for all tracks, James playing bass for instance, did this take some getting used to?
I have to say James really surprised me, his bass playing on the record is amazing.
What was it like recording with Phil Daniels in the studio?
It was a dream for me as a Chelsea fan & Quadrophenia being my favourite film, he's a dude, I was a bit starstruck at first but we became quite good friends.
What did you make of the film?
It was o.k. I thought it had some really nice qualities, at the end of the day it was what it was, a small budget British feel good film.
Did you enjoy getting suited and booted for the premiere?
I really did! I was very proud to be part of it and it was nice for Kerry and all the wives to be so part of it.
The "Vinyl" tour was pretty special even by Alarm standards, how was it for you and what were your stand out moments?
I loved every minute of it! I actually enjoyed the Cardiff show more than the others, don't know why, it was just awesome and I liked getting Richard Archer up in London. He's a star. They were all great my only moan was the tour was too short.
Why did you decide to go with a compact kit set up for the tour?
It just felt right at the time, I do things like that, smaller the better for me!
You are heading to the Philippines in May to play at the Mall of Asia Arena and there were discussions of some American dates, has anything been decided yet?
Only Manilla at the mo as far as I know.
What can we expect next from The Alarm, will there be more activity this year?
There's nothing in stone...but you never know with Mike do you!
How do you prepare when going out on tour?
Buy a book, pack my bag and get on the bus!
Archive and The Alarm make very different demands on your drumming talents, is it hard to adapt when switching from one band to the other?
It's not hard but I do play differently. It's slightly more disciplined in Archive as everything is to a click where as The Alarm is a bit more free.
What was the last album you bought?
David Bowies new one and World Party's "Arkeology" box set.
What's currently the top of your playlists on your MP3 player?
My mate Jamie the DJ did a CD for my wedding of classic Northern Soul tracks, loads of them, and I always play my MP3 in random so there's a bit of everything on it.
What was the last film you saw?
Bernie with Jack Black. Very good.
Do you get much of a chance to see many gigs and if so who was the last band you saw?
To be honest I don't. I am away so much at the moment that when I am back I just want to stay with my wife, play with the kids and walk the dog.
Do you try to catch your fellow Alarm band mates when they are playing in other projects?
Not really. I follow them from a distance. I'm not Goth enough for The Mission or punk enough for Chelsea and Kerry shrunk my check shirt so I can't see Big Country!
What are your plans for the rest of the year?
Archive festivals all summer, Alarm Manilla, some From The Jam dates across the year and a honeymoon in Mexico...plus some producing and writing.
Steve "Smiley" Barnard....thank you very much!