Ocean Colour Scene bring Britpop back on 20-year album anniversary

Frontman Simon Fowler reflects on the success of their seminal album Moseley Shoals with Saeed Saeed

BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 16:  Simon Fowler of Ocean Colour Scene performs at Beyond The Tracks Festival  on September 16, 2017 in Birmingham, England.  (Photo by Katja Ogrin/Redferns/Getty Images)
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This weekend will see a double-dose of Britpop in Dubai as Ocean Colour Scene perform at The Irish Village tonight, in celebration of the 20th anniversary of their biggest album Moseley Shoals, and Oasis frontman Liam Gallagher headlines Party in the Park tomorrow. Both artists represent different sides of that colourful period. Oasis's fame resulted in a slew of bands getting noticed and Ocean Colour Scene singer and guitarist Simon Fowler happily admits Moseley Shoals benefited from its release in the midst of the Britpop craze. "We were only well known around Birmingham at that stage and when the album came out we became pop stars overnight," he says.

What made you decide to go on such a retrospective tour?

It was a chance to sit back and reflect on what we achieved. The tour was so well received that it surprised us. When Moseley Shoals came out, we as a band were just so busy that we never really understood how big it was in the UK. It seems to mean a lot to people. It was the soundtrack to their school and university days, so in the show the songs really hit home for them.

Were the Britpop days as crazy and hedonist as they looked?

It was, and for that reason I am glad it happened when I was younger. That whole period can be summed up basically as a bunch of young blokes misbehaving and having fun, and it was brilliant. But at the same time we never really felt comfortable in that Britpop category because you have to remember that when we came along we were a band for seven years and we always viewed ourselves as a folk-rock band. We just came along at the right time. Oasis kicked open the doors and we bands ran through the corridors and a few of us tripped over at the end.

Moseley Shoals opener, The Riverboat Song, continues to receive radio airplay in rock stations and is a favourite of sporting montages. What’s the appeal of the song?

The thing with Riverboat Song is that I always felt like it was the kind [of song] that you think you heard before in childhood or in the playground. The song came together pretty quickly in the studio and God knows how it came out so well, it is a little miracle really.

Do you pay any attention when it comes to popular music today?

Not too much. Music styles have changed now and all I seem to hear is pop and R'n'B on the radio now. I think what happened is that record companies got fed up with not only rock bands misbehaving but doing it with people from the record label as well. During the Britpop days the record label guys were totally complicit in all the naughtiness and I think someone big said, 'You know what? I have had enough of this. Let's get someone like (American Idol judge and music label executive) Simon Cowell and get some pop bands who will do what they are told.

Ocean Colour Scene perform at The Irish Village in Dubai, Al Garhoud, tonight. Doors open at 8pm. Tickets are Dh165 from www.theirishvillage.com


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