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27th February 2012

Interview: Inspiral Carpets

Tom Ingham chats to Inspiral Carpets bassist, Martyn Walsh, on what it’s like to be back in action.

The Inspiral Carpets break the mould somewhat for the latest trend in the Manchester music resurgence, since they’ve actually been reformed since 2003. However, with Stephen Holt back, completing the original line up, the reunion spirit is strong. I caught up with bassist, Martyn Walsh, to see how the veteran line-up are finding life back on the road and in the studio.

The Carpets have just come off a hugely successful South American tour, playing to thousands of people like they’ve never been apart. “Steve must have nerves of steel – the last gig I did with him was in 1988”, Martyn tells me. “It was scarily straight back into it”.

The Inspirals were always bigger than any one member but it’s fair to say that the reception for Stephen’s return has been a positive one and the choice to tour South America was a conscious one, proving themselves as a global band, not just a bunch of blokes who can “walk down Oldham street and be recognised”.

The feeling in the Inspirals Carpets camp is high, with the boys touring the UK in March and spending time in the studio again. Martyn tells me how the band’s approach to writing has changed: “I’d written ‘You’re So Good For Me’ a while back but I didn’t feel comfortable bringing it to the band because we didn’t feel in the right place. For me, bringing that to the band and recording that was a big part of our progression. We all put our own angle on it. A couple of weeks ago, we recorded 2 new tracks – the good thing is we’re recording at our own pace. The songs have to equal or better what people are used to. There is a trademark Inspiral Carpets feel – we couldn’t come back as a dubstep act but we need to show people we’re still relevant.”

There aren’t any set dates for albums or new singles meaning that the band are very much taking things as they come. The band will be supporting fellow Manchester legends Happy Mondays in a gig that is sure to bring back a few memories. “There were some fun and games that went on. Our first ever gig we did abroad was with the Happy Mondays. I remember Shaun being sunburnt all over. Now we’ve all grown up a little bit. It’ll be really interesting. It’s good to see bands back out there who’ve got something to say. Some of the after show parties could be messy.”

With bands like The Stone Roses, Happy Mondays and The Inspiral Carpets back, Martyn tells me how he thinks it can only have a positive effect on music, especially on the up-and-coming Manchester acts. “If it can help them and get them going, “We’re really pissed off with all these old bands, we’re gonna show them” – that’s great! I’ve got a huge dislike of the way Liverpool does stuff. The Liverpool music scene has stagnated but we’ve got some great, exciting and vibrant bands supporting us like Delphic, The Whip and The Deadbeat Echoes. What drove us was to better our inspirations – bands like The Buzzcocks.”

The Inspiral Carpets are an integral part of a musical scene that is making a powerful resurgence. “Sometimes I think, is it right that a bunch of 40something’s are on stage? But we’re still delivering a quality product. I know that sounds a bit business-like. The core of our band is trying to write timeless songs, not trying to follow a fashion.”

Recording, touring and re-connecting with audiences worldwide means there is a lot of excitement surrounding the Inspiral Carpets and their fellow Mancunian counterparts.

Inspiral Carpets have been confirmed to play V Festival and Kendal Calling. They go on tour with Happy Mondays in May and tickets are on sale now. Dates and venues below:


3 – Newcastle O2 Academy
4 – Glasgow O2 Academy
5 – Manchester Arena
6 – Sheffield O2 Academy
9 – Bournemouth O2 Academy
10 – London O2 Academy Brixton
11 – London O2 Academy Brixton
12 – Birmingham O2 Academy
14 – Dublin Olympia
15 – Dublin Olympia
17 – Leeds O2 Academy
18 – Nottingham Rock City
19 – London O2 Academy Brixton

Tom Ingham

Tom Ingham

Music Editor

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