Ocean Colour Scene: “We’re a rock band, you know?”

Steve Craddock has been Ocean Colour Scene’s guitarist for 21 years. That’s about the same age (or older) than most Linc readers. Back in the 90s, they were in the top tier of Britpop bands but it’s fair to say the world has moved on. Sadly, it doesn’t seem like Craddock has.

“It doesn’t happen like that” he says, when asked if the band sit down and talk about what’s influencing their songs. “We just get in a room and it just happens, like an instinct. There’s nothing that really inspires us, we just come in with a tune and bang it out. We’re not an art project. We’re a rock band, you know?”

They’re massive fans of “The Beatles” and Craddock points out 1967 being one of his favourite years for music. Listening to “Mrs Maylie” off their latest album, “Saturday”, it’s easy to hear the psychedelic and experimental sixties influences. The difference is that The Beatles actively tried to vary their output. Craddock explains that he wouldn’t do the same because: “You’re just doing a Beatles. I don’t want to follow someone else’s career. We’re not a young band and it’s not about cutting edge. It’s about making a record that gets a buzz off individuals.”


Ocean Colour Scene are already on their ninth studio album. Photo: Ben Wilson

The band were questioned whether repetition can sustain itself, and what will they do for their next album (number ten). He keeps things vague. “We’ll know when we go into the studio.” It seems that, outside of that environment, he’s just living his life and not writing music – that must surely put a creative limit on him. “Of course it does, but so does being a father of two” he explains.

Nevertheless, they still draw crowds and sell albums. So much so that, in October, they’re playing the Royal Albert Hall. “We’re excited about that, it’s pretty cool,” is as much as Craddock says about it. He gives off the impression that it’s really not that exciting and his answers to questions often tail-off.

One subject that gets him talking is younger music, particularly “The Cribs”. “I think they’re really into it with Johnny Marr. He’s really freeing up his guitar playing and it’s opened both him and the band out.” Craddock’s noticed that a lot of modern bands have 80s influences, but they take the best from the decade. “I think it was a s**t decade for music but they’re rehashing the best parts. Maybe I’m too old for it.”

Craddock says that, now, he’s into “anything sweet with a bit of passion”. He doesn’t name bands though (aside from The Cribs) and, after a considerable silence, it’s jokingly mentioned that Michael Bublé is sweet with a bit of passion. “No! I don’t think he’s really into it” he exclaims. That’s about as far as it goes.

Ocean Colour Scene should be respected for not splitting up and trying to jump on the reform bandwagon. At the same time, it’s questionable just what more they could possibly do. It could just be the interview scenario, but Craddock seems bored and stuck in old-fashioned “rockstar” ways. He puts on his sunglasses when the camera comes out. Understandable if it’s outdoors in June. Not if it’s indoors in March.

One Response to Ocean Colour Scene: “We’re a rock band, you know?”

  1. Guy Travers says:

    Not too sure about the original motivation for Mr Partridge to interview Steve Cradock, perhaps to make persons such as me use the comment facility on this site. Or indeed to ‘have a pop’ at someone famous to attain some notoriety for himself.

    For whatever reason, it should be noted that journalism, at any level, should try to be balanced, giving Steve and his band ‘respect for not splitting up’, is hardly the congratulations that should be given to a most sublime guitarist of a band respected by not only a few generations of fans, but respected musicians too.