CREDO play an infectious brand of tunefully melodic neo-progressive rock – delivered with energy, passion, humor and depth. Despite being labelled as a Neo Prog band, the history of these British musicians goes way back to 1971 when Tim Birrell (guitar) and Jim Murdoch (bass) were both members of the Scottish band Armageddon.
Then, in 1977, lyricist & keyboards player Mick Stovold joined them to create a new project – followed by Paul Clark (drums), and Mark Colton (vocals.) It was not until 1993 that the band adopted the name CREDO having previously performed as ‘Ad Hoc‘.
Mick Stovold eventually decided to leave the band and was replaced by Mike Varty. Later, Paul Clarke was replaced by Martin Meads.
We chatted to CREDO about making their fourth album and about their plans for 2014:
Yes. That was a great concert, really nice.
WHAT HAVE YOU BEEN DOING SINCE?
Well, we wrote that difficult fourth album – [their critically acclaimed third album ‘’Against Reason’’ was released in 2011 – over the past year the band have been tucked away deep in the Hampshire countryside writing their next tour-de-force… ] and Mike is doing all the other things he does … and we have played the first HRH Prog Festival … we had to abandon two songs (though) at the festival which was, of course, very disappointing – we were first act to go on stage (Prog Stage 1) and didn’t get enough time because other acts ate into our stage-time with their lengthy sound-checks…
WHAT CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT THE NEW RECORDING?
Well, we wrote a load of songs that jumble up all our political ideas (that’s the thing that usually happens in the song-writing process) we start getting all these ideas – mutually – and then begin to knit the thing together … so we are still, well, we’re still doing the knitting.
But the next step will be to turn [the songs] into proper demo numbers and then, once we’ve done that, we’ll be in a better position to know what is happening on the disc.
SO YOU’VE DONE A WHOLE LOAD OF STUFF?
Yes we really have. A whole lot of ideas- we have collected a smörgåsbord of sounds …
Yes. Then we will take turns to dip into that. And we could get one track, well we hope to get more than one track – but we’ll get what we need – we will choose the best … and wait and see.
HOW MUCH TIME DOES THE WHOLE PROCESS TO TAKE ?
If we had been working on this continuously, without interruption, we could probably done it in about 2 months.
BUT THAT WAS NOT THE QUESTION..
[Laughs] The answer is that it has probably taken us at least a year.
The fact is that we want to be able to get to the stage where we can play some of the songs live when we tour.
IS THAT IMPORTANT TO YOU?
Definitely. In addition, it gives us a little more of an idea about how to play or adjust as song – we get immediate feedback on the songs and so we know where we can take them. We are all probably from that generation that tend to play songs live – to death – before they’ve actually gone and recorded them. When we did our first album – it was almost half of our live set …
And in fact , we played three concerts a week as we were recording – so we were in the recording studio during the day and going out to earn the money to pay for the studio time in the evening …
And then for the second, with ‘Rhetoric’ [the album] – we remember that we played a concert two years before we started recording the video and looking back now we realize that we played almost the entire album … so, you know, we played those songs to death long before we recorded the album.
When we play live we still aim to provide a version that people will recognize as the album version … Because the audience is pretty finicky ( we are as well) – so we have to choose the best representation of a song that we can.
WHEN YOU CHECK OUT CLASSIC LIVE STUFF – LIKE THE YESSONGS ALBUM – IT’S NOT REALLY IDENTICAL TO THEIR STUDIO ALBUM WORK …
YET IT STILL STANDS ‘ON ITS OWN’ AS A BEAUTIFUL ORIGINAL PIECE…
Exactly, yes – it shouldn’t be identical … You want it to have some life-force of it’s own…
PEOPLE SAY THAT WHAT THEY LIKE ABOUT YOUR WORK IS THAT IT’S ACTUALLY GOT A BIT OF POLITICS IN IT, YOU KNOW, SOME REAL-WORLD ISSUES … IT’S NOT ALL ABOUT DRAGONS AND DEMONS AND THINGS…
Well there’s some fantasy in it [ laughter] but a lot of what we were drawing on for ‘Rhetoric’ was to do with Mark’s (Colton) relationships… a lot came out of that, it was a good emotional source, we’d get a lot from that emotionally …
The band used to shit themselves every time Mark turned up at a gig with a new girlfriend, it was like oh my God, here comes a load more ideas for songs …
We reckon there’s some tracks on ‘Against Reason’ which came from our growing scepticism with things around us, you know, like the recent child abuse, which was ‘Cardinal Sin‘, and there’s ‘Conspiracy‘, which is kind of a rant against conspiracy theorists, and … Global warming.
AND WHAT YOU SEEM TO DO, AND THIS IS WHAT EVERYBODY SAYS, IS THAT YOU BRING IT BACK TO REALITY, IT’S STILL THERE, THE MUSIC’S STILL THERE – BUT YOU BRING PROG BACK INTO THE REAL UNIVERSE.
We’ve said it before … we would love to believe in fairies and love-ins and dwarfs and all that – truly we would. But, sorry, we have to live in the real world.
Yes – if Genesis reformed tomorrow and we got a new album from them – with the original line-up… or Pink Floyd managed to bring things back from the dead… it would be the biggest selling album of the decade and the biggest grossing tour of all time – and it wouldn’t just be blatant prog fans going to see them either … it would be everybody.
One of the things that’s interesting for us is that when, you know, kids come to our show … (we’ve all had our kids turn up at some point because their Dad told them to) but when the kids come along of their own accord – and they bring their mates along and they’re getting it [the music] and their girlfriends are coming along as well – and they’re getting it too – you know… it’s amazing.
Credo is – for us … well, we never want to write a song about ‘this-or-that’ or want it to be ‘this-way or that-way’ … we just write what comes out… and it really pisses us off, really, really pisses us off … when we go to see bands and we [realise] that it’s a calculated attempt to hit the market.
PROG BY NUMBERS?
Yeah – it’s Prog-by-Numbers, you know. And there are a number of bands that we could name but we won’t name – you know – we don’t care if they play to more people than us or sell more albums than us … the truth is that their work waters down , yeah, it waters it down … what our music is all about.
Yeah – to be able to play something new, obviously, to start getting the album publicized.
We’ve got some good plans for 2014 – cos it’s the 20th anniversary of our first album coming out … and that’s going for something like £40 and £50 on e-bay and Amazon at the moment (but please don’t buy it on e-bay, if you want it, please e-mail us and we will send you a copy out… or buy it when it’s re-mastered and comes out during the year … but don’t spent silly money on it please) – and then in 2015 we’ve got the 10th anniversary of ‘Rhetoric’ so there’ll probably be another live album somewhere along the line, we’re talking to someone about releasing our back catalogue on vinyl at the moment which we’re really excited about …
We’d love to see ‘Against Reason’ and ‘Rhetoric’ in gate-fold sleeves.
So far, the progression of our different CREDO albums has been that they’ve actually got better and better … so, working on that principle, eventually we’ll have the perfect album.
And then we’ll stop. We promise.
THANK YOU, CREDO
CREDO were talking to Neil Mach © 2013