Brit-rockers, Oasis

Over a decade after their landmark album What’s The Story Morning Glory, UK act Oasis is quietly achieving even more breakthroughs with their latest Don’t Believe The Truth. Seemingly gone are the hi jinks with the Gallagher brothers Noel and Liam. In their place? A group earnestly playing solid rock before a wider audience than ever before. I-S catches up with guitarist Jem Archer ahead of the group’s Feb 23 show at the Singapore Indoor Stadium to find out more.
So what can we all expect to hear?
Definitely the songs that you’d expect. What we kind of do when we start a tour is get a set together and it kind of evolves to where it’s the one. Sometimes Noel swaps a few of his songs in the middle. Sometimes it’s “The Master Plan” and sometimes it’s some others. But it’s only one or two tunes that get swapped.
You’ve all been to Asia before, but where does it fit in on the overall tour? Do you get excited about playing Singapore, and the 100 Rock Festival in Bangkok recently?
We don’t talk up anything really, but if you ask individual people they’re up for it. I am. I love Bangkok, and I’ve been to Germany hundreds of times, and you know what to expect. I’m just looking forward to something new. I’ve been to Japan quite a lot of times, and it’s all getting to the point where we know our way around there. We’re going to Seoul for the first time, so that’s truly exciting. I just remember the last time we played Bangkok, and the princess of Thailand came. There were a lot of soldiers in the mosh pit. We were a little confused as to why, and then she ended up coming backstage and there were loads of photos. She even got Liam’s tambourine. That was a big gig as well. Ten thousand people came. We had about six days off there as well. We’re pretty much itching to get back on with it.
When you’re onstage, what songs get you excited?
Of the new stuff, I like “Lyla.” Of the old stuff, I love “Rock ’n’ Roll Star.” And when Noel hits the solo on “Live Forever,” I’m still blown away after all this time. “The Master Plan” is great too.
Your tour has been quite successful and it finally seems as though you broke through the US. Was this a pleasant surprise after all this time?
Yes and no. A lot of the British press said “failed in America.” Honestly, I think you can’t break America anymore. It’s not like the Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin days. Nowadays the media controls it. One band can sell millions in America, and they can be forgotten in a month. We just kept going over there. We went over there with the Black Crowes, and we didn’t even have a record out. This time they said “You’re going to Madison Garden, Hollywood Bowl and Red Rocks”… and we were like “Are you sure?”… and it became one of the fastest sellouts ever. Playing at Madison Square Garden surpassed all my expectations. You know the history, but when you get there and the guy in the dressing room is giving you all the talk about this being the place where Marilyn Monroe sang to the President, it makes you raise your game. As for Red Rocks, you think U2 because of their live show there, but then you realize they’ve had gigs there since 1980. When you’re there, you feel special. At some other places, you might as well be playing the car park.
What are the weirdest items on your tour rider?
Probably the dwarves. Well, there have been dwarves on this tour, put it that way.
What off the stage events made a big impression on you and the band?
On this tour, I suppose it’s been the opening acts. There’ve been so many great bands playing with us. It seriously makes a big difference. When all the support bands are bad, it loses its legs a bit. When there’s another great band on, you’re fired up. Otherwise, you’re trying to outrun the hurricane. We were like a hundred miles from where it hit in New Orleans. There’s always these things on tours. Everybody rings from home and everybody’s panicking. We’re like, “Look it’s fine.” But they’re all freaking out. You just get on with it on tour.
As a group what have you all enjoyed musically and film-wise?
We had a band called the Red Walls supporting us from Chicago. We like The Coral. As far as movies go, it would have to be that Metallica film. Andy and Liam are all into that TV stuff Curb Your Enthusiasm and The Office. I also really like a guy named Banksy. Check him out. He’s a British street artist. He’s just done a book. He’s great. Apart from all that, there’s all the bollocks that gets talked until sunrise. There’s a board game that we play called Frustration. You roll the dice and have to win the PDs back. We play that quite often.
As for the future, what can we expect soundwise on the next album?
We’ve got so many songs that we didn’t put on this album. There’s already talk of working with producer Dave Sardie. Some of the songs that didn’t make that album will certainly make the next one. They’re a member of the same family, but the family doesn’t look the same. I’d love to go back to Capitol and work with Sardie again. We’ll see.