The Courteeners: A Q&A With Liam Fray

As the Courteeners prepare to take new album ‘Mapping The Rendezvous’ out on the road this week, Liam Fray talks humility, humanity, 
and why people love them so much

You’re shifting a lot of albums and about to tour huge venues across the UK. Do you still get angry when people claim you’re only big in the north?
“If you’re in a band, you’re there to be shot at, it doesn’t matter what sort of music you do. I don’t think it’s necessarily right but reviewers and critics – that’s their job. I don’t mind. But when people start having a go at a band’s fanbase that’s not okay. That’s really, really uncool, whether it’s Catfish And The Bottlemen fans or our fans or whoever. You can feel this sneery classist undertone. These people think, ‘Oh, you’re only big up north and they’re fucking monkeys who don’t understand anything.’ Give me a break. That angers me. It’s just absurd.”

There seemed to be a lot of sneering around The Enemy too – even during their split. They sold out the whole tour but some critics wouldn’t give them a break.
“It was mean, it was totally uncalled for. We had cross words back then [2008], but it was just handbags at dawn, it was all over in a matter of weeks. But it just pissed me off when I see stuff like that, it was just uncalled for, and there was just no need. I know people are gonna say the pot calling the kettle black but I’m not a journalist putting this band down. I don’t know, it’s like whatever. They meant a lot to a lot of people, yet because a band isn’t fashionable, there are tastemakers who dictate what they deem to be fashionable, and there are people who connect and you can’t say that it’s not connecting and that people don’t want to go.”

Why do you think it is that you’ve outlived so many of your peers?
“We’ve only ever done our own thing. We’ve never been part of ‘a scene’. If anything it’s been harder for us because we weren’t part of a scene. There’s loads of bands that came before us, mid-noughties stuff, like The Rakes and Maximo Park, The Cribs and bands like that. We loved all of them, but people seemed to lump them in with other people. We came out in 2008, so if anything, I think that’s a lot to do with why we didn’t get played on the radio. The radio was so sick of guitar bands by the time we came out, it was just the door was shut – it was kind of like ‘we’ve had enough now’. You could argue that we’re still here because we came out when it was on a down cycle. We didn’t get on the radio, we didn’t get the push that others got perhaps but in turn because nobody was getting a push, it meant there was nobody else really around in 2008 or 2009. We flew our own flag, and you know enough people were into it.”

The Courteeners' Liam Fray

Getty

Your fans are really dedicated. Why do you think that is?
“There’s a humility and self-deprecation that people like in our songs. They’re very human. We take the songs seriously in the studio, but the actual lyrics are quite a lighthearted take on romance and failure. I’d like to write global pop songs that sell millions, but I haven’t got it in me. Maybe people know we’re not bullshitters.”

Speaking of dedicated fans, have you got anything planned for the couple 
who bought 67 tickets 
to your Old Trafford gig next year for their wedding reception party?
“We’re not sure but we’re definitely gonna do something special, something private for them. We’re not going to draw attention to them in a middle of a cricket ground – that might not be ideal at 8pm on a Bank Holiday weekend. I’m not sure if they’d appreciate 50,000 people staring at them – maybe they would, I don’t know. But we will do something. It’s a great story.”

You’ve got great support acts too – including Blossoms…
“They’re a real grassroots northern band – no f**king leg-ups from anybody or anything like that. They’ve grafted their balls off and toured extensively. Great pop songs, good lads, what’s not to love about it? It’s a proper old-school story – four lads meet at college and start a band. That’s what we want in this country, it should be celebrated. It gives me faith a little bit as well. None of their dads are loaded and gave them a million quid to set up a studio. They’re normal lads who wrote songs in their bedrooms like we did. F**king great, they should be celebrated. It doesn’t matter about anything else – you need the songs.”

The Courteeners – No One Will Ever Replace Us

No One Will Ever Replace Us (Official Video) Taken from the new album ‘Mapping The Rendezvous’ out now Listen: //Courteeners.lnk.to/MTRdlx Newsletter: //Courteeners.lnk.to/signup Courteeners on Facebook: //Courteeners.lnk.to/FB Courteeners on Twitter: //Courteeners.lnk.to/TW Liam on Twitter: //Courteeners.lnk.to/LiamFray Liam on Instagram: //Courteeners.lnk.to/LiamIG Spotify: //Courteeners.lnk.to/Spotify VEVO: //Courteeners.lnk.to/VEVO YouTube: //Courteeners.lnk.to/YTsub //vevo.ly/xsig3x

The Courteeners’ upcoming UK tour dates are below

Victoria Hall, Stoke On Trent (November 10)
O2 Guildhall, Southampton (11)
O2 Academy Brixton, London (12)
O2 Academy, Bristol (14)
UEA, Norwich (15)
O2 Academy, Birmingham (17)
Echo Arena, Liverpool (18)
The Sse Hydro, Glasgow (19)
O2 Academy, Newcastle (21)
Rock City, Nottingham (22)
Sands Centre, Carlisle (24)
First Direct Arena, Leeds (25)