Ian Skelly: ‘We needed a break from The Coral’

Drummer-turned-solo artist talks about Wirral band's hiatus and solo tour plans

Ian Skelly has said The Coral halted studio sessions after recording half an album with producer John Leckie (Stone Roses, Radiohead, Muse), and are now on an indefinite break.

Talking to NME, the Wirral band’s drummer revealed they were halfway through recording what would be their sixth album when they decided to abandon sessions and pursue other projects.

“We got half an album recorded with Leckie, but we just needed a break from it,” he says. “We’ve been together since we were about 13, almost every day, and although the stuff we were doing sounded great, I just felt we ran out of steam a little toward the end.

Everyone wanted to do other things for a bit, so we did. All the other members play on these solo albums, so it’s not like we needed a break from other, more the pressure and name of the band. We’re constantly trying to live up to something that might not even exist. It’s also a break from playing ‘Dreaming Of You’ for a bit.

When asked about when The Coral might reconvene and finish off the follow-up to 2010’s ‘Butterfly House’, he said: “I don’t know. There just has to be a demand for it, people have to decide they want it. For now, we’re on a break. That might last until next month. It could be five years.”

Skelly released his debut solo album ‘Cut From A Star’ in December last year, an album based around his idea that drug- or fever-induced hallucinations might be there at all times, but are only visible when in an altered state.

“I’ve thought about it for years. It started when I was young and a load of us took acid together. We all saw the same thing, which is pretty rare.”

Skelly played various instruments on the album, with additional parts added by his Coral bandmates.

He said: “I would grab whoever was around after rehearsal to put a part down for me, keyboards or whatever. Being in a band is great, bouncing off other members, but it is a compromise, because of everyone’s defined roles. It’s like a family and we all have a part to play. With my own stuff I didn’t have to do that and I could let off creative steam.”

As well as recording his own album, Skelly played on and co-produced the forthcoming solo album by his brother and Coral singer James Skelly, as well as producing early recordings by The Sundowners and The Circle.

Finally, he added: “If anyone is missing The Coral, then they’ll have to come to my solo shows because they’re all playing with me.”

Ian Skelly plays:

Sheffield Leadmill (February 1)
Leeds Cockpit (2)
Liverpool Zanzibar (7)
Manchester Ruby Lounge (8)
London Bush Hall (9)