Sice to see you…

This year is going to be a busy one for Simon ‘Sice’ Rowbottom, frontman/guitarist with ’90s indie-pop experimentalists, The Boo Radleys, who were signed to Alan McGee’s Creation Records, split in 1999, but reformed in 2021, albeit without chief songwriter, Martin Carr.

Following last year’s comeback album, Keep On With Falling, which Sice recorded with fellow band members, Tim Brown (bass) and Rob Cieka (drums), the Boos are back with a follow up, Eight – out in June – and in the summer will be touring the UK playing their 1993 masterpiece, Giant Steps, which turns 30 this year and is being reissued in the autumn.

Sice and Say It With Garage Flowers founder/editor, Sean Hannam – thanks to the Mad Squirrel in Amersham for the picture.

But, before all that, Sice, who is a chartered psychologist, is performing a series of solo shows in March under the banner An Appointment With Dr Sice, in which he’ll play songs from all eight of the Boos’ albums, plus his two records as Eggman and Paperlung, talk about his life and career and share some of his thoughts on psychology.

The solo tour is partly to promote a new book he has been involved with, Touring and Mental Health: The Music Industry Manual, which is published next month by Omnibus Press.

Written by health and performance professionals, the comprehensive manual will help musicians and those working in live music to identify and cope with the various physical and psychological difficulties that can occur during, or as a result of, touring.

Designed to be picked up, put down, read at length and passed around the tour bus, the book covers topics including mental health, peak performance and performance anxiety, addiction, group dynamics, relationship problems, dealing with the media, physical health, diversity and inclusion, crisis management and post-tour recovery.

To find out more about his hectic 2023, Say It With Garage Flowers spoke to Sice in an exclusive interview, which we did in a pub in the Buckinghamshire town of Amersham, near to where he lives and where Say It With Garage Flowers is based.

“I’m just about keeping on top of it and I enjoy it all,” he tells us. “It’s what keeps me motivated – I like the variety and the diversity.”


How has the solo tour and the mental health book come about?

Sice: I’m involved with the Music Industry Therapist Collective – (MITC) we’re all therapists who’ve worked in the music industry in some capacity or other. It was started by Tamsin Embleton – she got in touch with me a couple of years ago. The big thing that she’s been building up to is the Touring and Mental Health Music Industry Manual, which is a really important book – it’s massively comprehensive. I’ve been interviewed for it.

As I’ve got older, one of the things I’ve really enjoyed on stage is talking to the audience – I never used to do it back in the ‘90s. Suddenly there’s a lot I want to say. I was also kind of inspired a bit by [former Lush member] Miki Berenyi’s book [Fingers Crossed], which is absolutely brilliant. She’s a very good writer. I wanted to do something along the same lines but I didn’t want to go down the memoir route.

You’ve written a book already, Thimblerigger, which was a novel…

Sice: Yeah – it was fiction.

But it does have elements of psychology in it…

Sice: Absolutely.

So, you’ve never fancied writing an autobiography?

Sice: No. It’s crossed my mind, but that’s what An Appointment With Dr Sice is really – in a lot of respects, it’s autobiographical.

When the new Boos album comes out, it will be the tenth album I’ve made, including my solo stuff – Eggman and Paperlung. I want to do a song from every album chronologically – we’re talking 35 years.

Have you always been interested in psychology?

Sice: Yeah – it was always an area of fascination. I had a place at the University of Liverpool to study psychology back in 1990, just before The Boos started, but we got a Wedding Present support for six weeks, so I dropped out and got on with the music. It’s turned out alright and as my kids got older, in about 2007, I really didn’t know what to do with myself. Then, because I was feeling a bit lost, I went to therapy for the first time.

When the Boos made it big and got a Top 10 pop hit with Wake Up Boo! in 1995, you were 25. Was it hard for you to deal with the fame?

Sice: Oh God, yeah. I hated fame.

But, in the early days, didn’t you and Martin dream of being pop stars?

Sice: We did – we wanted it but when we got it, we didn’t enjoy it. It’s like when you see a photo shoot – you think it looks great and that the photographer just walks past you and takes a snap, but then you realise you’re spending two and a half hours in a freezing cold warehouse in the East End of London. It isn’t that much fun and I just realised that there was stuff I’d rather be doing with my time. It was great to do it the first time, but I didn’t want to continue doing it.

‘I hated fame. We wanted it but when we got it, we didn’t enjoy it’

Do you think a book like the Touring and Mental Health Music Industry Manual would’ve been useful for you back in the day? I guess the Boos couldn’t take a therapist on the road, as Creation’s budget didn’t stretch to that…

Sice: [Laughs]. It didn’t. Now, it’s OK for young people in the music industry to talk about mental health – that’s why it’s brilliant that the MITC has been set up. That’s what we deal with – people who come into the music industry and recognise that it’s difficult.

And now we have social media, which puts even more pressure on people…

Sice: There are lots of reasons. Everybody on Twitter can be aiming at you and saying stuff – it’s very difficult, but, that said, it’s also easier in a way, because it’s easier to communicate, with mobile phones. When we went away on tour, we were quite isolated.

When we were touring America, it was a fucking nightmare to phone home and it was really expensive, and when we were in Europe, it was the era of phone cards – you had to find somewhere that sold them.

Did you enjoy touring?

Sice: When I read Miki’s book, she said one thing that I’ve been saying for years – ‘I wish I had a door in my front room that allowed me to step onto the stage, play the gig and come back’. That’s exactly it. Being on stage is everything it’s about and I love the creativity bits – the recording and the singing. I love being on stage – everything else I can take it or leave it. Well, leave it, really.

Touring can be gruelling…

Sice: The gruelling nature of it is difficult. Part of the problem is that you start off with good intentions, like reading books, then something happens and you end up blankly staring out of the window for three or four hours. It just becomes unnatural. One of the things that I’m always interested in in psychology is what’s natural to us as humans – us as homo sapiens, who are 250,000 years old. The way that we live our lives now – musicians especially – is so unnatural to us. All we’re made for is three or four hours of hunter-gathering and the rest of the time sitting round the campfire.

So, what can we expect from An Appointment With Dr Sice? A few stories, some songs…

Sice: Yeah – basically that, but I’m also going to thread  some psychology through it. It’s a tale of where I came from, what I went through with the Boos – a few anecdotes – and then segueing into psychology. I guess it’s about what I consider to be important in psychology. The show will be about two hours – with an interval. It’s essentially a kind of theatre show – it builds and there’s a kind of narrative.

There are lots of threads – Catholicism, family and psychology. How our contextual influences and our experiences influence what we do. And there’s some stuff about male mental health. People say ‘men should talk more’ but men don’t know how. We don’t know what to say, we need to be given permission and we need to be taught about how to talk about emotions or name them. Nobody teaches us it – it’s believed to be inherent, but it isn’t. That’s what I’m doing – but it’s hopefully going to be fun too.

And there are some pop tunes, too… Will you be playing Wake Up Boo!?

Sice: Do you know what? I haven’t decided yet. I’ve got to do one off the Wake Up! album.

You don’t like that record, do you?

Sice: It’s not that I dislike it, but it’s the one I wouldn’t choose to listen to. We set out to write a 12-song pop album, but I don’t think it does that. There are two or three tracks that maybe do…but for it to work, it needed to be a 12-song pop album. It’s okay in its own right, but the second side is really quite melancholy and odd. It never really fitted together in the way in which Giant Steps, C’mon Kids and Kingsize did.

Let’s talk about the new Boos album, Eight. When we last spoke, in November 2021, ahead of the release of the last record, Keep On With Falling, which was released in March last year, you said you were more excited about the follow up, which was already written, and that you were already halfway through writing the album after that.

So, Eight’s coming out in June – you’ve already released the first single, Seeker, and the next song from it is called The Unconscious

Sice: The Unconscious is a story about my psychoanalysis – it details that. I did full-on psychoanalysis for two years when I was in training. It was interesting, but not a great experience. It was very messy. It’s not the sort of counselling where you’re sitting and chatting – it’s almost like you’re talking into the ether and someone’s whispering in your ear. You’re on the couch and they’re sat behind you – you’re trying to iron out what comes up from the unconscious to be spoken about and they interpret it. It was a bit weird and cult-like – it brings up lots of fears and early childhood stuff that’s slightly out of memory. I would be driving home from it sometimes and I’d burst into tears but have no idea why. It’s powerful, but it’s hard work.

That’s heavy, but you got a song out of it…

Sice: Every cloud…

Seeker is a brassy pop song and it’s about love – finding someone who can be with you and support you…

Sice: Totally.

‘I did full-on psychoanalysis for two years. It was very messy – a bit weird and cult-like’

Last year’s comeback single, A Full Syringe and Memories of You, was about euthanasia, so this one’s much lighter…

Sice: [Laughs] It’s bright and breezy. Lyrically, it’s Tim’s.

So, you’ve both written songs for this album?

Sice: It’s pretty much 50:50, but there are 13 songs on it, so there’s one extra of mine. Lyrically, Tim’s songs are about relationships whereas I tend to write about the self – the individual.

The Boo Radleys in 2023 – Left to right: Tim Brown, Simon ‘Sice’ Rowbottom and Rob Cieka.

Does Rob write?

Sice: We’re trying to encourage him to – he does pitch in with ideas. He has written a set of lyrics and I’ve written something to go along with them, so that will probably appear. We’ve decided we’re going to shove out everything we’ve got and for the next album start again by being in the same room – we’ve never ever done that.

So, what does Eight sound like? The album before was pretty pop, so is the new one more left-field?

Sice: I think it is. There’s a lot more electronica on there and we’ve embraced the trumpet again a lot more. But we are still quite poppy. I was thinking about this – what’s the difference with the writing and with Martin not being here? I think it’s clean versus dirty – me and Tim prefer clean. We’ve always liked a bit of cleanliness about stuff, whereas Martin was always about the dirtiness and the griminess.

‘There’s a lot more electronica on the new album and we’ve embraced the trumpet again’

This year, Giant Steps, turns 30. How do you feel about that?

Sice: It seems bizarre – I can remember that with Martin we did a mini-website for the 10-year anniversary and that didn’t seem like long ago…

So, Giant Steps is being reissued later this year?

Sice: Yeah there’s a vinyl reissue.

What are your memories of making the album? The band self-produced it at Protocol Studios in Holloway Road, London, and it was a conscious decision to move away from the shoegaze sound of your earlier records, wasn’t it?

Sice: Yeah – totally. My memories of making it are really good. It was an enjoyable process. It’s really strange – looking back, we didn’t really realise how precarious our position with Creation was. We assumed everything was going to be okay – we were always fairly optimistic, so we didn’t know that the pressure was on for us to have a successful record.

‘When we were recording Giant Steps, we could do what we wanted – we had a sense of freedom and the choice of not having a producer was because it allowed us to do bonkers things’

The strange thing with Creation was we thought that we were joining the label of The Jesus and Mary Chain, My Bloody Valentine – completely underground bands – and then it shifted. I think Ride probably started it, when they started to get Top 10 singles – that was the expectation for every other band on the label.

When we were recording Giant Steps, we could do what we wanted – we had a sense of freedom and the choice of not having a producer was because it allowed us to do bonkers things.

Alan McGee wasn’t a big fan of Giant Steps, was he? 

Sice: McGee didn’t understand us  – he never got us as a band. I think we were too complex for him. He disappeared not long after Wake Up! came out  – he was shocked by the success of Giant Steps

So, this summer you’re doing some 30th anniversary live shows for the reissue of Giant Steps. Will you be playing the whole record?

Sice: Yeah – we’re going to do it all but there will be certain songs that we’ll put together in a bit of a medley. We’re going to be doing two sets – one will be a ‘greatest hits’ – so there’s a lot of work… 

Are you looking forward to it?

Sice: It’s going to be brilliant. There are people who discovered it after we split up, so they get the opportunity to see us do it live. I’m really looking forward to it.

‘McGee didn’t understand us  – he never got us. I think we were too complex for him. He was shocked by the success of Giant Steps’

Giant Steps is a classic ’90s album, isn’t it?

Sice: It stands the test of time. There’s a huge sense of originality about it. It’s all the influences that we had from an early age – The Byrds, jazz, The Beatles, The Beach Boys… Before that, we were influenced by what was around then – My Bloody Valentine, Dinosaur Jr., Spacemen 3, all those bands. With Giant Steps, it was, ‘Do you know what? We love all these ’60s bands and other stuff…’

Do you think it’s your masterpiece?

Sice: I prefer C’mon Kids – I think it’s that cleanliness and that it’s sticking up for the underdog. I think C’mon Kids is just as good an album – songs like Four Saints are very good and really intelligent…

Was C’mon Kids a deliberate reaction against the album before, which was Wake Up!?

Sice: It was seen as that but it’s so weird that anyone would think we would do that. It was a reaction only in the sense that we don’t what to do the same thing again.

And you never did. Kingsize is a very different album to C’mon Kids. I think Kingsize is an underrated album.

Sice: It is. I’ve always said Kingsize was Tim’s record. He was the only one with any enthusiasm at that point, which was a shame. Looking back, what we should’ve done is what bands do now – take a break.

What’s your favourite song on Giant Steps?

Sice: That’s a good question. I really like Best Lose The Fear and The White Noise Revisited and Lazarus is special – it always will be.

So, 2023 is going to a busy year for you – there’s the solo tour, the Boos, the day job and MITC…

Sice: I’m madly busy. I’ve got my finger in four pies. I’m just about keeping on top of it and I enjoy it all. It’s what keeps me motivated – I like the variety and the diversity.

Final question. On I’ve Lost The Reason, from Giant Steps, you sing: ‘I’m only 23my hair is thin, my size is large, what have I done to me?’  How will you feel singing that as a 53-year-old man?

Sice: I don’t know… It’s really weird because that’s the one song that I didn’t want to do, ‘cos I know it’s a very personal song to Martin. It was always weird singing that song but we’ll do it out of completeness. For a lot of people, that’s one of their favourites.


Tour dates for An Appointment With Doctor Sice:

Eight, the new album by The Boo Radleys, will be released on June 9 (Boostr)

You can preorder it here.

A remastered Giant Steps will be released on September 1 – vinyl, CD and digital.

The first Giant Steps Tour 2023 dates are as follows:

  • Tue June 13 – Reading, South Street Arts Centre
  • Wed June 14 – London, The Garage
  • Thu June 15 – Tunbridge Wells, The Forum
  • Fri June 16 – Birkenhead, Future Yard
  • Thu June 22 – Dublin, The Grand Social
  • Fri  June 23 – Belfast, The Limelight
  • Sun June 25 – Glasgow, Hug and Pint

Other dates

  • Sat October 28 – Manchester, Bread Shed w/Cud
  • Sun October 29 – Liverpool, O2 Academy 2 w/Cud
  • Mon October 30 – Sheffield, O2 Academy 2 w/Cud
  • Tue October 31 – Birmingham, O2 Institute 2 w/Cud
  • Thu  November 2 – Bristol, The Fleece w/Cud
  • Fri November 3 – Oxford, O2 Academy 2 w/Cud
  • Sat  November 4 – London, O2 Academy Islington w/Cud

Touring and Mental Health: The Music Industry Manual, is published on March 24 by Omnibus Press.

‘Death has occupied my thoughts since I was a child…’

Daniel WylieThe last time Say It With Garage Flowers spoke to Glasgow singer-songwriter, Daniel Wylie, the former frontman of late ’90s / early noughties, Alan McGee-endorsed jangle-poppers, Cosmic Rough Riders, he was going into the studio to record his 2017 album Scenery For Dreamers, which showcased his love of heavy Neil Young and Crazy Horse-like electric guitars and the chiming Rickenbacker sound of The Byrds.

This year, he’s releasing a new record, Atoms and Energy, which is much more stripped-down than its predecessor. Neil Young is still an obvious influence, but it’s the Young of After The Goldrush and Only Love Can Break Your Heart, rather than Cortez The Killer.

“I wanted to make a completely different album from [2015’s] Chrome Cassettes and Scenery For Dreamers. Both of those had a similar approach and vibe to them and I felt it was time for a change,” he says.

“I wanted to write a classic ‘70s acoustic record, lyrically based around what was currently occupying my thoughts, and musically like my favourite ‘70s Neil Young, Crosby, Stills & Nash, Cat Stevens and James Taylor records. That was the plan and I think we pulled it off pretty well.”


When and how was Atoms and Energy written and recorded?

Daniel Wylie: I always write my song ideas on an acoustic guitar. I write almost daily, and when it’s time to make an album, I go through hundreds of those ideas and try to choose 10 that have great melodies – some kind of lyrical spark that I can work from and that fit well together as a collection of songs.

Initially, the plan was to go in and record 10 acoustic songs over two days. Just two guitars, one lead vocal and one harmony, with a little bit of percussion, piano and harmonica on a couple of the songs. However, once I got into the studio [La Chunky in Glasgow]  and started recording, my co-producer Johnny Smillie, suggested that some songs deserved a bigger setting, so the record evolved into something else.

Who did you work with on the album?

DW: Neil Sturgeon, Johnny Smillie and Stu Kidd are guest musicians. They are all great writers and artists in their own right and having them on board makes it easy work. They fully understand what I’m looking for and they’re just great players and good people.

Did Covid-19 mess up your plans for the record? How did you cope with lockdown? 

DW: Covid-19 totally messed with recording. However, lockdown turned out to be a blessing and a curse. Basically, I had to stop recording the album. My good pal Neil Sturgeon, had recorded his acoustic guitar parts, Stu Kidd had recorded his percussion parts and I’d recorded the vocals.  Eventually, Johnny Smillie began to work on some arrangements for me, in an attempt to get the record finished, which turned out to be a real blessing. Otherwise, it’s likely the record would still be sitting unfinished.

‘I was really ill for a while, with a dodgy heart. How do you conceive a plan for dying?’

Johnny would go in alone, do some work on arrangements, send them over to me and I’d relay back my likes and dislikes and any changes I wanted made. There’s a spontaneity about being in the studio, like instant ideas get put into action, so some of that is missing.

There’s also the fact that you suddenly have too much time on your hands to over-analyse stuff. There’s a madness to it all. Cabin fever played its part in the final outcome.

The record often feels melancholy, reflective and nostalgic. All the songs are either about relationships or death, aren’t they? Is it a kind of concept album? If you don’t mind me asking, have you had a tough time of it during the past few years?

DW: I almost called the album Relationship Songs. I can’t deny that I’m getting older and I was really ill for a while, with a dodgy heart. How do you conceive a plan for dying? I just thought it was time for reflection on relationships with people, time and events that shaped my life. A little bit of sadness for the things I got wrong along the way, and my thoughts on important people and events that brought me to where I am as a person and as an artist.

‘Alan McGee and Poptones found me the audience that has allowed me to continue to make music’

Dealing with the death of my mum five years ago from cancer, and, career-wise, being in the right place at the right time to get signed by Alan McGee, and also the negative side of that, which is being surrounded by the wrong people.

Another positive was the association with McGee and [his label] Poptones, which found me the audience that has allowed me to continue to make music. It’s really an album about what life has given to you and what it hasn’t.

The first song, The Bruises and the Blood, deals with a dark subject matter – domestic violence. It’s quite a shocking and unnerving start to the album – although, in typical Daniel Wylie style you’ve managed to mix a dark and powerful lyric with a great pop tune and some Beach Boys-style harmonies / vocal arrangements. What can you tell me about that song?

DW: When we were young, my wife and I lived in a flat in Castlemilk housing estate in Glasgow, and our upstairs neighbours were always fighting. It was terrible. He would beat her up and throw her out on the landing, naked. We’d take her in and call the cops on him, but nothing was ever done and at that time, she was scared to leave him, as she had nowhere else to go.

I kind of had that in my head when I was writing the song. On the outside, their relationship looked normal, and that’s what they presented to the world, but behind closed doors, it was an atmosphere of bullying, control and violence against the woman. Thankfully, I know that she escaped the situation and moved on to a better relationship. The melody is at odds with the lyrics, in the same way as their presentation to the world was at odds with what was really going on in their relationship.

What about the song Heaven’s Waiting Room? It deals with childhood friends, moving on and getting older…

DW: That song is referencing how quickly our childhoods pass and how much we cram into those formative, carefree years, and how many of our clearest and fondest memories are attached to those times…before we’re forced to grow up. For those who believe in something after death, Earth is basically heaven’s waiting room. We’re all sitting on this planet waiting and wondering what’s next.

Are you a nostalgic person?

DW: Yes. The older I get, the more I look back, and the more I look back, the more I realise how lucky I’ve been to have lived through so many historical moments, great inventions, avoiding wars on my doorstep, all the great scientific, technical and medical advances, films, art… and especially music. To have walked this planet in the same lifespan as The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Kinks, The Byrds, The Beach Boys, R.E.M… How lucky is that?

How old are you? Do you worry about death and old age? Those themes crop up on the album a few times…

DW: I was born on January 2, 1959, so I’m 62. Death has occupied my thoughts since I was a child. It used to scare me, but as I get older, the inevitability of death is something I’ve come to terms with. I’ve noticed how younger generations come through and you no longer have anything much in common with them. Who wants to be here alone when all your friends have gone? There’s a line in my song Value Of Life, from the album, Enjoy The Melodic Sunshine: “while other people sleep, I lie awake and wonder why I’m here.” That was me singing about me worrying about death as a child, in my bed at night.


God is Nowhere, from the new album, is a song for atheists everywhere, isn’t it? You’re not a believer then? I love the fuzzy electric guitar sound on it it turns a sweet-sounding song into something more subversive. Was that the idea?

DW: I wrote it when I was angry. The lyric: “I said a begging prayer for your healing, but you still died,” is about my mother’s death. I’m not a believer in organised religion. I was brought up Catholic, but I knew I didn’t believe in all that, so I abandoned it. I do believe in a spiritual existence after death though, so I suppose I’m more of an agnostic rather than a complete atheist.

The song only has two chords. I tried to keep it to one chord, but the temptation to change got the better of me. I had the idea to try and make it sound like those late ‘60s/ early ‘70s Santana records, with Latin percussion and fuzz guitar. Johnny Smillie played the fuzz guitar, using a plectrum given to him by Carlos Santana, after a live show in which he used the plectrum to play with during the gig. How awesome is that?

Our Love Will Never Die is one of the more positive songs on the album, isn’t? It’s beautiful – a simple, honest love song. Did you write it for your wife? It reminds me of vintage Neil Young, circa his After The Goldrush album – it’s very like Only Love Can Break Your Heart. Was that intentional?

DW: I have no problem admitting my wife is the greatest person I’ve ever known and, yes, it was written for her. When I wrote the song, I had to double-check the Neil Young song to make sure I hadn’t ripped him off. When Johnny Smillie heard my home demo, he did the same, but after doing that, he told me it just sounded like me. There was never any intention to write a Neil Young song. I think because I’m such a fan of certain people, their influence will occasionally shine through.

‘I do believe in a spiritual existence after death, so I suppose I’m more of an agnostic, rather than a complete atheist’

In a just world, Our Love Will Never Die would be the soundtrack to lots of wedding first dances, wouldn’t it?

DW: One of my earlier songs, That Was The Day, has proved to be a favourite wedding song for a bunch of couples over the years. Funnily enough, it was also written for my wife. So, yeah, I’d be happy if Our Love Will Never Die became a wedding staple.

In total contrast, Ruth The Truth is a dark and sinister song lyrically, that’s tangled up in a web of lies. Musically, I think it has echoes of early R.E.M. What inspired it?

DW: I have a history of throwing out songs with girls’ names in the title. This is just the latest. It’s a story about how stupid men are when it comes to a beautiful lady – the shallowness of men who think with their dicks and whose brains are in their balls. The album needed a little pop tune, and I chose this song because of its catchy chorus.

‘I’d be happy if Our Love Will Never Die became a wedding staple’

One of my favourite songs on the album is the last one, Saddle Up The Horses. It deals with childhood memories – playing cowboys. What can you tell me about it?

DW: Children are dreamers. I had the cowboy hat, the gun belt, the gun – the children’s cowboy outfit – and as a child, I was a big fan of westerns. Back then, little boys of that age would play cowboys and Indians. I think the song captures that childhood innocence – to the point where you can’t fathom how dangerous a gun is.

Atoms and Energy - Daniel Wylie

Did you have a happy childhood? The pictures on the album artwork are of you as a kid…

DW: I had a pretty happy childhood. My dad took the album sleeve photo when I was around 12 years old. I didn’t realise how poor we were at the time, but you can see the poverty in that photograph.

Despite being poor, my parents did their best to make sure we knew our way around all the local parks and museums. We had an occasional holiday down the Ayrshire coast to Saltcoats or Troon, and, most importantly for me, our home was filled with great music. My parents had amazing taste in music – it was an education in itself.

What are your plans for the rest of the year? Will be you making another album? How about a return to big guitars?

DW: I hope to begin recording again later in the year. I’ve chosen 10 songs for my next album and finished writing them last week. It’ll be a full-band album with hooky choruses, loud guitars and harmonies. It might be called Shane, after one of my all-time favourite cowboy films. I even have the photo for the sleeve picked out.

Have you written many new songs during lockdown?

DW: Honestly, hundreds. I have 12 albums’ worth of really good tunes.I need a big lottery win, so I can afford to record them all. Do you happen to have the winning numbers?

I’m lucky – I can pick up a guitar, strum a few chords and a tune will be there in my head. I don’t know how or why it happens, but I’m not complaining. I genuinely think it’s just a gift I’ve been given, but it’s not to be questioned or analysed. Life and death inspires me, so does other people’s music, and the weather and nature.

You’ve been working with English singer-songwriter Ian M Bailey. Earlier this year, he released a great EP of songs you’d co-written together, called Shots of Sun. Do you have more songs with him coming out? How did you hook up?

DW: Yes – as well as writing a whole bunch of new songs for myself, I’ve co-written 12 songs with Ian. Last year, he sent me a couple of his videos of songs he’d written during the initial lockdown period. I thought they were excellent and told him so.

He suggested we maybe write a song together and I had so many songs half-written that I knew I wasn’t going to be able to use, so I sent him four and he liked them all – a song turned into an EP. Ian added his parts to complete the songs and we were both so pleased with the results that we decided to keep going and do an album.

I send him unfinished songs, sometimes a good chorus with no verse, or a verse and a chorus with no bridge, and sometimes he’ll write the chorus, and he adds his bits and then he records them himself. He’s a producer and one-man band. We’ll likely keep the songwriting thing going.

I’ve also been co-writing with other people. There’s a double A-side single I’ve written with Amanda Louise Thompson for her band The Big Believe. That’s more guitar pop-oriented, like an indie Blondie or something, and will be released before the end of 2021.

What music – new and old – are you enjoying at the moment?

DW: Arlo Parks – Collapsed in Sunbeams;  Will Stratton – The Changing Wilderness;  Khruangbin & Leon Bridges – Texas Sun EP; Ray LaMontagne – Monovision; Fleet Foxes – Shore; The Milk And Honey Band – Songs From Truleigh Hill; The Chills – Scatterbrain; The Coral – Coral Island, and The Beatles – Esher Demos.

‘I do understand the convenience of streaming. Financially, though, something has to change. People need to eat’

The last time we spoke, you were anti-streaming – you told me you liked vinyl and CDs. Is that still the case?

DW: I love CDs and I love vinyl. I need the artwork with the music. I still don’t have Spotify, but I do understand the convenience of streaming. Financially, though, something has to change. People need to eat and need to be able to focus on creating the great music that the world loves. It costs money to do that.

Atoms And Energy is being released by Last Night From Glasgow records – they got their name from a line in the ABBA song Super Trouper. It’s on various formats. Green, yellow and black vinyl, CD and, eventually, the usual digital outlets.

At the end of this year, you’re reissuing the 2001 Cosmic Rough Riders compilation, Enjoy The Melodic Sunshine, on vinyl. It’s a compilation of material from your first two, self-funded, Cosmic Rough Riders albums, Deliverance and Panorama, plus a few other songs, and it was put out by Alan McGee’s Poptones label. What’s prompted the rerelease? It was a lot of people’s introduction to your music, wasn’t it?

DW: Ian Smith, from Last Night From Glasgow, asked me if I’d be up for reissuing it. I felt the time was right, so I said yes. There’s been a lot of interest in a vinyl reissue, so that’s what’s happening, and I’ve added I Call Her Name, to the end of side one. It’s from the same sessions and I always regretted not putting it on the original album. Enjoy The Melodic Sunshine sold over 100,000 copies when it was first released, but only 1,000 vinyl copies were pressed and they’ve been changing hands for silly money.

How do you feel about those songs now? What’s it like revisiting them?

DW: I had to listen to the master a couple of weeks ago – it’s the first time in years that I’ve heard it from start to finish, uninterrupted.

I really enjoyed listening to it again. It brought back some great memories of recording it with Stephen Fleming. I wrote the songs, but we did everything else as a team. We put everything we had into making sure it was as good as it could be and to my ears, it still sounds great. I’m so proud of it and how it changed my life. So now it’s coming out on some nice coloured vinyl: blue, orange, white, and black.

Do you have any regrets about Cosmic Rough Riders? Do you wish you’d been bigger?

DW: My main regret is using a band name and not just using my own name from the start. That way there would have been no confusion as to whose music it was. But, hey, I did come up with a great name that was worth using.

‘The celebrity thing freaks me out. Sometimes you have to get off the rollercoaster, before it kills you’

If Cosmic Rough Riders had been a bigger band, it would probably have changed my life too – or at least more than I was willing to give or accept. I was already becoming unrecognisable to myself. One time, I came home after a tour and my wife asked me to wash up some dishes. I said to her: “I don’t do dishes”. It sounds funny, but it was an indication that I was losing myself. When you have massive exposure on a show like Top of the Pops, things change. People treat you differently. It’s not like you suddenly have super powers or become a gifted brain surgeon who saves lives, but the celebrity thing freaks me out. Five minutes of it was enough for me. It’s always been about the music for me and I prefer being normal. Sometimes you have to get off the rollercoaster, before it kills you.

Finally, it’s 2021. Do we need a revolution in the summertime?

DW: Hah! People don’t get that song. It was written about a day I spent with some college friends in Glasgow’s Queen’s Park. The weather was super-sunny and the army had set up some kind of recruiting show in the park. I was thinking: ‘join the army? Or sit in the park, in the sunshine, with some beer, and watch our beautiful Scottish girls’. Stuff that for a revolution!

Atoms and Energy by Daniel Wylie’s Cosmic Rough Riders is available to pre-order on vinyl and CD from Last Night From Glasgow here. The physical albums will be officially released on July 2, but pre-orders will ship this month.

You can pre-order the reisssue of Enjoy The Melodic Sunshine on vinyl here.