- 07 Nov 01
Neil Hannon has been talking to hotpress about his decision to disband The Divine Comedy after their upcoming Irish tour.
“The truth of it is I was walking the dog in the park and I thought, ‘Hang on. I don’t want to do this anymore, I just want to sit in my home and doodle away and construct odd things again,’ he divulges. “I really missed the old wilderness days in my parents’ attic, not really writing music for anybody apart from myself. And once I let this idea fester and spawn in my brain, suddenly I knew, ‘Oh shit, I’m gonna have to do it’. The one thing I’ve found is you have to be absolutely honest with yourself if you’re trying to create anything akin to art. You can’t just do things for the sake of other people, even if those other people are your best friends. And y’know, obviously this idea was helped along by other factors. Namely the (Regeneration) album did alright but it didn’t set the world alight. And it is very expensive to pay all those people a living wage each year. But that was not a decisive factor, it’s just the final nail in the coffin really.”
Was the process of sitting down and delivering the news to the band tougher than he anticipated?
“It was very tough and I expected it to be,” he acknowledges. “It was just entirely shocking and very sad. Some people were thrown off balance by it – most of the guys were sad but resigned. But I think the general attitude was, ‘We’ve had a blast, it’s been fun, now go and do something else’.”
Hannon inked a new deal with Parlophone prior to Regeneration. How are things with the label in the light of recent developments?
“They’re really fine, y’know. I was the only signed person ’cos I was the only signed person to Setanta and I think they’re satisfied that I know best creatively. I think they’d actually like it if I kept the name Divine Comedy, but I don’t know, I just don’t know. I have to judge it from a non-commercial point of view.”
Neil’s married and expecting his first child. Were these a factor in making the changes?
“I don’t know. It might’ve been. I suppose it would’ve added to the general feeling of a different era approaching but I don’t think if things had been right creatively that would’ve made me do it. But it’s not a question of anything we’ve done being wrong. I think Regeneration is a fantastic album. I’m just sorry not enough people have heard it.”
There are more words of wisdom from the boy Hannon in our next issue