Welsh rock superstars Stereophonics are in a quandary.
The band have a busy summer of festivals lined up – including headline slots at T in the Park and the twin sites of V Festival – and bassist Richard Jones admit they are struggling to put together a setlist.
They have been working on a new album and are keen to showcase some of the tracks ahead of its release in September – but festival sets are traditionally heavily reliant on past singles to please festival-goers who are not necessarily big fans of the band.
Richard, aged 41, says: “Over the last six months, we have been going into rehearsals once or twice a week, so we have been replaying old stuff and learning the new album – you’d be surprised how much you forget when you have a month off – so when we come to the festivals, we’ll have enough ammo so we can chop and change at any given time.
“Because we have been going for a while, people have heard the familiar songs, so we have to put to some in there, but you want new stuff to keep it fresh.
“It is getting hard to do the set list. This is our ninth studio album so there are more than 100 tracks to choose from when it comes to our set lists.”
The band will warm up for the festival slots with a show at Sheffield’s 02 Academy next week – a show which saw all 2,000 tickets sell out within hours.
And Richard promised both new songs and old favourites at the gig on Wednesday.
“Sheffield will get a bit of both,” he says.
“We like to change the setlist.
It is getting hard to do the set list. This is our ninth studio album so there are more than 100 tracks to choose from when it comes to our set listsRichard Jones, Stereophonics bassist
“I like playing them all, but there’s certain songs you can’t leave off. There are certain reactions you get with different songs. With Local Boy in the Photograph, you get such a reaction from that nearly 20 years on – I don’t think that’s come off the set list in nearly 20 years. Dakota gets a really big response as well.”
Local Boy in the Photograph, from the band’s debut album Word Gets Around, reached number 14 in 1998, while Dakota, a hit in 2005, remains the only UK chart-topper for the band.
Current single C’est La Vie is the band’s 33rd single release and first off the forthcoming album Keep The Village Alive, due for release in September.
“That first track is a good indicator of a lot of the tracks on the new album,” says Richard, who is joined by singer and guitarist Kelly Jones, guitarist Adam Zindani and drummer Jamie Morrison in the group.
“We have been working on it for two or three years. There were five or six tracks we couldn’t squeeze on the last one that we wanted to put on this one. We also wrote six to 10 new songs for it.”
However, unlike most musicians who cannot wait to espouse how their latest album is their best yet, Richard is more modest.
“It’s really hard to say it’s the best album we have done, because the audience make that decision when you put it out there,” he says. “We just want to be the best band we can be.
“Kelly is a really strong, ambitious songwriter and I think the depth of his lyrics comes through.
“He always finds different things to write about.
“Keep The Village Alive is a good addition to what we have done.
“I think people will be surprised how fresh a lot of the songs sound.
“We try to find a new sound with every album – that’s a good challenge in the start. That is one of the great things about writing and recording – trying to do something you haven’t done before.”