Interview Fish

"I'm just a writer who can sing, not a singer who can write"

(April 2020, text by Martien Koolen, edited by Peter Willemsen)

Derek William Dick, better known as Fish the former singer of Marillion, released his last studio album Feast Of Consequences in 2013. Now, seven years later, he announces his farewell album called Weltschmerz. In fact the album's release date was the 10th of July, but due to the corona crisis Fish decided to move the release date to September. The according tour will then follow in October and November and hopefully Fish will be playing a gig in Maastricht at the Muziekgieterij on the 6th of November. Of course, Fish is also in a lockdown and therefore I did this interview via Skype. So, on Saturday the 11th of April I talked to Fish about his new album, but also about the corona crisis.

Thank you for making some time for answering some questions for our readers of Background Magazine. How are you doing at the moment?
Fish: “Actually, I'm fine considering the situation in the world, here in Scotland where I live all is quiet and peaceful. In fact I do not even miss the pub... In England the situation is far worse, they're fucked
Derek William Dick
up again over there, but the whole situation is of course more than weird. It really is surreal and I hope that it will come to an end soon, because otherwise the world will be in a disastrous state, especially the art and music scene.”

Your new album is called Weltschmerz. Why did you choose a German title?
“Well, first of all I think that the entire world will curse me for choosing this title, seeing the corona thing, but in fact I already had that title in mind in 2015, so... I was thinking about the Brexit and other sad and disturbing news and I felt helpless, so I thought, let's use these things for my new album. The title came out at once, as at that time I found myself in Germany − my wife is from Karlsruhe − so I found it really appropriate. Furthermore, I couldn't find an equivalent word for that in English. But I also decided that I didn't want to write lyrics about politics. It had to be about people, relationships, diseases, suicide and refugees; problems that people face in our modern world. So, Weltschmerz is a commentary on the state of our world today and it's not very optimistic or positive, I'm afraid.”

It's the first time that you recorded a double album. Did you have a lot of music in store?
“Yes, indeed, my friend. I had so much to write about, so the lyrics and the music kept on coming. I was on fire and although it is a double album with only ten songs, there are absolutely no weak songs on Weltschmerz; it really is a flawless album. Three songs are already familiar as they have been released before: Man With A Stick, Little Man What Now? and Waverly Steps.”

Did you work with the same band as on your previous album?
“Not exactly, of course bass player Steve Vantsis is again on board, but for the drum parts in the studio I asked Craig Blundell, who is a super studio drummer. He played with Steven Wilson, amongst others. On tour Gavin Griffiths will be sitting behind the drum kit and furthermore you can enjoy the magnificent guitar playing of John Mitchell, well-known from It Bites, Arena and Kino. We also used real strings on the album and these were played by the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, however they will not be joining us on tour...”
Could you tell me something more about some songs as the album will not be released until September and that's a long wait for the fans?
“Yeah, of course I understand that, but we moved the release to September because of the corona crisis. Certain things do not work as usual, production wise, and the fact that we had to be working remotely. Well, Walking On Eggshells is a great song to talk about as it deals with mental illness and how difficult it is to deal with that in relationships. The song is based on a book by the way, and I think this is one of the highlights of the album. Another great track is called Rise Of Damascus, which is a sixteen-minute epic track that really will do great on stage. Garden Of Remembrance is my favourite song of the album at this moment. It's a kind of Kayleigh-like track dealing with difficult periods in my life. In fact this album reminds me of Clutching At Straws, the last album I did with Marillion back in 1987 as I can really see parallels between these two albums. Clutching At Straws was my farewell album with Marillion while Weltschmerz is my own farewell album as a solo artist.”

So, Weltschmerz is really your last album?
“Yes, it really and definitely is, without any shadow of a doubt. I always wanted to leave the music business with a great album and Weltschmerz is a great album. You see, I don't want to be a parody on myself as much as I love being on stage. My voice is very different now at the age of 62 so, you have to stop before you start becoming pathetic, if you catch my drift. You know, I have always been a writer who can sing and not a singer who can write. Writing really is my thing, I love words and I will not stop writing, but I will stop making music as I find music rather restrictive in contrary to writing!”
CD package

Will there be a Fish Farewell Tour?
“Yes, there will, in 2022. I will play in all my favourite venues, so I will be in the Netherlands a lot, I guess, but first of all the release of the new album followed by the Weltschmerz tour. Hope to see you there.”

Thanks for your time again and a lot of success with the new album!
“Thank you. It's my pleasure as always, and we will talk again when the album has been released. Cheers, take care and stay healthy.”

More info about Fish on the internet:
       Website (with links to many others)

       review CD 'A Feast Of Consequences'
       review DVD 'In search of the 13th Star (Nearfest 2008)'

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