Shed Seven: ‘Instant Pleasures’ success opened our eyes to becoming less nostalgic’

Rick Witter is busy preparing for back-to-back festival appearances at Tramlines and Latitude, with more to follow, when The Yorkshire Post catches up with the Shed Seven singer.

Shed Seven. Picture: Tom Oxley
Shed Seven. Picture: Tom Oxley

“We’ve got a history now so our festival sets are very difficult to work out,” says the 49-year-old. “If you’re only playing for an hour we find ourselves thinking what don’t we play rather than what can we play, which is a great situation to be in.”

Set list conundrums aside, the outdoor shows that the band have played so far this year have been “absolutely brilliant”, he says. “Everybody seems to love being outside again and being in crowds and singing their hearts out, which is exactly what it should be like.”

Next on the agenda is Bingley Weekender. “It’s been a few years since we’ve done Bingley,” Witter says. “I think the last time we did it we headlined it, which was great. This time we’re doing the Saturday night just before The Libertines, and it’s close to home, which is nice – there’s lots of positives for Bingley. We’ll play a slightly longer set as we’re second-to-last on, so it should be good.”

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    Having been performing since 1990, Witter finds he’s reminded of various anniversaries on a regular basis. “This keep happening more and more; it’s social media-driven, I guess,” he says. “As a kid I wouldn’t realise anniversaries of certain records coming out, but it almost seems to be on a daily basis now where somebody tweets me saying Ocean Pie came out 24 years ago today or Speakeasy came out 30 years ago. It’s almost like it’s on a daily basis that we’ve got a birthday, so I’m just drunk every night – that’s my excuse, anyway.”

    Last year drummer Alan Leach and keyboardist Joe Johnson left the band, but Witter says the decision was amicable. “Alan’s my brother-in-law so that says a big thing in itself,” he says. “Obviously we had the Covid and people can respectfully have their opinions of life and where it should go, but that isn’t really the main reason they both went, but it certainly was a point in it.

    “But if you’re not enjoying it as much as you should then why should you do something? They’re both busy doing other things, we all still live in York, we bump into each other, it’s all good. There’s no animosity.

    “But you can’t keep a good Shed down. Me and Paul (Banks) are still there, and Tom (Gladwin) is still with us. At the end of the day, if I walk onto a stage and sing On Standby, as long as my face is there and my voice then it’s all good.”

    Spurred on by the top five success of their 2017 album Instant Pleasures – “That opened our eyes to becoming less nostalgic and more of a current, relevant band again” – Shed Seven are working on new material. Witter says the plan is to release a new album in September next year, with celebrations for the 30th anniversary of their debut album Change Giver to follow in 2024. “It’s quite exciting to know we’ve got the next few years ahead of us in the planning stages,” he says.

    Bingley Weekender runs from August 5-7.