Fans with tickets for Elbow’s upcoming Doncaster show are urged not to worry – the band have been busy rehearsing.
It is not frontman Guy Garvey’s favourite part of being in a band, but he knows it is necessary, which is why they have been practising for a month.
Rehearsals have, however, looked a bit different this time around.
It is the first time Elbow have prepared to hit the road without drummer Richard Jupp, who, after 25 years, decided to leave a year ago.
“He just didn’t want to be in the band any more,” says 42-year-old Garvey. “It was a little bit of a shock, but not an entire surprise.
“You can hardly call him a fair-weather drummer, 25 years in. I won’t pretend we’re still pals, but nobody wishes him any ill. It’s just one of those things.”
Jupp’s departure helped set the mood for Elbow’s new album, Little Fictions.
It is their seventh; the first made without their drummer but, ironically, also their most beat-heavy album – possibly down to overcompensating for Jupp’s departure, admits Garvey.
The time frame in which Little Fictions was written is crucial, a time during which the frontman married and visited India for the first time, but also grew fearful before and after the vote to leave the European Union.
“The album takes in lots of different things about what worries me in the current age,” he says. “That in itself got me thinking about worrying in general; now Elbow are 40-plus, is worrying just a natural thing? Did our parents worry when they got to an age, or is this new? Have things gone to hell in a handcart, as it feels it has done?”
We have so much more music to make before we dieGuy Garvey, of Elbow
“I would be suspicious of a record made in 2016 by anyone in the Western world that didn’t contain some element of dismay or disgruntlement, or just plain tub-thumping.”
The album’s K2 is the most obvious in its allusions to Brexit, with lyrics about Britain’s island status, the hatred being drummed up and the media’s role in it all, but above all, how love will conquer all.
“I think kindness is going to find its way back into the world,” admits Garvey. “TV and films pride themselves on being inky and dark, but there’s only so much I can take. Do I need to see another throat slitting on television?
“And in the face of all that happened last year, I feel very hopeful. These words came tumbling out, they weren’t hard to write. What do you want from an Elbow record? Notes of hope, I think, as well as a bit despair.”
He talks about how the band always thought their previous album, The Take Off And Landing Of Everything, was going to be the closing of a chapter, albeit not one they envisaged closing without one of their original members, and how Little Fictions was always going to be the start of something new.
“In many ways, it’s like our first album all over again, although this time we don’t have a massive anvil with ‘don’t mess it up’ written on it hanging over us,” he says. “We have the courage of our convictions to see us through.”
There is also a new set of skills he picked up while making his solo album, Courting The Squall, which was released in 2015.
“If I took anything back to the band after that, it was that we could do things really fast. We were encouraged by that.
“We knew we wanted to work at a faster pace, which is very welcome,” says Garvey. “We have so much more music to make before we die.”
Little Fictions is out now. Elbow play Doncaster’s Dome on Wednesday, March 15. For tickets, priced from £35, visit dclt.co.uk
Elbow also play Sherwood Pines on Sunday, June 25 – see forestry.gov.uk
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