I have to admit, interviewing Colin Moulding was a real pleasure for me. Not for the fact that I grew up listening to Colin’s previous band, XTC, but for a much more personal reason. Colin is a part of my family’s musical history in that while watching the video for “Mayor Of Simpleton” back in 1989, my brother and I actually decided to get serious about our music. Now, being kids at the time, that didn’t go far until years later, but that being said, I know a lot of people have said and done similar things due to Colin’s and XTC’s music and legacy as they are true pioneers.
And now Colin and fellow XTC legend Terry Chambers are continuing their own musical journey in the form of their new band TC&I. With the new EP “Great Aspirations“, Colin and Terry expand the listener’s horizons and not so much give the public a glimpse of where XTC may have gone, but where Colin and Terry are going. This is a musical evolution of revolution with unpredictable hooks and a unique appeal that lets the EP stand out amongst the white noise that is new music.
In this interview, I talk with Colin about his humble beginnings and his rise with XTC as well as his take on the modern music industry and how he was able to return to the music on his own terms. We also get a new take on the fabled “Skylarking Sound Polarity Issue” as well as what it was like working with some of the most respected musicians in music such as Todd Rundgren and Billy Sherwood. Enjoy!
Get your copy of TC&I’s new EP titled “Great Aspirations” on Burning Shed.
TC&I – Great Aspirations (cover)
Fans of XTC will be thrilled to know that bandmates Colin Moulding and drummer Terry Chambers, the rhythmic powerhouse behind the Swindon-based legends, have reunited to release new music under the tongue-in-cheek name of TC&I. Their new ‘Great Aspirations’ EP consists of features four new original recordings that allow us to fully appreciate Colin’s English pop vision.
On this debut offering as TC&I, Moulding and Chambers put their XTC history behind them to create some truly original music. Not only is this a new start, but also a thing apart from their musical past. This is also the first new material from Moulding in many years.
“I thought I’ve got to do something, you can’t just sit around and eat chocolate cake and then you get the inkling that you should start writing again and you start meddling and the next thing you know Terry’s on the doorstep,” says Colin Moulding.
Terry Chambers adds, “You’re only here once in your life and this felt a bit like unfinished business. When I left XTC it wasn’t the greatest set of circumstances and you can’t go through your life thinking ‘what if?’ so when Colin offered the opportunity I thought, yes let’s do this again.”
The EP delivers XTC’s trademark qualities of melody, rhythm, variety, and idiosyncratic subject matter, mixed in with nostalgia-fuelled by an understated political anger. In following with his songwriting history to date, Moulding shows an appreciation of the good things, such as friendship, landscape, and longing. Here he again reminds us of what we stand to lose in the name of progress, looking at the rapidly changing world around him.
The piano-charged lead track ‘Scatter Me’ explores mortality and the inevitability of returning to the mere building blocks of the universe while still remaining part of the landscape you spent your life in. The underlying message of the song is underlined by a tasteful video by Laima Bite. “When you get to 62 there’s melancholy all around and you have to try and beat it away with a stick. I think it is sort of a bittersweet sensation, tinged with sadness but also upbeat as well,” says Moulding.
‘Comrades of Pop’ conveys words of warning to young musicians, while the more rocking ‘Kenny’ regrets children losing their playgrounds to urban development. On ‘Greatness’, Moulding fearlessly reveals still-burning aspirations to reach the heights of Churchill, Hitchcock, Spielberg, Gershwin, and McCartney.
XTC was founded in 1972, but it wasn’t until 1979 that XTC had their first UK chart single. Moulding had written the first three charting singles (‘Life Begins at the Hop’, ‘Making Plans for Nigel’, and ‘Generals and Majors’). Chambers left the lineup in the 1980s, while Moulding continued his partnership with frontman Andy Partridge through the group’s 2006 dissolution.
About “Great Aspirations”
The TC&I release is well timed with the broadcast of the much anticipated eye-opening XTC documentary ‘This Is Pop’ about the history and legacy of the group, which looks at XTC and their journey from mercurial pop outsiders to full-blown national treasures and one of Britain’s most influential yet unsung bands. Renewed interest in XTC is also due, in part, to a campaign that former bandmate Andy Partridge has undertaken to reissue the bulk of their back catalog.
“I think the word is out. It’s taken a bloody long time, but I think people are catching up and appreciating what we did,” says Colin Moulding.
Released at the end of 2017, ‘Great Aspirations’ is available exclusively through Pledge Music and Burning Shed. Fans can choose between signed and unsigned copies on CD. Fans can expect a new video for ‘Greatness’ in the near future.
Drums, percussions and backing vocals: Terry Chambers
Guitars, basses, keyboards and lead vocals: Colin Moulding
Saxophone and trumpet on ‘Kenny’ and ‘Scatter Me’: Alan Bateman
Farfisa organ and ornate tinkling on ‘Scatter Me’: Mikey Rowe
Soprano voice on ‘Scatter Me’: Susannah Bevington
All songs written by Colin Moulding. Arrangements by TC&I.
Produced by TC&I. Mixed by Stuart Rowe. Recorded and engineered by TC&I.
Further recording of drums and horns at Earthworm Amber Studios, Swindon.
Engineered by Jon Bucket with the assistance of Pete Hewington.
Mastered by Jason Mitchell at Loud Mastering
Photography By Geoff Winn. Design by Andrew Swainson from a concept by TC&I.
Manufactured by Media Plant, Swindon, UK.
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