Feeder’s Grant Nicholas on Writing Runaway Songs


I come from South Wales, so of course when I was young I played rugby.

I remember finding running quite difficult when I was in school. For several years, I swam every day – I found the laps in the pool to be a good distraction. I didn’t start running properly until around 2014 when I was finishing my first solo album, Yorktown Heights. Like swimming, I found it to be good for my head. I often tend to overanalyze things. It keeps me calm.

I find racing so unpredictable.

I can have a pretty busy night, go out for a run the next day and find it easy. I can also sleep a lot, have a really relaxing week, go for a run and it’s really hard work.

I’d rather run on a treadmill than get lost.

When you’re on tour in a new place and you don’t know where you’re going, it’s hard to relax, that’s what I expect from racing, so I’m going to get on a machine. Back home in North London, I’ll stay at Finsbury Park. I wouldn’t necessarily like to go there at night, but when the weather is nice, it’s actually a nice place.

I’m not trying to prove anything.

I go out almost every day, maybe for 10,000 or so, but I just do what I feel like. I am not a spring chicken. Sometimes my knees hurt or my heels hurt. If I don’t feel it, I don’t have to.

Running is a creative moment for me.

My head is in a different place than when I’m home. I have lyric ideas, or if I’m working on a song, I’ll have the demo on loop while I’m away. It’s good for learning new song lyrics too. We’ve been around for a long time – the new album is our 11th – so we’ve got a lot of songs, and I don’t want to be one of those singers who need an autocue!

Part of the new album was written during the race.

Before, I didn’t like to take my phone with me when I was running. But during those crazy pandemic years, I started doing things a little differently and writing more observational stuff. I would stop and type lyrics or titles on the Notes app.

I’m weak when I can’t run.

I broke my foot during lockdown. It’s not a very rock and roll story – I was walking down the steps in my garden with my reading glasses, looking at something on my phone and not concentrating. I didn’t want to sit down so after about a week I was walking back down to Finsbury Park with my air boots and crutches.

People think I’m weird going for a run on show days.

They say, ‘Why are you running if you have a concert tonight?’ But I’m only going to run for about half an hour, and I think it really helps my lungs and is good for my singing. I drink alcohol and sitting on planes and coaches all the time is not the healthiest way of life. It balances it out a bit.

We are all more health conscious today than we were then.

A lot happened in the 90s and luckily there were no cell phones or social networks to record it. We still have fun times, we’re still big kids, but you have to balance a little more. When we started, we were doing half-hour sets. Now this can take two hours, so you need to be in good shape.

If I ever race, I’m surprisingly competitive.

Didn’t do much – only the Crouch End Fun Run a few times – but even that has some good runners. When I see guys in club vests, I want to hunt them down. Be careful, the old rocker will catch up with you!

Feeder’s new album, Torpedo, was released on March 18. The band toured the UK between April 23 and May 6 and played Eirias Stadium in Colwyn Bay on June 18. feederweb.com

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