INTERVIEW: Ocean Colour Scene

Updated: Apr 9, 2019

“I’ve realised that it’s much better to go on stage sober, then I can savour that beer at the end!”
Ocean Colour Scene are set to headline Hardwick Live 2017

In recent years, Hardwick Hall in Stockton has played host to one of Teesside’s most popular musical events. One weekend of the year, the picturesque country house is transformed into a musical haven, with some of the biggest bands form past and present gracing the stage.

This year, Britpop legends Ocean Colour Scene had the pleasure of headlining Hardwick Live. North East Noize caught up with lead singer Simon to speak about their experience on Teesside.

2016 marked the 20th anniversary of ‘Moseley Shoals’. After selling over one million copies in 1996, how does it feel to play such iconic tracks today?

It’s nice. I mean, I don’t think at the time we realised how important that album was because quite frankly we were so busy that hindsight has given us a completely different perspective. We have so many people say ‘Oh you know, that was the soundtrack of my youth’. So yeah, it’s nice to step back in there and the crowds know all of the songs, and it’s great.

What is your favourite part about performing live?

I quite like the last song because that means I can have my first beer of the day. I don’t play under the influence anymore – I spent around 25 years doing that and in the last couple of years I’ve realised that it’s much better to go on stage sober, then I can savour that beer at the end!

You shared the stage with some great bands at Hardwick Live, ranging from Gabrielle to Pete Doherty. Is there anyone, in particular you were excited to see?

Blimey, Gabrielle! We used to know her about 25 years ago. And we go back with Madness as well. Every time we see Suggs he says ‘I made you, I made you y’know!’ He used to do a TV show back in the days of cable TV, which was like an early version of independent television broadcasts, and we went on his show. He’s always been really good to us since then so it was nice to meet up with them.

After such a long, successful musical career, does it feel great to see new, younger fans in the crowd?

We see people who used to come and see us when they were young, and now they bring along their kids. It’s great to see the generations. There are quite a few youngsters, as in really young kids, who come to the concerts so that’s great to see.

Which gigs have stuck in your memory from throughout the years?

Oh blimey, dozens! Knebworth was quite strange when we supported Oasis there in front of a crowd of 125,000. Then there’s the first time we played the Albert Hall – that was pretty nice, seeing your names in lights on The Albert Hall!  In 1997 we played at Glastonbury before the famous Radioheadgig – and that’s one that people will talk about forever – but I’m not sure how much we saw of it really as that was back in the days when we played under the influence.

The rest of 2017 looks pretty busy for Ocean Colour Scene as you tour Australia and New Zealand again. Do you have any plans for after the tour?

I don’t know to be quite honest. I need to be writing an album and I really need to focus on that. That’s the plan, anyway!

Hardwick Live will take place again on Saturday 18th August – 19th August 2018. For more information visit:

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