Nev Cottee

Manchester is known for the Hacienda, baggy and rain. But if singer songwriter Nev Cottee has anything to do with it, then you may need to start adding blissful, psychedelic pop to this list. The one-time Proud Mary guitarist has been holed up in a bedsit ingesting records by Spiritualised and Lee Hazelwood and crafting his superb debut solo record Stations. We found out why he’s striving to smoke and drink like Serge Gainsbourg…

Jim Ottewill
  • By Jim Ottewill
  • 16 Oct 2013
  • min read
In a city known for the weather and Oasis, singer songwriter Nev Cottee and his lovely, string-laden songs are something of an anomaly.

Although he was in the Noel Gallagher-endorsed Proud Mary so his music doesn't completely escape Mancunian stereotypes.

But when it comes to his songs - a sumptuous mixture of woozy Spiritualised-esque psychedelia and the husky glory of Lee Hazelwood - Nev is forging his own musical path.

Since Nev split from his previous outfit, he’s been toiling in various groups and crafting a superb set of songs, all collected on forthcoming debut album Stations. Produced by Mason Neely and Carwyn Ellis (Colorama/Edwyn Collins) the record is a gorgeous statement of intent from an staunchly independent singer songwriter.

M quizzed him for 30 Seconds and found out why he’s refining his habits to be more like the hard drinking, chain smoker (and legendary songwriter) Serge Gainsbourg…

I first started writing music because…
I was inspired by the greats.

I have been making music since…
I was a teenager. My brother used to go into Manchester and come back with all these great records by Lou Reed and The Stones and I was sold.

My music is…
Made with love. It was also recorded with Mason Neely and Carwyn Ellis - very talented musicians - they can play pretty much anything. I'm basically a vocalist and guitar player - Mason can put together a string arrangement to melt your heart or pick out an instrument that defines the mood of a song. I owe those two a lot. They gave me my sound.

You'll like my music if you like...
Lee Hazlewood, Scott Walker or Neil Young.

My favourite venue is…
The Ritz in Manchester. Can I have two? Bellver Castle in Palma Mallorca  - the second one if I was pushed.

Music is important because…
It cuts out the bullshit. There's no need to explain ... anything.

My biggest inspiration is…
Serge Gainsbourg. Not just musically but the whole package - the look, the lifestyle. Lyrically he's up there with the best although straight translation doesn't do it justice. It's very nuanced - full of puns, wordplay and the like. I smoke now and again but he was in a different league. You're talking full strength Gauloises all day, everyday together with vast amounts of quality booze. I'm working on it...

My dream collaboration would be…
With Jason Pierce (Spiritualized). A musical genius. He probably wouldn't even turn up but why doesn't he ever win any awards or plaudits? No one ever mentions him but he's been releasing quality, experimental, sonically inventive music for the past 25 years. He's completely out there on his own doing his thing. Just living for the music and not dancing to anyone else's tune.

To try me out, listen to my song…
Oslo

If I wasn’t making music I’d be…
Doing something else creative. I've tried everything else and unfortunately writing songs is the only thing I'm any good at.

In 10 years time I want to be...
Recording a triple album in Cambodia with Sly And Robbie.

www.nevcottee.com
www.twitter.com/nevcottee
www.facebook/NevCotteeBand