Christmas 2023 Q & A

Q – After seeing your Attack Of The Grey Lantern and solo along with Six and solo tours which were superb, I’d like to know if you would consider doing a tour with a mix of AOTGL and Six ?  Paul Murtagh

A – Firstly thanks for the stack of questions sent in by you all! In answer to your question Paul, I doubt I’d be touring the Six album again so this run of dates will be the last time to catch it live in full. Doing both albums together would be a very long show and I like to play my solo material to stay current and relevant as an artist. 


Q – Will we see any Record Store Day 2024 reissues of Mansun material? Perhaps Little Kix?  Aaron Chase

A – Hi Aaron, yes there will be a Record Store Day Mansun release in 2024, in fact I’ve just approved the test pressings. It’ll be a strictly limited edition release. Not sure I’m allowed to reveal the particular release for 2024 but let’s just say you’re not too far off the mark.


Q – What tour dates are you looking forward to the most on the Six April tour?  Nikki McAvoy

A – Looking forward to all the gigs to be honest but, being a Scouser, St Helens sticks out along with Brighton which I always look forward to playing and Hertford where I’ve never played before.


Q – I absolutely love the deluxe CD box sets for Attack of the Grey Lantern, Six and Cult Leader Tactics.
Can we look forward to one for Little Kix (and a vinyl reissue) and your first solo LP . . . and maybe Kleptomania???
Still need to save up for the huge Mansun box set. It shall be mine . . . one day.  Murray Wellwood

A – Hi Murray, a special version of the deluxe set of Little Kix is on the horizon so more details of that will follow. My first solo album Spooky Action was released as a deluxe CD set but I believe is sold out. So keep an eye out for a second hand copy on sale online or see if you can get a copy via the Mansun/Paul Draper Collector group on Facebook where rare items are often traded. 

Kleptomania is a project we’ve yet to address at the label, but some great plans are being mulled over for that one. There are still a few copies of the big Mansun box set available if you have a delve around some retailers.


Q – If Tom Baker wasn’t able to record ‘witness to a murder’ did you have anyone else in mind?Can’t wait to see you in Komedia in Bath in April.  Natalie 

A – Hi Nat, I believe Witness to a Murder was created around Tom Baker agreeing to narrate the track so if Tom wasn’t available we wouldn’t have released that track. It was always meant as an interlude on Six due to it being a long record and needing a break half way through for the listener. 

I’m also very much looking forward to Bath Komedia as it’s a venue I’ve never played, in one of my favourite cities.


Q – Any chance of coming to Argentina anytime soon? We would love to see you playing here!!!  Especially all the Mansun songs.  Paul Roberts

A – I’ve had so many requests to come to South America it’s a distinct possibility for the future. Once the April Six tour is completed I’ll sit down with my manager and look at the feasibility of South American dates. We’re also looking at some more Asian dates and I think Ireland is due a visit.


Q – Hi Paul – Had the pleasure of seeing you earlier this year at Gorilla in Manchester.

My question is “If Tom Baker wasn’t available to narrate Witness To A Murder Part 2 for whatever reason, who would have been your number 2, 3 or even 4 choice for the part?”

SIX is my all time favorite album.  Shane Knight

A – Glad you like Six Shane and the live performance. In answer to your question please refer to Natalie’s question above.


Q – I missed the limited run of the Six re-issue that contained the 5.1 mix DVD. Are there any plans to have this as a standalone item or in a digital link / download? It’d be great to hear it after all the work that went into it.  Martin Cogley

A – Hi Martin, I believe Apple Music are now streaming surround sound mixes but it present we are only releasing our 5.1 surround sound mixes a part of our deluxe CD reissues. PDub’s surround sound mix is stunning so have a look on the Collectors group on Facebook to see if you can grab a copy second hand.


Q – Hi Paul, ‘Six’ is such an eclectic, daring and ambitious album. Can you describe how you went about producing the album? Also how have you gone about trying to recreate ‘Six’ as a live experience?  Jon Ransted

A – Hi Jon, Six was recorded in the order it was finally released. We would arrive at the studio and add each day whatever ideas were brought to the table on that day. It was a risky experiment, and although a deliberately non commercial album, it’s pleasing the record has stood the test of time and fans can enjoy it being performed live. 

It’s great fans have sold out the first leg of the tour and will be attending its final performance run in April. Recreating it live has been the most complex live gigs I’ve ever been involved in. Lots of work has gone into replicating the parts and sounds meticulously, while we have used modern technology to include all the intricacies of the album. So recreating it has been a combination of meticulous rehearsals, referring to the original recording and the effects used, with a twist of modern technology to produce as accurate a recreation of the record as possible.


Q – Are you a Grinch or a Christmas Elf???  Joanne Johnson 

A – Most definitely an Elf!


Q – Are there any plans to release a live album from the Six tour?  Pete Archer

A – Yes, I’ve just been going through the costings with the label to record this tour for posterity. At present we are aiming to record the Brighton performance for a Ltd Edition vinyl release.


Q – I bought the Six album in 1998 when I was aged 16. It blew my mind and is a really important album to me. Whenever I hear it my teenage years come flooding back! I heard you on an XS noize podcast saying you might remake Little Kix. Are you still planning to do this?  Ross Mcinerney

A – Hi Ross, yes there will be a special reimagination of the Little Kix album including fan input coming when we can fit it into my recording schedule and the label’s release schedule.


Q – Did you feel much resonation with any Britpop bands, since Mansun kind of got lumped in as part of the ‘Britpop movement’? Or basically were there any Britpop bands which you liked?  Kira

A – I don’t really mind how the band are pigeonholed to be honest. Sometimes Mansun are labelled Britpop, sometimes Prog Rock, I’m cool with any label. In terms of bands from that era I particularly like Suede and The Manic Street Preachers


Q – Paul, what do you feel to be your top 3 career highlights and why?
PS please play London in 2024. Six tour earlier this year was superb!  Jason Nelson-Smith

A – I’d say having a number one album, playing the main stage at Glastonbury and the re-issue of ‘Six’ going to Number 1 in the vinyl chart were three amongst many highlights along the way, all for their own reasons. 

I’m not playing London on the second leg of the Six tour in April, but Brighton and Hertford will be within travelling distance for London fans wanting to catch the live performance of the album.


Q – Do you have any plans to officially release your Grind music (which I thought was amazing)?  Tim Golding

A –  Hi Tim, if you aren’t aware, Grind was my Art School band. Although I doubt it’ll ever be officially released there are many bootlegs available on the Facebook Collectors group if anyone wants to post about it there.


Q – When is your next album coming out?  Tim Golding
A – I don’t have an official release date for my next solo album other than it’s pencilled in for the first quarter of 2025


Q Are you going to be keeping Julian Fenton on future releases (I hope so)?  Tim Golding

A – Indeed Julian is drumming on 2 album projects I’m currently working on. To check out Julian’s amazing jazz drumming skills check him out playing his Jazz interpretation of Nirvanas Teen Spirit on YouTube.


Q – What are your five favourite songs of your solo material?  Tim Golding

A –  I’d say my favourite solo tracks I’ve worked on so far are Cult Leader Tactics in E flat minor as I’ve always wanted to write and release a piece of classical music. Feeling My Heart Run Slow as I’ve always wanted to release a proper guitar solo. I also like Everyone Becomes A Problem Eventually due to playing all the instrumental parts because of not being able to get together with my band during the Covid Lockdown. I think You’ve Got No Life Skills Baby! is my best single release so far and I enjoyed recording the vocals on Don’t Poke The Bear where I could let rip a bit vocally.


Q – What’s the theme of the next album (Rock, Synth, Other)?  See you in Newcastle. Tim Golding

A – The next album is shaping up to be mainly guitar based, but that could evolve this year. And of course I’m very much looking playing Six in Newcastle, always one of my favourite towns to visit so see you there!


Q – Do you have a rough idea in your head of exactly which B-sides you’d include on a revised and improved version of “Little Kix” and any idea of a track order?  Sam K

Also here’s my ideal 11-track version. Let me know how on-the-money you think it is (I thought about including Forgive Me and Repair Man but wanted to keep it around 50 minutes):
1 Butterfly (A New Beginning)
2 My Idea of Fun
3 I Can Only Disappoint U
4 Comes As No Surprise
5 The Drifters
6 Decisions Decisions
7 Until the Next Life
8 Black Infinite Space
9 Fade in Time
10 I’ve Seen the Top of the Mountain
11 The Apartment [maybe as a hidden track]

A – Well I like your suggested running order, and at present we’re planning on the track listing of a revised version being informed by a fan base vote. This however will be a big project due to remixing and surround sound versions drawn from all the songs recorded during the Little Kix sessions. At present the project has the provisional title of Little Kix Naked.


Q – We are going to see you in Northampton next year, very excited! We wondered if you can play Take It Easy Chicken for us?  Clare Smyth

A – Obviously the April tour is the Six tour so I’ll be performing the album in full plus solo songs. However I’ve not played Take It Easy as a solo artist but it’ll definitely be part of a Singles tour when I get round to that one day


Q – Whose music made you sit up and listen?  Jason Nelson-Smith

A – The Beatles, Prince, David Bowie, Kate Bush, Pink Floyd, Queens Of The Stone Age, Fontaines DC at present.


Q – SIX sounded amazing at Islington this year, but what song is the most demanding for you and the band to play?  Paula Lock 

A – Probably Shotgun due to the various parts, timing changes and overlapping guitar parts which we’ve been using loop pedals to recreate


Q – SIX lyrically covers a wide range of topics — especially challenging personal world views, ambition and religion. Are there parts you no longer feel a connection with? Or parts that you feel were totally correct and still resonate today?  Paula Lock 

A – I cover a lot of religious topics in my music but have been on what you’d call a spiritual journey from being a church going Catholic as a kid, to chronicling my rejection of religion and atheist beliefs in Mansun, whereas these days I’d say I’m an agnostic spiritualist, if that makes sense. 

My life’s journey has brought me to this conclusion, I don’t subscribe to a particular faith but have faith none the less. I enjoy theological discussions with a good friend of mine who is a CofE priest who helps me with my music when I hit a brick wall. For instance the Cult Leader Tactics album lyrically begins cynically in a satirical manner but goes through a spiritual journey and ends with the conclusion that at the end of the day, just let there be love. Mansun’s Kleptomania started and ended lyrically similar concluding that in the end only love remains and that only good intentions can heal your soul.


Q – Are you doing a signing session after the gigs on the next tour? What is the most unusual thing you’ve been asked to sign?  Paula Lock 

A – Yes bring along your Mansun collectibles and I’ll man the merchandise stall at the end of the gigs for signings and selfies, it’s the least I can do really after all your support. In terms of unusual things I’ve signed, let’s just say they fall into the category of bodily parts!


Q – Any teasers you can tell us about the upcoming tour?  Verona Hanlon

A – At present we are dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s to add one of the hottest new bands around to join the tour for an opening set.


Q – If you had your choice of doing a duet with any guest vocalist (dead or alive) on your live tour, who would it be & what song would you choose and why?  Verona Hanlon

A – It would have to be John Lennon, watching my buddy Macca duetting with Lennon at Glastonbury brought a tear to my eye.


Q – You eventually changed the musical direction of the ‘Cult Leader Tactics’ album, but when you were in the middle of making it, you let out that one of the tracks was Black Sabbath-esque…. – any plans to release any of the original rockier tracks?  (Am v Intrigued /  a wall of guitar!)  Verona Hanlon

A – Unfortunately the rockier band performances on CLT were cut short by the Covid lockdown, hence the tracks I made on my own at my home studio such as Dirty Trix and Everybody Becomes A Problem Eventually and of course putting the fan choir together. There were a further 8 songs we would have tackled as a band if Covid hadn’t occurred. We’ve recorded bits for the next solo album which I’m hoping to be a much more cohesive rock record.


Q – Will someone be triggering the Hanna-Barbera samples live or is there a backing track you will play along to. Same for Dance of the sugar plum fairy…  Richard Gubbels

A – We trigger all the samples live during the set so all the little details will be in there.


Q – On Six, at the end of Cancer when a synth takes over the melody first introduced by guitar. It sounds like a Korg MS 20? What is that?  Richard Gubbels

A – It’s actually all guitar, it’s a distorted guitar sound with a volume pedal processed through a TC Electronics Fireworks. I have used a Korg MS 20 but on the chorus of solo song Friends Make The Worst Enemies.


Q – Is there someway for us to get the 5.1 dvd version of Six. I missed the boat on that and can’t seem to find it anywhere anymore.  Richard Gubbels

A – Ask on the Facebook Mansun Collectors Group if anyone has a copy or trawl EBay. As I mentioned previously PDub mixed a stunning surround sound version of the album.


Q – Huge fan from the Netherlands. Your music has already passed on to the next generation as my children are big fans as well.
We are all looking forward to seeing you play in Brighton in April.  Richard Gubbels

A – I always love meeting the new generation of fans who have discovered the band and albums. 


A big thank you to the many questions sent in, it’s impossible to answer them all but hope you’ve enjoyed these Q and A answers. Have a great festive season and see you all in April for my last tour of the Six album.

Paul x