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"WE WERE THE LAST GANG IN TOWN" - ALL TOGETHER NOW WITH THE FARM




The Farm formed in the early 80s and followed Liverpool's rich songwriting tradition. Best known for their hits 'All Together Now' and 'Groovy Train', the band recently performed at Rewind South. We caught up with vocalist Peter and Hootom and guitarist Keith Mullin.


PHOTOGROUPIE

The Farm is best known as a 90s band but you formed in the 80s. What was the Liverpool scene like when you formed?


PETER HOOTON

In the 80s it was great. You had The Bunnymen, The Las, Teardrop Explodes, and all sorts of different groups.


KEITH MULLIN

You had a lot of different types of music and bands and things that could influence you. It was a very different time to what it is now. The way we operated then is still how we operate now, it was very DIY. Do things yourself and get on with it.


PETER HOOTON

In the 80s. We were kept going by people like John Peel, and Janice Long, God rest her soul, who would give us sessions. And that kept us going. We were also getting help from Suggs, Paul Heaton, Brian Jones even Brian Travers from UB40. They tried to help us out and get us a record deal. I think they saw in The Farm the kind of band they wanted to be in. We were the last gang in town!


PHOTOGROUPIE

Where did you get the name?


PETER HOOTON

We just rehearsed on a farm in the early days about 82. And we called ourselves The Farm in about 83. It's as simple as that.


PHOTOGROUPIE

Tell us about your first album.


KEITH MULLIN

Spartacus was the first studio album, but we had one before that in the mid-80s called 'Pastures Old and New.'


PETER HOOTON

It was basically John Peel Sessions because we couldn't afford to put out an album because we couldn't go into good studios. You know, Suggs took us to his studio and Paul Heaton took us to his. They were both trying to get us record deals, but the record companies didn't understand The Farm. It wasn't really until The Happy Monday and The Stone Roses took off that they (the record companies) went 'these were the originals.' That's how it happened really. Shaun Ryder saw us on The Oxford Roadshow in 84 and said "I saw youse on the Oxford Roadshow and if you can do it, we can do it."


KEITH MULLIN

We grew with the music in different scenes. We didn't stay static as a band. We grew musically and we started to be influenced by house music and that seeped into our music.


PHOTOGROUPIE

Were you always interested in music?


PETER HOOTON

Yeah, I mean, as a kid I used to sing Little Donkey in church. My Mum said the priest used to get upset by it and I was barred from the church for singing it. At family parties, one of my favourite songs was 'Somewhere' from West Side Story. I used to sing that at Christmas parties and family dos. Normally it was only the adults that sung, but I had a go. I couldn't have been that self-conscious.


PHOTOGROUPIE

That used to be a bit of a thing at parties, especially with an Irish background, just getting up and doing a turn.


KEITH MULLIN

My dad was a musician. My dad played guitar, my brother plays guitar, and my uncles all play guitar. They're all jazz fans as well. But my mum was a pianist my aunt's a singer, so I had all of that.


PETER HOOTON

Liverpool, as you know, is a very musical. It's funny because its two big influences are Ireland and Wales. They have music running through their veins.


PHOTOGROUPIE

You did a cover of The Human League's 'Don't You Want Me', which was a totally left of field choice. So how did that come about?


PETER HOOTON

That was a charity song. But I think it's a great version. We played that to Martin Ware from Heaven 17. I don't think he was with the Human League then, but we played it to him and he went "that's unbelievable." We showed him the video, because we were taking the piss, because it was a charity record. So we were trying to get sales, so everything in the video was the opposite. I was dressed up as John Travolta, he (points to Keith) as a barmaid. George Best was in the video and he was refusing drinks.


We could have easily done The Specials or The Jam, and we had to pick a number one said we said lets go glam rock and surprise people. It was the opposite of what you expected us to do. But everyone thought "what the fuck's happened to The Farm." So it's supposed to be the opposite and a bit of fun, but it just went over everyone's heads. But it sold a lot of records so it was fantastic.


PHOTOGROUPIE

Keith, who were your guitar heroes?


KEITH MULLIN

I've got all kinds of different influences, from Bob Marley to Django Reinhardt to Mick Jones in The Clash. Because I was exposed to everything as a kind. My first ever concert was Duke Ellington when I was five years of age, my uncle took me to him. I just absorbed all of it.


PHOTOGROUPIE

What about All Together Now which was the big hit. It also got picked up in a political sense. Were you happy with that association?


PETER HOOTON

It has been used by political organisations but also by football teams because it's about unity messages. Loads of people have asked for it, and we've knocked them back. The people who've used it, we tended to think they've got the right idea. The example England used it in 2004. And we're not big England fans, but they said they wanted the team to be more inclusive, we want to attract more ethnic minorities to the England team. So we thought that was the right message.


PHOTOGROUPIE

What's next?


KEITH MULLIN

We got some new music out this year. And next year, we got a single coming out called 'Feel the Love' on 7th September. We've had these songs lying around for ages and never done anything with them, so we're gonna start putting them out. So we're what's gonna put a song out every two months for the next year.


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