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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 16 December 2018

Razorlight are here to stay, says drummer Skully

British band Razorlight, who plan to release an album next year, will play in Dubai this weekend.
British band Razorlight’s new album will be out next year. Courtesy Getty Images
British band Razorlight’s new album will be out next year. Courtesy Getty Images

On paper, Razorlight aren’t in the most fertile of spots right now. It’s been seven years since the band released new music – during which all but one of the founding members have quit.

The London-formed, indie poster-boys were massive once – 2006’s self-titled album went five times Platinum, singalong single America was everywhere. Razorlight even supported The Rolling Stones. But since 2008 there was noting.

Drummer David Sullivan- Kaplan aka “Skully”, who stepped into the fold in 2009, says all that is about to change, with the finishing touches being put on a fourth album set for release next year. This will be, we’re told, Razorlight 2.0. “The album is 90 per cent finished, we’re really pretty much done,” says the 36-year-old stickman. “It’s a moment. The band needs to show the world that we’re relevant and have something to say – and I’m happy to put it all on the line.”

The remaining founding member is, of course, Johnny Borrell, the outspoken frontman recently labelled by the UK’s The Guardian as “the century’s most righteously ridiculous rock star”.

Following the 2008 to 2010 exodus of his bandmates, Borrell briefly flirted with a solo project, before declaring his backing musicians the new Razorlight line-up, and promising new material. Instead, he put the band aside – again – and released 2013’s Borrell 1, the slated first in a series of six solo LPs.

It sold just 594 copies on the first week of release.

Which might be why Razorlight were back on the UK’s nostalgia festival circuit this summer – and are back in the UAE. The quartet’s 2012 performance supporting Daughtry at Gulf Bike Week was most remarkable for its poor attendance, and Borrell singing America through clearly gritted teeth. “I think Johnny would be happy not to play that anymore,” admits Skully. But the NYC-born drummer has his own happy memories of the night.

“After the gig we went to a hotel party, then another party and then ... we didn’t sleep until we went to the airport the next day.”

Since then the band have had another change with João Mello – a multi-instrumentalist who plays saxophone in David Gilmour’s band – brought in on bass.

The fresh blood has been invigorating, claims Skully. The new material is “a return to form”, mixing the “energy of the first album, but slightly more melodic”, with a “little more dancey element”. There’s around 40 tracks in the bank, and the drummer is convinced despite the past half-decade of internal turmoil, Razorlight are here to stay.

“I would like to see us continue another 10 to 12 years, and I don’t see any reason why we won’t do that,” Skully says.

“This is Johnny’s band, and right now, I think Johnny’s got his hunger back.”

rgarratt@thenational.ae