South’s Joel Cadbury on the 20th Anniversary of the UK Trio’s Debut Album “From Here On In” | Under The Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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South’s Joel Cadbury on the 20th Anniversary of the UK Trio’s Debut Album “From Here On In”

Not One For Nostalgia

Feb 12, 2021 Web Exclusive
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After a 13-year break, UK trio South returns with the re-release of its debut album, From Here On In on March 26th, exactly 20 years to the day of when the album was originally released. Available in limited edition double vinyl format, in addition to the anniversary edition of From Here On In is an album of bonus material: B-sides, rarities, demos, and outtakes from the same time titled From Here On Out, also available on vinyl. Only 500 copies of each album will be pressed. Pre-orders can be placed through AC30.

Premiering on Under the Radar is the first video from the anniversary album, for the song “Breaking Away.” The song was recorded the same time as From Here On In. It didn’t make it onto the album and only ever appeared on the limited edition 10” vinyl of “Keep Close” in 2001. The video, which doesn’t feature the band, focuses on a lone young girl on a beach. Created by Paul Johnson for Say Goodnight Films, “Breaking Away” is shot on celluloid film and has the feel of found footage from a long ago time. It switches between low-resolution ’70s era muted tones and jumpy, shadowed black-and-white, both of which are a good fit for the demure and dated look of the young girl and her playful actions.

“Breaking Away” has particular significance for South, who wrote the song just as they were getting signed to their first record deal. “Things were starting to happen for us as a band and everything was there to be won or lost,” says the group’s vocalist and bassist, Joel Cadbury, in an exclusive new interview with Under the Radar. “The song alludes to that sense of excitement and fear as young adults beginning our journey, stepping into a new, unknown chapter.”

Cadbury and his bandmates—guitarist Jamie MacDonald and drummer Brett Shaw—are not ones to spend any time looking backward. In fact, the 20th anniversary of From Here On In might have passed all three of them by if their former manager, John Brice, hadn’t alerted them to it and suggested marking the occasion with fresh pressings as well as releasing a wealth of mainly previously unreleased material.

“It’s a bit of a ‘lost tapes’ album,” says Cadbury of From Here On Out. “We’ve uncovered these archives. Everything’s on cassettes or defunct products. We had to find a good tape deck that didn’t wobble too much and digitize everything. That was a long process. And then someone would find another bag of cassettes. I must have listened to 40 hours’ worth. But I knew that I had better go through everything because if I don’t, it will come back and I’ll have to do it again. It unearthed some really cool stuff. Some of it is rough as shit, but I really like it.”

Most of Cadbury’s time is spent in the composer sphere. After a long stint as a member of UNKLE’s live and in-studio band, he put his learned skills from that experience as well as South’s time scoring the Jonathan Glazer film, Sexy Beast, to good use. Besides scoring films such as Michael Winterbottom’s Killer Inside Me, which he did with pianist Melissa Parmenter, Cadbury also collaborates with choreographer Wayne McGregor, composing music for ballets. Shaw has pivoted into the producer/engineer position. His credits include the last two Foals albums, Florence and the Machine, and Lady Gaga. MacDonald has also continued with music and also ventured into the restaurant world. None of them is sure when South officially stopped, or even if it did, or exactly when.

“South petered out, not with a bang but with a whimper,” says Cadbury. “You get to a certain point and things aren’t getting bigger, they’re constricting. It saved our friendships and our ability to work together now and to be able to look back and agree to do something around the first album. We would have destroyed all of that had we battled it out for another few years. It came to its natural conclusion.”

The beginning of South happened at an interesting time for music. The move toward digital recording had started, but wasn’t commonplace yet. IPods were only just coming into fashion and Napster was battling it out in court. It wasn’t the ’90s anymore but the millennium landscape was still trying to figure itself out. Cadbury, MacDonald, and Shaw were barely out of high school when South gained its instant traction from a low-key residency in the trio’s London hometown.

“The way we made our early records is quite different to the way records are made now,” says Cadbury. “We were on the last stage of what came before, right on the cusp of digital. That’s also what’s poignant about this release. It’s of a time. You had to go to these big studios to record or the big rehearsal room because that was the established way and there was no alternative. Then things changed and everyone could do it. It got easier, but that democratization makes it all too much. Everything is available. It’s very difficult to point out a scene. It used to be a lot less complicated.”

The end of South came at an equally interesting time, less to do with music and technology, and more to do with the natural trajectory of the band members’ feelings about what they were doing. Says Cadbury, “I’d run my course of wanting to be a singer. It’s definitely freeing to not have to get up on stage and be the one that is front and center. Not dealing with releasing records and trying to get on the radio, being so disappointed when things wouldn’t get on the radio. The constant pressure. All of us stepped away from being frontline in a band because it’s a really demanding process.”

He continues, “I was looking at old footage and how focused we all were. We were having a good time, but we put in a lot of hours. When you watch the rehearsals, we were really on it. We hadn’t peaked. Everything was still exciting and you thought the next song would be better than the last one. That carried on through the first two records. When I look back I think, ‘Oh we were just pissing about, having a laugh,’ which we were doing a lot of, but it’s heartwarming to see how much love we had for each other, and still do.”

Pre-order From Here On In.

Pre-order From Here On Out.

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