Thirteen Senses Return With Crystal Sounds, Their Third Album (Interview) March 18th 2010
You would be forgiven for thinking that Thirteen Senses - the most successful band to ever come out of Cornwall - had split when they were dropped by their record label in 2007. But following stints playing with the likes of Gabriella Cilmi and having babies, the boys are back with their best album yet. The nine-track Crystal Sounds is now streaming on their website with a full release date to follow soon. The London-based Penzance band – Will South (vocals, keyboards, guitar) Tom Welham (guitar, keyboards), Adam Wilson (bass) and Brendon James (drums) – have announced a comeback gig at London's Dingwalls on June 8 with plans for a Cornish gig in the same month. The album – self-produced and recorded independently at Will and Tom's studio – is a return to the band's dramatic and expansive sound but with added balls. Will says: "I'm as surprised as you are that we're back! We started writing the album as soon as we got dropped by Mercury in 2007 but it got held back for various reasons – we ran out of money for one, Adam got married and had a baby... "But we got together in the last few months and finished it. Now our manager is leading the charge in the industry."
The fact that their manager is Phil Chadwick, who has steered Elbow to monumental success over the last couple of years, can only bode well for Thirteen Senses' return. After forming in Penwith in 2001 and changing their name from Soul Magician, they signed to Vertigo/Mercury records. Early success from the release of singles Do No Wrong, Into The Fire and Thru The Glass (numbers 38, 35 and 18 respectively) in 2004/05 led to 12 months of touring both at home and abroad, finally culminating in a gold record on their walls for their debut album, The Invitation, which reached Number 14 in the UK album chart. The second album, 2007's Contact, although containing arguably their best song in the title track, was a more rocky affair but the very thing that had made Thirteen Senses the band they were – the sensitivity and quiet grandeur – had been lost.
Will says now: "We were rushed into making that album by Mercury, who kept pushing for us to make hit singles, so we went into the studio with that in mind and it wasn't successful as a result. "The break has done us good – the new album is much more energised and we've had time to concentrate on the songwriting. Tom and I have been writing for other artists, including Gabriella Cilmi, who Tom has been playing guitar for. That makes you look at your inner pop writer!"
In some respects it's like they've never been away. Turn on any nature documentary or heart-wrenching reality show and chances are it's being soundtracked by a Thirteen Senses' oldie.
"We've finally recouped our publishing deal with Universal, so in the last year the royalty cheques have started coming through to us, which is very handy when you haven't got a record deal," added Will.
That's about £200 for every 30 seconds a song is used on TV – nice work if you can get it. The fans are still out there as well. The singer said: "It's amazing really as we never really toured outside the UK, but we get online comments all the time from fans in South America or France, and we've just been invited to play a festival in China in July.
"The last gig we ever played two years ago was a party in Chicago for a wealthy fan who flew us over!" On the strength of the album, Thirteen Senses will soon have a record deal and plenty more international dates under their belts.