Noel Gallagher on New Solo LP: 'It's About Everything the Terrorists Hate'

Noel Gallagher has become a little more comfortable with Oasis‘ legacy lately. He brightens up while discussing how, after the success of last year’s documentary Oasis: Supersonic, he’s been seeing younger faces in his audiences. Gallagher describes playing an intimate acoustic set, where a group of young girls got emotional during his old songs. “I stopped them after the gig and said, ‘How old are you two?’ They were like 15. I was like, ‘Are you just getting into Oasis now?’ They said yeah. Isn’t that fucking amazing? I guess the longer it goes and the younger that I see people getting into it, it means that somehow, by some trick or act of fucking god, we did something as a band, or I did something somewhere that was timeless,” he tells Rolling Stone

“Looking back on it, it’s a mind-blowing thing.”

Noel wanted to bring that enthusiasm into the studio when he made Who Built the Moon? – his third album with his band the High Flying Birds since 2011 and the heaviest LP he’s put out since his Oasis days. “It’s the most energetic thing I’ve done,” he says. “I always found it kind of difficult for me to [communicate] joy in music. It’s very easy, particularly in this day in age, to write about angst and how life is so difficult. To find a fucking joy in the world and then to kind of crystalize it into music is difficult, and not many people can do it. I’ve done it once or twice in 25 years. So when it happens, it’s special.”

Despite its upbeat vibe, the album was made in a solemn place – Belfast, Northern Ireland, in the dead of winter. “It was fucking snowing everyday,” Gallagher says. He had been working on 2015’s stripped-down Chasing Yesterday, and asked David Holmes, a Northern Irish electronic musician, to take those songs in a different direction. Holmes turned him down, saying the album sounded finished. “He said, ‘Let’s make another record.’ And I said, ‘What about the songs?’ He said, ‘Don’t worry about the songs, write them in the studio.’ And I was like, ‘Fuck that, I’ve never done that before.'”

But they did. Gallagher was inspired to throw out his usual playbook, putting down the acoustic guitar and writing songs in other ways, drawing from samples. “Dave would say, ‘Sounds a bit like Oasis,’ and I’d say, ‘Fucking great!’ And then he’d say, ‘Come on, try something different.'” 

They decided to pull generously from Gallagher’s influences. “If Love is the Law” was written during a heavy phase spent listening to Genesis’ 1969 deep cut “The Conqueror.” “I became obsessed with early Genesis, and I was like, ‘Fuckin’ hell, why has no one ever fuckin’ mentioned this?’ “Holy Mountain” borrows a hook from the extremely obscure Sixties bubblegrum group the Ice Cream. “That might be one of the best things I’ve ever fuckin’ heard in my life,” says Gallagher. “Dave said, ‘Do you think you could write a song around it?’ And I went, ‘If it fuckin’ kills me.'” Gallagher is also proud of “She Taught Me How to Fly,” a pulsating ode to inescapable love. “It’s clearly the greatest lost Blondie single of time,” he says.