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When Noel Gallagher turned over production duties, it gave him a chance to dig out the soul of Oasis - and to spend more time drinking

Noel Gallagher has returned to his roots. For the Oasis helmsman, the homecoming has not involved laborious genealogical research or reuniting with childhood friends. Instead, it's meant ceding control of production duties on the band's latest album, Dig Out Your Soul, setting out on a worldwide tour and getting drunk. Really drunk.

"I felt like I'd gone as far as I could with my own thing," Gallagher explains. "I'm not really technically proficient in the studio. I know how to get one sound, and it's fucking great, but I've kind of gotten a bit bored of it now."

In passing the responsibilities of production entirely to Dave Sardi, Gallagher said he had more space to focus on priorities.

"It allowed me to focus more on drinking and kind of just being in the band as opposed to being one foot in the band and one foot in the production team," he says. "But the main thing was the drinking."

The newfound creative freedom and access to alcohol wasn't the only shift for Gallagher or his brother Liam or the band as a whole on Soul. From the dynamic of the songwriting process to the recording method, Gallagher says the new disc represents a departure.

"This is the first time we've ever not played an album live in the studio together," Gallagher points out. "This is all virtually hung around a drum loop and a bass line, and then we just start and we build it from there. So we were trying to create it like you would create dance music; we weren't really set on the arrangements. We had the songs, the words and the melodies. The rest of it was all up for grabs."

Coupled with shifts in the band's personnel (Zak Starkey left the band and was replaced by former Robbie Williams drummer Chris Sharrock for the current tour), the new method has made for some uncertain moments in the band's live performances.

"Number one," he says, "we had to break in a new drummer, and number two, we had to play songs off a new album that we'd never played before. It had all been done on the computer. So for the first few weeks, it was a bit — I gotta say, it was a bit shit, it was a bit, fucking, 'Oh, my God, this isn't going to work.' But it clicked in the end."

The band's hard-won coherence has helped Gallagher rediscover the joys of touring that he first discovered doing roadie work as a teenager.

"I like being on the road, you know," Gallagher declares. "There's a lot of bullshit you put up with, just bullshit — but such is life, I guess. It doesn't take me long to get into the lifestyle of, you know, rock and roll and partying. That's what we live for, no?"

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A.H. Goldstein

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