That elusive first hit single is the ambition of most bands when they set out on their careers. All energy and effort is inevitably turned towards placing a record in the hit parade.
But even if this ambition is achieved, the problems rarely end there. Ask Fiction Factory...
I spoke to the Fiction Factory's guitarist Chic Medley in the quaintly named Wilf's Planet studio in Perth. He considers that the band actually suffered from having a hit.
"The basic problem was that everybody assumed that '(Feels Like) Heaven' was the sum total of Fiction Factory's capabilities.
"It seems that, very quickly, we were categorised as the latest wimpy pop band in the media."
'(Feels Like) Heaven was in fact the band's second single. 'Ghost Of Love' was their first (and third- it was re-released!). But their chart success came at a time when there was a surplus of similar sounding groups around like H2O, The Lotus Eaters and China Crisis. They were immediately lumped into this category, much to the band's disgust.
"We concentrate very hard on good melodies," says Chic, "but that has led some people to assume that because we had good tunes our lyrics were meaningless."
Chic feels that their lyrics have much more to offer than the usual 'boy-meets-girl' stories. The press release for Fiction Factory ostentatiously describes their songs as 'the other side of the dance, the negative photo of love'.
"Take 'Heaven' for example," says Chic. "That wasn't really a love song at all. It was really about a girl who loved someone who hated her! They were together for awhile but when he got away from her, it felt like heaven. It was a song about loathing, not loving, but some people have become accustomed to associate the sound of a song with a particular sentiment."
Point taken. So readers, remember that the next time you see a bunch of lads singing 'Feels Like Heaven' over and over again, with lovesick grins on their faces they're really singing an anti-love song. Things are not as they seem.
"We try to create a slightly different outlook to life. We take a cynical view of things because we tend to look at life from a different perspective."
The first substantial batch of Fiction Factory songs were immortalised on vinyl on their LP 'Throw The Warped Wheel Out' which was released in the summer. Chic feels that it is a fair representation of the progress the band has made so far.
"It was one of the most intensive batches of recording we've ever done," he says. "I don't think I realised just how much time it would take. By the time you actually get down to the end of the whole process, all the freshness and ideas from the original demo have been lost, and you need an inventive producer to generate excitement again."
Guest producer (and synclavier player) on the LP is Alan Rankine from the old Associates.
"I'd always had a lot of respect for Alan," says Chic, "and there was one song on the LP which we didn't think had been properly produced so we asked Alan if he'd do it. The Associates have been one of my biggest influences." Alan has gained a reputation, recently, as being hard to work with but he got on fine with Fiction Factory.
"The trouble with Alan," laughs Chic, "is that he works very fast when he has an idea, but works very slowly the rest of the time. It was very hard pacing our work to his. He can be quite intense."
Eventually once the album was finished the Perth lads took off on a major tour, supporting OMD. This was their second big name tour; the previous one being with Paul Young.
"Doing the OMD tour was good fun," says Chic. "It was difficult, though. We'd invested quite a lot of money in getting the live sound up to scratch. The tour we did with Paul had quite a primitive set up, we just had one keyboard, guitar, bass and vocals. It was very basic. Unfortunately OMD took up a lot of space on stage because there are so many of them now. There wasn't much room left for us."
They survived though and hope to play bigger venues on their own soon. To begin with, neither Chic or Kevin Patterson (the other key member) were much enamoured with playing live at all. They had too many bad memories from touring countless pubs and clubs in Scotland!
"But in the end," says Chic, "we realised that doing gigs was the only way to cultivate an immediate audience. We noticed on the OMD tour that there seemed to be kids coming along to see only us. That was very encouraging."
Fiction Factory have now come to the stage in their career where they've had a hit single (even if they do claim it's a millstone round their necks), and where they've gained themselves a fairly loyal bunch of fans.
Do they now stand poised on the brink of success?
"We're just prepared to keep on going," says Chic. "we have great faith in ourselves to keep on writing great music.
"It's a strange business. Some people would say that our aim should be to get kids to idolise us, which I find very strange! If we can be accepted for what we are, and can consolidate any position we may have gained from '(Feels Like) Heaven' and if we continue to make good music, then I'll be very happy. Very happy!"
words: Tessa Rhodes.