brettanderson:

Imperial Records will release DVD of Suede reunion gig @Royal Albert Hall in November. The name of the double dvd is: Live At The Royal Albert Hall, and it’ll be release on 23 November 2011. pre-order available here, if’ you’re from Japan! 

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GQ magazine - Interview
GQ: You're the hardest-working man in show business at the moment. How did that happen?
Brett: I know, from opiated fop to the other extreme! How did that happen? I've been working, but quietly, for the past five years. This is my fourth solo album; I've released four solo albums in five years, which is quite a good rate. I had this plan to release one every year - but the Suede [reunion] got in the way. As I've gotten older, I don't know how to not work; I don't know how to sit there and just socialise and relax. The thought of days doing nothing slightly terrifies me. I love the thought of building up a back catalogue of my work; I love the fact this is my tenth album. I'm proud of the fact I've made lots of records, and for me this solo album is a real improvement on the last one. The solo work is where my creative head is right now. We did some Suede shows and that was absolutely fantastic in its own right, but we're playing songs from 15 years ago.
GQ: How does Suede fit in with your solo work, in terms of time and creativity?
Brett: Up until now it's been very easy to separate them in the sense that with Black Rainbows, it's a new album that I'm writing, but with Suede it's old songs that I'm touring. There's not a blurring of the boundaries. I've been very careful with my solo album. When I toured the last album I very carefully - and it was quite a struggle at times - didn't play any Suede songs. I really wanted to separate it. There was a lot of pressure on me. I got this festival out in Spain and they booked me as a headline act. They obviously thought I was a solo artist and they were going to get Suede songs on the cheap, but I said, "I'm not playing Suede songs, you booked me as a solo artist. If you want Suede, you have to pay for Suede." So I stood there and I played songs that literally four people in the audience knew. It would have been easy to say, "OK, let's knock out 'Animal Nitrate'," but you've got to have discipline. It's not fair on me, it's not fair on my solo band because they'd always be playing someone else's work and it's not fair on Suede either because it implies Suede are just replaceable parts. Getting Suede back together really reminded me of how someone can play the guitar and it can sound totally different to someone else playing the same line. There's so much personality in a good guitar player's playing, or a good musician.
GQ: Bernard Butler obviously always had a lot of personality in his playing.
Brett: He did. He's an amazing musician and obviously we had to confront that whole thing when Bernard left the band and Richard [Oakes] came in. That was a very thorny issue. Obviously we've been over it lots and lots of times.
GQ: What fuels your songwriting inspiration?
Brett: I don't think it ever gets easier. This album wasn't written in my sleep - it was a lot of hard work. It was a strange record to make, as I made it in like a three-day jam session that we did in January last year. Basically we jammed for three days, came up with 26 things we were happy with. Then we took them away and edited them, and then I wrote songs on top of that. There was a point when I first started when I thought it wasn't going to work. Then I finally got my head around it.
GQ: Do you go back and listen to Suede much?
Brett: I think you have to. It's really important. You have got to be looking forward all the time - if you're not looking forward to your next project then forget it - but we recently did a lot of Suede reissues and it was really interesting.
GQ: There's a lot of talk of a new Suede album. Is that definitely going to happen?
Brett: No, it's not definitely going to happen. It's something that I'm going to try to do. I recently made the mistake of saying that Suede are going to make a new album. What I meant was, and it's no different from what we've all been saying for months, that we're sort of doing some writing together and seeing how it goes. Instead of answering the question in the same way as we have before I used slightly different words and there was a big story that Suede are making a new album. I don't know yet. It will happen when we get to start writing again, if the magic is there. But that's a big "if". I'd love for there to be a new Suede album. For me, the thought that A New Morning is the last Suede album... It's a poor record that I regret releasing, I regret the response to it and it was very instrumental in the fact we split up. We had run out of ideas. We should have just gone away and done things like solo records to get stuff out of systems. We didn't, we just ploughed on with it and it was kind of a mistake. It had some great moments on it, but as a document it wasn't strong enough. I'd love there to be a new record that plays on Suede's strengths.
GQ: You must have been pleased with the reception the Suede reunion received?
Brett: The last thing I wanted was for it to be some sort of nostalgic thing for people who went to university and bought the first album. My favourite thing about the gigs, apart from the fact I loved actually playing them, was that there was a lot of young people there. There was a lot of word-of-mouth that had spread to the next generation, it wasn't just thirty- or forty-somethings, and that was wonderful. We made some great records; those records don't just suddenly stop existing because at the end of Suede we were unfashionable, or because we f***ed up with our last album. The first three albums are really great records.
GQ: Is it nice to have a lighter weight of expectation?
Brett: I respect the fact that the solo thing is a different level. That's almost the hardest thing, in a way, to get your head around. The fact that the new album is just my name and it's not Suede's name: there are doors that don't open to you because it's Brett Anderson rather than Suede. Which can be frustrating because I think it's a very strong record, and I'd like those doors to open and for people to hear it.
GQ: Do you buy a lot of new music?
Brett: I'm not a record-collecting obsessive but I've always got my ears open. I try to go and see bands as much as possible. I love live music and the way it makes you hear music in a different way. Last time it happened with me was with Foals. I got Total Life Forever and I thought, "I quite like that." Then we went to see them in Brixton and I thought they were an amazing band in a weird way. There was something about it all, so I went back and listened to the album again and I really loved it. The same thing happened with the Horrors as well. I love them. I'm really excited about what they'll do next. I think the new album is definitely a massive step in the right direction, and I love Primary Colours. They get criticised for being derivative, but that doesn't bother me. I don't find it a pastiche - I think they do it really well. There's enough personality there.
GQ: There's a song "Actors" on the new album and films have been a constant Suede reference point. Ever fancied having a go?
Brett: In a parallel universe I like to think I could have been a film director. Film for me is the second art form. Music is No.1, but film can move you almost as powerfully. I find myself looking forward to new films more than new records. I'm so excited about We Need To Talk About Kevin. It's an incredible art form.
GQ: Never had a crack at acting, then?
Brett: I'd be terrible. I'm too vain. To be an actor I think you've got to have no vanity and not care about how you look on screen because it's not about that, it's about adopting a role. [I've had] years of being in front of the camera, that silly pop star vanity.
GQ: You've always had a real aesthetic - do you work at that?
Brett: First of all, you have to be careful about not mistaking vanity for insecurity. People always assume that when I look in the mirror I go, "Wow look at that." It's probably my least favourite trait about myself: I have an unhealthy relationship with my image because I don't think I ever look quite right. I'm, sort of, nearly good-looking; sometimes I'm presentable but I'm not the sort of person who can jump out of bed and look good. Which is probably why there has always been the thing about the look of Suede and all that - because the only way I can look good is by dressing well. I'm not the sort of person who can just look good in a T-shirt.
GQ: You're in a new campaign for Spencer Hart. Are you interested in tailoring?
Brett: I do like beautiful clothes. I'm lucky enough to have my suits made for me by Spencer Hart, and Nick Hart has made some beautiful suits for me. I met him years ago when I was doing some modelling for Aquascutum and he was doing a line with them, and we just got on really well. He's a very sweet man. I have a real hatred of materialism but I do like beautiful things. I am aware of the contradiction.
GQ: Ever been tempted to have a dabble at a fashion line?
Brett: What? To open a Pretty Green, you mean? Nah, I don't think so...
GQ: Who are your style icons?
Brett: Someone like John Lydon in the early days. When Lydon was a young man, he just looked absolutely amazing. Those pictures from early '76 of him at the 100 Club dressed in the weirdest... you know, this ripped crap everywhere. And yet he still looked amazing. He's been a huge inspiration in lots of ways. Obviously I don't dress like him - that'd be ridiculous, it'd be parody - but you've got to admire the ability to look cool dressed in a plastic bin liner.
GQ: Are there any outfits or photo shoots you regret seeing yourself in?
Brett: It's a tricky one because lots of the things I wore in the early days of Suede were fairly unusual. The "Suede look" - whatever you want to call it - was brought about by necessity. We didn't have any money, I was on the dole, so I couldn't afford to go to Marks & Spencer to buy a pair of trousers. So I'd go to Oxfam and buy a suit for 50p. I was always aware that I was unique. I never liked the idea of buying something that somebody else could wear, I always wanted to look different, but it was kind of win/win: it was cheap and it was going to look different to everyone else. There was no three-line whip about what we should do; we just started emulating each other and borrowing each other's clothes and wearing fur coats and stuff. I do think we had our own thing, a very important thing for young bands to achieve. It's tricky territory because people think if you're too obsessed with your look then there's not enough musical content but you look at lots of bands and they have a look.
GQ: Do you look back on those days, when you had no money, with a fondness?
Brett: I look back on them with a real fondness. They were amazing days. Back when me and Bernard were good friends - I mean, we're good friends now, but back then, we were really good friends when we were writing together and we went through a lot. They were amazing days because, apart from the friendship and the gang mentality, I knew we were doing something really special, and I knew that no one else was doing it. I remember when me and Bernard wrote "The Drowners": we just looked at each other and said, "This is f***ing good, isn't it?"
GQ: Have you ever thought about writing it all down, like Keith Richards has done?
Brett: I'd love to write a book, but I'd really not like to write a book about the music business in the Nineties. I find it quite sad really. I've got this kind of bloody-minded idea to write a book about my life that stops when I meet Bernard. All the juicy stuff is literally the next day.
GQ: You're very much into health and fitness. Is that because you feel in debt to your body from when you were younger?
Brett: Well, that's part of being in your twenties, isn't it? You don't have any respect for yourself, but as you get old you start to have a little bit more. You can either keep going on this collision course and die, or you can do something about it. I want to live at the moment, so that's my decision.
GQ: Do you remember the moment when you thought, "This - the drugs - has got to stop"?
Brett: Yeah, of course. I can remember it, but it's pretty bleak. Suffice to say that I came out of it and I'm glad I did. I love my life and I love my work at the moment. I have that energy for my work now because I feel that... I don't know. It's tricky because a lot of people think that they need their artists to be damaged.
GQ: Do you feel like that as well?
Brett: I felt the need to lead quite an extreme life, and I felt the need to use myself as an experiment. I didn't have any respect for my own happiness. It was all about how I could use my life to inform my art, and that's really dodgy ground because you can get some great songs out of it, but you end up a sort of husk of a person, with no foundation in life, and I don't want to live like that. It's a romantic and charming way to live in your twenties but in your forties it's not.
GQ: So what's the Brett Anderson fitness regime then?
Brett: My wife's a naturopath and practises herbal medicine so we're very conscious of what we eat. We're not obsessive and only eat wind-fallen fruit and stuff like that. Also I cycle everywhere. It's the only way to get around London.
GQ: You're very much an advocate for London.
Brett: I love London. I find it constantly inspiring; it's a beautiful, place. I once wrote a Suede line - "all the love and poison of London" - and that really resonates with me still. It's such a poisonous and beautiful place.
GQ: Do you get shouted at in the street?
Brett: Sometimes, but it's quite nice, because nowadays it's just people who like my work. Whereas in the Nineties it was people shouting, "Oi, you! You're that w***er from Suede!"
GQ: Would you ever advise your children to go into music?
Brett: Never, never. Absolutely not. I've been incredibly lucky with my career, relatively, but 99 per cent of musicians live quite tough lives.
GQ: It's good that you appreciate your luck, isn't it?
Brett: Yeah. Of course, you create your own luck but if I hadn't met Bernard... If I hadn't met Justine, because she was very influential as well... I've been lucky in lots of ways.
GQ: Finally, if you could take one song out of this life with you, what would it be?
Brett: "Wild Ones". I think it stands up against anything from my record collection. It's a beautiful song.
haleyhss:

davegrohlismyhero:

always reblog

FUCK YES
Brett talks about Black Rainbows, the perils of Brit Pop and why he hates 'reunions'.
Q: ‘Black Rainbows’ has a very serene sound in comparison to the drama that Suede are known for. Was that your aim?
Brett: None of my solo work has been at the vanguard of popularity like Suede were, they haven’t got that white heat of hysteria. But they were made out of love, out of the need to make music. I think with a band like Suede, there’d be no joy in constantly trying to replicate that sound.
Q: Has the change in your voice been a conscious one? A way of stepping away from that hysteria?
Brett: It’s partly a conscious change and partly musical maturity. When I listen back to songs like ‘So Young’ I’m kind of yelping. It’s all very dramatic, the registers I wrote in then were out of naivety, but naivety is beautiful, it’s what made those records so exciting. But, like I said, you can’t be chasing that hysteria the whole time. On my solo stuff, my voice has evolved. I wanted to experiment and use my voice differently because there’s this incorrect assumption that with age the voice deteriorates, but it’s really just a different emotional register. My voice is warmer and more baritone because I have much more control now over how I sing.
Q: What has the reception to ‘Black Rainbows’ been like so far?
Brett: The response has been amazing. My fan base are very opinionated, even though they’re fans they don’t hold back, but so far they love the record. For me, the best albums are the ones that change your sonic landscape and I think ‘Black Rainbows’ does that because the songs are compatible, it isn’t just collection of random tracks. Some musicians aspire towards eclecticism because they think it shows technical ability, but in reality without consistency it can end up sounding like a hodge-podge of sounds.
Q: How did you get that ‘sonic landscape’?
Brett: With ‘Black Rainbows’ it was made as a jam session, so nothing was written beforehand. Once it was edited down, I wrote songs on top of it. So that’s why all the songs sound like they should be together.
Q: Does that process get any easier over time? You’ve been writing for about 20 years now…
Brett: No, not at all. It’s always hard making records. Nothing worth doing is easy, it’s that struggle that’s the beauty of making music. Today, we live in a culture where people expect reward for no struggle. That’s fascinating to me, that there are people who aren’t prepared to put in the work and still expect some kind of payback. It contravenes a universal law.
Q: Do you think that’s the problem with the music industry now, that instant gratification where music is cheap and there is such a high turnover of new records?
Brett: Whether you like an artist or not, they’re still putting a lot of work into making music, but yeah, I’m sure a lot of record companies probably do think of it all as a lottery. Yes, you could sit on GarageBand for a couple of hours for zero money and minimal effort, but that isn’t how great rock music is made. Music costs money and emotional investment, and the general public are losing sight of the amount of work needed to make a record because everything is available for free.
Q: With the way the industry is going, do you think you’ll get to the point where you stop making music completely?
Brett: Possibly. Right now the industry has musicians on the margins, which I guess I’ve deliberately pushed myself towards. The kind of artists that will be forced out of it, because they don’t have that commercial pull.
Q: You’ve always been honest that you think the whole industry is a bit of a snake pit. Is that what’s divided people’s opinion of you?
Brett: Maybe. I’ve never had any respect or love for the music industry. I’ve never networked; I was never able to do that. I can’t go to record company parties and do that kind of bullshit because I’m just not interested. I suppose that’s made people think I’m arrogant.
Q: So, when you’re putting new music out, is having to do things like this a pain?
Brett: This isn’t a social thing; I can do things like this without expending too much energy. This is just a nice chat, but schmoozing…I can’t do it.
Q: How did you cope with that when Suede were getting big?
Brett: I didn’t, I was off my face [laughs]
Q: Has that polarisation of opinion been a good or a bad thing?
Brett: It’s very painful having your work judged but I think it’d be worse to be middle of the road. Even now, twenty years after the first album, we divide opinion, there’s still that vitriol and on the flipside that love. A lot of bands reach a stage where they have this clichéd, creeping respect because they kept their heads down and never said anything too outrageous. We still spark an extreme reaction, but isn’t that great? Suede’s career was a rollercoaster and we’re proud of that.
Q: No regrets along the way?
Brett: Of course, I’m self critical so there’s a lot of regret, but what can you do other than learn from it. It’s dodgy territory to get into, like a pulling loose thread from a jumper.
Q: So what’s it been like being with the band again? Reliving all that?
Brett: Our first gig back together at the Albert Hall was beautiful. There was so much love in the audience, which was a massive relief. I was worried it’d be nostalgic in the wrong way, almost like a parody of a 90s band but I didn’t get any sense of that. All our shows now have been strangely contemporary. Usually words like ‘reunion’ make me cringe and I know that sounds hypocritical, generally bands reforming make me shudder. But I mean, we’ll just see how it goes, there’s no huge master plan to reveal. The solo album is what I’m concentrating on now, that’s where my creative drive is.
Q: Do you think because you’ve put out so much solo stuff in-between, it hasn’t felt cringey getting back with Suede?
Brett: Yeah, if I’d been sitting on my arse for seven years watching EastEnders that’d be really sad. I’ve learnt so much as a musician in my solo work. Being in a band there’s this division of labour but when you’re solo, the momentum is dependent solely on you, it’s a very different experience.
Q: Which do you prefer?
Brett: I like whatever I’m doing at the time. I don’t like having time off.
Q: I have a lot of friends my age that are hardcore Suede fans and it’s been noted how young some of the audience have been at recent gigs, why do you think that is?
Brett: To see people as young as 18 and 19 in the audience was really special. It’s very rare to have a band that can resonate with completely different generations and again I think it’s because there is no middle-ground with Suede.
Q: Has that gap in time made you realise how much of an impact you had on 90s music and Brit Pop?
Brett: In the 90s I didn’t listen to anything. There was so much rivalry and bitterness that it was hard to take anything in when you were at the centre of it. You could pick NME up and read the band you were listening to calling you a cunt, it slightly coloured your enjoyment!
Q: Do you listen to a lot of new music now?
Brett: I love a lot of music out at the moment, I think it’s only healthy to keep up with new artists. Now that I’m far enough removed from it, I can actually enjoy it. The shuffle culture we have now has completely changed how people consume music. You don’t get that very 20th century phenomena of tribalism any more, people are much more open to different sounds and artists. There was too much comfort in the safety of numbers, you had charlatans slipping in the back door because they had the right clothes on, but now bands are judged on merit.
Q: You don’t seem to have liked Brit Pop much!
Brett: We never wanted to be under that umbrella term. The problem with movements like Brit Pop, is that once they grow in popularity, and it did so quickly, it starts to tail off into self-parody. When we started in 1992, yes I was writing about British life, but it was a snapshot of everything around me, from the sleazy to the beautiful to the depressing. I think as a movement it became about over emphasising Britishness and descended into a Carry On film. It got lost in a sea of flag-waving.
Q: So will there ever be another Brit Pop?
Brett: I hope not.
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wordonawingtip:

Two of my favourite people
Brett Anderson 2010 live in shanghai
taken by me
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fapbender:

Suede time!
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