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Interview with Suede

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Back with their new album, Bloodsports, Britpop group Suede was on our sunny shores on 27 September to perform for their fans at the The Coliseum, Hard Rock Hotel Sentosa. Prior to the show, we had the chance to talk to the charming members of Suede about their music and what they think of Singapore!

 

Describe the long process of writing new material for this album. It took a while right? You had some stuff you were fine with and then Ed came in and then he said something or another..

I think we were at that point when we thought it would probably be quite easy. There is something really seductive about coming back which is that.. You go out, you play the 20 best songs you’ve written to people who haven’t seen you for 10 years, everyone loves that and it’s really easy. And you say, “oh great we’ll just write a record that is as good as anything we’ve ever done.” For the next 6 months we wrote a ton of stuff, but all we kept from it was Sabotage. Then we did a couple of gigs in Russia, and we played a lot of new stuff. It went down really well but I think when we listen back to it, it was really obvious, kind of like old song, old song, new song, old song, old song. And then we realised how hard it was going to be.

So we wrote and wrote, and Ed got more involved (and more angry). He’s not a producer that just sits there and twiddles knobs. He’s really involved and he cares about it. So he pointed us in a direction specifically, more through saying what he didn’t like than what he did like. I think when we wrote Barriers and It Starts And Ends With You, it suddenly became the shape of the record and it became apparent what kind of record it was and how it was going to sound.

 

 

Brett has stated that this is one of the most satisfying Suede albums you guys have made. Did the fact that it was self-released take some of the pressure off it?

It’s under Warner Brothers, but it was kind of self-released, we recorded it right before we went to Warner Brothers. I don’t think it makes any difference, to be honest. If the people pressurising you are the record company then you’re doing something wrong. The pressure of releasing a record that’s as good as anything we’ve done before comes from us and from Ed. If you’re not self motivated by the time you get to our stage in your career then you can’t do it. You have to motivate yourself.

 

 

Everyone knows it has been more than 10 years. The music scene has changed a bit, fans have grown up. What are the things you guys have done differently now, like writing songs or the way you present yourself?

I don’t think there’s any difference in writing and recording. A record is a record and it’s supposed to do the same things that it did before, that doesn’t really change. All that’s changed is the music industry. There are nice things that have happened, like Barriers that we released as a free download. That was totally something that, in the 90s, there was no way you could record a track and then have 10 million people hear it the next day. That was kind of a complete change. But it didn’t change the way we wrote Barriers or the way we made the record. It’s just the way it gets delivered. It’s like whether you have a milkman or you buy your milk from the supermarket, it’s still milk.

 

 

As an artist back in the day you just had the band to focus on and you put everything into that. Now you come back but things have changed, you’ve all got families, you’ve got other interests. How much has that affected your outlook on creating art?

I think the actual conception of new ideas is still you put all of yourself into it or you don’t bother. Despite the changes that we might’ve had in our lives, we still have the same focus and the same reason for writing a song and playing a gig like we did back then.

 

 

 
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Playing music full time can have its low sides. How do you keep the spirits and the momentum up when you hit an all time low?

I think one of the nice things about having 10 years off and then coming back to it is having experienced real life. You realise that the lows involved in this are not as low as working at a supermarket. And the highs are kind of incomparable. You can’t really complain about it because it’s the kind of hard work that most people would like to do.

 

 

Brett, Richard and Neil signed a publishing deal recently so I would assume that the future of Suede is looking quite nice. But say for instance you wanted to end things here, do you think it’ll be a good point to end things right now? 

Is that a suggestion? (Laughs) I think that was one of the things that we all thought when we did this, it was one of the reasons we got back together was that personally ending the way it did, it kind of ended on not even a low point, it just kind of drowned. I think there never really comes a point where you can say, “that’s it now, we’ve done our job.” There should always be unfinished business, another record we want to make that you know is going to be better than the last one.

 

 

What is it you think that you guys have that keeps your fans so loyal to you after so many years? 

Through music. All I can really think of is that the songs that we write mean something to people. There’s a kind of music that’s just the soundtrack to what you’re doing and there’s the kind of songs that kind of worm their way into your life. You know and there are certain songs that are completely being part of what I’ve done and who I am. Luckily, those are just the kind of songs that we write. Even 20 years on, the song like the wild ones, I know it’s still part of the fabric of some people’s lives.

 

 

You have toured Singapore quite a few times, this will be your 6th time that you’ve toured here already. Is there something that draws you to our little island?

The crowds. It’s really simple. We came here, we had a gig that we loved, so we came back and we had another gig that we loved and we’ll keep coming here until we don’t have a gig that we love and then we’ll piss off to Indonesia or some other country.

 

 

What was your craziest experience in Singapore?

The first time we ever played here. We were told that the audience would not dance or scream or anything like that. The minute we went on stage, the whole crowd just went insane, there were people being thrown over the barriers. It was crazy. We played here loads of times and we’ve done really different gigs here. It has always been interesting and passionate.

 

 

Is there anything you would like to say to your Singaporean fans?

Generally, we’d like to say thanks. We have always had a really good time here. It’s a very small place to have such a big audience, so thank you very much.

 

 

Suede clearly has not lost their mojo and fans can certainly look forward to more good stuff coming from them. We hope that they will continue performing here for their next tour and for many more to come!
 

 

 

Text by: Arynah Aminuddin
*Images courtesy of Dan Walsh Studios.

 

 

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