Why have you chosen New Model Army as the name for your band ?
The name New Model Army comes from English history. It is the army that
won the English revolution against the King in the 17th century. But because
we've never expected to play all over the world - we've just expected
to play two gigs in a pub in our home town - we've never expected to have a long
career or go round the world, we don't expect people in other pubs in the
world to know English history, it's just an accident.
AM : it's not because you like puritanism
I come from a puritan kind of root. I've got puritan tendances but I am
not really a puritan. You can't be a musician and a puritan !
Can you introduce NMA in only 3 words ?
Very Emotional Music...
All your albums are very different. Is it a problem not to fit into a genre ?
A Problem commercially not to fit into a genre, yeah it might be on record
companies or managers, maybe it's a problem. We do what we do, we make music
that we like, we try very hard not to make the same record twice. Life is a
journey, and being in a group is like a musical journey. Different people
have been in the group at different times, so there is, were always new ideas, new
things happening in the world, new things happening in our lives, new musical
ideas in the world, so there are always new things. Like all artists
were are obsessed with new things. We are not really interested in what we did 10
years ago or 20 years ago or 27 years ago, when we started.
What can you say after 27 years as a member of NEW MODEL ARMY ?
What can I say ? (Justin yawning and laughing) I don't know, I don't look
very much at the past. You just go, and you do what you do. So, like everybody,
if you are a journalist or a banker or if you are driving a train or
you're a musician, each day is an other piece of life ...
AM : and you can say hopefully we are still here
We are still here, we have always been here. I mean, I left the band 3 or 4
times, but lots of other people have been in the nest of the band. The
band exists for musical reasons, no other
reasons : not commercial reasons, not political reasons, musical reasons and that will never
Tell us about your lastest album
The 10th studio one. It's called HIGH and it's probably the most guitar
driven album, the most melodic and the most angry album that we have made for
quite a long time.
AM : In the song High you sing "all these things you fear so much depend on angles of vision" ... it's very interesting, can you develop ?
Yeah, It's simple enough ... When you are in the top of a high mountain or in the
desert or by the sea and you can see for miles then everything is put in
perspective and when you look inside yourself, everything is in perspective,
when you look at human history everything is in perspective. It's when
you are stuck in rooms and cities or in forests - I hate forests - when you kind of can't
see distance then you get a bit in panic. You know, if you look at human
history or the history of the Earth, it's very long and you know what
today, for me as an individual it's "this" important.
AM : You also speak about the material world and the other world...
Yes, I sort of have a foot in both. I think all people are a little bit like this
... but it is more men, I think women are kind of earthbound partly because of
biology and so on. A lot of men have this part of them off in different worlds -
These religious mystics, tend to be men more than women. The song
"Sky in your eyes", is about those kind of people who have climbed mountains, or dive,
or exploring weird places or jumping out of aeroplane or go to war. They have these
extreme experiences and the banality of ordinary life is very difficult for them.
But I am very aware of this. There is a kind of material world and then there are other worlds
and I am sort of half in either.
Even loving music is very half in both, some of it is very earthbound, very political,
very here and now, and part of it is like a dream,
very romantic, it's about God, it's about all
these other worlds, so this kind of contradiction, all the time.
Your lyrics are poetic, intelligent, intense ... Which topic do you
like the most to sing ?
I think the heart of everything that I wrote lyrically, it's a story. It's
the oldest form of human culture to sit around a fire, in a cave, and sing
stories, it's what people like to do best, and all the lyrics that people like
best have a little bit of a story in them ... People will never tire of
stories, there are only 5 stories in the world, they say ... and you can just tell them again and
again and even when I write a political song or something, in its essence it's
a story, it's story telling.
What do you prefer : past - present or future ?
Present and future. I don't have any interest in the past things, what is
gone is gone. There is a song (No Mirror, No Shadow) on the record that says :
"I meant what I said by the time that I said it". I think everybody thinks that. It's like when you
have a row or an argument with your lover or something and they say : "but last
week you said that". We all think, you know, last week I meant that but
now I feel different. Everything changes, people must change. The saddest
thing in life is when you find people that refuse to change, they get
older but they want to stay young, pretend that they are young. Life is
better the older you get. I am getting older, and it's getting better. So I
don't worry about stupid things. I think when you're young you say : "I don't
care what anybody thinks of me", but you do. You want people to think you're
sexy and clever and intelligent and brilliant. When you're getting older,
later on, you grew up a bit, I remember I was about 30 or about 40, I woke up one
morning and I thought "you know I really don't care, I actually don't care
what everybody thinks", I only care, there are only two things in life that
matter, who you love, your nearest and dearest, your relationship with the
people who are close to you. You can't affect people outside, you're just
within your family and friends and what you make, that's it, nothing else.
Do you have some hobbies apart from the music ?
Hobbies ... I like travelling actually even when I am not touring, because
touring is not really travelling. I like touring, but travelling is a different
kind of touring. I have never been much one for being at home.
AM : Do you like travelling all around the world or do you prefer some
parts of the world ?
I like to go to new places I haven't been before. You know they say the
world is very small, no, no, no, no the world is very, very big and there are
a lot of things I haven't seen and I will never see.
AM : Do you like to meet people by travelling ?
Yeah, meet people or see things, it's different experiences. When you
travel, it's like if my life will be about 560 years long, because when you are on
tour, every day is like a week and when you travel, same thing, every day is like a
week. You're taking in so much information and you meet so many different people. Every
day is very different. When you're on tour, every day is like a week, every
week is like a month, every month is like a year. So, when you have finished a 7 week
tour, is not so long; when you get home it feels like 7 years, you live 7
years, it's great.
Do you like to tour in France ? Why ?
I like France. I don't like much countries in the world but I really do
like France. I think it's a very civilized country. I think, although of
course, this is not an egalitarian society in your ideal, you retain some ideal
of communality, which we don't have in England. I like the food, I like the
wine, the people. I like the fact that it's impossible to tell French people
what to do, you are resistant to being told what to do by each other, by everybody, you just
say : "non". I have a kind of respect for that, I think it's pretty good !
Is there a question you would love to hear that nobody ever asks you ?
AM : Is there a question you would hate to hear ?
Yes but let's not go there !
AM : You don't want to answer ?
No, I don't want to be asked this question so I don't want you to suggest what
it is !...