Monday, 26 October 2009

New Model Army Release 11th Studio Album


YMC talks to Justin Sullivan as New Model Army are about to embark on a European Tour promoting their 11th Studio album "Today is a Good Day".
YMC: Today is a Good day is released in the midst of world recession, has this influenced the songwriting for this album?

NMA: It was mostly written last October immediately after the Wall Street/City of London crash; the title track is a celebration of that event and the whole album has a certain 'feel'. [Recording was put back when Tommy Tee our long-time friend and manager died suddenly and unexpectedly at Christmas]. By the time the album was released it was a full year later. Now the inevitable recession that followed the crash and unemployment are beginning to bite - but it was a bubble that couldn't have avoided being burst at some point. The infuriating thing is how the Banks have been bailed out in the UK and US without real conditions. The economic structure of the UK is a bit of a joke really but at least Brits are good at laughing at all this shit. Could be worse - America (where we've been for the last month) is in even worse shape.

: Do all the band contribute to the songwriting?

: We tend to write like this: we collect musical ideas from everyone - jams, chord sequences, basslines and especially drum rhythms - then I fashion them into songs and write words and then we get together and work out arrangements collectively.

: Is this the first time you have recorded a full album in your own studio? Does it give you more freedom?

: It wasn't the 'freedom'. It was more that we all felt very comfortable in the surroundings. This matters more to some of us than others - but overall it was one of the most relaxed recording sessions we've ever done. I think we were also really brought together and focussed because of the death of Tommy.

: Most of your albums have been acompanied by a gruelling tour schedule, your live shows are legendary, how do you manage to do it night after night?

NMA: Desire. Belief. Pride in what we're doing.

: One of the things that most strikes me about NMA is that there seems to be none of the glamour you might think would accompany a band that has been successful for almost 30 years, I read that you drove yourselves on the last US tour, is this by choice or circumstances?

: It is true for everyone that you only value 5 star food and hotels and luxury travel if you don't have them all the time. I like the fact that we get all the best things in life without getting them so often that we take them for granted. There are two kinds of 'glamour' anyway. One involves Lear Jets, limosines and Champagne and the other involves the romance of eating rubbish food at three o'clock in the morning at a motorway cafe outside Budapest with truckers and prostitutes and musicians. Personally I've always subscribed to the latter.

YMC: New Model Army had to work extremely hard to get noticed when they started, do you think it is easier or harder for bands starting out these days?

: Actually I think it's harder now. People go to less gigs (especially at a small local club level) and buy less music than when we started. Meanwhile there are more and more bands... but in the end playing music is a calling not a career.

YMC: The vast majority of the bands in our friends list are just starting out, what advice would you give them?

NMA: Enjoy it. Do it for it's own sake. Do it brilliantly. Never stop learning and practising. Remember that you are communicating something important.

YMC: Do you keep up with the local West Yorkshire music scene? What do you think of it?

NMA: I think there's always good bands and good musicians and singers coming up. Music literally saved my soul when I was growing up and that's true of individuals in generation after generation. I've been watching the progress of New York Alcoholic Anxiety Attack for a while now as I think they have a bit of that 'special stuff'. I've seen other good bands too. Being away from the centre of things (London) means that it's harder but it also means that bands can develop away from the media spotlight which is sometimes a good thing.

YMC: When can we next expect a show in Yorkshire?

NMA: March 19th at Leeds Academy.

YMC: Thank you very much for talking to us.