Did you set out to make Futurology a radical record?
"When I was writing the music I was guided by the mood of Nick's lyrics. Something like Europa Geht Durch Mich marches to its own logic, you have to go with it. Strap on the Teflon and bash the fuck out of it! I was confronted by the presence of the words, which made the music confrontational."
Did you encounter the spectre of Bowie and Iggy Pop in Hansa studio in Berlin?
"We're readers of rock history, but we're not naive enough to think there's magic in the walls.We went there because we wanted to work with Alex Silva, who recorded The Holy Bible and lives in Berlin. It felt like serendipity because we had the song Europa Geht Durch Mich and there are German references in Misguided Missile. We were listening to Neu!, Can, Faust and Popol Vuh. In Berlin you feel in splendid isolation."
The Simple Minds references - have they always been close to your heart?
"We were referencing them back in 1994. The (backwards 'r') lettering on the The Holy Bible is taken from Empires And Dance. That early era of Simple Minds was one of the most creative periods fora British band, full stop. The impossibility of those working-class kids from Glasgow showing that pretension and having that ambition, it was amazing. That whole period of Scottish post-punk - the Skids, Altered Images, the Fire Engines - it's a huge influence."
Is there a fine line between channelling Simple Minds and sounding like Duran Duran?
"You motherfucker! (Laughs) Maybe you've hit on something. Yes, some of it does remind me of those '80s moments. I like the perfect shiny indie-pop records, Colourbox and The Associates, The Bluebells' I'm Falling. We were children of the '80s, sometimes it comes out."
Nicky Wire has said Walk Me To The Bridge is about the band, and making decisions, but it also seems to be about Richey.
"I was there when the lyric was started - Nick was having one of his General Patton in retreat moments - 'I can't do this any more...' We were on the Oresund Bridge that connects Denmark and Sweden. But you can't deny that there's still a looming presence of Richey and it does subconsciously inform things. I don't think it's deliberate."