James Dean Bradfield never intended to make a record without the Manic Street Preachers. Then everything came differently than planned: The Manics decided to take a two-year rest period. Bradfield, who has always been the workaholic in the band, missed the music in his life. He decided to use the creative break to write and record songs alone for the first time. Now James Dean Bradfield has released his first solo album "The Great Western".
We met the Manics singer at the Haldern Pop Festival and talked to him about his solo debut.
How do you like the Haldern Pop Festival so far?
I woke up at 10:30. The last thing I saw before I fell asleep was a London bus and when I woke up I saw a cow. Unfortunately, I did not see any bands here because I gave interviews all the time. But I have to say that the atmosphere here is quite different from British festivals. It is less fashionable, it is less under pressure, everything is a little more open. That's cool.
Do you like to play here at small festivals like this or do you rather like the big events?
Hard to say. I've never played at a festival like this. The smallest festival I played on was in front of 10,000 people in Manchester and that was really cool, I really liked it. And I think it's going to be great here too, I'll see it tonight ...
You've just released your solo debut "The Great Western". What was your motivation to record a record single-handedly?
The Manic Street Preachers ended their tour in the UK last April and at the end of the tour we did not really know what we wanted to do. Usually after a tour we have plans for the future and know which direction we want to go. And we realized that we've been making music together for 20 years and thought for the first time that we should sit down first to develop new perspectives. Take a break, so that when we work together again as Manics, we are passionate about it. It's not like we broke up. We still like each other, we almost love each other like brothers. We grew up together, we have known each other for ages and after 20 years we just needed a break to reorient ourselves. And of course, at some point I started to get bored. I felt useless, became grumpy, I simply did not have the music as a musician. That was the reason to do a solo album. I sat on my sofa and watched too much sport ...
And you did the songwriting yourself
How did you do it? How did you write this song?
First of all, I thought I would sit down and try to write songs. But that was my intention. I wanted something that comes from my subconscious. Accordingly, I stopped writing essays and decided to work my subconscious mind and write down what was going through my head. I started writing when I was on the train or in the car without having a concrete idea. I processed what I remembered and came back to.
Are you satisfied with the album as it is now?
Yes, definitely. It is characterized by a certain lightness. I figured it would be easier if it sounded like a vacation. In addition, there are influences from the 70s, which I would never allow the Manics. It sounds a bit like John Cale, after Badfinger, there are even hints of Elton John's "Good-Bye Yellow Brick Road" on it. I'm really happy with the album.
Are there any plans for another solo album?
No, right now I'm focusing on the next Manics album. We started writing songs for the next record and that feels damn good. It is great. All I'm thinking about at the moment is playing concerts, enjoying them, and the next thing I focus on is the manics. This is a holiday - the manics are my home. But this is really fun for me. I enjoy playing my own concerts, it's something else. And after playing 20 years in the same band, it's nice to do something different as well. But in any case, the next thing I'm looking at is the manics.
When will there be something new from the Manic Street Preachers?
Next year in May, I hope...
Thank you very much ! And have fun here in Haldern and good luck for your performance tonight!
Thank you. Bye!