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Exit Festival 2009: James Dean Bradfield Interview -, 10th July 2009

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Title: Exit Festival 2009: James Dean Bradfield Interview
Date: Friday 10th July 2009
Writer: Pavle Veljkovic

James Dean Bradfield, the singer of Manic Street Preachers before their performance at the tenth Exit festival, was guest at the Radio B92 studio at the Petrovaradin Fortress.

Arctic Monkeys performed on the first day of "Exit" festival, do you love this band?
Yeah, I love some stuff from their first album. I can hardly wait to hear their new single, supposedly quite different from what they have done so far.

What other bands do you like regarding the current British music scene? What do you think about British music at this time?
There are a lot of guys I love. For example, the band from Wales, called "Future of the Left", just released their new album. I really love them, they're a good band. I like a lot of things. There's also the band "The Thermals" from America, I really like their new album. I bought something else the other day, but I can not remember what ... In any case, I'm currently listening to "The Thermals" and "Future of the Left".

You recently published the album "Journal For Plague Lovers", and you have been there for 17 years...
More! We wrote the first song in 1985.

It's 24 years old. Are you satisfied after 24 years? That you can change something, what would it be?
I do not think it's healthy to regret it. I would not change much. There are some things, obviously, for which I would like them to work differently, but we could not influence those things. You know, we could not change what happened to Richey. Our first manager passed away, and we could not change that either. If you are grateful that things could have been different, then this is a completely different question, but you have to frustrate the idea that you could change events in the past, because this is not possible. I'm sure I'm not happy with everything that was happening to this band. I always wanted to sell more records, because we had stupid ambitions. We were indie kids who had ideas that were too big for us. We wanted to sell millions of records, but the panels we listened to were sold in circulation of some thousand copies. It can be said that we always had quite contradictory ideas.

You mentioned Richey Edwards. On the new album, you have songs with lyrics that he wrote. What can you tell us about it?
Before Richey disappeared, he gave us 3 notebooks with songs, and during all these years, we knew that one day we would have to do something with those lyrics. It would be a pity that nothing was done with them, and also we had a sense of responsibility towards Richey, since he gave us those songs, and he gave it to us right before he disappeared. Frankly, as if it was part of his plan. We felt the responsibility that we should try to do something with them, and that we would fail if we did not do anything. It's been a long time since he disappeared - we had to wait for the right moment, we had to wait to find the true emotions. We had to wait for a lot of bad feelings to pass. It took time to feel that it was the right time to write the music that goes with these lyrics.

You worked on this album with Steve Albini. What did he contribute to the sound of the band "Manic Street Preachers"?
I think everything is related to Steve, that is, everything I've been told about Steve is all I expected. Everything was recorded analogously, directly on the tape, not used by professional software or computers. He did not want to record too many attempts. He wanted to catch the guitar, bass and drum live at the same time. We would play the song three times, and he would tell us 'that's it, try first, cool,' and I would tell him that we can make it even better. He would only reply 'almost done'. He did not brag a lot, he never told us 'hey, that's awesome,' he was already in the stage 'we're going to the next song'. He has a very methodical approach to work. It was very disciplined, and we had to adapt to it. We adapted to his discipline, as well as having spent a lot of time in fitting the microphone to "grab" the real tones.

The audience at the Exit festival will enjoy tonight in your performance. What will you play? Will you make some kind of retrospective - will you mix old hits with new songs?
When you play at festivals, you have to perform your most important songs. As a band we like to interact with the audience, we like to see that the audience is doing well. We will play songs from all parts of our career.