WHY THE BIG IMAGE CHANGE?
I don't think there has been one, not realty. It's been quite subtle. I think we've changed a lot as people. But James' haircut - he's been growing his hair for a while and it got quite long, and I think he just got tired of everyone telling him how good he looked. Everyone seemed to prefer him with long hair and a bit of stubble.
WERE YOU PLEASED WITH THE CROWD'S REACTION TO THE NEW SONGS AT LAST NIGHT'S GIG?
Yeah, it was a surprise. You know, we played at the Marquee last Wednesday, that's the first time we've played most of the new songs, and the album had only been out for three days. So a lot of the new stuff they really didn't know.
WHAT DO YOU HOPE TO ACHIEVE WITH THE NEW ALBUM "GOLD AGAINST THE SOUL", DO YOU THINK YOU'RE NOW AIMING FOR A MORE COMMERCIAL MARKET??
I think it's a less commercial record. Initially I think we just wanted to be judged on different sort of terms. The first album was judged on how we existed as people and what we stood for as a band, in comparison with most other contemporary music. Like the NME review, they give us 10 out of 10 for the first album, but never mentioned the fucking songs. At least this time that's slightly been changed, which is good.
WHERE DID YOU DRAW YOUR INSPIRATIONS FROM FOR YOUR LYRICS ON THIS ALBUM. THEY COME ACROSS AS BEING A LOT MORE PERSONAL THAN THE LAST ONE?
Yeah it’s definitely more personal. With the first one, 'cos we'd wanted to be in a band so long we were really like hung up, really paranoid, wanted everything to be important, wanted everything to be like sound-bite type slogan. We were very influenced by William Burroughs, we didn't want anything to seem like cinematic, we didn't want anything to really rhyme when you read the lyric sheet, and not know how anybody could possibly sing those words in a tuneful way. With this one it was just a lot more, just personal I suppose.
WHAT ARE YOUR FAVOURITE SONGS ON GOLD AGAINST THE SOUL?
Roses In The Hospital, probably Yourself and Gold Against The Soul.
ANY PARTICULAR REASONS WHY?
Well I think Roses is our best song, lyrically and musically. I really like the lyrics to Yourself, I think the middle part of that song is really great. And Gold Against The Soul, is just trying to do something a little bit different.
ARE YOU PLEASED WITH THE MUSIC PRESS AND MEDIA REACTIONS THEN?
Yeah, apart from only the slight bits of lazy journalism. Whenever there's more of an obvious sort of rock/metal song, they always see rock music as being a very clichéd '80's terms, of you know Poison or Raft or just very sort of sexist L.A. Rock scene. I mean they even compare bands like Alice In Chains to Motley Cruel That just shows how out of touch they are with what bands say lyrically and what they mean socially.
ARE YOU HAPPY TO BE BACK ON THE ROAD?
Er no. No, I don't mind. It's just part of the job.
HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT PLAYING THE FESTIVALS THIS YEAR, ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO IT?
Well we never really look forward to the festivals, just because you never know what it's gonna sound like or what it's gonna be like. You know you get no soundcheck, so you've got no idea what it's gonna be like.
YOU SEEM TO HAVE PICKED UP A HELL OF A LOT OF FANS AFTER. THE READING FESTIVAL LAST YEAR.
I know, and that was the strangest thing because we'd never been to a festival ourselves, we've never been there as people. So we always expected mass bottle throwing and a really hostile reaction. You know it's the most letters we've ever had after a gig. Loads of letters two weeks later saying "I thought you were a right bunch of fucking runts, just NME hype and I was never interested in buying the records, I was never interested in reading about you. But you know I was there on the day, we all went to watch, expecting a crap band and thought you were fucking fantastic". So it did make a difference and that's why we've decided to do more.
DO YOU STILL FEEL LIKE ALIENATED OUTCASTS OF THE MUSIC INDUSTRY, AND SET APART FROM OTHER BANDS THAT ARE AROUND AT THE MOMENT?
I think what we do is different from a lot of other bands. The way we carry ourselves socially is very different from other bands. A lot of other bands really seem to need to constantly be with other bands 24 hours a day. They need to go to places where all bands go, they need to be reassured that they are an authentic sort of musician or whatever, which we didn't really wanna do. I mean the minute say were in London, and we're going to a pub and there's like four or five other bands there, we just go somewhere else, cos it just seems too snobbish an attitude to have.
SO YOU'VE STILL GOT THE SAME ATTITUDE TO BEING IN A BAND NOW AS YOU DID IN THE BEGINNING?
Yeah. Obviously I think we go out a little bit more than we did before, but that's because we just got a little bit used to where we actually are in London. Before we were just like, where the fuck are we, and now we know where to go and see a film and stuff.
SO WHAT NEXT, ARE YOU JUST GONNA KEEP ON TOURING FOR THE FORSEEABLE FUTURE?
Yeah, pretty much just tour. Do Europe, do all the festivals, then Japan, Australia and probably America towards the end.