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James Dean Bradfield: "I Have No F**king Britpop Regrets" - Digital Spy, 7th September 2016

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Title: James Dean Bradfield: "I Have No F**king Britpop Regrets"
Publication: Digital Spy
Date: Wednesday 7th September
Writer: Mayer Nissim

Manic Street Preachers are on a roll. They soundtracked Wales's dream run to the semi-finals of the European Championships and capped off their Everything Must Go tour with a MASSIVE homecoming gig at Swansea's Liberty Stadium.

The band are already writing their 13th studio album, their first since 2014's Futurology, but that hasn't stopped frontman and self-confessed "work addict" James Dean Bradfield recording his first film score.

Ben Parker's The Chamber is an underwater survival thriller that just had its premier at FrightFest, and JDB did the music. We got him on the phone to talk all things movies and Manics.

How did the frontman for the Manic Street Preachers end up doing the score for a horror movie set underwater?

"It's all a bit f**king corny really, isn't it? Most musicians in rock'n'roll bands say at some point in their life, 'I'd love to do get into the movie soundtrack business' and I was no different.
"I got the script and read it in 40 minutes flat and met the guy that wrote it and got on like a house on fire. It would have been churlish not to take the offer."

Do you have any favourite horror films?

"My mum was a massive horror buff. She was an aficionado of every Dracula film that had ever been made. She had me watching horror films when I was very young, which was kind of questionable, God bless her soul.

"Strangely, not trying to get the violins out here, but I haven't watched as many horror films since my mum died, because it was something we used to do together.

"Two of her favourite films were Fury and Magic, that's where Anthony Hopkins is a ventriloquist and his life gets taken over by his ventriloquist's dummy. It doesn't sound too scary but it's actually really chilling."

Did you speak to Nicky and Sean about this? Did they know about your mistress on the side?

"I'm not being unfaithful – I had their permission, which I need, which we all need to be honest. Whenever we do something outside of the band we always talk to each other about it, we always tell each other. Even though we've known each other since we were born, we still set a lot of stall by being polite!"

Will this be a gateway to more solo work – a second solo album?

"In no way do I look at this as some kind of escape from the Manics. Our next album will be our 13th, so the gaps between records do get bigger and if I have the opportunity to fill the gaps when I'm not working with Manics with stuff like this, well that's just a dream for me."

Is there a timeframe on the next Manics album?

"No – that's kind of the beauty and the pressure of still being in a band after 12 albums. The pressure you put is on yourself... The record company trusts you to make your own decisions.

"We've just started writing – about two months of writing and we're kind of nearly narrowing the essence of what we've done so far. We'll manage to distil it down to some kind of direction.

"The pressure is big because it's all about self-analysis at this point in your life, so you've got to make sure you don't over-analyse the f**k out of everything and just make sure that what you're writing, what you're playing is exciting you."

Do you know what it will sound like at all?

"No, I don't. It's not going to sound like Philip Glass or Einstürzende Neubauten or anything. We do have a long-running affair with melody. What you might call classic rock, I suppose.

"Again, that's quite a lot of pressure because it's all about actually writing something that is timeless in 2016 which is a really f**king hard thing to do. It's not about your image, it's not about a soundscape, it's not about working with a new up-and-coming producer that has invented a new sonic sphere, it's about the actual f**king song. It's not about the stance, it's about the song.

"It's very, very song-orientated, whereas on something like Futurology there were concessions to actually living in little sonic spheres and trying to express something in a very monotone kind of way sometimes. This is all about melody, what we're doing now."

You seem to be doing more and more duets and instrumentals – do you still love singing?

"I don't know why I'm saying this but it's easy for a singer to get bored with the sound of his own voice. The strange thing with singing is you actually hear it so much! You hear it so much when you're singing.

"You hear it when you're writing something, you hear it when you're recording it, you hear it when you're performing it, you hear it when you're demoing it. You've got the inner-ear reverberation of what your voice actually is. And sometimes it does become tiresome. And for the audience too, let's be fair.

"I became the singer of the Manics by default because nobody else in the band wanted to sing and the other boys in the band didn't want any more members. I was in choir, I sang in choir a lot, so they said, 'You've gotta sing'. So I was the singer by default.

"I've always thought another voice would have sounded better, because I predominantly write the tunes – 90 per cent of the time I write the music. After Send Away The Tigers we started acting upon my sneaking suspicion that sometimes the melodies I've written would be served better by somebody else singing them.

"We'd done it with Traci Lords on 'Little Baby Nothing' we'd done it on B-sides, but when we did it with Nina Persson on 'Your Love Alone (Is Not Enough)' it was like a blinding shot of clarity. My sneaking suspicion was proved right."

Nicky always said he wants Morrissey in to do a vocal but is too afraid to ask because he couldn't take the rejection...

"If he did ask Moz inevitably there would be a rejection. But that would be beyond the dream really because there's not many people who sing like him. I don't want to sound too muso but his choice of notes are just so f**king different to anybody else's.
"His phrasing is different to anybody else's. His voice would transform any band. But I don't think we're ever going to ask, because like I said, it would just be like that school disco moment – you know the girl's going to say no."

The 20th anniversary of Knebworth where you supported Oasis just passed – do you have any regrets about that whole period?

"Nah, I have no f**king regrets about that time whatsoever. I never understood when bands came out the other end of Britpop and said, 'Oh, it was such a tiresome time – we got pigeonholed into something. We got coerced into something that wasn't us'.

"It's like, yeah, but you were selling 500,000 records you dickwad! And then you never sold anything close to that ever again after Britpop, so stop f**king moaning! We'd been around before that. We'd had 'Motorcycle Emptiness', 'La Tristesse Duera', 'Faster', The Holy Bible.

"By the time Britpop had broken we were already safe in our own identity. We did get co-opted into Britpop and we didn't give a flying f**k. We really didn't.

"I think because we were coming from the other end of what had happened with Richey, which was traumatic to say the least, for us to actually be co-opted into Britpop felt like a really convenient way of starting again for us. So it just didn't bother us.

"I think nostalgia is almost like an experiment. People want a taste of something which doesn't exist any more. So it's never going to be. You're never going to actually tangibly touch the essence and spirit of what existed, of what you're celebrating, which has happened. But you can get a sense of it."

Sean Moore is on Twitter and very active on it… Did that surprise you? And will you take his lead?

"I wish he talked to me as much as he talks to people on Twitter, and I've known him since I was born. Yes, I was pretty f**king shocked. In fact, me and Nick thought he'd been hacked at first.

"And unless I get ordered by some management company one day that the only way I've got a future is to join such a thing, I will never f**king do it. Just because I haven't got that much to say, and I just haven't got enough time on my hands to f**king do that."

When people are looking back in 50 or 100 years at the big book of music and there's an entry for the Manic Street Preachers, what would you want it to say?

"I don't care."