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James Dean Bradfield: "The World Has Changed But We Are Still Ourselves" - Novinky.cz, 28th July 2019

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Title: James Dean Bradfield: "The World Has Changed But We Are Still Ourselves"
Publication: Novinky.cz
Date: Sunday 28th July 2019
Writer: Šárka Hellerová


Welsh rock band Manic Street Preachers was one of the stars of the recently past festival of Rock for People in Hradec Králové. Before her concert, we talked to singer and guitarist James Dean Bradfield about last album Resistance Is Futile and the current position of the band, or why he likes sports.

Bassist Nicky Wire doubted two years ago whether you would ever record a new album. Do you know why?
Today everything around the band is completely different than before. As if we woke up and lived in another world, whether it was the way music records were made or how the audience approached them. It happens that one day I write a song and the next day I have a completely different feeling about it because the world around me has managed to change in the meantime. And when you no longer know where you belong, or where music belongs in the world of culture, you will start to feel insecure. You have doubts.

But in the end it was just a little doubt and we found the answer. We realized it didn't matter that the world around us had changed. We are still ourselves. If we tried to look like a modern band and keep up with the young, it would seem embarrassing. In the end, we overcame the doubts by ordinary faith in our work and gratitude for it.

Resistance Is Futile was released and released last April. What does it mean to you?
It's strange, but with each album, we have the same modus operandi with teammates Sean and Nicky. We always have an exciting feeling when we play the new song together in the studio for the first time. It's a child's joy. And that is a great feeling for someone who is fifty.

It is fantastic to write a song, and all of us knowing ourselves for the rest of our lives. We share enthusiasm. It is the basis.

There is another wish. Although the audience could join the song to move the song with people. I mean physically. And that still happens. Especially in Britain, I feel that people have as strong a relationship with our songs as we do.

And then there's the third thing. One wants songs to connect with a wider cultural environment, to be familiar to people who don't know us. To sound like at sporting events. It pleases me. It is amazing to penetrate culture in that way.

But it doesn't happen so much today, we have our fans. Although we are still playing in the arenas in Britain and there are fifty thousand people going to gigs, but only they know our new music. He won't get any further.

Is it frustrating?
No, but it's a little harder to accept. The way I look at it is that if we still manage to write songs that people want to hear just like Motorcycle Emptiness, it's a success. I guess we can't want people anymore. On the album Resistance Is Futile we did it with International Blue, which found its place in our concert setlist. In Britain or Japan, fans liked her very much. But I always always hope that the music I write will like Nick and Sean.

You mentioned the joy of having your music sound for example at sporting events. Three years ago you recorded the song Together Stronger (C'Mon Wales), the anthem for the Welsh football team at the European Football Championship. The footballers themselves sang with you. Are they good singers?
But yeah, it worked. We have always been a strange group in this respect. Independent bands are usually not very good at sports. It is too much of a mainstream and too popular for them. But we have always loved music, politics and sport. And we love when music and sport meet.

Sport is uncomplicated, nothing hides between the lines. I love sport because it usually wins the best. I like it, I need it in my life. It was a pleasure to write an anthem for Welsh sports fans.

You said the feeling you had when you first played a new song with the band was crucial to you. You've known each other since childhood. Can your artistic cooperation be further deepened and strengthened?
I do not know. In youth you are indestructible. Even if you're not that good again, you believe in yourself. With age you judge yourself and the band more strictly. Therefore, in my opinion, it is necessary that relations between us are rather looser. Not that we should be less pleased. but it can't always be so intense. Just because with age things are more complicated, so it is.

That is why it is necessary, for example, to have enough time for everything. Just because we wrote a lot of songs in the past. Now it sometimes happens that we write a new one, we are excited about it for a while, and then we realize that we are copying ourselves or some other favorite song from the past. So, in a certain way, we relax and give ourselves some space.

We all have families and children. Occasionally, when we come to the studio, we prefer to take a nap. However, as soon as we go and decide what songs we want to have on the record or go on tour, everything is suddenly as intense as ever.

You often talk about doing things the old way. Is there any aspect of the contemporary music environment that you are really excited about?
I still feel strongly about the clash of the analog and digital world. I grew up in the first one, I started in the seventies. We founded the band in the 1980s. Recently I met students at home in Cardiff, they were nineteen, pointed at me and shouted: You are from the 1990s! I stammered to thank you for being a true bluesman and feeling strange.

No, however, I don't like the way the music industry works today. But I will not complain about it, nor will I establish a protest movement. For me, the holy grail on the album has always been the seventh song. When she was good, the whole album was great. It went further than the first few singles, I was always curious about the very last song on the record. When she was good, I went and bought all the other recordings from the artist. Today, you listen to singles and move on. Of course I disagree, but that's because I'm from a different time.

What would you be worth setting up a protest movement?
Probably nothing, because if people relied on my leadership, the world would be completely lost. But when it comes to political issues, I would like to encourage everyone to firmly believe in what they are doing, but also to seek compromises in the middle field.

If politicians leave the center empty and do not meet in it, the right and left are equally bad. As they move away, it creates an empty space that can be occupied by anyone in the post-ideological era. Then bad things happen.

In the Czech Republic, where Andrej Babiš is the prime minister, you probably know what I'm talking about. The right and left must talk to each other. When I say the right, I'm not talking about the extreme.