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Manic Street Preachers: Talking Journal For Plague Lovers - BARKS, 12th May 2009

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Title: Manic Street Preachers: Talking Journal For Plague Lovers
Publication: BARKS
Date: Tuesday 12th May 2009

James Dean Bradfield at Manic Street Preachers talks Journal For Plague Lovers.

"I will release a new album" Journal For Playing Lovers "featuring the lyrics that Ritchie has left to us. I hope you like it, I hope you will not disappoint Ritchie or you guys. I do not have a single album so I want you to listen from the beginning to the end as a concept album.I want you to enjoy it just like us, soon I will see you again. "

A new work" Journal · I asked James Dean Bradfield, who refrains on April 13 the release of "Journal For Plague Lovers".

First of all, please tell us about an inevitable topic in talking about this album, Richie's lyrics. How was this preserved in this way?
James Dean Bradfield: Basically it's a simple story. Before Richey disappeared ..., one to two weeks before he disappeared, he left three books (booklets) with the same lyrics written for us. For a long time we all had the same lyrics and saw and used to restrain them from doing something. We felt that we were responsible for the remaining lyrics. Because he thought of various things and left us a lyric. I think that his disappearance was planned. I decided to leave poems to us before doing that. So we all felt responsible for doing something with this lyric. I have been looking at drawers and bookshelves for a long time while watching it, but as I saw it, I felt that I was afraid to use it for creative projects while feeling responsible. But two years ago, during the tour of the album "Send Away The Tigers", when we became a can-back, Nick has no intention of making a continuation of "Send Away The Tigers" and will be No. 2 I do not feel like making something like that, I can not enjoy such an idea. "By the way, I read Richie's lyric for the first time in 15 years, but I'm not scared anymore ... I am not afraid to take responsibility to use his poems I feel like I was ready. You should feel it or read it again ". And he felt the same way. So I decided to try it.

What kind of impression did you receive through the eyes thoroughly?
James: I felt nice when I started writing songs according to the lyrics. It may have been possible to become emotional like a movie, but it was not. I enjoyed the challenge of realizing what Richey wanted. I enjoyed the creative challenge. I knew that it was hard. Ritchie's lyrics are intelligent, thoughtful, but there is nothing to say punctuation. Sometimes it is difficult to sing. So I knew it was physically difficult. But I was looking forward to it. I felt like returning to the past. When I recorded "Holy Bible" in 1993. I resonated with the words, I remembered the old days. He used to give me a lot of poetry in the past. I read that and said "I do not know how to sing". He looks at me like that, it's a challenge. I accepted it. I was enjoying that experience. Recording of this album was also so. We could concentrate so much. The only thing in my head is the sense of responsibility for poetry and Ritchie himself. Other than that, the emotions put in the lyrics were not particularly affected.

Were there parts that added to it?
James: Some poet .... There used to be a change in his poet long ago. He brought a tremendous amount of poetry, so he had to edit it. But in the note I left behind, I felt that most of it was just released. Most of them were in the form of lyrics, but there were also cases where 6 clauses were lined up and 2 best ones were to be taken out. There were also places that were not direct, I could not understand the real meaning. So, I had to pick up the most understood lyrics. There were things that I needed to do a lot of work. The song "William's Last Words" was written in form as prose instead of lyrics. There was no bridge to go to the chorus. We made lyrics on prose 2 pages. I think that Richie wrote it as a lyric the same way as any other thing. However, Nick read it in a mushroom and edited it as a lyric. But most of the songs are singing as written in the notebook.

This time I had a lyric first, could you tell me the rest of the process of making songs?
James: The process of making songs is almost always the same. Always almost the same. I am in a unique position like a singer, but usually, I sing a lyric written by someone. So always feel the sense of responsibility to write songs after understanding the lyrics properly. It is not a lyric that I wrote. It always takes a long time to look through the lyrics and try to understand myself. I do not know if it is a high level or a low level. Then, when I understood the lyrics, I start writing songs. In other words, I like the lyrics that inspire you to make songs. There are bands with various passions. Some bands make songs while jamming and then apply lyrics afterwards. We are the opposite. This time as well. Always Nick gave me a lyric, I write a song. A song inspired by a lyrics. It was the same this time. There was Ritchie's lyric, I read it over and over again and was inspired by it and tried to write songs. The big difference is that in the past there was a part that I do not understand after reading Richie's lyrics, I asked him to "explain". Ritchie sometimes said "of course" and, "Oh, it was, there were times when you said you tried it as you thought. Of course he was not here. There was no answer because there was not him, but I felt freedom that I could feel the meaning of the lyrics. There were also times when I was a bit frustrated, but I believed in my instincts and past experiences and made songs that seems to have been thought by Ritchie.

What impressed lyrics?
James: There are plenty. But the inspiration was "Peeled Apples" lyrics. It begins with the opposite of the cliché "The More I See The More I Scream" "The More I See The Less I Scream". This is the biggest difference between lyrics of this album and "Holy Bible". A passage sings that he gives up. Even though God was the only person in need of life, he denied God. He was a very political person but denying all the ideology. I wanted love, but I refuse to have a marriage or girlfriend. I experienced anger and disgust, began to doubt everything. But he was calm in that give up. That is a big difference. It's not just anger like the old days. I give up, I am quiet and doubtful. So I was impressed with this lyrics. Although it is a party, sometimes the imagination will expand on one line. I do not anticipate "The More I See The Less I Scream". There were other irregular images come to mind. Like "Falcon's tuck (?)" "Pigeons and west wings at night (?)" "Dwarf taking his cockerel to a cockfight (?)" (Laugh). I can stimulate my imagination. There were many different meanings, and I wanted to understand it. I liked a lot of lyrics.

At the time of recording I told you that I felt like I returned to the full band, did you feel like Ritchie was there?
James: When I was recording a couple of times, I was wondering if Richie likes this music. At one time I was recording and I knew he liked this at the bottom of my heart. So, sometimes I felt his opinion (judgment) there. I guess there is not much superstition and inspiration so much that he feels that his spirit was there. But his opinion was always there. There was a time to be conscious of his aesthetic eye, taste. I remember sticking to my taste and recording with a person with strong desire and opinion. So I felt that his values ​​were there. If I talk about whether I felt Ritchei's spirit in the middle of the night, I am not that type. But, it was balanced. I felt that three of us were working for him. I felt like the balance of the band returned to normal.

Therefore many people think that it is the sequel of "The Holy Bible", is that what you intended?
James: Mostly, since all the lyrics were written by Richie, it seems to be considered a sequel to "Holy Bible". Ritchie writes 80% of the lyrics of "Holy Bible". Also, the artwork of "Holy Bible" is handled by an artist called Jenny Saville. This album is also from Jenny Saville. "Holy Bible" also contains 13 songs in this album. Yes, remember "Holy Bible". However, I think that it is not a sequel. I think that it is a natural ending of what "Holy Bible" has presented. The theme is different. "Holy Bible" deals with anger, hatred. This is the end of the anger in me. It may be parting or it may be a result. I do not know how to take it. It's not a sequel. Some of the tracks on this album are more delicate. It is more gentle. There is more fragility. Suspicion in the lyrics, because of giving up. So it's a natural ending of "Holy Bible", not a sequel.

So, why did you choose Jenny Saville's work again as an album cover?
James: When we began making the album, we all talked about whether it was right to do this. Well, I agree that I will do the right thing. I had to decide the rules. With a simple story, we thought we wanted to realize what Riche wanted. I decided to do what he pleased. Richie and Nick chose "Holy Bible" cover from Jenny's book, but Richie not only took pictures used for "Holy Bible" but loved her entire work. When I went to the search gallery with him, Ritchie saw the same work for hours. I knew he was pleased. So I and Nick found a new piece called Jenny's "Stare". It was perfect. I thought it was perfect for the atmosphere of the album. The picture of "Holy Bible" is shocking, more spectacular and can take various meanings. I need to understand it from a little distance. But "Stare" is a young girl, it looks like a boy looking a bit like a bisexual but it is a young girl. It looks like she was surprised, even though she was defeated, she seemed to find no answer. It is perfect for various feelings in records. Although the picture of "Holy Bible" can be received in various ways, this is a portrait, which is more personal in that sense. Portraits are inevitable to be personal. That is perfect for the album. Although it may seem that it is thought that it is airy or dramatic to make a picture album cover, if you read the Richie's lyrics of this album carefully, you can see that the bare soul is being expressed. This picture is also the same. I can see Seoul that child.

What is the meaning of the album title?
James: I told you earlier, but the words of this album are all Richie 's. This was also one of Richie's titles. I thought it was perfect. Some of the songs are taken up when we are being treated at a hospital like drug addiction. There are lyrics written about the community in the hospital and there are also written about the patient versus the feelings of the doctor. Several of the lyrics address this theme. The title "Journal For Plague Lovers" seems to indicate an understanding of the people who met at the hospital. I feel like I do not understand doctors. And the three notes left by Richie were in the form of a diary or a journal. I guess there were 28 lyrics. Something that scribbled artworks and thoughts, a lot of collages, more than lyrics. I feel like watching a book to understand a lyric. So I thought the word "Journal For Plague Lovers" was perfect.

Where was the recording done?
James: This is a studio called Rock Field in Wales. I have used it before. It's legendary. It's one of the first studio accommodations in the world. I am in Monmouth, Wales. That was nice because we are Welsh people. I have recorded several times. I also recorded two No 1 singles. "The Masses Against The Classes" and "If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next." I understood the good ones there before. Such a place ... old and historical studio is now closed a lot. Five years ago, where the queen was recording, the studio called Wessex Studio in North London where the crash "London Calling" and Sex Pistols' "Never Mind The Bollocks" was also recorded was used to build a condominium It was torn down. I think it is a painful thing. Even though I think it is a historical building. The place where many wonderful things were recorded is not already a studio anymore. Luckily thing is still Rock Field. As soon as I get there, I feel history. Our favorite band, Rush, is recording and echo & the Bunnymen has been doing many times, and Black Sabbath is also recording and rehearsing there. Early Simple Mines, too. It is a great place as a legend that we are recording many times. Also, it is very traditional. Given the weight of the project and the weight of responsibility to use Richie's lyrics, I wanted to use a place that I feel encouraged. I thought that I had to go to a place I could have confidence, where I had made a good work before. So the Wales Rock Field was perfect.

Why did you choose Steve Albini as a producer?
James: I was talking with Steve Albini when Ritchie was still around. Richie liked the Pixies album and the Albini band Big Black. I also liked Nirvana's "In Utero". So, I was talking about it before. I thought he would agree with this choice. I wanted to make it a led album. It was to make something that someone else wanted to make, something the fans wanted. I did not think about pleasing myself, just the words lead, I wanted to make something like words that induce music. So, I chose a producer who does not interfere with music. Steve Albini is famous for having no musical ideas. Do not try to rearrange the songs. I will not try to modify the lyrics. What Alvini does is to record on tape and not to record many times to capture the moment of reality. He tries to make the album sounded in the room as it is. Many producers add hands and try to change the sound. Albini tries to keep it as it is. That's why he was perfect for this project. We, the things we wanted to do were clear. I did not want to make something inspired by Richie's lyrics and change that. Besides, he may deny, he is a legend to live. Among indie humans like us. This album is, in a sense, "pre-digital" things. The lyrics were written with old typewriters, and Ritchie did not have a cell phone. I did not know anything to download. In a sense, this album is a time capsule. Albini's work is traditional and old style. He will record on the tape. In many respects, this is a work of "before digital". So I chose him.

What is recording by analog tape is the producer's idea?
James: Albini only records on tape. I can see the phrase "Fuck digital" in many of his works (laugh). That's enough to talk, do not you? He refuses. During breaks, when I saw MTV 2 in the living room, I heard that he came out of the room saying "Oh, it is a digital sound, hysteria" and complains and goes out. He refuses to use Pro Tools or a computer and uses only tape.

"Holy Bible" was often compared with "In Utero", is it also one of the reasons for choosing Albini?
James: That's right. Richie loved "In Utero". All of us are. Until I bought "In Utero", I was not that big fan of Nirvana. Everyone liked it. Especially Ritchie worshiped that album.

What was the hardest thing to make this album?
James: Well...I had to tell you that it was the hardest question to answer..., the hardest thing...I did not expect it to be tough with a wonderful experience. Working with Steve was done when mixing the album, I had to mix with myself with my friends, but maybe it was probably the most difficult thing. Steve's recording method is traditional, I noticed that the compression was not so much. I do not use much compression, so I could hear the wrong place, I was worried. I decided to take care not to waste Steve's work. I understood the purity of what Steve did. It was hardest to avoid spoiling it. To be honest, the most difficult thing so far is to talk about the album. While you enter the studio, you just have to play the guitar or devote yourself to production. You do not have to think anything. Usually, making songs is hard, just playing music is just to be absorbed in music. But talking about the album and analyzing it is the most difficult.

During the recording, was there any interesting episode?
James: I wonder if there is anything (laugh). Oh, I guess there is something. It's a bit fuzzy ... The day before I entered the studio, Cardiff's apartment was trying to listen to the album I was listening to before recording "Holy Bible". I thought that I would do the same. I'm a bit pretty obsessed with the early works of Simple Mines. To those of the experimental band before becoming a stadium band. 2nd, 3rd, 4th of Simple Mines is experimental and I think that it is the best masterpiece in Europe. "Real To Real Cacophony" "Sons And Fascination" "Empires And Dance" Besides, all of these albums are recorded at Rock Field. Go into the studio and be nervous to meet Steve Albini. I guess you are in Cardiff's apartment, prepare to go to the studio in the morning and enter the zone. While listening to such music, I ran the car to the studio and met Steve. I was nervous but it was exciting. And the next day, when I went to the kitchen of Rock Field, it was a place I knew well as I went through many times, but as soon as I entered there, I literally seemed to hit a simple minds singer's gym car I know. I thought that I was watching the illusion. "What 's going on, Jim Car of Simple Mines is there, does I have the power to make the desired person appear in front of me! I greeted him. There were two studios in Rockfield, and he was next to me. For a moment, seriously, I thought that I became a god. You can call out who you want. It took me ten minutes to calm down. In the gym, " How did you put your hands on Cacophony? How was the work with Jones (?)? How was work with Steve Hill? How was Rockfield in the past? You sang with Iggy Pop songs, are not you? "I was going to ask questions, Jim was getting more and more afraid because I noticed that I had encountered a maniac like I had never met before.It is the only interesting episode ... Well it's not fun, It was an unexpected incident.

What kind of chapter did Manics have entered today?
James: I do not know. Some bands keep track of their past and history. But I do not know where they are. But I did not anticipate where I am now. Two years ago, I had never thought of making an album with Ritchie again. The only thing I can say is that after this album the next album will be totally different. I guess you are trying to bring out joy. After doing this, I did not feel depressed at all and I was not confused or hurt, but I thought I wanted to do the opposite. It was a strong experience. I would like to think that the next album will be shocking to me. There were plenty of joy. That's why I am changing the future prospects now. I do not know.

Why not release a single?
James: When I read a lyric, the first rule I decided was to lead a lyric. When I carefully read the 28 lyrics, I first told Nick, "Ritchie definitely did not think about singles". Ritchie did not think about head / single, how many singles come out, do not think about singles, let's pass purely Richie's will. We recorded about half of the time, so we had to pay homage to the album and its art form. Even if I buy an album now, if I listen to 1st track and dislike 2 songs, I will skip 3rd and 4th. We thought that we should make a pure album as much as possible. You do not have a single. After all, Ritchie did not care about that. He cared only about the album. He went back home, relaxing with tea, making an album and listening to it all. I wanted to respect that.

I will come to Japan on Festival in July, but please give me a message on that.
James: James Dean Bradfield of Manic Street Preachers. I am in fine weather in London. It's still April. I will go to Japan in July with <ASIAN KUNG-FU GENERATION presents NANO-MUGEN FES.2009>. I am looking forward. The performance at the festival in Tokyo before was the best gig so far. I'm looking forward to. There are a lot of emails from Japan that you do tracks for the 1st album. So I'm planning for a surprise. I'm thinking of playing the track of 1st "Generation Terrorists" you do not listen for a while with Festival. I want to make a better gig than before.