Why choose now to use Richey’s lyrics?
It’s something we’ve always talked about. As time elapsed, it became clear that he’d deliberately given us these lyrics very shortly before he disappeared – kind of bequeathed them to us I suppose – so I imagine he did intend them to be Manic Street Preachers songs. I’d been a bit daunted by the lyrics at first but more and more I began to feel a sense of responsibility that we should be doing something with them.
How much did the lyrics dictate the style and mood of the music?
Completely and utterly. There were also other things in the lyric booklet – collages, quotes, etcetera – so in a sense Richey left us a visual demo of how he wanted the record to feel.
What kind of emotions did you go through when you were singing Richey’s lyrics?
It wasn’t as if I was having to choke back the tears, although there were certain lyrics that felt as if they were driving me towards an emotional response to the situation we’ve had with Richey since he disappeared. I remember hearing Nick singing “William’s Last Words” in the studio and thinking, ‘I’m glad it’s not me’ because I felt quite affected by it. But I’ve got to say mostly it felt like Richey was back in the room. I’m just glad we followed through on what we imagined to be his wishes.