The Welsh trio have spent 2017 revamping their clubhouse and working out their next move. Ahead of the 30th anniversary of their debut single, another burst of reinvention beckons.
Congratulations, you are officially an Inspiration. How does it feel?
James Dean Bradfield (singer, guitarist): I have a very simple set of emotions. Awards ceremonies, I'm 48, the next album is our 13th, so I accept these awards with absolute magnanimity and glee. It's just lovely.
Nicky Wire (bassist): Our first Q Award was in 1996. We've had Best Album, I remember when we had Best Band In The World and James got up and said, "Best band in the world... except North America", that was 1998. But there's been some mega dos at the Q Awards. It shows how old we are that when we did the video for A Design For Life here, it was a pile of rubble, the Roundhouse hadn't been done up. I forgot to say that in my speech. Shit.
And you've got a gig to do afterwards too, it's not just a jolly for you...
NW: I'm glad we're doing it. It's our only indoor gig this year.
JDB: I've just come off the back of flu so I might sound a bit Joe Cocker. I'll sound like a man.
What's been your highlight of the year?
JDB: Finishing our studio, because we got chucked out of our other place because the BBC wanted to move in to where it was and we lost the lease on it. So we built a new studio and the highlight is having the Manic Street Preachers' clubhouse back, where we can go, we can piss, we can moan.
NW: It's just outside Newport. It's more rural, less urban.
How are you settling in?
NW: It took a while. As Liam would say, it's moving and grooving at the moment.
JDB: It feels like home, we've started recording there, trying to make sense of what's happening with us musically.
What's the next move for the Manics?
NW: The last few albums were high-concept, and I think we ran out of concepts. We're just trying to do a masterclass in songwriting. We're making a bit of headway finally. It's coming fast now but it's been a bit of a grind.
What's the best thing you've heard all year?
NW: St. Vincent's Masseduction. I love the graphic nature of the artwork, the colours, the way she fuses art and music, the guitar playing, the lyrics. It's really high-concept, which I love.
JDB: Prisoner by Ryan Adams. I love that record. It's a crystalline version of somebody saying, "I may be of another time, I maybe out of step, but I'm just going to make the record that I always was going to make," even if it is about the break-up of a marriage and who gets custody of the six cats.