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The Germans And Their Perception Problem - Berliner Zeitung, 3rd July 2014

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Title: The Germans And Their Perception Problem
Publication: Berliner Zeitung
Date: Thursday 3rd July 2014
Writer: Katja Schwemmers

Futurology is the name of the twelfth album of the Welsh rock trio Manic Street Preacher. Singer James Dean Bradfield is a fan of Germany - as long as it's about economics and not about kicking. In an interview he talks about Herbert Grönemeyer and the envy of the British on the German way of life.

James Dean Bradfield, singer of Manic Street Preachers, is a huge fan of Germany - as long as it's about economics and rock, not kicking. "Futurology" is the twelfth studio album of the Welsh rock trio. If you listen to Bradfield, the sung future can only be in Germany. A conversation about Herbert Grönemeyer, the changing Berlin, traveling through Europe and the envy of the British on the German way of life.

James Dean Bradfield, Singer of Manic Street Preachers, who has been successful for over 20 years, about his love for Berlin, what it's like to be friends with Herbert Grönemeyer, duet partner Nina Hoss, Europe, Krautrock and - of course - football!

Mr. Bradfield, you are often in Berlin. Does the city feel like a second home?
She does this in a strange way. I was often on vacation here. I have friends who live in Berlin. The Manic Street Preachers have worked on the new album at the Hansa Studios. Whenever our band has a free day in Germany, we try to spend it in Berlin. We have been following this country since 1992. I have seen how much Germany and especially Berlin have changed over the past 22 years. This is quite inspiring.

How has the capital changed from a British perspective?
Berlin is one of the German cities where you can see the past, the present and the future - everything fits together here casually. Visually anyway. But also sensitive is Germany a country that knows itself well and yet is not afraid of changes and goes in the future! This is not self-evident to us Britons.

Are there certain places in Berlin where you would like to stay?
I like Prenzlauer Berg. There is a small old-Berlin inn close by, called "Hen". It is located in a residential area, where only beer, wine, poultry, salad and bread are served. I also like to go back to the Bauhaus Archive. By the way, I could tell hours of my favorite places. It's just a great city, this Berlin.

If the Manic Street Preachers already record here, why is there no duet between you and your friend Herbert Grönemeyer on the new record?
That would have been nice! I especially like Herbert's early records. He has a very instinctive way of playing the piano - comparable to that of the Welsh musician John Cale. Unfortunately, at that time he just started working on his own album and was not tangible. So we hired the actress Nina Hoss. Not a bad compromise, as I think.

How did the Manic Street Preachers know Nina Hoss?
By Alex Silva, Herbert's producer. He used to work with us in Wales and mixed our album "The Holy Bible," for example. Through him I know Herbert, and the life companion of Alex is Nina Hoss. I met her at a New Year's Eve party in Alex's apartment. We were all pretty drunk. The perfect starting point for cooperation...

Nina Hoss can be heard in the song "Europa Geht Durch Mich".
Yes, fortunately! Because my German is bad. The line, however, makes a good impression on how it feels to have traveled over the European mainland as a musician for the last 22 years. You go by bus and train, Europe goes through one. You can feel the different countries as you cross borders.

Supposedly, however, the song is supposed to be of ailing Europe, as well as the British's unwillingness to not really belong to it.
Well, to live in the UK and to be in Europe is a rather painful experience. You listen to the arguments of the left wing that are vague. You listen to the arguments of the right wing that are disgusting. As you quickly got the nose of the project Europe, from the EU. That's why I say: If you believe in Europe like me, be patient! If some countries do not want to accept the guidelines, let us wait for a new generation to grow up.

In Germany one sometimes has the impression that the British would be damaging about the exchange of the Mark against the euro.
You Germans really have a problem of perception! Most of the British look full of envy and admiration for Germany. You have developed a lifestyle that allows you to adapt quickly to changing conditions. Yes: We British are jealous of you!

But you do not like it!
We like making fun of you, it's true. But many Britons - like me - spend their holidays in your country and love it. Regarding your music, you also have complexes.

How so?
In the seventies, her cabbage skirt like Neu !, Kraftwerk, Can, Faust and Popol Vuh, had been praised by the British music press. Many musicians can still be inspired to this day. But you still have not got that.

Thank you. I feel that the image of Germany is improving during the World Cup...
Moment! Soccer is on another hand! There are the Germans spiderfeind.