Interview: New Model Army

You have spent an incredible 30 years in the record business. What is the most important lesson that this industry taught you?
Stick to your guns, your principles and beliefs. Never do what the industry tells you.

"Between dog and wolf" cemented my opinion of New Model Army, that music comes first. I mean, NMA is considered as very political, but I think you just make the music that you want to make, regardless of the moment in history. Am I totally wrong?
No, you’re totally right!

With the attention that "Between dog and wolf" is getting (climbing up the charts like it's 1993), how does it make you feel that you are getting back into the fame-game, after so many years?
Not really. I think we always ignored the fame game.

Back in the early 90s, you were supposed to break to the huge crowds. But, you just seemed to not want to do this. Was that intentional? Is there something inherently wrong about success and/or people loving you and your art? 
By instinct we valued the freedom to do what we wanted above ‘success’ and so we just made one commercial ‘mistake’ after another. It wasn’t intentional but it is an absolute instinct with us to go against the grain. I also think that small to medium gigs are far more powerful than big ones so perhaps we got what we wanted.

Matt Reid is making a movie about NMA. I can't wait to see this, so please, give us some details about it - where does it focus and when will we get to enjoy it?
It’s his film not ours and is necessarily selective about the story he tells. It’s not a comprehensive documentary – how could you put 33 years and all those stories into 90 minutes? – instead he’s made a movie movie. It’s not the film we would have made but it’s his vision.

England is the 51st state of America. But now the whole world is the 52nd, 53rd, 54th state of America's empire. Why do we love to be Americans? And is it such a bad thing after all?
American culture is based on commerce – that is to find what people think they want, convenience, new and shiny things, sugar, fat, games, pornography in all its various forms, violence happening to other people and sell it to them (they are rather better at this than at actual wars). The problem comes with the ever-increasing level of cynicism required to drive this – so all our deepest instincts are exploitable.

Fascism is a big issue in Europe once again. Is this horrible menace linked to capitalism? How do we deal with it?  
No it’s linked to tribalism which is actually a response to the failures of capitalism (see the last question). I understand tribalism – loyalties to family etc – but when it’s exploited by power- hungry people, it’s turns ugly and dangerous.

The 20th century was divided between capitalism and socialism. Today, capitalism has conquered the world and it is something like a religion to a lot of people. Do you believe that the future is capitalistic or is a change about to happen?
There was a famous book written in the wake of the collapse of the Soviet Union called ‘The End Of History’ which celebrated the triumph of liberal capitalism over all other systems. It’s already out of date. People are now realizing that capitalism in its modern guise is equally unjust, tyrannical and corrupt and only works for the elites already in power. I have a friend who grew up in East Germany who says that now reminds him of the last days of the DDR in that everyone knows the system doesn’t work but no one knows how to fix it. Change is coming but unfortunately it won’t be ‘nice’.

Greece is being destroyed by its politicians, E.U and the IMF. And Greek people just do not react. Same goes for pretty much all Europeans. Why do you think that people are so reluctant to act, even when such harm is happening to their lives?
Because most people are frightened and still have a little something left to lose.

You've visited Greece a few times over the decades. What are your most fond and your least fond memories of your shows here? Please, give us amusing details.
We all love Greece and always feel that Greek audiences really understand the emotional primal instincts that drive the band. I have lots of favourite memories – being driven around Athens by friends after the show on the night of my 50th occasion (that led to the Sky In Your Eyes song) and last time stopping to eat by the sea halfway between Thessaloniki and Athens – me, Marshall, Dean and 14 cats.

You are to perform 3 shows here in late November. Are they going to be based around the new album? 
Yes but with some different older material that we don’t play so often too.

You are now 57 years old. Most people don't live their lives, they just get on with it. You seem to have lived yours. What is the correct way to live one's life?
I really don’t know. I’m still trying to work that out.

Name one thing in life that is not negotiable.

New Model Army will perform live in Larissa (28/11), Thessaloniki (29/11) @ Block 33 and Athens (30/11) @ Fuzz

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