- Read more: ‘Tech companies scare me more than politicians’ – the NME Manic Street Preachers Big Read
NME sat down with James Dean Bradfield and Nicky Wire at Rough Trade East during the “fraught, frantic and frenetic” launch of their 13th album – which is currently just a few hundred copies ahead of ‘The Greatest Showman’ soundtrack in the race for this week’s No.1 spot.
Watch above as the band tell us about living in the physical world, what ‘curveball’ they may follow for their next record, meeting Phil Collins, and why they’ve outlives their contemporaries.
“Contemporaries, do they exist?” Wire asks. “We’ve been going for so long that most of them have reformed and then split up, and reformed again. I can’t say that there’s many left.”
The reason the Manics continue to fight the good fight, they tell us, is the constant hunt for inspiration and the need to connect with a mass audience.
“The fear that we get is ‘what if no one’s interested?’,” said Wire. “It’s that mixture of stimulating ourselves and being really excited about a record. If there’s no one there that’s going to be really interested in a record, then we just wouldn’t do it. It’s just not in our DNA to down tools, just bang something out and go through the motions. If that happens, and fingers crossed we’re not quite there yet, then it’s all over.”
But what could the next Manic Street Preachers’ album potentially involve?
“I can imagine a bit of a curve ball happening perhaps,” replied Bradfield. “I’ve never tried to second guess what we do. In all honesty, what we did next was always down to Nick and Richey [Edwards]. It usually stems from the lyrics and the theoretical nature of what we do. We’re a very lyrically-driven band. It’s about whether the wherewithal falls on Nick or whether or not we take a break.
“We’ve also learned to not talk about something before it exists, because that just kind of kills it sometimes.”
Wire however, had a few ideas of where to go next – and wants to tend to his addiction to ’80s jangle-pop heroes Felt.
“Having said that, Sean [Moore, drummer] would like to do an electronic album, James would like to do a Tamla album, and I’d like to do a C86 album. They are quite genre-hopping, but I’m not quite sure you could fuse Kraftwerk with Talulah Gosh.”
Bradfield joked: “I think we could. I’d be arrogant enough to think that. I also think that the illuminating thing about us is that we tend to love it when other people sing our songs. Perhaps some kind of clue about something that we could do one day. When someone else sings our songs, they tend to breathe new life into them. That’s not me being self-deprecating. It’s just that a singer can influence a song so much.”
So who would they love to appear on this dream album of collaborations?
“I’ve always thought that we could be an amazing band behind John Cale,” admits Bradfield. “That’s just because he’s one of my obsessions. That’s probably an idea that comes out of fantasy and vanity, I think.”
Wire added: “I think Bill Ryder-Jones, actually. I love that kind of sloppy, lazy, sideways genius.”
Manic Street Preachers tour dates and tickets
The band’s upcoming UK arena tour dates are below. Tickets are available here.
25 April GLASGOW, The SSE Hydro Arena
27 April BIRMINGHAM, Arena
28 April MANCHESTER, Arena
1 May LLANDUDNO, Venue Cymru Arena
2 May LEEDS, First Direct Arena
4 May LONDON, The SSE Arena Wembley
5 May CARDIFF, Motorpoint Arena