Suede‘s new album is called ‘Head Music’. Bassist Matt Osman called NME to end weeks of speculation, after it was announced that the title would be released one letter at a time.
Talking last week from Eden Studios in Chiswick, London, where the band were putting the finishing touches to the project, Osman described it as “really varied, really electric, very modern and quite spiky and hard-edged for us”.
Tracks on the record, which is due out on May 3 on Nude, include ‘She’s In Fashion’ and ‘Asbestos’, which were both tipped at various times as title tracks as work on the album progressed. However, Osman said that they hadn’t known what the title would be until earlier this year – and then the idea of spelling out the title a letter at a time was put forward as a joke.
He explained: “Saul (Galpern), head of Nude was hassling for a title, and Brett said, ‘I’ll tell you one letter at a time until you can guess it.’
“It wasn’t supposed to be such a big deal, it was only for the fan club. It wasn’t meant to be the big tease it’s turned into!”
As for the title that the band decided on, Osman said it wasn’t meant to be taken on any deep or druggy level. “It just summed up the music, because it’s music in the head, it’s not really body music,” he said.
The album will be preceded by a single in April, which has yet to be decided on. Osman said they had at least five singles to choose from, though favourites were currently ‘She’s In Fashion’, which he described as, “a big summery pop song that’s probably as light as anything we’ve done” and ‘Savoir Faire’, which was exclusively previewed on the NME Premier Review last month along with ‘Can’t Get Enough’.
Of ‘Savoir Faire’, Osman said: “I think it’s the band’s favourite. It started off almost as a nursery rhyme, a really simple song, then it became quite an odd, quite spiky little thing.”
However, the album version would have to be released in edited form as it currently includes the lyric “she’s a fucking machine” which would limit its chance of radio airplay.
Osman‘s personal favourite is a track called ‘Down’. He said: “With ‘Down’ and another track called ‘He’s Gone’, when we wrote them they were pretty traditional ballads. But through being in the studio they’ve changed into something else. They’re more modern-sounding than anything we’ve done.”
He said that was mainly down to producer Steve Osborne, who has previously worked with U2 and Happy Mondays and who is part of the Perfecto remix team. Osborne‘s involvement sparked rumours of Suede going in a dancier direction, which Osman denies:
“It’s not dancey at all. It’s certainly groovier and there’s a lot of tracks that are just one or two chords. There’s certainly a lot more tracks that work on the level of a groove than we’ve done before, but that’s it.”
Most of the tracks were written by Brett Anderson, although some have been penned by Neil Codling and Richard Oakes.
The band are deciding exactly how many tracks will eventually appear on ‘Head Music’, which will be the band’s fourth studio album and follows 1996’s ‘Coming Up’.
“They’re going to be about 13 or 14 tracks,” said Osman. “It’s certainly got a lot more variety than ‘Coming Up’.”
He said this was mostly because some tracks, including ‘He’s Gone’, were written more than two years ago – the band played it during their last Reading Festival appearance – and some were only written last week.
As for the whole process of recording albums, Osman concluded: “It’s like being a swimmer, people only see you when you come up for air. It looks like there’s these huge gaps in between but it feels like a natural process for me.”
Osman confirmed that the band would tour around the single’s release, but revealed that their first live gigs to debut their new material would be at a number of fan-club only concerts, probably late next month or in early April.
Suede have also been tipped to play either Reading or V99.
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