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that regard, it’s a little more intense, but as I say, it’s fun because people seemingly liking it. I think you’re in trouble if you become blasé about the release, although my favourite bit is always the bit when it’s finished, in between when it’s finished and when it’s released. It feels like you’ve got a kinda cool secret that’s about to be disclosed. Once a record is out in the outside world, it seems to me, to belong to the culture, and certainly the fans and everybody has their own experience with it; people are


‘Te Messenger’ and that’s something that doesn’t happen every day. You have to be really enthusiastic about it to roll your sleeves up and do that amount of work, because it’s quite time consuming. Ten when I decided I wasn’t gonna go back out with Te Cribs, I think that was when I got the notion that I might not always be wanting to actually lock myself away and write 30 songs, because it is a LOT! But I either stopped or got bored at about 27 and I realised that


whole album is about that, but I was kind of commenting on the fact that I know I’m a target for market forces, say, to certain crass commercialism, but I don’t complain, I just comment. I think it’d bring the music down to complain, but I think the very fact I’m aware of it, gives me the right attitude and that’s why I’m saying ‘I’ve got the right thing right’, you know, I’m not saying I’m beaten down by it, I’m almost saying, ‘Vive le resistance’ and sticking two fingers up to it, really. I think young people are good at that


maybe and it was a fun time. Tere’s a good record shop in Norwich too, isn’t there?


was quite enough, thank you very much. By then, I pretty much had the record in my mind anyway. I


listening to it on a Saturday morning, other people are listening to it on their way to college, some people are listening to it on their way back from school, all of these things and I really like that about pop music and pop culture anyway. You experience it in your own different ways and I think because of that it stops feeling like your own personal property and my mind starts to move on to other things, so once it’s released, it becomes a different thing for me then.


With you talking about it then, it sounds a bit like your losing your virginity; it’s yours and only to give for a while, but once it’s gone… it’s public property. [LAUGHS] I never thought of it like that; I never thought of either thing like that but I’ll… I’ll meditate on that [LAUGHS]!


It’ll be good if you do, yeah! Now, I read an interview with you on the subject of making this album, and you said that if you hadn’t made it now, you would never have done it. What kind of intersection were you at to be thinking that? Erm, well I probably would have found another project – I don’t like using the word project, but… OK, I’ll use the word project - to be getting along with but I wrote nearly 30 songs for


didn’t mean that I was gonna retire, or anything – I doubt that’s ever gonna happen. I kind of relate to painters, or sculptors, or people in the visual arts in that regard; whenever I’ve been asked about when I’m going to finish, my mind just turns to people like David Hockney and Lucien Freud and Robert Rauschenberg, who are still painting, and I’m of the same mindset really. If it’s something that you’re good at and it’s a way of you expressing the way you relate to the world, then you do it whether you’re in the charts or not. So I think that’s maybe what I meant when I said that.


One of the things that I love about Te Cribs is that I lived in Wakefield for four years and can appreciate that they have this wonderful way of sucking in their environment and projecting it back out again. Now, you came back to the UK to make this album – what was it about the UK environment that you wanted to creep into the record? Well, the atmosphere of towns and cities, buildings and the way people relate to them, and the way I relate to crowds - I think I relate to the environment as we all do, but maybe I’m a little more aware of it sometimes because I’m a writer – maybe? Te very first thing on the album, ‘Te Right Ting Right’ is about that and pretty much the


and school kids particularly; people who are in school are really good at it, at knowing the theatre of hypocrisy and recognising bullshit. We tend to over-analyse things and intellectualise things at a certain point in our lives and if we’re lucky, we come back to the same insights that we maybe had when we were teenagers. I’m glorifying teenage years; I’m very happy not to be one, thanks very much and I’m not someone who wishes they were younger, by any means but I’m making these comments about my environment and I’ve always noticed that kind of stuff, since being a little kid growing up in the city. I have a very close relationship and an interest in cities; being a working musician for most of my life, I’ve spent most of my life in cities round the world and been lucky enough to take that environment in. I think it’s just very good subject matter to put together with upbeat, banging new wave stuff, rather than some internalised, wishy washy songs about my feelings, or all that kind of drippy stuff, you know. Songs about being people and cities and being a person around other people seem to fit around the music that I like to sing.


Yeah, we’re British – we don’t need to know about your feelings, Johnny. Tank you very much, yeah, yeah, thank you. “Dear diary…”


I had the pleasure of interviewing Ryan Jarman [guitarist from Te Cribs] and he’d said what an influence


outlineonline.co.uk / March 2013 / 13 I was there a couple of years ago, 2010


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