light, weather etc. Tis makes listeners create their own pictures. Te least interesting lyrics for me are about the inside of the writer’s head. You had early airplay from John Peel and performed on Te Tube, after which your mini album went to No 1, knocking Te Smiths off the spot. Were you surprised about how popular you got due to these two opportunities? It’s all been a bit of a surprise… You must’ve played Norwich many times over the years – do you remember any of those occasions? UEA and Te Waterfront many times – some very, very hot. Tose usually feel the best. You’ve always caused a bit of controversy, from the USA not letting you in because they believed the band were ‘of no artistic merit’, to Here Comes Te War being packaged with instructions on how to construct a nuclear device. Is it important to you to be able to write songs and sing about anything and everything that concerns you, however difficult it might be to hear? It’s always been a

compulsion to do the opposite of what people want or expect. We very much reserve the right to write about anything and from any point of view, including those we don’t agree with, for example My People or One Of Te Chosen, written from the point of view of a nationalist or religious maniac. Would you say you have become less strident in your views over the years? Not so much less strident but

it’s not necessary to write the same polemic over and over again – and boring so we don’t. Instead we come at things from different angles, which are less obvious; this makes a few people believe that it’s all less strident but it means that we are open to

creating anything and is part of the reason we’re still here making music. You released five studio albums and one live album within eight years between the 80’s and 90’s and then took a break. Tere were some line up changes after the hiatus – did you worry at that point that things weren’t going to marry together again properly? We’ve always ‘felt’ our way along. Nothing lasts forever and change has been good for us over the years but, sure, we’ve been up a few blind alleys. It wasn’t really a break in the mid-90s – we were still working – we just didn’t finish anything! You’ve suffered some tragic losses over the years, with the death of Robert Heaton, your drummer, and your manager Tommy Tee. How did the band cope with these sadnesses? Same way as everyone does. It takes time. Between Dog and Wolf is a

feature documentary made about the history of the band by Matt Reid, and it’s done really well. How did that come about, and how did you find the experience? He approached us and said he wanted to make the film. We only half-believed him, allowed him to interview us and to ‘be around’ (he has a lot of experience of documentary-making and knows when and when not to be visible) but we always said he could do what he wanted and didn’t seek to control what he was making. In the end we’re comfortable saying that it’s absolutely his film and his version of the story (or at least part of it). Your album Between Dog and Wolf that came out 4 years ago was your most successful album in 20 years. Did you approach creating this particular record in a new way? We had talked for a while about making an album


which was something in itself and not a collection of songs designed to be played live – beginning with idea of layered drums which we’d touched on before but wanted to go further. We looked to layer vocals too and use a lot of unusual instrumentation. We wanted to produce it ourselves so we could explore blind alleys and take our time but then to give it to one of the World’s best mixers to mix (Joe Barresi). For the most part it worked very well and we’re very proud of it. When it came to the touring, we had to be creative and flexible all over again to make it work, which was another enjoyable challenge and in the end, easier than we’d thought. You released a solo album in 2003 – would you consider doing another? Yes, one day. How are Te Family these days? Still going as strong as ever? What do you think it is about the band and your music that gives your ardent fans so much? Tis ‘family’ idea is a bit of a misnomer. We have always had a strong and loyal fan- base but we’re talking about 20,000 people spread across five continents. Te groups of people that ‘follow’ a tour change all the time – it’s not a permanent set of people and it’s open. No one is more important than anyone else. What has happened though is that because the music has a very particular and strong flavour and the lyrics touch on real subjects, unsurprisingly people that are drawn to it sometimes find a fellowship with each other and these relationships continue beyond the band. Your latest album Winter came out last year – it

sounds like it reflects the human struggle. What were your aims with this particular collection of songs? It was written through 2015 and was informed both by a rising tension we were feeling around us and also personal issues. We finished it in March last year and I didn’t want to hear it again for some weeks and then put it on the morning after Brexit – and thought yes, this is the sound of the moment. Why did you call it Winter? Winter was the third song written for the album and seemed to sum up the general feeling of the writing and also where we’d already decided to go in terms of production – to something simple, ‘unproduced’ and direct. You were originally a three piece but there are five in the band now. Does this help with your power and sounds live especially? We were only really a three piece for the first six years and we’ve been five since 1989. It just increases the musical possibilities. You’ve not been signed to a label for many years now, but have been staunchly independent with your own label. Did you foresee the direction in which the music industry might go? In the mid-90s, we sat down and figured that the Internet would change everything and the best place to be would be in control of all our output. Tis meant that some of the mainstream music industry outlets and access to the ‘big- bucks’ industry were closed to us but in general it has served us very well.


INFORMATION New Model Army play Te Waterfront on 31st March. Tickets available from

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