Suede Interviewed: “We tapped into the primal core of the band…”

Suede speak to MOJO about their new songs, last year’s Autofiction and how looking at the band’s past taught them about their present.


by Victoria Segal |
Published on

In the current issue of MOJO, Suede revisit their timeless debut album, 30 years on from its record-smashing release. However, the first thing Brett Anderson mentioned to MOJO's Victoria Segal as he sat down to discuss the band’s debut was that he’s currently writing songs for a new Suede album…

“Doing retro stuff is fine if you’re doing current stuff,” Anderson says with a smile, “and you really can learn a lot about yourself now when you look at yourself in the past.”

At the moment, writing involves taking headphones and computer to a spare room in his house “where no one can really hear me because what I need to do is just shriek, looking for some note. It’s incredibly unmusical.”

If last year’s ninth album, Autofiction, was anything to go by, the shrieking is working out. Anderson says that album “landed so well because we tapped into the primal core of the band we are.” The new work-in-progress would be Suede’s fifth album since Anderson, Mat Osman, Simon Gilbert, Richard Oakes and Neil Codling reunited in 2013, unhappy with 2002’s [A New Morning]{href='' } as their last testament. Highly charged comeback Bloodsports would have been vindication enough, but reformation escalated into full-pelt resurgence. Doused in post-punk accelerant, Autofiction propelled them to Number 2 in the UK charts.

Cheeringly for Suede, the audience isn’t exclusively original fans, either. “The only real problem with it, of course, is a lot of people fall in love with the previous incarnation of the band – the young, pretty version of you in videos,” Osman laughs. “Then they come along to the shows and go: ‘Oh, Jeez.’”

Suede’s renewed energy overspills the stage. Anderson has written two illuminating memoirs, 2018’s Coal Black Mornings and 2019’s Afternoons With The Blinds Drawn, while Osman has just published his second novel The Ghost Theatre, a fantastical wander through Elizabethan London’s drama scene. Whatever drove them 30 years ago isn’t letting up.

“When we were doing Autofiction, one of the things we said was it should sound like it used to sound in a rehearsal room, when it was the four of us,” says Osman. “That kind of scruffy racket is still so appealing to us.”

“I learned a lot about the band from Autofiction,” says Anderson. “It sounds obvious but sometimes you’ve got to be who you are, and just do that really well.”

"It felt like we were the only band in town..." Read MOJO's feature on the making of Suede's iconic debut album in full.

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MOJO Magazine 358
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