Interview: Justin Sullivan 11/12Hope all is well over there at the NMA hq : ) and in your life Justin.
Apart from the live dates in December including the ones in Turkey, there’s a new album in the works as far as i’ve read. How’s recording sessions going? How’s the process this time? [Again] as far as i’ve read, this time you are after a quite different approach.
It’s difficult to say exactly how it’s going when we’re in the middle of it but we are excited about it. The last couple of albums we have made have been straight “rock band in a room’ albums with songs arranged to be played live in the studio and then again on stage. This time we wanted to make an album without thise restrictions and with the freedom to explore things that we can’t easily reproduce live. It has been a mostly joyous process though and our new bassist, Ceri Monger, fits easily in - not least because he can play a lot of instruments including being a great second drummer...
It’s been quite some time since the release of latest studio album ‘Today Is A Good Day’, hope you guys won’t keep us waiting for new tunes anymore. A release date been confirmed yet?
Sometime in Spring!
The last year’s fire at band’s studio, losing some really precious equipment, and some personal belongings, and some of the NMA history, that really undermined the way things work as planned i gues. But apart from that, it also caused you to lose some beloved things. How did you get over it? It must have been really painful.
I think we all reacted differently. Personally I’m not very good with ‘things’ – I’m careless with both mine or other people’s and as for losing a lot of our history, I don’t much care about that either. The past is past. I most care that, in effect, we lost six months of TIME that was necessarily wasted in rebuilding and finding new gear. I think it was harder for others in the band – especially Michael – who lost four beloved vintage drum kits.
Thinkin of recording a new solo album any time soon?
It’s on the list of things I want to do very much. But it’s quite a long list and is pereceeded by a long list of rthings I HAVE to do.
You’ll be again playing both in Istanbul and Ankara. Still Ankara is your favorite among the two? : )
Ah!!! You cannot ask me to answer this in print to be recorded for all time!! They’re different cities and both have their charms! Istanbul is of course a GREAT city in every way but Ankara does have a certain vibe.... I just remember going for tea at a cafe in Istanbul with fam/friends from both cities who would not talk to eachother!
You’ve got a new bass player, that is a new thing for the turkish audience. And apart from that anything else will be different about these two turkish gigs? Well, i mean other than the usual top quality performance of NMA of course.
We are so deep in the new album that we haven’t thought about it. Tomorrow we stop and really think about what we are going to do and what to play.
So you are pretty familiar with Turkey, you’ve been to Istanbul, Ankara and Kars. That’s quite a lot when compared to any other british band visited our shores for more than once. Any plans for this visit? Anything you’re planning to do when you come over here this time? And as far as i know you had the chance to check out some turkish music, musicians. Any favorites, any plans to buy some records this time?
Yes a few years ago I had the oportunity to travel a bit around Erzerum/Kars and the north-eastern mountains.... very beautiful but Turkey is HUGE and I know I’ve only seen a tiny bit and sadly this time won’t have any time except for one free night in Istanbul... I expect we’ll get a chance to hang out a bit with the Morve Otesi guys as they’ve become good friends over the years . I’d need some suggestions for Turkish records to buy... all welcome.
What do you think about the whole Arab spring? Egypt, Libya and then now Syria. There’s been a lot going on in the islam world in recent years. And lately Israel’s attacks on Gaza. the tension in Middle east seems to be rising maybe even more than ever.
I spent a bit of time in Egypt last year (my sister has lived in Cairo for 12 years) and of course the Arab Spring, perhaps especially in Egypt, was a remarkable and unexpected thing. Yes there is a lot going on and everywhere the waters are pretty dirty. There are so many players – obviously America (the Great Satan to blame for everything – sometimes fairly and sometimes not so fairly) but also Israel, Saudi, Iran and perhaps Turkey. There are national interests, religious divisions and rivalries and bloody oil at the root of a lot of it. We could discuss this for hours but not here and now....
If you didn’t started NMA, do you think you would persue a career as a singer/songwriter? I know you enjoy listening to singer/songwriters like Dylan, Cohen. As much as you’re into soul & reggae.
Oh music is music and I like a lot of different things – anything that has a strong spirit. And yes, I love doing singer-songwriter gigs and have been meaning to bring the duo show I do with Dean White from NMA to Turkey.... Soon!
I’ve recently watched the movie ‘This Is England’. And got a bit more familiar with the state Britain was in in 1983, the war in falklands, the racism, the unemployment and thatcher for sure. You were right in the middle of those days’ political & social atmosphere. And that kind of a social background played a big role in shaping NMA’s music and lyrics.
Yes – that was the era in which we were born and that informed much of the band’s early fury.
It’s always facsinating to see NMA has a very wide range of listeners, metalheads, punks, even classic rock enthusiasts. That’s something every musician and/or band would dream of. Have you give a thought about it? What draws all these listeners to NMA’s music through all these years?
I think that people have learned to trust us. That we always try to do things with a clean spirit and that we’re open to all kinds of ideas – both musically and philosophically. And that money and ‘success’ were never our prime motivation and never will be. The point is to share emotions and passions. I always feel that Turks do instinctively understand this.
Speaking of years, you know The Rolling Stones are celebrating their 50th anniversary. Do you see yourself celebrating NMA’s 50th year? (I hope you do)
Thank you!.... I don’t know, 40 seems a long way off and I’ve never expected to live terribly long. Anyway we’ve been on the edge of spitting up for 32 years! One day it might really happen. One thing I have learned is that life is unpredictable.
Is vinyl coming back? Or already have?
Already has. We’ve just re-released a comprehensive double CD of recordings from our first four years and the vinyl version is going really fast...
Big festivals or club shows?
From the stage I love both but I’d far rather see a band in a club.
Mp3s, cassettes, records or cds?
It’s the spirit that really matters...
Is NMA a punk band?
The word was originally about a cultural revolution and the principle that spirit is more important than technique – yes, we still agree with that. But much later it came to mean a limited one-dimensional kind of music that must have guitars and angry, shouty vocals and we never wanted to be so limited so in that sense no.
If you were a 15 year old boy in 2012, whose posters will be hanging on your wall i wonder?
This is a very good question but as a 56 year-old man I cannot answer it.
Thanks in advance, see you again in Ankara : )