A new album from New Model Army is always an event. The English band released a live recording in 2018, on which practically only the concert visitors can be heard. For the new studio work "From Here" the quintet retreated to the Norwegian island of Giske to arrange and record the songs in great seclusion. "Everything was allowed," bandleader Justin Sullivan tells us.
As usual, Justin Sullivan, the front man of New Model Army, is reserved and cautious at first. In the course of the conversation, however, he becomes more and more talkative and willing to provide information, especially when it comes to the way his band works and how they try to cross borders. In addition, his anger in view of the forthcoming Brexit remains high.
eclipsed: Would you consider every new album from New Model Army as a commentary on the state of the world, or is that an exaggerated expectation of the fans?
Justin Sullivan: I would return the question directly: What do you think you're doing? Isn't it up to the listener to judge what I want to express with my texts and how he then processes them for himself, what he feels about them? In fact, I'd say about "From Here": I think there's so much loud yelling all over the world right now, everyone yells and thinks they're right - I'm not going to go along with that. My aim was to take the proverbial step back and look at the world in a much larger detail. The title also means this: "From this place I see a panorama unfolding and do not participate in the loud, confused screaming.
eclipsed: And that's why you've set up on the Norwegian island of Giske to record the songs in their seclusion?
Sullivan: Yes, exactly. Giske has a landscape that reminds us of our homeland Yorkshire. Everything's dark, but we love it. If you ask other bands where they would like to record, they certainly call New York or the Caribbean. This is nothing for us, we need this foggy, gloomy thing so that our songs can really unfold. And yes, the title of the album also refers to that, because the songs originated from the atmosphere of the island.
eclipsed: Did it help that for the first time in a long time you as a band, but especially you, didn't produce anything yourself and only concentrated on the music?
Sullivan: That was the plan. Lee [Smith] and Jamie [Lockhart] had already produced the last two albums with us. This time I wanted it to be like it was before: I didn't want to think about where the mics had to be, but to dedicate myself to the songs. The sound has also grown: We have our usual basic structure of bass and drums, with the emphasis on the tomtom. We took the keyboards as far out as we haven't since the early 80s, but I wanted to do even more, that is to say do without the loud guitars. The rhythm corset is therefore often complemented by an acoustic guitar, which results in a very unique sound.