SMN speaks with Justin Sullivan from New Model Army

JAMES SCOTLAND CALLING :-The band line up has changed over the years; do you feel this has helped the band, with new influences from the new members?

Justin: – This has definitely helped the band. It has meant that there has been a constant influx of new ideas and new energy and enthusiasm, so while the music keeps changing, the main vision remains. I think that many groups who keep going for a long time often become parodies of themselves because they become bored with each other… change is the natural stuff of all life, all art, all relationships.

JAMES SCOTLAND CALLING : – How does the band feel ‘Strange Brotherhood‘, compared to the previous albums?

Justin: – Like all the other albums, it has successes and near misses. It’s particularly varied, with dozens of different and interesting musical ideas. But I don’t think that it’s the defining moment that we tried so hard for. Looking back, perhaps we tried too hard; during the years it took to make, we got “lost in music.”

JAMES SCOTLAND CALLING : – The last UK tour went well for the band; where on the tour did the band feel was their best performance on the tour?

Justin: – Probably Nottingham, but really there were a lot of good shows. Doing two sets a night for 37 gigs across Europe was very tiring, but it meant we could play a really wide selection of material, which was artistically really satisfying. We started slowly each night and then built up to a last hour of full-on attack. We’ve just finished putting together a double live CD from that tour (“New Model Army and Nobody Else”) featuring 26 songs from the two sets – it will be out in the summer and we’re really proud of it. (This is not to be confused with the new EMI live CD “All Of This”, which is a collection of live stuff released during the 80s, and released now without our blessing).

JAMES SCOTLAND CALLING :- Over the last few years you have played a number of new tracks that haven’t made it on to an album, will these tracks ever appear on any future albums? If not what is going to happen to them?

Justin: – Some of these get chopped up and find their way into different songs. Some may appear on future albums, some may disappear altogether.

JAMES SCOTLAND CALLING : – Why did the band feel that they wanted to make this album alone, instead of using some record company?

Justin: – Record Companies has never been particularly helpful – certainly creatively. When we’re making something, the business side of things is of no interest to us. We’re in a position now where we don’t need their money and we certainly don’t need the interference.

JAMES SCOTLAND CALLING : – The album seems to change allot in the way of tempo and style, are there any good reasons for this?

Justin: – We were following a million different ideas and feels, and selected tracks for the album on the basis of trying to represent all of them. I don’t think that this was entirely successful but it makes for an interesting collection.

JAMES SCOTLAND CALLING : – Why do you think that New Model Army still has a large following throughout the UK?

Justin: – Because we’ve always stayed true to our original vision while letting the music change and develop. Because no one else makes quite this kind of music. Because we’re not a media band – we’re not cool and ironic. We always really meant it and we still do.

JAMES SCOTLAND CALLING : – What could some new fan of the band expect at one of your shows?

Justin: – Passion, power and intent.

JAMES SCOTLAND CALLING : – What record label is ‘Attack Attack‘ is it a local one or just one that the band preferred to use?

Justin: – It’s our own label.

JAMES SCOTLAND CALLING : – What is the band looking forward to in the year 2000?

Justin: – A new album, a new tour, continued opposition to the world of virtual music.

JAMES SCOTLAND CALLING : – Have the band made any special plans to do something for the Millennium?

Justin: – Personally, to get the Hell out of Britain for the duration…


Interview Featured in Scotland Calling Issue 4 January 2000 (Scottish Music Network)

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