“Our manager made a remark along the lines of ‘I think you guys should try and write some singles.’”
‘More Light’ was a 70-minute double album, with nine-minute songs – we definitely didn’t want to do that again. Sometimes you need a bit of direction. Like when Andy Warhol said to Lou Reed, ‘Why don’t you write a song with the title ‘Vicious’?’ And Lou Reed said, ‘‘Vicious’?’ And Andy Warhol said, ‘Yeah, ‘Vicious’. Hit me with a flower.’
We wrote and recorded the last album in parallel with rehearsing for the ‘Screamadelica’ anniversary tour, so we put a few years of solid work in. We felt really up at the end of that tour, so the first week of January 2014, we went back into the studio and started writing ‘Chaosmosis’. Sometimes we can go weeks and weeks without a good idea. This time, the good ideas came in the first week. I think ‘Where The Light Gets In’ was written on the 8th of January, ‘Trippin’ On Your Love’ came pretty closely after that. So it was fruitful. It’s normally a little bit more drawn out. It was happening.
“No one puts everything into just making a classic single. We still do.”
We’re kids of glam rock, we were teenagers during punk, so we grew up on hit singles. My favourite album by The Who is ‘Meaty, Beaty, Big And Bouncy’. For us, it’s a very important thing to come back with a really great single – it means you’re still creatively or aesthetically relevant. Whether we’re commercially relevant, I don’t know, but I would love it if it was a hit, because you fuckin’ penetrate the culture.
When we had a hit single with ‘Loaded’ we were in the charts for weeks, and we went from being unemployed to being on a wage as musicians and being able to build a studio. It gave us the confidence to write ‘Screamadelica’, but we had to follow it up – next song, next song! If you listen to the Terry Farley mix of ‘Come Together’, it’s got a gospel choir, strings – we were really trying to make this classic, epic, pop record. People put that much effort into an album, and we were putting it into a single.
Everybody just makes cool interesting albums now, but there’s no big songs. We knew ‘Where The Light Gets In’ was a great, great song. I saw Noel Gallagher at the end of last year, and he said, ‘Best chorus you’ve written in years.’ I took that as a compliment, because he’s a guy that spends his days trying to write big choruses. So, good one. Thanks Noel.
“That’s the idea of ‘Chaosmosis’ – to make something beautiful out of the chaos.”
I came across the word ‘chaosmosis’ while reading a book by a writer I really admire called Franco ‘Bifo’ Berardi – an Italian post-Marxist, workerist anarchist academic writer. A lot of the time with cultural theory books, they’re talking to other academics or kids who are at uni. I love Berardi because he’s actually a good writer, and he makes it easy for people like me and my friends to understand – he’s aware that he’s trying to widen peoples’ consciousness. The book’s called ‘Heroes’, and it’s about how we’re living in an age of mass suicide and depression, which he links directly to the effects of financial capitalism.
Berardi was quoting Guattari, who said that in the future there’s going to be a ‘miasma of fog’, and it’s never going to go away. People are going to have to try and live through it otherwise they’re going to be suffocated. And one way of doing this is to make ‘chaoids’, which I guess would be works of art that would give you some kind of strength or affirmation. And Berardi said that when he was writing his book, he was trying to make a chaoid.
I guess what he’s saying is you’ve got this overload of information which is impossible to decode. Apart from the existential fucking blues of everyday life, you get the confusion of the infosphere, and images and radio messages and voices – just a constant barrage of sound and information. And I guess as an artist you try and absorb it, but you don’t keep it in your system, because it will psychically poison you. But you can try and make an artwork out of it, which makes, maybe not sense, but something beautiful out of the chaotic information that you’re being assaulted with, and has entered your consciousness and your body. Because I think you take this stuff physically. If you’re a sensitive person, that stuff definitely lodges in your psyche, and it affects you. It affects me.
And Berardi’s going to interview me tomorrow for an Italian arts magazine. It’s fucking beyond amazing. The way he described chaosmosis, I thought we could apply that to our music, and our album. I think we’ve made a chaoid. So that was that. That’s what I take it to mean, anyway. I might meet Berardi tomorrow and he’s like, ‘You’ve got it all wrong, baby.’
“It’s very rare to hear real rock and roll anymore.”
We’re one of the last bands who can actually do it, and it’s a fucking fact. And I know that when we play ‘Rocks’, people go fucking nuts, because people go nuts when they hear real rock and roll. It really is the music of the people. It really does generate a strong, powerful emotion in people when it’s done right. Same with ‘Country Girl’ – another one people go fucking nuts for. But when we play ‘Rocks’…bang!