Brett on The Chris Evans Breakfast Show

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sunshine
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Brett on The Chris Evans Breakfast Show

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Catch Brett on The Chris Evans Breakfast Show tomorrow (06/05) morning at 9:30AM on Virgin Radio UK -SuedeHQ

sunshine
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Re: Brett on The Chris Evans Breakfast Show

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Brett Anderson on Suede’s classic album, Coming Up
By Virgin Radio - @VirginRadioUK

Thursday, May 6, 2021

Indie legend Brett Anderson joined the Chris Evans Breakfast Show with Sky to talk about a new Classic Albums documentary on Sky Arts, which looks at Suede’s seminal 1996 record, Coming Up.

The Mercury Prize-nominated album is put under the microscope by the new documentary at 9pm tomorrow night (Friday 7th May), and Brett chatted with Chris about the record’s creation.

Prior to the making of the seminal album, the band was hit by the departure of guitarist Bernard Butler. Brett told Chris, “There was always that kind of volatility there. Every band ultimately implodes doesn’t it? And that’s what’s exciting about it.

“It’s that sense that it can all fall apart, that’s what rock music is. There’s a danger there, and stability is kind of dull, isn’t it? Knowing that and working within those limits was what was exciting about Bernard being in the band.”

Speaking about his relationship with the guitarist, Brett continued, “I’m sure I drove everyone insane. Young men in their 20’s thrust into a position of power and wealth and privilege, and people telling them that they are God’s gift is going to drive anyone insane. It’s a distortion of reality. It’s fascinating. It messes with your head. We all drove each other insane, but we made some good music out of that insanity.”

Following Butler’s departure, the hunt was on to find a replacement guitarist, so the band put out an advertisement. Brett recalled how they subsequently selected Richard Oakes to join. “I heard a cassette in our manager’s office,” he explained. “I heard him playing guitar and it was a beautiful version of a Suede song. Sometimes I’m quite instinctive about things. If it feels right musically, I trust my instincts.

“We called him up and it turned out he was 17, so that was a bit of a shock. But when we met him, he was such a confident musician that it just felt right.

“He’s an incredibly talented musician. It was amazing the way he responded to what he had to do. He had to fill Bernard’s shoes, which is a pretty tall order, and he never seemed fazed by it, which is incredible for someone so young.

“There were all sorts of crazy situations during that whole period. I remember we were on tour and we were in Hamburg. All of us went out and got drunk and we left him in his hotel room and said, ‘you can’t come out until you’ve written a song!’”


There were further alterations to the Suede line-up for the creation of Coming Up, with keyboardist Neil Codling joining. “He just sort of fitted in with the vibe of the band,” Brett told Chris. “I’ve said it before, but he was a Suede person. I don’t really know what a Suede person is, but he was one. He balanced us all out.

“He joined as the keyboard player, and because of that he was always very aware of not disturbing the dynamic of what makes a guitar band work. He didn’t want to come in and say, ‘let’s make a keyboard album and sound like Richard Clayderman.’ He was always quite respectful of that. He was very aware of what made Suede tick.

“It’s been a real pleasure watching him grow as a musician… He’s one of those annoying people who can do everything. He’s like Prince or something!”

The Sky Arts Classic Albums documentary dives deeply into how the record was put together, and in it Brett talks about the making of the track Filmstar. Discussing it further with Chris, he explained that he woke up with the song in his head. “It doesn’t happen very often. People who don’t write songs have this slightly romanticised view of what writing songs is like, because they’ve watched The Doors film, where they sit around and write Light My Fire in five seconds. It’s not really like that. It’s months and months of fiddling with little bits of melodies and changing things. But sometimes it can be, and bizarrely enough Filmstar was like that, it was very spontaneous. They occasionally drop in your lap like that, but not often.”


Meanwhile, Brett has special affection for another track on the album. “Trash is my favourite lyric on the record. It’s almost like an anthem for Suede. It’s about the band and it’s about the fans. Sometimes you just nail it.”

Coming Up’s producer, Ed Buller, plays an important part in the documentary, and Brett told Chris that he is an integral member of the Suede family. “Ed is our George Martin.... He just works really well with Suede. We really trust him. He’s very brutal about it. If a song’s not good enough, he’ll never sugarcoat it, he’ll just say ‘nah, it’s rubbish.’ It’s kind of brilliant.”

Looking back on the album, Brett told Chris that, overall, the experience of making Coming Up was much better than he had experienced when putting together their previous album, Dog Man Star. “It was supposed to be much more of a joyous record. Dog Man Star was such a tortured record and such a dark record, and so unpleasant to make, to be honest. We wanted to be a band again. Making Dog Man Star was a very fractured process. We wanted to be in a room as a group of guys enjoying playing together, that was what Coming Up was all about.”

Excitingly for fans, as well as having this new Sky Arts documentary to devour, they can also catch Suede performing the whole of Coming Up live, as the band are heading out on tour later this year. “Coming up is a great record to play live,” Brett enthused. Explaining what shape the gigs will take, he added. “We’ll probably do Coming Up, then we’ll be b-sides, and then we’ll go somewhere else with it. The thing about Coming Up is that it’s quite a short record, so we can almost do a gig of two halves. We can do Coming Up and then do a whole other thing afterwards.”


The Sky Arts Classic Albums series covering Suede’s 1996 masterpiece Coming Up will air tomorrow night (Friday 7th May) at 9pm. Tickets to Suede’s tour go on general sale this Friday 7th May at 9AM at http://suede.co.uk

For more great interviews listen to The Chris Evans Breakfast Show with Sky, weekdays from 6:30am on Virgin Radio, or ​​​​​​​catch up on-demand here.
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