The interview was performed by Kjell from Norwegian NRK2, in Stockholm, February 1999. Alex and Damon both look quite tired, possibly hungover, Alex with a cigarette, Damon wearing dark glasses. The ambience is good, though, lots of smiles. This isn't the complete interview, but it's all that was aired. I can't guarantee that it's flawless, but I do think it's rather exact.
Damon: I don't get up in the morning to be on TV. It happens. But I definitely get up to play the piano, or whatever.
Alex: I just wanna play my guitar really loud. And I do it cause I can. And cause I want to. Because I think it's cool.
D: I've always just felt that I can get better, you know, improve as a human being. It's just this… I'm just striving to become a better person, to make better music. Always. I've never really, kind of, felt that I've arrived, you know?
Kjell: 13 - new Blur album. You've kind of reinvented yourselves again. Why is that? D: Oh, I don't see it like that. It's just, life… life moves on, you know. You're experiencing changes, and it'd be a bit weird if… I was still singing about Parklife. It just wouldn't make sense to me or anyone else
A: Why? Well, we're all constantly striving for new reasons to get up in the morning, aren't we? I mean, it's hard to see yourself changing as a person. It's like trying to watch your hair grow, but... you know, we're different people from who we were when we made our last record.
A: I mean, the emotional currency of this album is Damon's extraction of himself from a long, worn-out relationship, really. I mean, there's madness and pain, and… you know, it's… it comes in a nice packet, but… there's blood on the tracks.
D: Well, it wasn't a choice… you know… And it just… I just had to write like that, I didn't feel… I didn't feel that I could not… put as much of myself as I could into my music, it just didn't make sense anymore not to be a lot more open about things.
A: I mean, one of the great functions of pop music is that it helps people understand how they feel, you know, we're just trying to help people understand. That's probably the very thing about pop, it's replaced poetry as the thing that lets people understand themselves a bit more, you know, even if it's just gooey; "I love you, you know it's true", there's nothing wrong with singing that if you mean it.
K: The musical side of it, it's quite a diverse album, I think. Why did the album end up like that?
D: Well, I think… It's impossible for us to just do one thing, cause we just aren't just one thing, we're… I think what's good about this record is that it isn't so diverse in the overall sound. I mean, there's a lot more conformity in that sense. Maybe what's going on is very different, but there's a kind of top end, top top layer, you know, that is just there from beginning to end, which we haven't had on any other record.
K: Is it important for you to kind of be unpredictable as a band now?
A: I don't think unpredictability is something you should strive for. You know, cause it sort of goes hand in hand with wacky, doesn't it? We don't wanna make wacky music. I think there was a time when we did wanna be wacky… but we're too grown up now.
K: Why did you choose to work with William Orbit?
A: With dear old Willie? Well, ha ha, the record company leapt at it cause he'd just done a Madonna album, obviously. You know, every record company in the world is trying to force their dodgy bands on him.
D: He just turned up, first day of recording, he turned up. He's so phenomenally focused when he's working, you can't help it rubbing off, you know. I found myself paying so much more attention to what I was doing than I probably ever have done, and it appeared because it sort of… to keep up with him, I had to, sort of, really push it.
K: He hasn't put his mark on your record like he does to a lot of other things.
A: Well, I mean, the Madonna record was just him, you know, it's all him, basically he just gave that record to her, I think, because she sang on it. But, you know, you don't want the producer to make an album for you, you wanna make your own record. You've got to talk about it for two years, and live with it, you know… and everyone thinks it's you.
K: You're singing about your personal life, and you've also lived your life in the public eye for about ten years now. What does that do to you, you know, having the eyes on you all the time?
D: I don't know… It does… to you what I am now. Ha ha…
A: There was a thing… "If you know who Damon's new girlfriend is, phone this number"! Ha ha… A couple of weeks ago. And he got really upset about that. But, you know, it does reduce him to the same level as a criminal. Always. You know, "Have you seen this man, phone…" You know, it's horrible! But he's the singer. Ha ha… Should've been a bass-player.
D: The trick is just to slow down. Don't get over-excited. I mean, you have to, because when you're subject to such extremes, like, whatever it is, X amount of people, on stage or whatever. You know, the recognition, generally, when you're walking around. It can, well; you just have to be really… take a big deep breath. That's the way you cope with it.
Kindly transcribed by Nina Iren Hoven