Varmt välkomna till ett nytt avsnitt av lördagssoffan. Dagens gäst är Justin Sullivan från bandet New Model Army som bildades i Bradford i England. Justin skriver både text och musik och spelar gitarr och sjunger i sitt band och jag är riktigt nöjd och glad över att få ha med honom i min lördagssoffa för att diskutera lyrik. 

Och för er som inte känner till New Model Army, så är det ett band som blandar sin musik friskt i stilar som folkrock, postpunk, indierock m.m. Vet inte hur många gånger jag lyssnat på låtar som ”Family life”, ”Vagabonds”, ”Green and Grey”, ”Queen of My Heart” & ”You weren´t there” genom åren..


Welcome to my saturdaycouch Justin! What is poetry for you?

– The use of words to create a story, a picture or a feeling. Poetry is about not necessarily using obvious words or combinations of words. It’s more about the unusual use and juxtaposition of words with their inherent rhythm and sound as well as meaning (or many meanings) to create something unexpected or unknown.

What does the process look like when you are writing a song for New Model Army? Do you begin with the lyrics or the music and can you tell about alchemy of putting these two worlds together?

– I always have a notebook with me for ideas – some just a couple of lines, sometimes a whole story someone tells me or I read, sometimes a rant, sometimes an observation or feeling. And all the time we are collecting musical ideas from anyone in the band, chords, melodies, rhythmic ideas (especially these!). Then it’s just a question of putting them together, which is hours/weeks/months of work with no real guide or rules – just what feels right.

How many of your lyrics have you got by inspiration and how many are just hard work?

– The ideas are just inspiration; making them work in a song is work.

I listened alot at New Model Army in the end of the 80-ties and beginning of the 90-ties. Thunder and Consolation has been one of my favorite records through the years and
there is a very special atmosphere of that record and that period. What does that record means for you and can you tell me about the writing process during that time?

– I think that was a mixture of where we were in our lives at that time and where we were as a band (freed from worrying about what we ‘ought’ to be doing). It also owes a lot the special Sawmill Studio in Cornwall which we discovered at the very beginning of 1987 when making Joolz’s Hex album. At the end of that year, Robert and I returned, both with a lot of ideas we’d sketched up at home on four-tracks and with Moose on
hand to do a bit of playing.

It was a time when everything of mine that Robert touched turned to gold and everything of his that I touched did the same. The actual recording of the album (months later at a different bigger studio) was a much more troubled time and we only really got through it because we knew that the material was special.

Musicians and poets that has inspired your songwriting? Favorite poetry books?

– Lists are always difficult because there are so many artists that inspire. But for me it should start with my oldest friend, Joolz (Denby), someone who is creative in lots of different ways but has a special ability and fluidity with language; she has been a massive influence and help to me.

I could mention many other poets – WB Yeats, Edwin Muir, Wilfred Owen, Robert Frost, Mary Renault – many, many – and of course song- writers – Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Joni Mitchell, Tom Waits and hundreds more that I admire.

Finally, if you had to choose one of all your songs that would symbolise the heart of New Model Army. Which would it be?

– Everyone has their own favourite. I have many – let’s say today “Dawn” from the High album.

(Photography: Trust a Fox. With permission from Justin Sullivan)