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03 May 2023

Bernard Sumner: “I’m Always Thinking About What’s Next”

Bernard Sumner
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Bernard Sumner of New Order has spoken to NME to promote Riptide, his recent collaboration with producer/DJ Mella Dee.

Sumner spoke about the way he chooses whether to work with an artist. “I’ve got to like the music, that’s the basic thing,” he said. “I look for people who are striving and putting the effort in to make it.

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“If they’re a good and genuine person then that makes all the difference to me – and that they’re not just doing it to be famous; that they’ve got some substance to what they’re doing. Also, that they’re trying to do something forward-looking. I’m not really into music that’s backwards-looking, because I’ve never been like that myself. I’m always thinking about what’s coming next. Occasionally I might do a bit of Italian disco, but I’m trying to work with forward-thinking people.”

The New Order singer also discussed how difficult it is to remain innovative, “It’s getting harder and harder, because electronic music has been around for quite some time now.

“When we first started dabbling in electronic music after Joy Division and the first New Order album, it was like new territory. That’s more and more difficult now because electronic music has been around for such a long time, but when we started there weren’t many artists that were working in the electronic field – especially the dance-orientated side.”

Going on to discuss the challenges facing young artists today, Sumner considered his early days.

“When we started out in Joy Division, we slogged it on the road for years and years. It was hard then, but I can’t imagine what it must be like now.

“For a band like New Order, we’re OK and we can weather the storms because we’re firmly established”, things weren’t so easy for rising artists.

“Brexit, for example, is an absolute nightmare for young musicians,” he said. “It’s hard enough already with venues closing, streaming pays fuck all. With Brexit, the amount of paperwork that needs to be done, transportation complexities, the cost of travel…

“Culture is a big thing in this country. The UK is known for exporting culture and music. To put a barrier in front of all that for zero return is an abomination. I think it’s terrible. You should be helping young musicians, not putting barriers in front of them. What’s the culture secretary’s job? To make life harder for [people in] culture and the arts? It shouldn’t be that. You should be there to help.”

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