Suede frontman Brett Anderson says he has no interest in turning the band into a “heritage act” as they played a set of brand new songs at a secret gig to a few hundred fans.
The band – playing under the name Crushed Kid – surprised the 300-strong crowd at the Moth Club in Hackney on Monday night by running through the track listing for their forthcoming album Autofiction.
Anderson said the record was the band’s “punk” album and the gig in the sort of small, sweaty venue where they started out was an attempt to “remember what was exciting in the first place” about being in a band.
He said: “There’s an element of theatre about it.
“It’s why we are doing it under a different name. It just chimes with the record as a more stripped back, starker, more primal record and it’s good for you to throw away and destroy your own ego a bit.
“It’s good for you to get your hands dirty.”
He said the choice of a small indie venue was “not a nostalgic thing”, adding: “It’s not like we want to be the sort of band we were in 1992.
“Of course I have fond memories of those times but I don’t want to go back there. But there is something of that energy and that contact with the audience I really love and I try to recreate that even when we’re playing much bigger places.
“I hate when you play big festivals or big shows and the audience is miles away behind a barrier and you’ve got cameras in your face. I always try to instigate contact with the audience, a flow of energy between the performance and the audience because that’s a really key part of our show.
“I’ve always thought the key point of live music is you interact with the audience and audience feeds off the energy and there a loop going on.”
The frontman said the “punk” approach to making the record was not an attempt to “ape a genre” but more about performing with “a lack of respect”.
He said: “Rock records we made in the past I made as a 20 something man that I’m not anymore.
“I’m perfectly accepting of that. It’s an interesting thing for a man of 55 to talk about his anxieties and hang ups in the form of a rock record, I think it’s quite an interesting thing.
“What tends to happen is when you get bands still carrying on is that they’re playing in their back catalogue and they’re heritage acts. What we’re doing today and what our artistic drive is about is creating new music.
“I’m not interested in being a heritage act that just plays old songs and that’s all we do. That would be a living death for me and just utterly boring.”
The band started making the record in 2018 and Anderson says the intervention of lockdown allowed them time to write more songs and eventually make a better record.
He said: “I think it would have been a weaker record if we had released it at the time.
“We wrote probably 50 songs for this record, sometimes they get recycled and sometimes they die. It’s just part of the process and I try not to get too precious about it.
“I’m able to be a bit more objective about my own songs, I think you have to be as you get older.”