Paul Weller released his second greatest hits compilation, More Modern Classics. He chats to us about getting better, getting older, and getting happier.
YOU PLAYED A HANDFUL OF SMALL SHOWS IN CLUBS RECENTLY. HOW WERE THEY?
Good fun, but a lot of hard work, which I’m not averse too, but it was extremely hard work. Cramped for space, sound limitations, the rest of it. Our rehearsal space is bigger than those spaces, it’s like Wembley Stadium compared to them. But it is what it is, a club gig’s a club gig. Good for getting warmed up.
DO YOU EVER NORMALLY PLAY SUCH SMALL PLACES?
Not normally, no, although we do play some smaller ones in the States, and some countries in Europe.
HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT MORE MODERN CLASSICS BEING RELEASED?
I feel good about it. It’s most of the singles from the last 16 years. There’s a lot of material, and I think it’s a very colourful record.
THERE’S BEEN AN ALBUM EVERY 18 MONTHS IN THE LAST FIVE OR SIX YEARS. DOES THIS DRAW A LINE UNDER THAT PHASE OF YOUR CAREER?
I don’t think so. It’s all a work in progress, it’s a continuation of what I’ve always done. It’s no full stop, just a collection of what I’ve done. I find it hard to think of my work in phases, I just try to get better at what I do.
THERE’S JUST THE ONE TRACK FROM THE 2002 ALBUM ILLUMINATION
Yeah, It’s Written In The Stars is the only one. Not exactly packed full of hits, that one, and not one of my favourite albums, but there are always at least a couple of good tunes on every album. But a great album is when you don’t skip them and it sounds complete.
WHICH IS YOUR FAVOURITE?
The one I’m working on now is always the one I’m fondest of, and I’ve got a new song that I’m really into. But I suppose 22 Dreams is my favourite, it’s got such a variety of styles on it and there’s such experimentation on it.
YOU DON’T LOOK BACK ON YOUR CAREER, THAT’S BEEN A THEME. BUT ARE YOU LIKE THAT IN YOUR NORMAL LIFE, ARE YOU NOSTALGIC?
No, not really. I’m always into what I’m doing at the time. I don’t get too nostalgic about anything, there’s not much point, and it can be heartbreaking too sometimes, so why would you? I just enjoy what I’ve got right now.
HOW FAR INTO THE NEW ALBUM ARE YOU?
Half of it is done, I guess, but I can’t do any more till September when all the live dates are finished. After the festivals we’re touring America. Then that will be us till the end of the year, in the studio finishing the album. I want it done by Christmas because I want it out in spring next year. It’s early days but what I’ve got so far is great. It’s moving on from Sonik, more groove-based and funky, but still good melodies.
DOES IT FEEL LIKE AN ENDLESS CYCLE?
I suppose, but not in any way am I complaining about that. The only ambition I’ve got now is to live a bit longer and do more of it.
YOU SEEM LIKE YOU’RE ENJOYING YOURSELF MORE AND MORE THESE DAYS?
I am very happy. It comes from getting older, realising a lot of stuff and having kids growing up around you. I am enjoying myself, especially in the last few years. It might be a few factors; finding the right person to fall in love with, having a greater sense of knowing myself and seeing all my good points and bad points and that sort of stuff. Generally, I’m just more comfortable in my own skin.