Lloyd Cole plays Brighton on back of new album
Lloyd has lived in the States for years, but remains a frequent visitor over here: “I've been living in the States since 1988. There was no plan. I moved to New York after living in London for a couple of years when the band split up just for a break and I stayed. I met my wife and I had kids and we moved up to Massachusetts. But I don't feel even slightly American. I haven't taken citizenship. My kids feel American but they know that they have British passports. I feel very much like a European living in Massachusetts which is the least insane part of America. For many years I thought that I would move back to the UK, that I would retire back to England, and my wife knows I don't want to die in America but there's no way I would be moving back to the UK now because of Brexit. But still 40 per cent of my income comes from work in the UK.”
As for the new album On Pain: “Album titles are arbitrary things really. I think with any album title a lot of it is down to wanting to attract custom in the way that you dress as a person to attract different people at different times – at one point in your life to attract a mate, at other times in your life to attract friends, at some points in your life to attract fans but really On Pain seemed to scan and it's referencing a line from the first song.”
So no, it's not necessarily about pain: “The interesting thing about songwriting is that when you are miserable you are not in a good state to address the misery. When you rebound from the misery that's when you are in a position to write about it. I do think that songs written from the depths of misery are really quite dull. However when you're engulfed in joy then why would you want to sit in a darkened room and write. But certainly when I was younger and my ambition was to write great pop songs then that was absolutely what I wanted to do, to sit in a darkened room and write.”
It's now coming up for nearly 40 years since that debut album: “Where on earth does life go? Where do the years go? I think I've still got the same aesthetic that I applied to music but back then it was much more raw. It was very focused. And I think over the years I have found ways to stick to that focus but also to make music that I might not necessarily know that I want to make. But I don't think it's about age appropriate. I don't like that expression. I do think it's arbitrary, but the music I listen to these days is certainly very different to what I listened to when I was 23.
“To a large extent I have had to keep going because of the children. I think if I hadn't had children to raise a roof for, then maybe I would have given up or just not had the motivation to keep trying. In music my ambition at this stage in my life is to have the option to retire should I want to. What I want is to have the economic freedom perhaps to take a few years off music. I don't think I would if I could, but I want to have that economic choice. I just like the thought of being able to have a break. I have had not had a break since 91. The last time I didn't worry about money was 93 and then 94 was a terrible year. Ever since then I have lived from year to year and I've just never had a situation where I thought that I could take the next year off.”