Tom Hodgkinson: So who would you say were your top bands of the 1980s?
Brett Anderson: Well, The Smiths obviously, I know you don’t need anyone else blathering on about The Smiths, but they were very influential. They were our role models in lots of ways, in the way we went about writing and their attitude. Their non-conformist attitude, but also their pop sensibility. They were not avant-garde.
TH: We all had Smiths posters as students.
BA: Did we, though? I’m not sure – I mean, I totally did – I was a Smiths fan at university in 1985 and I remember feeling like an oddball. The hall of residence I was in wasn’t decked with “Boy with the Thorn in his Side” posters. Me and my mate were the only guys that liked The Smiths. They’re one of those bands that have become bigger since they split up. Part of the beauty of The Smiths was that it didn’t feel mainstream. It felt like one’s own little club, like their brilliant B-sides were a gift in exchange for your loyalty. A kind of “Thank you for being part of our little gang”. That’s something that I really wanted to do with Suede. Especially in the early days, B-sides were very important to us. It was about creating a little cult, a group that people can identify with and want to be part of. I always wanted to polarise people’s opinion, to be hated and loved in equal measures. I never just wanted to be quite liked. There was something rather dull about being quite liked.
This is an extract from a longer interview which appears in Idler 64. To buy a copy, click here.