Keeping the music alive

Keeping the music alive

Britpop icons Suede aren't just back to tour

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Suede's (from left) Simon Gilbert, Richard Oakes, Brett Anderson, Mat Osman and Neil Codling, played hits old and new at their recent Hong Kong concert to a surprisingly young crowd
Suede's (from left) Simon Gilbert, Richard Oakes, Brett Anderson, Mat Osman and Neil Codling, played hits old and new at their recent Hong Kong concert to a surprisingly young crowd
The sight of young people swaying at the front of British alternative rock band Suede's concerts both excites and intrigues the group. Since they got back together and started touring again almost three years ago, this sight has become a regular occurrence.

"It's actually quite odd to look at the front row, where you'd sort of expect older fans, and see it packed with 16-year-olds," says bassist Mat Osman, before Suede's gig in Hong Kong at AsiaWorld Expo last Sunday.

Frontman Brett Anderson, guitarist Justine Frischman, and Osman got together in 1989 to form Suede. The band enjoyed a successful career until the mid- to late 1990s.

Their catchy rock style makes them one of the most popular icons of Britpop. Some of the band's most popular songs include Beautiful Ones, Animal Nitrate and For the Strangers, which Hongkongers heard at their show.

But Suede's rise to stardom wasn't always plain sailing. The band members had their differences, which led to the departure of founding guitarist Frishchman in 1991. Three years later, guitarist Bernard Butler, who had joined in 1992, also left.

After that, Suede was joined by drummer Simon Gilbert, guitarist Richard Oakes and keyboardist Neil Codling. The band eventually split up in 2003.

But in 2011, Suede reunited, and they have been on the road ever since. One of their biggest goals now is to bring music to new fans and places.

"We are sort of picking up fans on the way, I think," says Osman, referring to their growing young fan base. "They've been on YouTube, and looking for such and such bands, and I love that. We haven't been around for 10 years. If they found us, they found us on their own.

"This is a really lovely thing for a band, and it's not a multimillion-dollar marketing campaign that's shoved down [young people's] throats."

And while Suede's band members enjoy all the travelling that goes with touring, this rebirth isn't just an excuse to get new stamps in their passports. In March, the band released a brand new album called Bloodsports.

Anderson says playing live over the past three years has inspired the band to keep this album free from post-production touches.

"[While touring,] we heard [our old] songs really raw, live, and realised how good they could sound," he says.

Bloodsports, therefore, reflects a return to the musical style the band had when they first started out - the style that helped to define Suede.

"Like everyone else, we have had 10 years away from Suede," Osman says. "You don't want to come back with something that isn't Suede."


You might also like:

- Four former members of British rock band Oasis are now creating their own distinct sound

- The Killers were in town for their first-ever Hong Kong concert, triumphantly filling the house - fans have clearly forgiven them for cancelling their 2010 gig - and getting everyone up and dancing.

- Scottish rock band Travis are back after a break, with different lives and material

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