It's interesting of your music that you rarely -- if ever -- write sad songs. Meanwhile there's the singer-songwriter cliche that goes the other way around, like some artists can only write when they're depressed. Why is that?
Because it's easy. It's easy to write sad songs. It's very difficult pulling off this magic trick of joy and togetherness. And, you know, Oasis had it, where you go to an Oasis gig, you feel good about yourself. U2 have got this thing where, if you go to one of their gigs, not only do you feel good about yourself, but you feel good about the next person too. It's difficult to do, which is why many people don't want to f---ing try to do it because it can be really cheesy.
I find that I do it better accidentally than if I'm trying to... You know, if I was to sit down tomorrow and say, "There's too much f---ing pain in the world, I'm gonna write a song about the beauty of life." It would cheesy as f---, but accidentally somehow it seeped into this. I'm not happier now than I've been in the last 10 years, but these backing tracks and the tunes were coming out so up and there's a lot of hope in the records that it's just kind of what I was writing. I can pull that trick off accidentally -- without even knowing.
I was wondering about the We Are Manchester show that you did this summer, re-opening the arena after the terrorist bombing there in May. That's your hometown, and your Oasis song "Don't Look Back in Anger" became an anthem for the city after the attack. What was that experience like for you?
I was expecting it to be like that, so I had probably prepared myself for it, but you find yourself in this really... "Don't Look Back in Anger" was always, it was a huge colossal song anyway. But it was a song, to me, that song was always about and is always gonna be about, you know, Sally is this woman of a certain age who has watched her life maybe drift by, but she's raising a glass to it. She's got no regrets. And now in Manchester it will be forever this song of open defiance and of looking forward into the future. But you're kind of onstage thinking, as a songwriter, you live for these moments where an entire room is hanging on every word of the song and it has such deep meaning that you're thinking, this is amazing. And on the other end, you're wishing this wasn't happening at all. So you're kind of in this war with yourself, thinking this is great and thinking this f---ing is so tragic as well. So forever now in Manchester it will have that connotation attached to it and it's an incredible thing that people rallied around that song and took something from the words in that song.
I don't know if you've seen the thing on the telly -- well, I was actually watching it live. When the girl started singing it, it was kind of like a real f---ing heavy moment. And then you're thinking, well, it is an amazing thing -- 'cause it's an extraordinary song for this reason -- that everyone's in their own thoughts and this girl decides the crowd needed bringing together. She decides to sing this song and that square is not full of what we would consider to be Oasis fans, which is f---ing soccer guys. It's full of people from all over the world and all walks of life and they all instinctively knew the words. I was like, whoa. D'you know what I mean? Like, wow. I do tend to think about these things, and I was thinking, what was happening in Paris that night when I wrote it? How did that thing fall out of the sky and land in my lap? Because I have no recollection of writing it because I was drunk. It's like a real magical thing, d'you know what I mean? Forever tinged with sadness, but such is life.
But also hope and everything else that goes with it too.