12 July 2010

This much I know: Richard Ashcroft

The singer-songwriter, 38, on sportsmen, the Verve's comeback, and creating a symphony on a Mac

Marketing men are desperate to hang on to the idea that people's careers are like library cards. So you pull out Richard Ashcroft's card and it's the same old shit on there: my father dying, the Verve, "Bittersweet Symphony"…

If I am on the outside of the mainstream again, then fantastic. But I don't feel on the outside when I walk the streets. I'm not on the outside to the painters, to the delivery guys, the shop assistants. I'm not on the outside to the people of England.

So much that fans have said to me is incredibly personal to them. If you've written any good tunes you will be involved in funerals and deaths, you will be involved in weddings and births.

Was it good that the Verve's comeback wasn't neat and tidy? No, it was inevitable. There's a realness to it; it wasn't a marketing thing. It was much better than hanging around.

Technology means the kind of music you can make on your own if you've got an imagination is amazing. It's crazy that I can sit with a Mac and a keyboard and a mic and create a symphony.

I love sportsmen's spirit, their ability to come back and override negativity. Michael Owen has been written off so many times, but he will always prove the doubters wrong.

I'm very interested in Darwinism and how that affects us on a day-to-day level. But I also have a deep interest in theology and the spiritual. That's why the word "gnosis" appears on the album. It's a guy on a search for that point of spiritual truth.

I went to the Hay Festival and saw Richard Dawkins. What struck me was that we were in a tent and he had 1,000 followers in there. It was very much like a religious revival.

Even if you're not releasing songs, the act of creativity is important. That's the part I love, when you're in the moment. The rest of it I'm not particularly interested in at all.

I'm still looking, I'm still searching, I'm not putting a full stop on the end of it. There is no full stop. There is no end. That's the beauty of it.