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Belle and Sebastian Are Still Making Songs That Can Live With You

Sarah Martin on A Bit of Previous, the group's first album in seven years

belle sebastian interview
Belle and Sebastian, photo by Hollie Fernando/Illustration by Steven Fiche
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    Though it’s been 25 years since she joined the band, Sarah Martin has no trouble tapping into her youthful side. Speaking with Consequence via Zoom from her home in Glasgow, the Belle and Sebastian co-vocalist and multi-instrumentalist is laying in bed stomach-down, swinging her feet in the air behind her like she’s basking in a public park, soaking up the UK’s first days of springtime sun.

    Of course, that sense of youthfulness is most apparent in Belle and Sebastian’s music. As one of the most prominent names of the twee-pop subgenre of the 1990s, the septet — led by frontman and primary songwriter Stuart Murdoch — have never taken themselves too seriously, despite nearly three decades of critical acclaim under their belts. While their early masterpieces like 1996’s If You’re Feeling Sinister documented coming-of-age blues, the band’s upcoming ninth studio album A Bit of Previous puts youth in the rearview mirror.

    “I really enjoy that energy of the young and stupid,” Martin says, referencing the new album’s sprightly opening track. With most of the band members well into their 40s and 50s, married, and/or with children, Belle and Sebastian have a much broader, wiser take on youth now.

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    Still, their music has retained a refreshing quality: A Bit of Previous stays true to the band’s indie pop origins, while still managing to push the envelope. Through all of their phases and all of the curveballs the past two years have brought Belle and Sebastian, Martin is still just as happy as ever to tag along for the ride.

    Ahead of the release of A Bit of Previous (arriving Friday, May 6th), we chatted with Martin about the making of the record, how she’s spent her time in the pandemic, and what it means to be in Belle and Sebastian in 2022.

    Check out the full Q&A below.


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