Do you prefer performing live or being in the studio?
The studio, because that’s where the magic is. You can wake up one morning with nothing and then at the end of the day have a song that never existed. That’s the most unbelievable thing ever.
On your album 48.13 you said you were doing things ‘the Kanye West way’. Are you a fan?
I don’t really know what to make of him. He’s a curator, you know, he’s really clever at bringing the right people together. There’s a lot to be said for that.
You were in Dubai in 2012 and are back for Blended.
Yeah, we stayed right near the beach, which was mental – the landscape. There was just this beautiful ocean and nature on the other side. It looks like this sort of business district, I didn’t quite know what to make of it. It’s a crazy place but I love travelling. I like to experience the world. We’re flying in on the morning of the gig, then flying out that night, so it’s going to be a wild trip.
Robin Thicke is also on the line-up. What do you make of the ‘Blurred Lines’ controversy over Marvin Gaye’s 1977 hit ‘Got to Give It Up’?
The tune is pretty spectacular and they were unlucky to get sued for it. I can hear the influence, but I don’t think it’s a direct lift, it’s just unfortunate to get stiffed like that.
What distinguishes an artist from a musician today?
I suppose a musician, in the old-fashioned sense, is someone who has dedicated their life, no matter what, to learning an instrument. You meet proper musicians who are borderline obsessive. I’d say an artist is someone who knows how to play the game a bit better, who knows which hands to shake and who knows what parties to go to.
You said Miley Cyrus is the ‘nightmare of the 21st century’. What did you mean by that?
I have made more mistakes than anyone. I think Miley is super-talented and she has an incredible voice. I think she knows what she’s doing. She’s playing the game so well. What she represents and conjures up is a reflection of how messed up our society is.
If you could change one thing about the industry, what would it be?
It would be nice if people paid for the music that they listened too. If you’re in a band, you’re an artist and you need to put food on the table.
You said you aren’t really into the fame thing. What keeps you grounded?
Living in Leicester plays a big part of it. It keeps you on your toes. Coming home to a place like that keeps you in touch with who you are because you lose yourself in it. We aren’t in it to be famous. We love playing our tunes to people and that’s it.
You won the NME Award for Best British Band this year. What’s the secret to your success?
I put it down to honesty. For good and for bad, what we say on stage has always been very honest – there are no lies. For the future, I’ve no real plans. Maybe I’ll buy an island and live on that.
Dhs395-2,200. Times vary. April 30-May 1. Media City Amphitheatre, Dubai Media City, www.blended.ae.