Now the dust has settled on your ‘create your own album’ concept (2010’s The Future is Medieval), do you still think it was a good idea?
We invented something new. Bands have crazy ideas all the time, like floating down the Thames or going up in a hot air balloon, and this was a pub idea on the back of a cigarette packet – but it worked and we broke all the rules. We’ll always be the first band ever that invited fans to create their own bespoke album.
You’ve just announced the release of a singles collection. Does that make you feel old?
It definitely changes the way you look at the band: you realise how many songs you’ve had and how many [songs] people know. It’s not that you feel old, but I still feel like I’m watching a different person and there’s this other me that’s been in a band for the past eight years.
We heard there was a girl called Ruby who got bullied because of your number one hit, so you met her to say sorry. Is it true?
We invited her backstage to apologise for all the hassle it caused her! It’s quite a sweet story. The song itself came from something unrelated. We’ve kind of left the story of who or what Ruby is to history, but it wasn’t about that girl.
Your 2004 single, ‘I Predict a Riot’, was released seven years before the UK riots of 2011. How bored are you of being asked if you predicted it?
It’s nice you put it like that. Lesser journalists are always asking us, "Did you predict the riots?" Of course we didn’t – that song was about a night out in Leeds. It’s just a disease of the media world to look for the easiest answer.
Is it true you have a group huddle before every gig?
Yeah. We’re like a little football club – for some band members it’s more superstition that if we don’t something will go wrong and all the strings will fall off the guitars. There’s also [another] small ritual, but that will be kept secret forever.
Are you fearful for the future of guitar music?
It’s not going to die completely, but it is in danger. If you look at the charts, you see two guitar songs in the top 40 – that’s sad. I just hope kids don’t stop picking up guitars and learning Beatles riffs or Black Sabbath or whatever. I strongly believe in lugging your gear in and out of a van and playing to five people in a pub – it gives you passion.