IN October 1980 three musicians took to the stage in their hometown of Bradford to play a gig under the name New Model Army. Led by frontman and songwriter Justin Sullivan, this was the start of a remarkable journey which, almost 40 years on, has seen New Model Army develop a fervent worldwide fanbase inspired by the band’s defiant politics and punk rock spirit.

The last few years have seen the band release the hugely acclaimed albums Between Dog And Wolf (2013) and Winter (2016) bringing renewed critical appreciation, chart success and an ever-growing audience of new fans to join the legion of faithful devotees with last year’s From Here seeing them extend their purple patch into a new decade.

“We recorded From Here in just nine days,” said Justin, recalling the making of the band’s 15th album, which saw the band travel to the tiny Norwegian island of Giske at the beautiful Ocean Sound Recordings studio.

“It was an incredible place - in terms of the actual living quarters it was quite a primitive place, but the studio itself was state of the art. It’s an amazing studio which feels like it’s at the end of the world.”

Unsurprisingly Justin feels the spectacular isolation of that environment permeated its way into the songs he’d written.

“We knew we were going there and I thought we needed to practice and practice and get everything ironed out but our producers didn’t want that,” said Justin. “They wanted the place to have an effect on the music which meant a lot of the decisions about the songs were made there. The whole process became an adventure and everyone was positive at all times. It was the most positive experience we’ve had making a record for 20 years if not ever.

“We set out with a clear idea of what we wanted to do and musically we wanted to have the kind of rhythm section that we are famous for with the tribal drums and the big bass. We decided to make the guitars acoustic and it made it really big and spacious.

“The last couple of albums were a bit ‘zeitgeist’ - Winter was written just before the EU Referendum but we knew what was coming.

“This time, in a world where everyone is screaming at each other all the time, we attempted to take a step back and look at the bigger picture.”

Being literally on the edge of Europe certainly gave Justin something to think about when it came to politics and the world around him.

“The thing about Brexit which I find the most ludicrous, among many I should add, is that in the great scale of things on the planet at the moment it is a very parochial affair,” he laughed. “The world is actually facing something far more serious.

“Somebody said to me the other day that my songs are always very intertwined with nature as if human society is somehow separate from nature, but the truth is we are facing a perfect storm of our own making.

“During my lifetime, 40 per cent of everything on Earth other than people has died, Birds, flowers, trees, fish - it’s all disappearing and as a species we are facing cataclysm.”

While band members have changed over the years and musical styles have evolved, Justin, 63, shows no sign of retreating his army just yet.

“This is the best version of New Model Army that I can remember,” he said. “We are five very different people, but we work very well together.

“We’ve just played in Europe and all our German dates were sold out before we got there and so was Budapest and Krakow so it’s all good.”

As for live dates, Justin admits it’s all dependant on the venue.

“The special gigs depend on how the gig is built,” he added. “It has a huge effect on how the night turns out. We have our favourite venues which are all basically amphitheatres - it’s very important for an audience to be able to see each other as well as the band. It’s easier then to create something in the room between everybody.”

n New Model Army play the O2 Ritz in Manchester on Saturday, January 11. Tickets from