Marc Almond: ‘I’ve been through all the vices and now don’t have any’

The singer-songwriter, 62, on examining mortality, living with trauma, and learning to become a druid

While my childhood was broken, it wasn’t totally miserable. I had fantastic grandparents, who I adored. I had a nervous breakdown at 17 when my parents divorced, and was sectioned for two months. But I try and put a positive spin on everything. After that, I got accepted into Leeds art college, where I met David Ball – and we started Soft Cell.

You never expect something like Tainted Love to happen. I always thought I’d do experimental theatre and just dance about, but I have no coordination. I muscled my way into singing Dave’s songs and we were such an odd duo it captured the imagination. When we got to No 1, we were still living in student accommodation. It went crazy after that.

I can relate to sociopaths. I had a motorbike accident in 2004 that left some terrible legacies. I have memory and emotional problems and a lack of empathy. I’m not distressed if a friend dies, but in tears if an animal is mistreated.

I feel the world is going through a big change at the same time I am. I’m getting older, so you think about mortality and what you’re going to do with how long you have left. Then you think about the world – it feels like this ending, the climate, pollution, fires and floods. We’re told it’s doomsday all the time.

I’ve been taking time to become a druid. This spinning acceleration of everything brings out the inner pagan in me. I feel a need to have a connection with the earth. I want to dance around Stonehenge in pagan robes connecting back to earthly things.

I hate it when people become victims. I create my own mechanisms to get me through life. I’m drawn to people who are stoic, emotionless and just get on with things, because that’s what I do.

The best relationships are the ones that are mostly in your head. You can see somebody, get together, have a great time – and not have to put up with all the drudgery and arguing.

I’ve been through all the vices and now don’t have any. The last time I thought I should binge was on millennium eve – because I thought that was what everyone else was doing. I had a big party at my house and everyone was completely out of it, and it just looked like a mess. Now I just like going to the theatre or out for dinner with friends.

I’m happiest when I’m busy and can’t indulge my thoughts. I’m naturally quite depressive and melancholic, and I don’t like being like that. As long as I’m doing stuff and dancing as fast as I can, I’ll just keep dancing. I can’t slow down – it’s ingrained. Sometimes I hear myself say I’m going to retire and not write any more songs, but I just can’t do it. I love what I do too much.

Chaos and a Dancing Star, Marc Almond’s latest album, is out now

Rachel Corcoran

The GuardianTramp

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