2 Tone ska legends The Selecter are back with a new album next month, and frontwoman Pauline Black chatted to us about the album, the recent riots and the history and meaning of the scene.

-What can fans expect from Made In Britain?
I think they can expect what The Selecter usually talks about, which is basically what's going on. Again, it seems kinda strangely prescient I suppose, in terms of what's been going for the past few weeks.

Just the titles of some of the songs, there's one called 'My England' which is very much about what leads to riots. One of the lines is "living in a wasteland of crack and guns", you know? It's a bit of a no-brainer in some ways, why this is happened.

-What do you think about what's been happening over the week then?
To my mind, this is very much similar to the situation when 2 Tone was around at its height in 1981. If you take away the money from those kinds of areas, and it's just year upon year of people have cut-backs, all those things going down the drain...this is what you reap. Basically, you reap what you sew.

-Is this where you get your lyrical inspiration, from what's going on around you?
Well, doesn't everyone get their lyrical inspiration from that? I don't know, I don't have a hotline to God.

[Laughing] Maybe somebody gets their lyrical inspiration from somewhere else, but I thought that was the nature of writing any song. You take what you're experiencing, and put that into some kind of form that people will get some emotional resonance with.

-Do you still get just as excited about writing and recorded as you did when the band first started?
Yeah, otherwise I wouldn't be doing it! Why would you do something that is unexciting to you? I felt particularly this year, re-launching The Selecter onto the scene and things like that, we wanted to do that.

I knew my book was coming out in August, I knew the subjects I was dealing with in that book. That has never changed, the understanding I have of what The Selecter is about, in thirty years. I thought it was very important that The Selecter did knew songs.

Obviously people know us from 'On My Radio' and 'Too Much Pressure', and the Celebrate The Bullet Album. It's great to have people like Gwen Stefani name us their Number 5 Album or whatever. All of that is really lovely, but you can't just rest on past laurels all the time.

I thought it was very important to do some new stuff. The stuff we've done has been really strange. The whole 'Back To Black', Amy Winehouse thing, her dying when we get delivery of the vinyl. You've also got the Norwegian events happening.

Now, just as the album's about to come out, you've got this whole situation in England that's destroying people's communities.

If you don't give people a stake in society, you don't give them a stake in terms of their future or prospects, they're really not going to take the upholding of private property very seriously. That's obviously what has happened.

-You mentioned your book, how was that process for you?
[Laughing] Long! Long, it was a very steep learning curve. I actually got my book deal last year in May 2010. It's been a long wait until July, but that enabled all kinds of plans to be put into place with The Selecter.

Getting ourselves together, going out and doing a stonking live set, recording the album, recording the album.

All of it comes back to, whether we like it or not, we live in a multicultural society, and what the hell are we going to about it? That debate seems to have been opened rather interestingly this week.

-Earlier this year, you won the right to use The Selecter trademark and use the name yourself. How important was that for you?
We're in the music business, and The Selecter is a name, a recognisable name from over 30 years ago. From that point of you, it had never been trademarked and I felt it was necessary to do that.

-Moving to the ska scene in the UK, what do you think of the state of it?
Well, there still is one, very obviously. The Specials are just about to embark on a European and British tour. We're doing a tour during September to back up Made In Britain. That's what we're calling it, the Made In Britain Tour.

We're completely split down the middle in terms of black and white in our band. I feel that it's a very strong message to put out there these days, what 2 Tone stood for.

2 Tone was standing for multiculturalism when the word hadn't been invented. In fact, the word racism had only just been invented at that time to define that feeling.

The gigs we've been doing, the festivals over summer, have gone very well. People seem to be into that message and the new music and the only was is forward really.

-What was it like being part of that movement on 2 Tone with bands like The Specials?
It was an exciting time. We'd all come to it from different backgrounds, but we found a unity in the message we were saying.

Those were days when you could be picked up for absolutely nothing, if you were the wrong colour skin. The law isn't there anymore but the same thinking is still around anymore.

I can only say one thing really, that if you don't want something to happen like this week, then stop killing people. The police should stop killing people, then they might find that those things don't happen quite so regularly.

-The band seems very politically motivated-
No, not very politically motivated. I think all people are politically motivated. If you go out and work for a wage, you're politically motivated, are you not?

-Do you think people with a platform have a responsibility to raise awareness of certain issues?
The only reason for being in The Selecter is to raise awareness of what's going on around us, particularly things that involve racism, sexism.

That was what 2 Tone was suppose to be about, that's why it was called 2 Tone. We're more interested in the unity of black and white people, men and women, than we are in upholding any differences. There are no differences them.

-The music industry has changed a lot since 2 Tone in the 1980s. Do you think things like digital music are for better or worse?
I think they're better. For a musician, it's great. You can bat MP3s around, record for next to nothing. You don't have to go into some huge studio that costs an arm and a leg. If you do, then it's for post-production rather than recording.

So, it enables bands who don't have the backing of very large record companies, which is a lot of the bands around in our day, to continue making music.

-After such an illustrious career, has life on the road changed over the years?
[Laughing]Yeah! We have a more comfortable bus now!

-What can fans expect from your live shows?
They can expect music culled from the Too Much Pressure album, Celebrate The Bullet, our new album, and certainly the two new singles that we've had out. Other songs that interest us, too.

-Made In Britain is out next month, but what does the rest of the year hold for you?
We're gigging up until the end of the year. We're doing a festival, Skabour Festival. Next year, we'll be touring during March and we're lining up festivals for next year too.

-What final message would you give to anyone reading this?
Maybe The Selecter doesn't mean anything to somebody of this generation, but maybe the idea of 2 Tone and what we set out to do 30 years does have some meaning for them.

Look at it, I guess, in that way. I consider that the 2 Tone message is worth trying to spread, not just in this country but throughout the world. That's all we're trying to do.

Female First - Alistair McGeorge

2 Tone ska legends The Selecter are back with a new album next month, and frontwoman Pauline Black chatted to us about the album, the recent riots and the history and meaning of the scene.

-What can fans expect from Made In Britain?
I think they can expect what The Selecter usually talks about, which is basically what's going on. Again, it seems kinda strangely prescient I suppose, in terms of what's been going for the past few weeks.

Just the titles of some of the songs, there's one called 'My England' which is very much about what leads to riots. One of the lines is "living in a wasteland of crack and guns", you know? It's a bit of a no-brainer in some ways, why this is happened.

-What do you think about what's been happening over the week then?
To my mind, this is very much similar to the situation when 2 Tone was around at its height in 1981. If you take away the money from those kinds of areas, and it's just year upon year of people have cut-backs, all those things going down the drain...this is what you reap. Basically, you reap what you sew.

-Is this where you get your lyrical inspiration, from what's going on around you?
Well, doesn't everyone get their lyrical inspiration from that? I don't know, I don't have a hotline to God.

[Laughing] Maybe somebody gets their lyrical inspiration from somewhere else, but I thought that was the nature of writing any song. You take what you're experiencing, and put that into some kind of form that people will get some emotional resonance with.

-Do you still get just as excited about writing and recorded as you did when the band first started?
Yeah, otherwise I wouldn't be doing it! Why would you do something that is unexciting to you? I felt particularly this year, re-launching The Selecter onto the scene and things like that, we wanted to do that.

I knew my book was coming out in August, I knew the subjects I was dealing with in that book. That has never changed, the understanding I have of what The Selecter is about, in thirty years. I thought it was very important that The Selecter did knew songs.

Obviously people know us from 'On My Radio' and 'Too Much Pressure', and the Celebrate The Bullet Album. It's great to have people like Gwen Stefani name us their Number 5 Album or whatever. All of that is really lovely, but you can't just rest on past laurels all the time.

I thought it was very important to do some new stuff. The stuff we've done has been really strange. The whole 'Back To Black', Amy Winehouse thing, her dying when we get delivery of the vinyl. You've also got the Norwegian events happening.

Now, just as the album's about to come out, you've got this whole situation in England that's destroying people's communities.

If you don't give people a stake in society, you don't give them a stake in terms of their future or prospects, they're really not going to take the upholding of private property very seriously. That's obviously what has happened.

-You mentioned your book, how was that process for you?
[Laughing] Long! Long, it was a very steep learning curve. I actually got my book deal last year in May 2010. It's been a long wait until July, but that enabled all kinds of plans to be put into place with The Selecter.

Getting ourselves together, going out and doing a stonking live set, recording the album, recording the album.

All of it comes back to, whether we like it or not, we live in a multicultural society, and what the hell are we going to about it? That debate seems to have been opened rather interestingly this week.

-Earlier this year, you won the right to use The Selecter trademark and use the name yourself. How important was that for you?
We're in the music business, and The Selecter is a name, a recognisable name from over 30 years ago. From that point of you, it had never been trademarked and I felt it was necessary to do that.

-Moving to the ska scene in the UK, what do you think of the state of it?
Well, there still is one, very obviously. The Specials are just about to embark on a European and British tour. We're doing a tour during September to back up Made In Britain. That's what we're calling it, the Made In Britain Tour.