The Streets' Mike Skinner: "No One Needs a Record Label"

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UK musician Mike Skinner and his project the Streets release fourth LP Everything Is Borrowed on October 7. Everything Is Borrowed represents a series of stark departures for the 29 year-old Mercury Award winner. "I'm always rebelling really," he says. "It's another way of getting away from the album I did before."

That album, 2006's The Hardest Way To Make A Living was a dark, cynical album that fell short of the sales marks of his previous work. But Skinner still stands by it. "I think that's the bravery of the last album is the moral position. I'm playing the bad guy," he says. "This album was hard definitely, but I think my moral position coming out is much more difficult to argue with. The last album was complex and kind of ironic. It was partly a kind of an explanation almost as to kind of why the dream isn't a dream, you know? 'What's at the end of that dream?'"

Indeed, Hardest Way's cocaine and fast cars, paranoia and grief, and sex as sport has given way to Borrowed's tales of clean living, walks in the countryside, personal contentment and yearning for real relationships. Two tracks — "Alleged Legends" and "On The Edge of a Cliff" — hold the keys to the record, he says, "because 'Alleged Legends' says 'You don't need God' and "On the Edge Of a Cliff' says that 'Life is amazing. Life is as beautiful as they say.'"

Skinner says he's readying a U.S. tour for the end of '08, plans a final Streets album and foresees a label-free future that started with the mock burial of his own record company at a recent concert. "No one needs a record label, you know? You just need artists and maybe a bit of management," he says. "The record label has to do everything it can to sell the album, but if I didn't have a label I don't think I would really be running the CD gambit further. I would do something more creative."

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