When ska-pop legends Madness returned to the studio to record their 10th album earlier this year, it felt like a rebirth according to the band's multi-instrumentalist, Chas Smash.
"We're middle-aged guys now. We aren't the rebels we were when we started," says Smash, who was born Cathal Smyth and co-wrote the band's 1982 hit, Our House.
"That's why this record feels like a rebirth," he adds. "We have always done this band on our own time but there was something new and refreshing about going to record again.
"We were all so absorbed in the process we didn't really think about the end product. It reminded us of when we first started. It was such a joyous and memorable time, the way it should be when you make albums."
Previous album, The Liberty of Norton Folgate, released in 2009, was Madness' first after a 10-year hiatus. The positive media and fan response inspired the band to make another album.
"I guess you could say that the fans and press made us feel good about it," Smash says. "Their support inspired us to go and do it again.
"We had many ideas floating around and just approached it from the point of view of let's go in the studio and see what happens. Nobody is really interested in us as individuals as much as they are into Madness. We share a collective conscience and I guess it shows."
The new album, Oui Oui Si Si Ja Ja Da Da, sees Madness latch on to their winning formula of soulful ska with a bouncing backbeat.
They enlisted the help of several producers, including Charlie Andrew (who worked on Alt-J's 2012 Mercury Prize-winning debut), long-time collaborator Clive Langer, Toe Rag studio owner Liam Watson and the Smiths' Stephen Street.
Madness still possess a knack for pop hooks, as evidenced on How Can I Tell You, remain as nutty as ever on My Girl 2, and opt for a mariachi sound on La Luna.
"We're still Madness, you can't change who we are or how we make music but we like to open ourselves to new ways and brought in some new blood," he says.
The father-of-three says the past year has been a thrilling one for the band.
In addition to starring at many of Europe and the UK's summer festivals, Madness enjoyed high-profile performances at the Queen's Jubilee Concert and the Closing Ceremony of the London Olympics.
"We lead charmed lives," Smash says. "To do what you love and earn a living from it is such an incredible thing.
"When I was young, people got a job and worked for one company and stayed with it until retirement."That's not the case any more but we still work to that old-fashioned model. As a band we have great respect for each other and share a Madness imagination."
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