FOR 18 years Feeder have been going strong and singer Grant Nicholas reckons the band have discovered a new energy – after going back to the power of three.

The band's past two records, Renegades and Generation Freakshow, have seen them revert to a trio – Grant, Taka Hirose and Karl Brazil – after previously adding extra musicians.

"I just felt that we needed a bit of a spark again," says Grant, ahead of Feeder's O2 Academy show on Saturday.

"Every band has a period where they can become complacent about touring and shows and you need to think about what you're doing before taking the next step.

"It was a brave move to do what we did, as we could have stuck to the same old formula and had more commercial success, but it just felt that we needed to do something different."

That resulted in Renegades, their heaviest album since their early years. And now they've followed it up with Generation Freakshow, their eighth record in total.

It's a collection that keeps some of the big riffs in place, but also brings back some of the soaring pop hooks that helped the band hit the charts in the first place.

"It's still a rock album, but we wanted to do something that was undeniably Feeder," says Grant.

"We don't want to lose our identity and I think we achieved that. We are just a song based band with a heavy side and a more melodic side and to me, it's about getting the balance right."

Feeder has had many highs, such as the chart success of their classic Echo Park album and scoring huge hits with the likes of Just A Day.

But there have also been lows.The most devastating was the tragic death of drummer Jon Lee in 2002.

Yet the band have continued on, and have not faded away like many of its 90s contemporaries. For Grant, it's evidence that longevity is all about the songs.

"People like songs and it doesn't matter if you're being pushed as the next cool thing" he says. "The bands that last are the ones that are song based and I think people will always pick up on older bands too. I know I did – I started listening to Abba and the Beach Boys when I was young and then I got into 70s punk and Ian Dury.

"I was always loving modern punk too because of the energy, but also classic pop because of the melodies."

Feeder were supposed to have been in Scotland earlier this year, but had to cancel a T In The Park appearance when Grant was struck down by illness. He's eager to make up for the missed show this weekend.

"I had a really bad virus, a chest infection that lasted for three weeks," he recalls.

"We always have fun times in Scotland, and there are always good audiences in Glasgow for us."

Grant is also used to chatting to fans through Feeder's own Facebook page.

"It's easier than ever to be in a band as technology has come on so much that you can do a lot more, but it's taken the mystique out of it," he says.

"If you're in a band now you've got to play that game as social networking is part of the industry. People expect more than just the music.

"Music's easier to get a hold of now and everyone feels they can be a rock star nowadays but having that longevity is tough."

l Feeder, O2 Academy, Saturday, £22:50, 7pm