(Reuters) - British indie band 'The Charlatans' release their 13th studio album later this month, having brought a host of guest collaborators on board to help out.

"Different Days" features contributions from the likes of The Smiths legendary guitarist Johnny Marr, former Jam frontman Paul Weller, crime writer Ian Rankin and actress Sharon Horgan.

Two of the original band members - singer Tim Burgess and guitarist Mark Collins - spoke to Reuters about the project, as well as the death of drummer Jon Brookes in 2013. A fourth member, keyboardist Rob Collins, died in 1996.

Q: What was it like, working with Johnny Marr from The Smiths?

A: Burgess: It was quite social. You know, we asked him over, to come over for a cup of tea really. And, you know, bring your guitar kind of thing. And he did. And, you know instead of staying for an hour he stayed for five hours and...

Collins: Instead of doing one track he did three.

Burgess: Yes, instead of one track he did three, so it's very nice. The whole album for me really is, you know, is a social thing and it is very much about keeping your friends close.

Q: How did the death of your drummer, Jon Brookes, in 2013 affect the band?

A: Collins: Well, after Jon died we were a drummer short in the group. So that was what first led us to recording with someone that didn't grow up with the band, I mean as a band member.

I suppose in a way it kind of opened our ears to the prospect of inviting new people in that... haven't been there for the last 20 years. So in a way, you know, the loss of a member maybe broadened our horizons to turn something into a positive.

Q: What's the idea behind your new single, "Plastic Machinery"?

A: Burgess: The idea of the song really is that... if the machinery is like the ruling class then it's a bit fragile, bit broken, made out of plastic.

'Different Days' is out on May 26.

(Reporting by Sarah Mills, writing by Mark Hanrahan; Editing by Ken Ferris)