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DAVE STEWART INTERVIEW [2012]

THE RINGMASTER GENERAL SOUNDS VERY LIVE, VERY SPONTANEOUS… WAS THAT ACTUALLY THE CASE? WERE YOU GOING FOR THAT KIND OF SOUND, OR IS THE TRUTH SOMEWHERE ELSE ENTIRELY?

Yes, it was entirely recorded live as documented in the film 'The Ringmaster General'. We played it all in one huge room at Blackbird Studios.

HOW COMPLETE WERE THE SONGS WHEN YOU TOOK THEM INTO THE STUDIO?

I didn’t have any completed songs when I went in to the studio, just a few ideas. I wrote all thirteen or fourteen songs during the five days of recording!

IT'S ONLY A YEAR ON SINCE THE RELEASE OF YOUR LAST SOLO RECORD, 'THE BLACKBIRD DIARIES', BUT BEFORE THAT IT MUST HAVE BEEN OVER A DECADE SINCE YOU PUT OUT A SOLO RECORD. WHY RELEASE THE NEW ONE SO QUICKLY AFTER THE LAST ONE?

Well, the world has speeded up and things change so fast, now one year is like three years. There are no rules anymore. I’m making a new album every year as that feels natural to me right now. I love writing and recording and the whole process.

FOR ANYONE WHO KNOWS YOUR WORK BEST VIA EURYTHMICS, THE NEW ALBUM IS BIT OF A DEPARTURE ISN'T IT? THERE ARE VERY FEW ELECTRONIC MOMENTS FOR EXAMPLE AND MUSICALLY IT SOUNDS LIKE A MIX OF DIRTY BLUES, ROCK, AMERICANA, SOUL AND MORE BESIDES...

This album, 'The Ringmaster General', is a continuation of the last album, 'The Blackbird Diaries', and was recorded with the same musicians in Nashville. It has a slightly more rock feeling but you're right, it's rooted in Blues and Americana.

THERE ARE A LOT OF GUESTS ON THE ALBUM; ALISON KRAUSS, DIANE BIRCH, JOSS STONE AND JESSIE BAYLIN ON VOCALS, PLUS ORIANTHI ON GUITAR… DO YOU TEND TO WRITE SONGS WITH SPECIFIC COLLABORATORS IN MIND OR DO YOU WRITE SONGS AND THEN FIND THE RIGHT PEOPLE TO BRING THEM TO FRUITION?

I just write songs and then it becomes apparent whose voice would sound cool on a particular song or, in a Orianthi's case, a guitar sound. Having these artists guest on my album is a special thing and I feel honored to have them, and I love them as people as well as artists.

YOU'VE ALREADY WORKED WITH AN AMAZING SELECTION OF OTHER ARTISTS, DO YOU HAVE A WISH-LIST OF PEOPLE YOU'D STILL LIKE TO WORK WITH?

Well as a record producer I would be diverse as usual and say Bruce Springsteen as well as Stevie Wonder!

YOUR MUSICAL JOURNEY HAS BEEN SO VARIED THAT IT MUST BE DIFFICULT TO WORK OUT A LIVE SETLIST THAT HANGS TOGETHER PROPERLY, HOW DO YOU DECIDE WHAT TO PLAY?

It usually comes together in one rehearsal – I only ever rehearse a band for one day! I will have, say, forty songs that I've chosen and depending on the players we'll knock it down to fifteen or sixteen that seem to fit together best. Usually it's fifty percent my solo work and fifty percent songs I’ve written with Annie or Tom Petty or Stevie Nicks.

WHO WILL WE SEE ONSTAGE WITH YOU DURING THE UPCOMING SHOWS?

Well I have different people jump up all the time! Last weekend it was Colbie Caillat and John Mayer who got on stage, as well as Delta Goodrem and Venessa Amorosi from Australia. Then on stage I also had Jimmy Z – the original Eurythmics harmonica and sax player - as well as Orianthi, Amy Keys, Dana Glover, Kieran Kiely, Randy Cooke on drums and Nik West on Bass. Also my twelve-year old daughter and and my two sons played and sang on a couple of songs...

AT ANY GIVEN TIME IT SEEMS THAT YOU ARE GENERALLY INVOLVED IN LOADS OF DIFFERENT THINGS OUTSIDE MUSIC, IS THERE ANYTHING THAT IS CURRENTLY EXCITING YOU?

I have two TV shows and an internet show going on at various stages at the moment. One show I created, 'Malibu Country', starts on ABC primetime in the US in November. I also have two movies in production, we just made the new Deadmau5 video, and we're in the middle of producing an epic A.R.Rahman video with my production company Weapons of Me.

IT WOULDN'T BE A DAVE STEWART INTERVIEW WITHOUT THE OBLIGATORY QUESTION ABOUT WHETHER EURYTHMICS WILL EVER EMBARK ON A NEW PROJECT WOULD IT? IS THERE LIFE IN EURYTHMICS STILL?

I have no idea at this stage! Obviously we have a load of great songs that we wrote together and I would love for them to be heard in different ways, one of which would be along with a great story in the theatre. Nowadays people play random selections on their laptop or whatever, but putting twelve great songs together in a context with a narrative, and with theatre sets, actors, actresses and so on, all dedicated to it is one possible way of those songs having another life in a different form, just like a script becoming a movie...

DAVE STEWART - The Ringmaster General (2012)

OCTOBER 2012

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1 COMMENT
  1. ADDED BY JohnnyDYR on Oct 25th, 2012

    Ironic that Dave Stewart has turned to Rock & Blues when everyone started finally going electronic. Cool interview.


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