FORMERLY REMEMBER THE EIGHTIES.COM
GARY NUMAN INTERVIEW [2012]

THERE MUST HAVE BEEN TIMES IN PUTTING TOGETHER 'MACHINE MUSIC' AND WORKING ON THE TOUR THAT YOU'VE HAD TO REASSESS THE MUSIC YOU'VE MADE IN THE PAST - AND IN THE CASE OF THE DVD TO REVISIT YOUR PAST IMAGES AND PRESENTATION - IS THAT A COMFORTABLE PROCESS?

I think it's always slightly cringe-worthy looking back at things you've done in the past, even if they were massively successful or influential. You can't escape that unless you have an ego the size of a small planet. I don't like watching myself on screen at the best of times and I certainly don't enjoy looking at things from decades ago so it's hard to be objective and see these things from a fans point of view. Having said that I do think we've come up with a very strong track list for the Machine Music DVD but I did rely heavily the team around me to help with that.

IS LISTENING TO YOUR EARLIER MUSIC AN EASIER EXERCISE THAN LOOKING BACK AT VIDEO FROM THAT TIME? DO YOU THINK THAT VIDEO IS ABLE TO CAPTURE THE SAME SORT OF TIMELESSNESS AS MUSIC?

For me listening to earlier music is easier than watching performances of it, but that's because I'm super critical of my performances, be they on TV shows, videos or on stage. So many things date the performances visually that it's hard for anything to stand the test of time. It's hard enough for the music itself not to date badly but it seems to fare much better as a listening experience than a visual one.

YOU DIDN'T REALLY ALIGN YOURSELF WITH THE VARIOUS ELECTRONIC FACTIONS OF THE LATE SEVENTIES AND EARLY EIGHTIES EVEN THOUGH SOME VERY EXCITING THINGS WERE HAPPENING (HUMAN LEAGUE, CABARET VOLTAIRE, ULTRAVOX!, THROBBING GRISTLE, OMD ETC). LOOKING BACK NOW ON YOUR OWN CONTRIBUTIONS DURING THAT PIONEERING PERIOD IN ELECTRONIC MUSIC DO YOU FEEL MORE OF A KINSHIP WITH THOSE ARTISTS AND THE MOOD OF THOSE TIMES?

It wasn't a deliberate attempt to snub anybody. When I first became successful all I talked about was John Foxx and Ultravox!. They were very important to me. Human League are friends of mine and have been for a long time, and I took OMD as the support on my first major tour, so I really wasn't trying to stand apart from the other electronic bands for snobbish reasons. I just didn't want to be a part of a genre or trend.

It seemed to me then that all new fashions in music come and go, and when they go they tend to take those bands associated with that style down with them. I knew that electronic music, in that first wave at least, would lose it's momentum and people would eventually turn to other things. I didn't want to be dragged down with it, I wanted to stand just outside of all genre's, to have a sound of my own that moved from one area to another as the career progressed. I thought that would give me longevity.

I BELIEVE THAT YOU HAVE A NEW ALBUM, 'SPLINTER', IN THE PIPELINE? WHERE ARE YOU AT WITH THAT?

I've written a huge amount of stuff for it, with around six songs being completed from a song-writing point of view. Plus there are dozens of other partial songs left to pull apart and put back together so it's well under way. I've still got a lot of production work to do but Ade Fenton, my producer, is already well into that so the pace is picking up now.

It should be finished in the next three months and we then need to choose a suitable time to release it as we have a lot of other things going on...

I KNOW! IF THE NEW ALBUM AND THE 'MACHINE MUSIC - THE SINGLES' TOUR AND RELEASE WEREN'T ENOUGH, YOU'RE ALSO ABOUT TO RELOCATE TO THE USA AREN'T YOU? WHAT PROMPTED THAT MOVE?

The climate is so much better, you can do more with your life every day, and nothing is cancelled or abandoned due to rain! I also think it will give the children an amazing life, and for me open up many opportunities for developing my music career which just don't exist in the UK. I would very much like to get involved in film scores and TV for example, as well as writing more albums and touring of course.

HOW FAR DOES YOUR ENVIRONMENT AFFECT THE WAY YOUR MUSIC SOUNDS? DO YOU THINK SOMETHING OF CALIFORNIA WILL MAKE ITS WAY INTO YOUR CREATIVE PROCESSES?

don't think it affects me at all, but you never know. I have friends who are writers who are very affected by their surroundings but things I write come from deep within. It's as if I close my eyes and go searching inside for things to write about, so I've never felt that my environment played any part in that. If it does and I start sounding like one of the Beach Boys then I'll probably come home!

IT'S BEEN INTERESTING OVER THE LAST FEW YEARS - PARTICULARLY AS MAJOR ANNIVERSARIES OF YOUR EARLY RECORDS COME AND GO - TO SEE HOW MUCH RESPECT YOU'VE BEEN GIVEN BY THE MAINSTREAM MEDIA WHEN LOOKING AT YOUR WORK IN RETROSPECT, EVEN THOUGH THEY WEREN'T REALLY ON YOUR SIDE AT ALL AT THE TIME. HAS THAT TURNAROUND BEEN IMPORTANT TO YOU AT ALL?

It's very important from a career perspective as that respect generates new interest in you as an artist and in your music. It also builds credibility with new generations of musicians and music fans. Respect and credibility are very important and valuable things to have so I feel very lucky with the way things have worked out for me.

Having said that, I have no axe to grind whatsoever with the things that were said about me when I first became successful. I'm not sitting back all smug thinking how clever I am, or how wrong they were. I believe that what I was doing back then, even though it was massive, was just lost on some people in the media and I believe that what they wrote was genuine. They didn't get what I was doing and they didn't like it. I have no problem with that, but I'm glad things are now so much better.

A GREAT DEAL OF RESPECT HAS BEEN PAID TO YOU AS AN INFLUENCE AND AN ELECTRONIC MUSIC PIONEER BY AN INCREDIBLY DIVERSE SELECTION OF ARTISTS OVER THE YEARS. ARE YOU ABLE TO ACCEPT AND ENJOY THOSE COMPLIMENTS TODAY?

Yes, it's great to hear these things being said. I have always felt lucky rather than talented so I am surprised at just how many cool people have said kind things about me and my music. It's very flattering and it's added a level of pride and excitement to what I'm doing now. I still love making music, and I have much the same desires and attitudes for it as when I first started, so knowing that you have made such a big impact on so many other great artists is very satisfying. I hope it continues!

The limited edition 'Machine Music' DVD will available to buy at the forthcoming 'Machine Music - The Singles Tour' dates in May and early June in advance of its official release on June 11th. More details from Gary Numan's OFFICIAL WEBSITE.

TOURDATES

MAY
22 - Leicester O2 Academy / 23 - Glasgow O2 ABC / 24 - Newcastle O2 Academy / 25 - Sheffield O2 Academy / 26 - Dublin Button Factory / 28 - Bournemouth O2 Academy / 29 - Bristol O2 Academy / 30 - Cambridge Junction / 31 - Birmingham HMV Institute

JUNE
1 - London HMV Forum / 2 - Cardiff Coal Exchange / 3 - Brighton Dome

MAY 2012

© ThisIsNotRetro.com – Not to be reproduced in any form without written permission. Link to the site but please don’t steal our content – thank you for your understanding and support!

WOULD YOU LIKE TO COMMENT?

You will need to log-in (on the right hand side of the page) to post a comment.

© 2002 - 2017. THIS IS NOT RETRO / REMEMBER THE EIGHTIES. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.