FORMERLY REMEMBER THE EIGHTIES.COM
HOWARD JONES INTERVIEW [2009]

I IMAGINE THAT EVERYTHING IS VERY BUSY FOR YOU AT THE MOMENT WITH THE RELEASE OF THE 'ORDINARY HEROES' ALBUM JUST AROUND THE CORNER. DO YOU GET NERVOUS BEFORE A NEW ALBUM RELEASE?

I go through a brief period of panic wondering if the album is any good and will anybody like it, then I pull myself together, and remember that I spent 4 years writing and recording it and I've done the best job I could.

I'VE BEEN REALLY ENJOYING THE ALBUM, THE TITLE AND THE SONG OF THE SAME NAME SEEM TO SUGGEST THAT THERE ARE ORDINARY HEROES AROUND US ALL, ORDINARY PEOPLE DOING AMAZING THINGS AS PART OF THEIR EVERYDAY LIVES... WAS THE TITLE INSPIRED BY ANY SPECIFIC ORDINARY HERO?

You have got the song exactly.... we are surrounded by ordinary heroes, and we might well be one ourselves. The inspiration comes from talking with people and listening to their stories.

I WAS LISTENING TO THE ALBUM IN MY CAR AND I HAD TO PULL OVER WHEN I HEARD THE TRACK 'SOON YOU'LL GO', WHICH I'M GUESSING IS ALL ABOUT YOUR CHILDREN GROWING UP AND LEAVING HOME? MY DAUGHTER IS ONLY FIVE BUT THAT SONG MADE ME WANT TO CRY... SUCH LOSS BUT SUCH PRIDE. IS IT DIFFICULT TO WRITE ABOUT THINGS THAT ARE SO EMOTIONAL, SO PERSONAL TO YOU?

I did find 'Soon You'll Go' very hard to sing ..I kept breaking down during the recording. I feel that it is my job as a songwriter to capture those feelings that are hard to express, and seal them into a song so that under the right circumstances the same feeling can be evoked by the listener. It was written by myself and Cori Josias about my daughter leaving home to go to university.

As you say there is the heart wrench, and at the same time the pleasure of seeing them start out on their independent lives. It can also have a broader meaning about any loved one leaving.

DO YOU HAVE ANY PERSONAL FAVOURITES, FROM THE NEW ALBUM AND THEN FROM YOUR ENTIRE CATALOGUE? IF FAVOURITES IS TOO DIFFICULT THEN PERHAPS SONGS THAT YOU'RE PARTICULARLY PROUD OF?

My current fave on this album is 'Fight On'...

ARE THERE ANY SONGS YOU'D DELETE FROM YOUR HISTORY IF YOU POSSIBLY COULD?

No, I wouldn't have recorded them if I didn't believe in them... except... perhaps... the track 'Human's Lib' now that's really drawn attention to it!

HAS THE NEW ALBUM BEEN LONG IN THE MAKING? I THINK THAT SOME OF THE TRACKS WERE PART OF YOUR 25TH ANNIVERSARY SHOWS LAST YEAR WEREN'T THEY? DID PLAYING THEM LIVE AT THAT EARLY STAGE CHANGED THE SHAPE OF THE SONGS THAT WERE RECORDED FOR THE ALBUM?

As I mentioned earlier 4 years writing and a year recording... on and off of course... because there are a lot of gigs in between. The few I played at the 25th was part of the process of getting the album right, because the string parts and aspects of the arrangements were modified for the album.

HOW MANY SONGS DID YOU WRITE FOR 'ORDINARY HEROES' AND WAS IT EASY TO CHOOSE THE ONES THAT MADE THE FINAL CUT? A COUPLE OF PEOPLE HAVE MENTIONED THAT THEY WERE HOPING 'BUILDING OUR OWN FUTURE' WOULD MAKE IT ONTO THE ALBUM FOR EXAMPLE...

Eleven songs were written for the album. There is one 'Your Heart Has Won' which didn't make the main album but is on the piano and vocal album that comes on the limited edition. 'Building Our own Future' is available as a free download already but I think it is going on the Japanese release as an extra track.

DOES THE MUSIC THAT YOU LISTEN TO DAY TO DAY INFLUENCE WHAT YOU'RE WRITING? IF SO WHAT SORTS OF THINGS WOULD YOU SAY INFLUENCED THIS ALBUM, WHAT SORTS OF THINGS WERE YOU LISTENING TO WHILE YOU WERE MAKING IT?

I do listen to plenty of music and I'm sure it all has an impact on me. I think this album was influenced by the piano solos I have been recording recently more than any other artists. I am listening to Laura Marling, The Killers, Lady Gaga, John Mayer, Morriston Orpheus Choir, Imogen Heap, Duncan Sheik.

YOU HAVE A TRIO OF SPECIAL ALBUM LAUNCH CONCERTS COMING UP IN LONDON, CARDIFF AND MANCHESTER HAVEN'T YOU? WHAT SORTS OF THINGS CAN PEOPLE EXPECT FROM THOSE SHOWS?

I am playing the whole of the new album with the full line up of drums, bass, guitar, string quartet, and backing vocals, and of course me and piano. The second half will be the Howard Jones band slamming out the hits. Nick Heyward is doing a set in London and the Morriston Orpheus Choir is joining me in Cardiff.

YOU'VE PLAYED SHOWS AT PRETTY MUCH EVERY SCALE OF VENUE, FROM TINY CLUBS TO WEMBLEY STADIUM... WHAT SCALE OF SHOWS DO YOU TEND TO ENJOY THE MOST?

I really enjoy them all. We played to 20 or so thousand at Henley this Summer which was big fun and then I played a Seminar at the O2 last week to an intimate audience of 70 which was also very enjoyable.

YOU PLAY LIVE AROUND THE WORLD A LOT, IS IT BECAUSE YOU ENJOY DOING IT OR BECAUSE IT'S A NECESSARY PART OF THE JOB?

I do enjoy what I do and playing live is a big part of it.

ARE THERE PLACES YOU HAVEN'T PLAYED BUT WOULD LIKE TO, OR PLACES THAT YOU HAVE PLAYED BUT WOULD PARTICULARLY LOVE TO GET BACK TO?

I would like to play in South America one day.

I SUSPECT THAT YOU DON'T HAVE A GREAT DEAL OF CONTROL OVER WHAT HAPPENS TO YOUR 80S CATALOGUE, BUT LOTS OF PEOPLE HAVE ASKED ABOUT THE POSSIBILITY OF GETTING YOUR EARLY ALBUMS REISSUED ON CD PERHAPS WITH BONUS TRACKS? I BELIEVE THERE'S ALSO QUITE A LOT OF ORIGINAL 12" REMIXES, B-SIDES AND SO ON THAT HAVEN'T MADE IT ONTO CD YET...

We are just finishing negotiations with Warner Bros. to license my albums back off them. So when that is sorted we plan to reissue everything!

THE ALBUM PACKAGING IS VERY STRIKING ISN'T IT? HOW INVOLVED ARE YOU IN THAT SIDE OF THINGS?

Ian Walden is a genius designer that I work with a lot, and I asked him to come up with something extraordinary for the special package of the new album and he absolutely delivered that.

I wanted a handmade type feel that reflected the new album. He came up with 12 original pieces of artwork that used embossing and foiling techniques. Each of the sp pack is unique with different card and ink combinations. The fans could request a special dedication as well as a signature. I am thrilled with the way it has turned out. The regular version reflects the design of the sp pack.

WHAT HAVE YOU GOT COMING UP ONCE THE ALBUM IS OUT AND THE THREE UK DATES ARE OUT OF THE WAY?

I can't think that far ahead at the moment. I've got loads of ideas to do with the re-release of the Warners albums. I want to write a bunch of songs for the HJ big band for the Summer outdoor shows. Loads of things!

NOVEMBER 2009

© RememberTheEighties.com / 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.