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OMD (ANDY MCCLUSKEY) INTERVIEW [2008]

EVERYTHING HAS BEEN PRETTY BRISK FOR OMD SINCE YOU REFORMED HASN'T IT? HAS EVERYTHING SLIPPED BACK INTO PLACE SMOOTHLY?

Before the tour last year we hadn't all played as a band for seventeen years and we were very nervous. We started rehearsing months in advance of the tour and there were some very amusing moments when we actually had to listen to our own CDs to re-learn the songs. Initially it was very slow and it really took us a long time to shake off the rust. The new technology that was available really helped because once we had got the sounds fixed they could be instantly re-called at the press of a button.

YOU'VE BEEN OUT ON A COUPLE OF SPECIAL TOURS SINCE GETTING BACK TOGETHER, THE 'ARCHITECTURE & MORALITY' SHOWS AND THE 'NIGHT OF THE PROMS' SHOWS IN EUROPE, HAVE THOSE BEEN GOOD OR HAVE YOU FELT AT ALL RESTRICTED BY THOSE FORMATS?

The 'Architecture & Morality' tour really worked well because it allowed us to effectively split the gig into two parts. The first half of the show gave us the opportunity to remind people just what a weird and wonderful album 'Architecture & Morality' was, the second half of the show was effectively the best of OMD to keep the not so die-hard fans happy! Night Of The Proms is of course a completely different mentality, it's quite incredible to stand on stage in front of an orchestra and hear them playing your most famous songs, we loved it and hope to do more of these shows in the future.

CAN YOU DESCRIBE HOW YOU WERE FEELING WHEN YOU FIRST STEPPED BACK ONSTAGE WITH THE REUNITED OMD?

We rehearsed so hard for the 'Architecture & Morality' tour last year that by the time we went on stage for the first show in Dublin we were quietly confident that we would play well. However, the response of the audiences throughout the tour was truly wonderful and to be honest we were very pleasantly surprised by the euphoria that the gigs seemed to consistently generate. By the time we had done just a couple of gigs it felt as though we had never been away.

WHAT CAN WE EXPECT FROM THE FORTHCOMING SHOWS?

For the shows this autumn we are obviously celebrating our 30th birthday, we intend to play at least one song form every studio album, we will drop some of the 'Architecture & Morality' songs from last year and replace them with a couple of 'Dazzle Ships' songs and some old favourites that we didn't play last year. We also intend to play one brand new song!

DIDN'T YOU RECENTLY COLLECT POSTCARDS SENT BY FANS TO USE IN SOME SORT OF STAGE SHOW? WILL THEY BE USED FOR THIS TOUR?

Last year our stage set was dominated by the giant LED screen we had behind us, we commissioned a film for every song that we played, one of those did include postcards sent by fans showing their names and addresses that was for the song 'Messages'. We intend to use some of the films from last year on this tour but we will be having a different stage and lighting set.

WHEN I ANNOUNCED ON MY WEBSITE THAT I WAS GOING TO TALK TO YOU I WAS BOMBARDED WITH EMAILS FROM FANS AROUND THE WORLD ASKING WHEN OMD MIGHT VISIT THEIR COUNTRY (AUSTRALIA, USA, POLAND ETC)... DO YOU HAVE ANY INTERNATIONAL TOUR PLANS AT ALL?

Obviously we would love to expand our touring beyond the countries that we played last year and I'm sorry that this autumn we're just playing Ireland and the UK but we need time to prepare for some of the other things that we have on our schedules, most notably an art installation with Peter Saville in December and a new album planned for next year. I really hope that next year we can start to play some of the countries that we haven't visited yet...

YOU HAVE A NEW COMPILATION, 'MESSAGES', CONTAINING MOST OF YOUR SINGLES AND VIDEOS RELEASED AT THE END OF THE MONTH DON'T YOU? HAVE YOU BEEN PARTICULARLY INVOLVED IN THAT?

We have been involved in the 'Messages' compilation and I have to admit it has been quite difficult to put together. The singles CD unfortunately doesn't really contain anything new, but is there to help sell what we consider to be the most important part of the package which is the DVD of all of our promo videos, all of which have never been available before on DVD and some weren't even available on VHS.

WILL THE 'MESSAGES' ALBUM BE AN INTERNATIONAL RELEASE?

'Messages' will indeed be a global release.

THERE WAS TALK THAT THE ALBUM WAS GOING TO FEATURE A MASH-UP TRACK, OMD VS GROOVE ARMADA, WHICH SOUNDED INTERESTING... ARE YOU ABLE TO TELL US MORE ABOUT IT, AND WHY IT DIDN'T MAKE THE ALBUM?

There is a completed album of mash-up tracks, many of which are fantastic and really exciting; we hoped to include Dazzle Ships at the River by OMD vs. Groove Armada on the 'Messages' release. Unfortunately, Sony who own 'At The River' by Groove Armada would not give us permission to release it even though the guys from Groove Armada loved the mash-up. It has become obvious that trying to release a mash-up CD is going to be a publishing and political nightmare so we intend to make the tracks available by streaming only from our own website.

THE RECENT 'DAZZLE SHIPS' REISSUE GOT SOME FANTASTIC REVIEWS DIDN'T IT? BETTER THAN WHEN IT WAS ORIGINALLY RELEASED PERHAPS... DO YOU FEEL THAT OMD'S LEGACY IS FINALLY BEING REALISED?

I was delighted with the reviews of the re-mastered 'Dazzle Ships' album, I guess that the musical landscape has changed since 1983 and people are more able to understand and enjoy some of the things that may have seemed so strange and difficult 25 years ago. I think that 'Dazzel Ships' was so unusual at the time of its original release that in some ways it has aged very well because it didn't really sound of its time in 1983. I wish that it had been so well received on its original release!

ARE THERE PLANS FOR ANY OF THE OTHER OMD ALBUMS TO RECEIVE THE SAME TREATMENT? 'JUNK CULTURE', 'CRUSH', 'PACIFIC AGE'...

In the immediate future there are no plans for any of the other albums to be re-mastered, though I am sure that the EMI catalogue department will be looking into it as the other re-masters have done rather well.

WHEN WE LAST TALKED YOU WERE VERY POSITIVE ABOUT THE POSSIBILITY OF NEW OMD MATERIAL, IS THAT SOMETHING WE CAN STILL LOOK FORWARD TO?

One of the reasons that there are no plans to re-master any of the other old albums at the moment is because we would rather concentrate on releasing a new LP.

It has been so much fun to work on new material. In the 90s, at the height of Brit Pop, I felt that maybe it would be best to try and sound less like OMD, but now of course in this wonderful postmodern era where there is nothing new there is therefore nothing out of fashion anymore and sounding like traditional OMD is probably quite a cool thing!

If I say so myself the most exciting thing about the new material is just how good it is. There is nothing more depressing than your favourite band from the past releasing a new album and you realise they can't write songs anymore. I am happy and conceited enough to suggest the new OMD album will really impress people. The few people that have heard some of the tracks have been really positive and they have no reason to bullshit us about the quality.

ANYTHING ELSE EXCITING ON THE HORIZON FOR YOU OR FOR OMD?

We are all really looking forward to the tour, rehearsals are going well and if the gigs are half as good as last year, I think everyone is going to be very happy. Hopefully in 2009 and beyond we will get a chance to play to even more people in countries that we haven't visited yet!

After the 30th anniversary tour is the 'Energy Suite Installation' with the artist Peter Saville, which will be shown at FACT in Liverpool from 11th December this year to 11th Feb 2009. It will feature five new pieces of music inspired by, and incorporating sound recorded at, five different power generating sites in the North West of the UK, accompanied with film footage shot at the same sites. It's a real return to early OMD in the style of Stanlow and Sealand.

SEPTEMBER 2008

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