I wanted the EP to be reflection of my pop tastes, so there are references to some of my favourite pop styles. First and foremost I wanted the The Dancing Marquis EP – parts one and two – to be a) catchy big-chorus glam pop, and b) to reference to some of the great Tony Visconti T.Rex Pop singles I bought as a teenager. I wanted to exorcise my glam rock demon!
It was a fabulous experience working with Tony, I got to see some of his secret touches he uses when recording, also he’s what I call an ‘old school’ producer who likes to work with real musicians, drums, guitars, and most of all strings. He arranged and recorded some wonderful string arrangements for four of the songs across the two-part EP. He also has some great little stories to tell about working with Marc Bolan and David Bowie. When we worked together, Bowie’s ‘The Next Day’ album had just come out so he had some stories about that… working with him was lots of fun!
Tony was always at the top of my dream list to work with as a producer. I was a little nervous about approaching him but I needn’t have been, he’s so approachable and down to earth. We first met about seveb years ago when taking part in a Marc Bolan tribute show with the fabulous band T.Rextasy. It turned out he was well aware of me and wanted to work with me too. It didn’t happen then for various reasons but a year and a half ago we were taking part in another Marc Bolan tribute and this time we made sure it happened. I booked the studio and Tony came to London to produce ‘The Dancing Marquis’ and ‘Burn Bright’.
‘The Dancing Marquis’ has been released as two separate packages – both in the form of vinyl and CD packages and downloads – but at some point they will come together as one CD with bonus tracks and everything. But that’s in the future, and not for a while…
The Jarvis Cocker song ‘Worship Me Now’ just turned up one day, Jarvis had written it especially for me with his writing and production partner Jason Buckle. It was co produced with Tris Penna, and to be honest I had little to do with the track except my vocals and suggesting some gospel-girl backing vocals. I love the track!
Carl and I were appearing together in an experimental pop opera called ‘Poppea’ in Paris, and being a fan of Carl I asked him to write me a song, badgered him actually! He wrote me the fabulous ‘Love is Not on Trial’.
All the songs on the EP could relate to this Dancing Marquis character who was a real person, a Victorian aristocrat Henry Paget, the fifth Earl of Angelsey.
I’ve actually been returning to electronic sounds a lot recently. My next album, which will be out in September, has a lot of electronic leanings and I’ve been slowly recording songs with a German duo called Starcluster, and they’re very old school electro, and reference very early 80s, maybe even late 70s, sounds. I’m loving it again!
The theme of ‘The Tyburn Tree’, which was another name for the Gallows at Tyburn, is dark London and its myths, something which is fascinating to me. It’s a collaboration with award-winning composer producer John Harle, and the music runs from classical to techno, folk, and even progressive rock. Its quite a powerful record… it’s coming out in February and there will be a short tour at the beginning of March.
There has to be compromise at times of course, I wrote ideas for ‘The Tyburn Tree’ which didn’t get used and so on. But a good balance is usually struck and it can be a really rewarding experience like ‘The Tyburn Tree’ was. Some collaborations don’t always work out. I’m also very reticent about working with too many musical heroes as I don’t want to be let down, I want to be able to remain a fan, although most of my musical heroes are dead now!
Usually I’d rather work on someone else’s track than have them on mine. Maybe I’m too much of a control freak but when I work with others I try to surrender…
I’m touring throughout the year with Jools Holland and those dates will all be on my WEBSITE. I also have a brand new album – which won’t include any of the Marquis tracks – out in September.
Marc Almond will release the ‘Tasmanian Tiger’ EP on February 14th.
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