It’s a great pleasure and honor for us to be able to do this interview with you!You have been an artist in the music scene for over 30 years now. What are your main inspirations?
Everything is an inspiration! As a writer/musician I think you have to be open to every kind of inspiration.
Do you have any favorite bands or artists in general that you admire and have influenced you throughout the years of your career?
A great number of bands and artists have inspired me over the years. As I said above, it is important to be open to as many influences as possible.Some names I can give – David Bowie, Brian Eno, Kraftwerk, Tangerine Dream, Patti Smith, Sex Pistols, Buzzcocks, Magazine, Tim Buckley, Sensational Alex Harvey Band, The Pre-Raphaelite Movement, Casper David Friedrich, Nicholas Roeg, JG Ballard…….the list goes on and on……!
You started out in the early 80s; you are one of the pioneer artists in the electronic music genre. The times back then must have been rather rough for newcomers in the music industry! Would you like to share some memories from that time with us?
“Rough”? Well, I don’t know about it being any “rougher” then than at any other time. In fact in some way it was easier because the Do It Yourself mentality of Punk and New Wave enabled a lot of people to get their material out independently.
But yes, of course, the big record company sharks were waiting in the corner as always and I had many many bad experiences. Once they push you into a corner with no way out, the options are very limited.
Now, with the new technology the artists again have the possibility of keeping control of their work.
As for sharing any of the horror stories from that time, I prefer to leave them where they belong – in the past.
Remembering all these special experiences, what are your thoughts about today’s electronic scene and young artists? They don’t exactly create music and focus on the lyrics… we see that definitely the trends have changed!
There will always be creative people doing wonderful and original things! It may not always be immediately obvious but they are there!! Now – with all the possibilities the new technology provides, it can be a real adventure looking for and discovering things. You just have to make the effort and have the curiosity!
You had the chance to collaborate with a number of great and talented musicians and bands e.g. John Foxx from Ultravox, Implant to name but a few, during your successful career. Would please tell us about these collaborations and if you consider any of them more special to you?
Each and every collaboration has been special and unique.
With each one it has been like adding a new colour to a palette or a new spice to a recipe.
Music and writing are an on-going and organic process, constantly changing and evolving.
I was impressed when I read that you have worked at the Cane Hill mental asylum. To what extent has this experience affected your work? I also know that in your album “Hopeless Cases” there is a song called Cane Hill. I imagine there is a connection there! Could you please us some words about the above?
My connection to Cane Hill Hospital goes back a long way.
At school in our “Social Studies” class we had to spend a certain number of hours a month helping out at the hospital.
I think I learnt more from these hours than all the rest of my time at school.
When I left school and during the time I began my career in music, I also worked at the hospital.
You have a unique and emotional way of speaking your lyrics in your songs. How did you come up with this idea and way of expression in the first place?
That’s a good question – I’m not really sure!!!
I always loved music and I always loved poetry and literature.
I never had a great “singing” voice so it seemed a perfectly logical step to set poems to music. To create a whole ambience through sound and words.
Apart from your amazing hit “Our darkness”, my personal favorite is “Sleeper in Metropolis”. Could you please tell us what inspired you to write this song?
Growing up in Croydon, South London!!
What would you say are the main differences of your album “The smallest acts of kindness” compared to your previous albums?
A lot of years elapsed between my last studio album and The Smallest Acts….I changed a great deal I believe, but I hope there is something immediately recognizable in what I do with regards to all my work.
I had total control over EVERY element of TSAOK and this was a unique and very satisfying experience!
There seems to be a melancholic mood in this particular album… is there a relation to specific thoughts or experiences of yours during the time of its creation?
Well, I don’t like to regard it as a melancholic album. That certainly wasn’t my intention.
It contains many themes.
The material was written at different times in different moods in different circumstances.
It was however very much influenced by the illness and subsequent death of my mother.
You have visited Greece a number of times in the past. Therefore, I think you are already aware that you have a faithful and devoted fan base here! Would you like to share some memories of your visits in Athens and your performances here?
If people ask me which is my favourite city out of all the places I have visited, Athens is always number1, 2 or 3 – no question!!
I love the craziness, the individuality, the intensity of the place. There is nowhere else like it that I know of!
Do you have any plans regarding a new album or project in the near future? Any further live performances?
Yes – I have just finished the first part of my tour this year. Further dates will follow in the Autumn. Sadly, Greece was not an option this time! I hope to be back there soon though!!
I have two new members in the band so it was a big test to see how it worked and I was delighted with the outcome!
I am also working on a special project of re-mixes and re-interpretations of my material, as a kind of forward-looking-retrospective of more than 30 years in music!
This is called “PAST AND FUTURE TENSE” and consists of sporadic and ongoing releases of collaborations with DJs, musicians and producers. At present the material is only available on CD and USB at “Live” shows but I am currently looking for a suitable place to make it available as digital downloads.
Thank you so much for your time and all of your answers! Could you please give us a special message for your Greek fans?
Yassou! Looking forward to seeing you as soon as possible!