Regarding My New Career from Gentlemen Take Polaroids, you turned the beat around ( you performed the beat backwards ) after ghost notes in a fill . Was it a conscious decision or was it something spontaneous ? Was it something Mick triggered ? The drums sound very compressed . Do you remember finding the right compression for the drums?

Turning the beat around was a conscious decision.  Messing with the downbeat was always bit of a habit of mine and Mick would design bass parts to compliment this approach (‘Still Life In Mobile Homes’, ‘The Art Of Parties’ for example). In the case of ‘My New Career’ the beat turn around was employed to accentuated the chorus vocal line.

Drums sounds were generally heavily compressed in those days, it was a contemporary sound of that time. I wasn’t involved in sound engineering back then so it would have been the producers job.

With all this upheaval in Zimbabwe in the news lately, did the Japan track ‘…. Rhodesia’ cross your mind … ? Have you ever listened to the Miles Davis track ‘Zimbabwe’ from Pangaea ? I found myself listening to both ‘… Rhodesia’ and ‘Zimbabwe’ the other day . Are you familiar with the drumming of Al Foster ? Foster’s drumming on that track seems like either a Jazz person playing Rock within the parameters of Funk … or a Rock person playing Funk within the parameters of Jazz and thus exploding all three categories . In my opinion . Lastly, there is the Bob Marley & The Wailers track called ‘Zimbabwe’ released a year after the release of ‘… Rhodesia’. Is there any Reggae or Ska tracks that have been source/s of inspiration or, barring that, good-times listening ?

Foster is rocking on ‘Zimbabwe’ for the most part but with a lovely light Jazz player’s touch, can’t say that I hear funk in the rhythm section despite all the wah-wah guitar.

Big Youth were big in my youth, as well as Bob Marley.

‘Rhodesia’ doesn’t hold any real political relevance … more a case of spurting soundbites (we have reggae/funk on that one, clavinet even!).

Hi Steve. I’m just listening to ‘tender extinction’ for the first time in a while, and was wondering about the vocals for ‘mending a secret’. I know that the Japanese CD release includes the lyrics for the other vocal tracks on the album, so was there a reason ‘mending’ was omitted? To my ears, your voice seems to be there as an additional ‘instrument’ rather than to provide a narrative (for the want of a better word)…?

The vocals are layered in such a way that the lyrics don’t make proper sense if laid out sequentially in the order they appear, they’re broken sentences, and the concept is that these phrases would need to be deciphered, thus the title. The listener might pick out phrases and have their own interpretations of what is being said or suggested, as if overhearing part of a conversation. And as you point out, the vocal melody is woven into the musical arrangement as opposed to taking the role of lead.

Hi! First, thank you for this wonderful way of communicating, it’s so direct and personal and in that somewhat unique. Just curious if you could tell us anything more about Exit North? Its one of those projects I keep thinking about with gratitude and curiosity from time to time! All the best /Dan

Thanks Dan. ‘Exit North’ is still in progress albeit working around each member’s schedules. The work is based in Göteborg to which I’ve made trips to record in Charlie Storm’s studio and will be heading back in February to hopefully complete mixing. We are continually moving the project forward in the meantime by electronically exchanging audio files with new additions and changes. I won’t venture into describing the music except to say that it’s song based material with an emphasis on acoustic arrangements.

(snaps by Steve Jansen / Ulf Jansson)

Hi Steve :-) someone (SNB) is thretening to write a book about you Japan. Does anyone have the possibility to publish a book about you Japan? We have ’74-’84 A Foreign Place by Anthony Reynolds, a Japan biography which I’m veeery happy of (I guess he will soon publish a new one covering following years up to Rain Tree Crow) Wish you and your Mates the Best Marta

SNB writing a book about JAPAN would be SNB writing a book about SNB. The only thing I’d like to read from SNB would be his bank statements covering years 1979~1983 but I suspect he feels that would be too much of an invasion into his private affairs, despite never being shy of spouting rubbish about others.

I contributed to Anthony’s book because his stance on digging below the surface of the true dynamics within the band and how the work was achieved had never been approached before and it seemed like a good idea to help shed some light on that. I genuinely feel it’s informative in that sense. No one else is going to write such a comprehensive, unbiased portrayal incorporating such a wide variety of meaningful sources, I don’t think. I decided not to contribute to the follow up mainly because post JAPAN involved too many personal struggles and the fact that I was involved in everyone’s work might’ve resulted in me having too big a voice in it whilst not actually having half as much output artistically due to problems with lack of support from both label and management at the time. I also had no desire to discuss other people’s various solo projects let alone any aspects of their personal lives post JAPAN. I trust Anthony has managed to do a good job regardless.