Steve, bowie was a big influence in your early days. What do you think of his comeback album “the next day”?

Bowie continues to engage his audience through his own creative persona, rather than as a celebrity, and I have nothing but admiration for that. I can’t bear seeing ‘pop-stars’ spreading themselves thin in various forms of entertainment (I use the term lightly). I’ve not heard the last album fully but it’s good to know he is still able to produce a very popular work by following his own, unique instincts. My own personal taste in production values steer me towards less mainstream arrangements so I might only require a few listens, but that’s not to say I don’t find it highly commendable.

Hello Steve, great to see your amazing photos and videos – they add another dimension of appreciation to the wonderful music you have been a part in creating. Really enjoying the candid nature of some of the shots. Just wondering if you did any ‘selfies’ that you care to post as you are missing in action!

This is as close as it gets to a selfie … using a timer, camera placed on the desk. Recording The Art Of Parties / Life Without Buildings at Basing Street studios in West London. I remember this being a very productive few days with all in good spirits.

Hi Steve. I hope you don’t mind these questions. I wanted to ask you about keyboard parts on your tracks. I know you played life moves on as per slope sleeve notes over two recordings separated by years.I recently downloaded “let go” and presumed you played played the piano parts and was it acoustic (sounds like it) or soft synths? Also was this recorded in your own studio or elsewhere.You seem to have quite an affinity with keyboards.

I wrote ‘Let Go’ on my acoustic upright piano but recorded it using a virtual instrument (True Keys) in my studio.

Hi Steve, thanks so much for making these images available, it has been real trip down memory lane for me, seeing so many photos from a period of my youth that has been long forgotten in the haze!! However, as most of the images on here, and available through your imageshop, are from the early 80s I wonder, do you still have an active interest in photography? Has the advent of digital cameras made this less exciting for you? Victoria xx

The combination of work, people and places provided the stimulus to capture what was going on and even with my lack of skills as a photographer it meant that I could still manage to capture something.  I like to photograph people, and being in a band touring, recording, there were always people. Now, not so much. I like ‘analogue’ cameras. I would have loved digital photography to be around back when I started but now that it’s here I’m thankful that I have stacks of negs that haven’t been accidentally erased and some of which I haven’t even seen except on a contact sheet. I feel I’ve not fully explored all the images I’ve taken. Right now that’s more interesting to me than taking more. I feel that photos from the past are a kind of treasure – the older they get, the more precious they somehow seem and the more significant they become in their purpose of recording a moment in time. Yes … I sound like I’m getting old, don’t I?

Dear Steve, for 32 years now your creations have inspired & helped me along life’s interesting path. It seems something rather magical happened when ‘Japan’ crystallised. Around the time of ‘Gentlemen Take Polaroids’ I started to hear magic between you & Mick. For health reasons (I’m a haemophiliac & being a percussionist/drummer didn’t suit remedies available then), I found the Bass to be ‘mine’. I can always tell it is you on anyone’s track. Who/what influenced you; your sound is so unique?

There wasn’t one definitive player that influenced me, I took on board various influences during my informative years. Listening to music wasn’t just about the song, you listened to each player’s style and performance and soaked it up. One of the most innovative and quirky players that I enjoyed was Television’s Billy Ficca. Albums on repeated listen that inevitably influenced me were Electric Warrior, Berlin, For Your Pleasure, Horses, Low, Unorthodox Behaviour, Schooldays, Exodus, Heroes, to name but a few (I’ve probably neglected some important ones). But I wouldn’t say that as a result I sound like any of the players on these albums, but perhaps you can hear references. The point is that I, (along with Mick), wanted to find a voice, so we worked hard at refining a rhythm section that didn’t always function in the standard way. I’d say we were somewhat driven to be noticed as players and had the perfect platform on which to experiment since that was the mindset of all the members. Almost all of Japan’s material was arranged in rehearsals and evolved through the performances. If Japan had simply been a singer/songwriter type of band I don’t think we’d have gotten the same recognition. It was truly a group effort.