Hey Steve, is it true you’re selling some personal items on eBay and if so how many?

A couple of items are being sold on behalf of my sister who made a discovery in her attic during a move. She proposed raising a bit of money for a worthy cause close to our hearts by selling them on eBay and I’ve therefore signed the items accordingly. Apart from these, I’ve no idea what happened to clothing that I owned during the life of the band, probably threw them out.


Artists like you and your brother made the conscious decision to avoid the corporate “mainstream” world of music, and instead focus on creating content that’s artistically satisfying even if that doesn’t always necessarily translate to commercial sales. What route should a budding musician ought to take? Go commercial, but at the risk of creating meaningless art, or stick with being independent, making great music but risking failure?

If you’re the type of artist with self-belief then you have to be prepared for the industry you’re working within to turn it’s back on you, which isn’t surprising as it wants to survive more than you do. Unless making music is purely an exercise in getting rich and famous I would of course recommend being true to yourself, whether the outcome is meaningless or meaningful. Making independent music isn’t necessarily great by default, some people are better at making great commercial music, or both, or neither.

Hi Steve, hope you are have a good day! I am a huge fan of what you and the guys did with no-man, and was wondering if there were any photos taken during that time? Also what was one of the highlights of working on with Tim and Steven?

Actually I don’t have any photos from that period, more likely to have a few when Steven joined JBK as guest guitarist but even then not so many.

As for the highlights, I remember No-Man’s manager at the time couldn’t understand why we would agree to work with a virtual unknown band for very little reward, playing in small venues with a low attendance, I think his actual words were: “but why  … what do you expect to get out of this?” Motivations other than money are difficult for managers to fathom and he seemed to almost resent it. At the time we simply felt a connection with the band members and thought it could be interesting to apply our craft to theirs. The enthusiasm of Tim and Steven was endearing and in terms of performance they were always striving to put out their best. The highlights would be those occasions when things came together for a good performance.

I`ve been continually playing the track Heaven Taste by No Man, since it`s rerelease a couple of months ago. Its absolutely stunning. Could you possibly list your top 5 favourite tracks you`ve played on throughout your career ? Also, i`m probably barking up the wrong tree, but i always thought the track Beginning To Melt could have come from the Rain Tree Crow period, or at least began life during that period. Wrong tree ???

The problem with a question like that is it would require me to sit and think through decades of tracks, pick out my favourites, and then whittle it down to the top 5. Are you kidding?

BTM isn’t from the same period as RTC, it came afterwards, when it was released.

What was the atmosphere like in studio when you and the other members of Japan reunited for Rain Tree Crow? Were the recording sessions tense or did everything feel like old times? Do you feel as if the album is the pinnacle of your collaboration with the group?

We had a lot of fun in the studio during the first few months of recording, and although we were older and more opinionated than previously, we were fundamentally all in it for the same reason and were as accommodating to one another’s quirks as possible. I can’t recall having any arguments except for a few heated debates over dinner but that’s what happens when you’ve spent two months in residential studios together – it’s either that or sit in total silence.

I personally feel it is the pinnacle of our work together in the sense that it’s the most listenable album to me. JAPAN’s music I find not as sincere, but that’s to do with age and era.

A typical start at Miraval Studios, South of France.