Hey Steve — I love your work, though I have only been a fan for a year or so. I still have much catching up to do on material. … I’m sure you would prefer a much more interesting question than what I will proceed to ask: do you still own all of the clothes that you wore during your Japan days?

No I don’t have anything from those days, I must have dumped them along the way. All I seem to have is a suit made by Yukihiro Takahashi for his then fashion label ‘Bricks Mono’ which I wore on his first solo tour in ’82. My son currently wears it in 6th form school.

Hi Steve The highly successful platinum – Annie Lennox “Diva” album – saw your involvement as drum programmer – how did that come about? Would that of been drum machine or samples ? do you recall what tracks you worked on ? I believe that album produced five hit singles. V Best

I worked on ‘Why’ and the contact was Steve Lipson from the Propaganda work (I think).  I programmed my own drum samples and percussion. My ‘version’ had a closer feel to ‘Blackwater’ (RTC) in terms of presence and intimacy but the final mix is kind of more rhythmically bland, but maybe that’s what it takes to create a global hit.

There’s a soft, watercolour beauty to “And Birds Sing All Night” where it feels as though near ineffable moods are being painted in real-time. How much was this track framed improvisation?

Ok I answered this previously but had the wrong song in mind (‘Birds Sing For Their Lives’ … guess I was still in Nine Horses mode). This track wasn’t improvised apart from the flute and guitar treatments, everything else was structured around the chord sequence.

Hi Steve. I understand there isn`t a studio recording of the track `Wasn`t I Joe ? ` which you performed with David on his Blemish tour. I wondered if you could recall how that track came to being ? Was it your music , David`s lyrics ….. the other way round ? , or a complete collaboration ?. With it being co-written by yourself , have you ever considered using the piece on your solo work or indeed, reworking the piece in the studio ?

We co-wrote the music for that song together during the rehearsals for the ‘Blemish’ tour. It was essentially a backing track allowing us to perform over it. I think it’s right that it only exists live for that tour as it was in the mood of ‘Blemish’ as far as David’s vocal part is concerned and sits well within that context.

I believe these photos were taken by Keith Lowe when making the Nine Horses album in the US (samadhisound studios) but this is also where we rehearsed for the Blemish tour.

Hi Steve. The Nine Horses tracks were very very good. I was hoping this would be a regular or semi regular ongoing collaboration between you all. Are we likely to see any continuation of this trio, or even a Jansen Sylvian album? David’s stuff always seems to be more listenable to me when you are involved with it.

As a body of work I think it’s the best that David and I have produced together in our joint history, which is to say that the last thing we did together was our best work. Possibly then a good note to end on? It eclipses anything else by a long stretch but that’s from the perspective of someone who has progressed musically and isn’t harking back to material for nostalgic reasons or to music catering to the individual expression of band members. We knuckled down to making music that represented our state of mind and it was never about individual performances. Friedman was a great curve ball on that project and is immensely talented both creatively and as a technician.

In working with me David probably feels a certain liberation and is less compelled to explore the darker corners of his own creativity, as am I, because it’s too personal for collaborations (we touched on that with Playground Martyrs from my solo album ‘slope’ but it was a sentiment we shared as school children), therefore this comparatively lighter approach makes for a more accessible music and I can certainly see why people would find that easier to digest than the more abstract albums. But then they are never meant to be compared as they are saying very different things.

I sometimes feel the need to point out that 9H is not a Sylvian album, and that material contained on that record I’d written for my solo album, as was also the case for Friedman, so it was indeed a true three-way collaboration. That needs to be taken onboard and to not then compare 9H with ‘David’s stuff’ because it actually isn’t his stuff, he played his part in it.