Hello there, Mr. Jansen! I have a question regarding your trip to Russia almost 16 years ago. I know that nobody likes us these days (and nobody ever did, actually). But there MUST be some positive points, am I right? So, what did you like the most (if you genuinely did)? What have inspired you and what fascinated? Maybe some shocking moments? Also, have you taken any photos while in Saint-Petersburg, and could you, please, share some? I would really love to see my city through the lens of your camera. As a beginner-photographer, I try to find a perfect shot, that would motivate me to recapture it myself and only then try to picture it in my own vision. So any photo would be appreciated. And finally, would you like to visit us again, just as a tourist, or not? You already got a personal guide – always on duty for dearest guests. (By the way, Saint-P recently won “Europe’s Best Tourist Destination” award, that’s quite a serious reason to visit this wondrous place again and see what changed throughout the years). In conclusion I want to thank you for everything you do as a musician and as an artist – you truly are inspiring. Sorry, if this is too letter-like and too long. Best wishes!

Thank you for the interesting question. My experience of the Russian people has been a very positive one and the places I’ve seen were fascinating to visit. Would be nice to see more. I only spent a few days there in 2001 and beside that I’m pretty hopeless at being an enthusiastic tourist. For some reason I didn’t have my usual camera with me despite thinking it was a very photogenic place. I was instead using a small video camera (not the best quality by any means) to capture some of the things I saw in Moscow and Saint Petersburg (mostly in transit or in venues, such is the life of a touring musician). I made a composite of these clips and since you’re asking I thought I’d dig it out to show you. It’s nothing special but if I’d had a stills camera with me I think I would have gotten some nice images. I’m sure you’ll recognise one or two locations.

 

Hi Steve, I’ve been enjoying ‘Slope’ afresh recently. I’ve only just noticed from the credits that the strings were performed by the Bratislava movie orchestra in Slovakia. How did it come about that this orchestra was used? Did you oversee the sessions in Slovakia? Thanks again for this album, I’m still discovering new treasures in the expanded edition and love the live recording too.

This came about thanks to Thomas Feiner who had his own session booked with the orchestra and combined this with a session for ‘Sow The Salt’ which was scored and conducted by Ingo Frenzel. I was not able to be present at the recording but it was an opportunity not to be missed and I was very pleased with the end result. When I made the remix of the ‘Sow The Salt’ (Alternative Version – included in the 2013 Deluxe release) I made more of a feature of the orchestra.