I would argue the buck stopped with manager Simon Napier-Bell, he was responsible for the characters he employed as PR agents. It’s fair to say that he was coming from a bygone era and it was time for a change but he wasn’t about to make it. I don’t think it could have been much more ludicrous than it was. Spinal Tap couldn’t do it justice. The idea that any press is good press was, in the innocence of the 70’s & 80’s, still a concept, and making the press listen seemed to be a measure of how good a flirt you could be. It appeared desperate, without any dignity and treating the public like morons. And it stained everything. A PR might argue that attaining press coverage is what made the group successful but that’s not the reality. No one holds onto sensationalist storylines for more than a few minutes of curiosity then it’s forgotten, or it becomes a token piece of worthless knowledge: “oh yeah isn’t that the guy that ….’ etc. and is most likely mocked. It does nothing to further a musical career. It’s short-sighted, like downing relentless tequila shots so you don’t sober up to realise everything’s shit. Keep creating a headline because no one’s actually buying the records, but maybe they will if there’s something … anything in the newspaper. Pour another tequila. That’s how the PR functioned. Must have been hard work but not at all representative of the essence of what the group hoped to achieve. Yes, we liked looking a certain way that might’ve warranted some attention by older generations but that’s just youth expresses itself. Our actual job was to focus on making music, and PR’s job was to make the public aware of it, but we were two completely different machines thrown together by default under the misguided concept that we were aiming towards the same goal but were in fact in different ballparks. Most of us made a speedy exit from that as soon as the band disbanded.
We just jammed until the songs sounded like something we might enjoy playing again. The aim I guess was to bridge the gap between the original and where we were heading.
Yes that’s right. Tim and I started to co-write for my solo album ‘Slope’ in ’06 and while the recording was still in progress I was invited to join Yukihiro Takahashi’s ‘Something Blue’ tour that same year. Tim and I opened the show with a selection of tracks from ‘Slope’ before it was completed (‘Ballad Of A Deadman’, ‘Sleepyard’, and what became ‘Sow The Salt’ but was at the time featuring a different vocal by Tim). Yukihiro’s set followed and was a laptop performance which I joined. This small tour obviously pre-empted the one-off ‘Slope’ live performance in Tokyo in ’08 and was the first opportunity to work with visual artist Shoko Ise who went on to make all the back-projection films for my show. Tim is one of my favourite people, always great company and a very talented songwriter.
a few snaps here by Sari Hayashiguchi
I took on the vocals for The Dolphin Brothers because of the nature of the deal on offer from Virgin Records at the time, they wanted a more commercially viable album (our first collaboration was an ambient album). Richard and I felt that we could develop this alongside our more ambient/instrumental work. Turned out Virgin were not up for a long term investment and post Dolphin Brothers we made the decision to focus on the less commercial side since I didn’t enjoy the role of front man and I knew my limitations as a vocalist. A second vocalist in the band JAPAN was never considered.
For the most part I use a Lumix DMC-LX100, it’s versatile, has good spec and is compact.
‘Lessons In Doubt’ from the forthcoming Exit North album.
Hi Noel. I assume you are referring to recording rather than live performance. I think there are levels of distinction when working with improvisational artists. Inviting a group of experimental musicians to improv together in the studio could be, (with digital recording), more a means of gathering a wealth of original samples to then manipulate into something representative of your own ideals, in other words plagiarising. If the improvisation were not tampered with in any way, and was a true ‘live performance’ recording rather than edited and manipulated then I would take no issue with it, but whether it’s any good or not is another matter. I prefer wrestling with composition without any hint of improv. To my mind this is much more daunting, particularly if you’re composing outside of more standard forms. In answer to your question I don’t believe this has anything to do with a sliding scale in ‘pop’. Perhaps each music genre has its own sliding scale of depth and ingenuity but they each serve a different purpose.