Hi Steve, I am curious as to your opinion on various mediums an artist can connect with their fans/supporters. Is the age of the website for an artist still viable with so many alternative more immediate mediums available? I presume you update your own website / Facebook / WordPress. Is there another medium combining the best elements of all three that you would prefer? (maybe not invented yet) In general my question refers to the direct connection an artist can now have with the people who follow/buy their work. Also vice-versa for the supporters. To be able to connect direct is so valuable versus the traditional method of the 70’s/80’s/90’s where you were all locked away in penthouses in New York between albums & tours :)

People who work in the arts are a needy bunch despite the often perceived impression of ‘us and them’. One way or another artists feel compelled to dedicate their time to creating something to offer up for public consumption, whether as a composer, a painter, a writer or poet, a film maker etc. they are hoping to resonate in some way with public emotion by sharing their work and thus putting themselves on the line for criticism and even ridicule. The public can therefore represent an artist’s vulnerabilities, insecurities or fragile sense of worth, and I think this goes some way to explaining why, for some, the necessary distance between themselves and their audience exists in order to keep doing what they do. Fear can often be mistaken as hubris. Social media platforms break through this to some degree, and can offer a healthy interaction which is a good thing. I’ve no idea what the ideal platform would be but I don’t think it’s with us yet. Sadly there’s always someone whose purpose in life is to spoil it for others and the anonymous nature of social media, where commentators aren’t culpable, works against itself. I’m sure that’ll be addressed better over time with new laws being introduced to regulate it.

After 40 years in the music business what is your biggest regret, and if you hadn’t “drummed” for your supper what do you think you would have done?

Music was the only option, never had a Plan-B. When David and I started playing guitars I think we were both totally elevated by it, the exciting realisation that you didn’t have to just listen to other people making music. Switching to percussion gave the two of us a more dynamic sound and forming a band was the natural progression. I never questioned my role as drummer in JAPAN but it was the tip of the iceberg for me creatively. I’ve no idea what alternative path might have been although by my mid twenties I felt I would have suited working in cinematography.

Haha regrets, I’ve had a few. Perhaps the biggest would be never having helped poor Napier-Bell manage our earnings in his offshore account. With all the pressure he wasn’t even able to submit any figures to us, poor chap. What a burden. I just hope he managed to make a little pocket money for himself along the way.

Hi Steve, I stumbled upon this video from the Yukihiro Takahashi “Wild and Moody” tour, and you are in it. I don’t speak Japanese and can’t understand what this sketch is about. Do you remember anything about this video? I was fascinated by the fact that some of the characters (including you!) say “Arrivederci”, in Italian. What is that about? :) Link to the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gb4LWqxhFHU Thank you. Marco

I’ve no idea, I was just told to act out what you see.  My assumption is that it’s abstract humour of some sort, but this is a question for Yukihiro … he owes us all an explanation. By the way, the voice is dubbed.

This is my fourth or fifth listen to “The Extinct Suite” and — starting at 5:16 mark and continuing through to approximately 6:34 — there is a sense of Mick Karn’s musical perspective, somehow. It’s perhaps because the track that (I think that) it’s based on, “Her Distance,” has certain elements brought further forward here and the absence of the vocals makes those elements more apparent, a kind of “cosmic sorrow” that MK sometimes tapped into, especially at certain places, certain moments in “Each Eye A Path”. Seem daft or can you hear it?

I’m not sure I can recall orchestral arrangements on ‘Each Eye A Path’ as I’ve not listened to that album since mixing it, which is fairly normal practice because in the process of working on an album you hear it a phenomenal amount of times, more than you’d ever do for any normal listening pleasure. I might suggest though that the clarinet which appears just prior to the section you’ve mentioned may be the trigger for thinking this as it was an instrument Mick played and often featured on his work. He taught me some useful basics, such as playing ‘Stranger On The Shore’ by Acker Bilk !!

Looking at the “Ollie in the Valley” photo (wonderful shadow!!) I can’t help but wonder does your son teach you the finer points of skateboarding or is it contrariwise about? Also, this makes one wonder are you a bike rider, motorcycle rider, both or neither. Any photos of you on skateboard, two-wheeler and/or horseback? Cheers

Can’t everyone ride a bicycle? Motorcycle’s are too noisy and irritating. Skateboarding is like a circus act, no way.  Having a fondness for animals I’ve enjoyed a bit of horse-riding, that feeling of trust and respect is very bonding even for the briefest of rides. I can only imagine how deep that connection can get.

Giza, Egypt (photo by Sheila Rock)Giza, Egypt

Thank you for answering my question the other week. I would like to ask: how can we fans best support you? From which source (e.g. BurningShed, shops, elsewhere) should we buy your albums so that you receive the maximum return? Also, do you receive much from Spotify? I buy albums, but then use Spotify at work. Thinking that you (and other artists) will receive a little bit more from the Spotify listening. Is this so?

A considerate question indeed, thank you. Bandcamp is the most direct source of revenue and yields the greatest share per unit sold. After that would come Burning Shed but there is a sizeable disparity between the two.

Spotify is a bit of a joke really, looking at a recent statement every $100 amounts to approximately 23,000 tracks streams. It doesn’t compare very favourably with Apple Music which is approximately double that. Still, if you’ve already purchased the music and are kind enough to use streaming sources it will count as additional revenue therefore you are entirely correct and us artists are very grateful for this type of thoughtfulness. Thank you.

What would the 14 year old Steve (bongos charmingly hooked to a single tom, bangles providing additional percussion, a desire to escape?) make of the present day Steve’s ‘attitude’ to drumming ? Is it now just work ? What has changed and do you have any unfulfilled drumming ambitions ?

Well as you might have noticed on my recent releases, rhythm parts are featuring less and less. In a way I find it too easy to introduce rhythms to carry music along and tend to prefer composing musical arrangements that work in more subtle ways. That said, I do still enjoy playing but just not so much with new material. I guess it’s down to the type of music I’m enjoying making at present. I’ve played rhythmic parts for the ‘Exit North’ project but on all manner of objects and in that respect I did feel a bit like a 14 year old rummaging around for things to make noises on, but I blame Charlie (Storm), whose studio is like an audio playground. Drumming is never ‘just work’, you’ve got to go into it committed and mentally engaged.

Thomas Feiner dubbing vocals
Thomas, Gothenburg 2017