There's a song that says « last night a dj saved my life with a song », I say « years ago a band changed my musical feellings with an LP ». The LP and the band had strange names : ARCHITECTURE AND MORALITY by ORCHESTRAL MANOEUVRES IN THE DARK. At first I was confused because I was looking for the song ENOLA GAY, that in fact was in the precedent LP (excuse me i was a french teenager)! Then the opening song THE NEW STONE AGE was a shock, looking like nothing I heard before. Imagine that my pre-OMD albums were ELTON JOHN, ROD STEWART, THE ROLLING STONES and.... STARS ON 45. At first I was disapointed and angry and then ….. I fell in love with this album that to date is on my top ten albums of all times, ENOLA GAY being on my top ten favorite songs of all times. I also became addicted to electronic sounds and synthpop music. Well, enough with my life..
As their new album is out ENGLISH ELECTRIC and as they are touring, including a date at the Paris Trianon the 18 may 2013 I dreamed of an interview. ZEN from the band WAITING FOR WORDS that does the opening for OMD at this venue made it possible, I thanks him very much. As I had no time yet to post on OMD's new album here is a post my friend NEW-WAVE-LAND
To listen during your reading, an extract from the new album HELEN OF TROY, and way to ANDY McCLUSKEY......
First of all thanks a lot for giving time to my modest person, being no professional journalist or anything connected, only an amateur and fan blogger.
My answers will have to be short as I am on tour and don’t have too much time to go into great detail. I am sorry.
You said being very inspired by KRAFTWERK. Are you conscious that yourself inspired and still inspire lots of bands, and had a great influence on a lot of people's musical sensiblity to electronic music ?
We have recently begun to realize that our mixture of machinery, concept and melancholy has influenced many musical artists because they have been kind enough to say so in interviews. Our combination of technology and emotion was an accident but it created our own sound.
When I was young i didn't immediately caught the meaning of JOAN OF ARC et MAID OF ORLEANS, but becoming adult, I was surprised on how and why an english band had written two such beautiful and glorious songs dedicated to a french heroin to whom mortal enemies were the brittons. Can you unveil this mistery for me, how do the JOAN OF ARC inspiration came to you ?
We were touring in France in 1981 and our French Support band noted that we were playing in cities historically associated with Joan. I decided to learn more about her when I returned to Liverpool and became fascinated. The more you try to learn the more she is shrouded in mystery. Each biographer and historian puts their own spin on to her story.. Nationalist, feminist, socialist etc. it is impossible to know the truth. That is the great interest.
HELEN OF TROY seems to mirror JOAN OF ARC as the melodramatic mythic heroîn song. Are there really some real mirror effects, or is it just a coincidence ?
JOAN OF ARC was about Joan. HELEN OF TROY is using the character as a metaphor for distance and loss.
In my opinion, your new album ENGLISH ELECTRIC seems more on the same « vibes » than your pre-DAZZLE SHIPS era wether the previous HISTORY OF MODERN (apart from SISTER MARY SAYS) sounded to me more like your post-DAZZLE SHIPS era. Is this two eras split only originating from my mad brain or do you also have that feeling ?
We make a conscious effort to unlearn 30 years of more conventional songwriting and go back to the way that we created for ourselves when we had no rules. This probably accounts for ENGLISH ELECTRIC sounding like our earlier albums.
I'm happy to see that WAITING FOR WORDS are invited to open your Paris show. How do you chose support acts ? Some are not very notorious. Is this a way to help them getting more public exposure and a kind of « pay back » for when yourself was supporting more popular bands live show ?
ZEN is a great guy and he has been very supportive of OMD so it is our way of saying thank you. WAITING FOR WORDS also make good music !
Apart from MAURICE CHEVALIER and EDITH PIAF what french bands or singers do you know and is there some that you really appreciate ?
ETIENNE DAHO, DAFT PUNK, AIR, LES RITA MITSOUKO, INDOCHINE are some French artists that we liked very much
I have a personal opinion that America killed the synth-pop stars, and that succes in America for a lot of british bands was not a such good thing in terms of inspiration and originality. What is yours ?
I agree to some extent. We spent too much time chasing success in The USA and we had not time or energy to write music.
There is clearly a « retour en grace » (back in grace) of synthpop and electronics bands that were considered as has-been in the 90's. I consider that this return started with younger people and bands, like GOLDFRAPP, LADYTRON, CLIENT, THE KNIFE and even LAROUX or LITTLE BOOTS etc.... What do you think of this new generation ? do you listen and appreciate their music ?
There are some wonderful new electronic artists.. Our favourites are ROBYN, HOT CHIP, VILE ELECTRODES. But there are many others.
Following this new generation, and return of synthetisers, the 2000's have seen the return of synthpop bands, like THE HUMAN LEAGUE, ULTRAVOX, BLANCMANGE, VISAGE (to come...) and OMD. So, if I tell you there is a revival synthpop thing going on and that you are part of it, does it make you angry to be associated with that ugly word and will throw my interview to the tin can ? Or do you think that synth-music is now a mature and respectable style, as other musical styles. Afterall, do we speak of blues revival, folk revival or rock revival, it seems not ?
We now live in a post modern musical landscape so it is understandable that there is a place for electronic music and the bands who were the best. Also, every generation has a few people who want more than just rock and roll clichés and they find this in electronic music.
DEPECHE MODE will play the Stade de France, more or less 80.000 persons, plus international tour! This band which origins are from the 80's synth-pop era has, in a quasi-mystic way, survived the 90's, became an iconic, gained new public and became mega-stars when 99% of other bands from this era have lost the interest from the masses ( we have also the same strange phenomenon with our french band INDOCHINE). What is your opinion on DEPECHE MODE and how do you explain their succes and the fact that 99% of the other bands have became more confidential ?
DEPECHE MODE made good music that appealed to the large “alternative” and 'goth' crowd. They also make stadium synth music.
I'm only an anonimous and amateur blogger trying to share things I like with sound, image, video and letters, thanks to internet and blogs. An incredible thing unimaginable 20 years ago,. What are your relations with blogs and internet in general ?
Music journalism has contracted so much now just like the business itself. The many internet blogs and online ‘magazines’ are currently the largest force for information and promotion of music. Though I do miss the fact that Smash Hits or NME would reach hundreds of thousands in one go.
You will be at Le trianon this 18th may 2013, it's not the first time you'll play live in Paris, what are your feellings toward french public ? Be honest, don't be affraid... we don't use guillotine anymore :)
We were very popular quite early in France and played many concerts. But after we released JOAN OF ARC we were obviously not popular I actually find Paris an intimidating city and I don’t know why.
Speaking of France what the best and worst things that you experienced in our country ?
My favourite French thing is the Tour de France. Least fave was the aborted Rock against Racism concert that we tried and failed to play in Place de Concorde in the 80s due to bad organisation.
Is really the future going to be silent or can we expect a new OMD LP before a man could walk on Mars ?
I have no idea. OMD has been a 35 year accident . we never know what will happen next. It is best that way. Plans create restrictions that can be frustrating.
aparté : An excelent video reportage here about OMD
Just two of the increasingly amusing attempts to redefine tiny variations in musical genre and make something look ‘new’ when it is not.
As I'm very amateur interviewer, i'm sure I've have missed a very important question you were really expecting from me... what could it be ?
It is not my job to guess what you should have asked. I have no expectations ;-) Your questions were very good, Thank You.
Thanks a lot for your patience and interest, and thanks to ZEN from WAITING FOR WORDS, that enabled this interview.