INTERVIEW: GARY NUMAN
First published by the Space Ship News 20 May 2014
The gentle London accent comes soft and measured down the line: “Yeah, that’s a weird one actually, but I do get more nervous for interviews now than I did when I started. I’m not sure why that is but I do like them…”
After closing on four decades in the industry, electro guru Gary Numan is more confident than his comments would suggest. “Performing I don’t really feel much anymore, I’ve spent my entire life on stage performing songs so it’s become as normal as having dinner. All the nervousness and stage fright has just gone away through experience, replaced by a love and excitement of doing it,” he says, returning to mention is newest album, Splinter, released in October last year to a warm reception in alternative and indie charts across Europe: “I still find studio work to be quite challenging, which is why, for me, I find the fact that Splinter has had such a fantastic reception especially pleasing. But the touring side of things I really love, it’s by far the best part of being in a band.”
With every legacy comes a long shadow, however, and returning to Perth for the first time since touring his classic album The Pleasure Principle in 2011 with a new album of his industrial work is a risky choice. While Numan has hosts of fans worldwide, with a strong following in the Perth gothic scene for his contemporary work as well as classics, newcomers are cautioned that this ain’t no ‘Cars’. “I was diagnosed with depression round about 2008,” explains Numan, “There was this long period where I wasn’t myself and it had a very bad effect on my life, on my wife, career, family and so on. And you feel broken, you know you’re not the same person.” Once vowing never to tour his old material, it was in the midst of this illness and between albums Jagged and the new Splinter that he came to a new appreciation. “If I went onto a radio show they would introduce me by playing ‘Cars’, then talk about the new single but not play it, then when I left the studio they would play ‘Are Friends Electric’ on the way out. And it just… became very very frustrating. There was about three years where I wouldn’t even play ‘Cars’ live which is a bit childish, but then I just started to realise that I actually should be proud of them. ‘Cars’ has been one of the most famous songs in the world for nearly thirty five years; I should be grateful, really,” he resigns peacefully.
“We do do them still, live. The music that I’m making now is very heavy, very dark, kind of aggressive industrial, and I try to rework those songs and any of the other older songs that we do. But the emphasis will obviously be on the new album.” With a passionate live show in the wings and legion of faithful fans, Numan promises none will be let down by the latest, darkest offering. “We’ve been touring Splinter now since August and I’ve got a pretty good feel for the balance between old and new and it’s working. We’ve tried it on different countries, different audiences, and I think I’ve got it just about right.”
‘INTERVIEW: Gary Numan’ by Richard Moore.