Interview: Gary Numan
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Gary Numan is a legend, a pioneer of electro-pop and industrial music and a man who is used to adapting to the era is currently in. Last time we spoke to the synth-master he was in the process of completing Splinter (Songs From a Broken Mind) a new album that was set to re-establish his position as a must-hear artist. A year on, Splinter has done its job receiving rave reviews and introducing a whole new audience to the man who gave us ‘Cars’ and ‘Are Friends’ Electric?’ We had a catch-up about fatherhood, touring memories and his marriage. How are you feeling about touring Splinter? What are you most excited for? The album has had, by far, the best reaction of any album I’ve ever released so that’s a very reassuring thing to be aware of as a tour looms. It gives you a lot of confidence that you can draw heavily from that album and know that the songs are liked. I’ve already played a number of shows in the US in support of the album so I know it works well live. I have a lot of confidence in it translating well from CD to stage in the UK. One of the most exciting things about the UK leg of the tour is that it has a brand new, and considerably improved, light show and production compared to other things I’ve done over the last 20 years. It’s a serious step up. That is what I’m most excited about. Do you have a particular touring memory that you are fond of; and a memory that you’d perhaps rather forget? I love touring so, for me, it’s all about building good memories. I love to travel, I’m very happy living in a bus, I love the people I work with (my band are amongst my very closest friends) and my wife Gemma always travels with me. It’s always a happy and party-like atmosphere amongst us all when I’m on the road so it really doesn’t have a bad side. Each day you arrive somewhere new, you explore if possible, play your songs to people that know you and, for the most part, like what you do, people cheer and scream, it’s all very exciting, and then you get back on the bus and have fun through the night until you’re ready to give up on that day and go to sleep. Every tour is an adventure; they all have their moments of stress, and extreme highs. Some are more of a worry than others but touring is the thing that I love about being in a band above everything else. Have you noticed a change in your audiences over the years? Do you still see the same people coming to gigs who have been fans since the beginning? It’s definitely changed. Although I still see a lot of the older faces, and I’m very grateful for that, they’re less each time, or it certainly looks that way. But, replaced by a new generation it seems. I have always said that as fans get older it becomes more difficult for them to maintain the same level of interest as they did when they were young. Kids, mortgages, careers, all these things take their toll on someone’s ability to indulge in music to the same level, and so, you see a gradual ‘falling off’ of numbers of older fans. This is normal and to be expected. What you need for a long career to survive is for those people to be replaced, so to speak, and this is where I’ve been very lucky.
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