Interview: Gary Numan
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One of the pioneers of electronic pop, Gary Numan’s career has spanned five decades and still shows no signs of slowing. Known for his extravagant stage shows and his one-time robotic persona- which inspired a generation of ‘Numanoids’- he has had an incalculable effect on the trajectory of modern music, and is cited as an influence by acts as diverse as Lady Gaga and Marilyn Manson. His early hits ‘Are ‘Friends’ Electric?’, with his band Tubeway Army and solo single ‘Cars’ both released in 1979 are tightly woven into the fabric of popular music. As it stands in 2012 Numan has made a clean break from his early work, having adopted an darker industrial metal sound. With this I am eager to find out how work on his next album, 2013’s Splinter, is progressing. “Well, I’ve pretty much got the bulk of the writing done, and the production on the first seven or eight songs is virtually done - so we’re well into it. But when I moved to America, things kind of stopped… six weeks ago I had to close my studio down, everything went into boxes, and it’s supposed to be arriving today… although I’ve not heard anything yet!” Numan has caught a lot of flak over leaving the UK, a move, he claims, that was precipitated by the growing hostility of Britain’s streets. As such an iconic British act, a lot of fans have been sorry to see him leave our shores for his new home in sunny LA. I ask the musician how he’s managing without his studio, and where exactly all his equipment is right now. “Well, with luck, in the next few days my stuff should be arriving here, and then the initial thing will be to set up a temporary studio inside the house - which, really, will just be me with a keyboard and some headphones. The next batch of writing, which will be the final batch for the album, will all be done on this temporary set-up in the house.” Being an musician rooted in electronic sounds, how is he coping without his musical machines (keyboards, synthesisers).
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