How does it feel to get back on track as A.R. Kane after all these years?
Time is an illusion, I cannot think in terms of time and so the context you propose is a little difficult to deal with. Ignoring time, it feels good. It feels fresh and new. It feels the same as it always did – music, creativity, hard work, happiness, love, pleasure, irritation, frustration. Never enough money, always a million ideas that will never be realised. Music is like that, at least it is for me.
How did you choose the new line-up?
My sister Maggie was always part of A.R.Kane,so that was easy. Andy Taylor is a close friend of Alice – my daughter – he has been at our house for meals, and after we would play guitar and sing. He was an easy fit. He gets it. He is like family.
Why didn’t Alex take part in the reunion?
I asked him and he said ‘No thanks’. That’s it, I know not his motivations or his reasons.
Is it just nostalgia or do you really mean that A.R. Kane are here to stay, back again?
Neither of those things. Nostalgia is poison emotion, it denies the life that we are living now. We love to play as A.R.Kane, we have no ‘Sell by’ date, we just do what we do now, and I do not know for how long. Things must progress, next we need to make new recordings. If this does not happen then maybe the sell by date would have been reached, and then I can go back to sleep.
Though you achieved limited commercial success at the end of the Eighties, your music influenced many acts to come and was a paradigm of many genres of the Nineties. Do you feel a pioneer?
We made a small fortune that enabled us to build our own studio, run a record label and production company, and kept us financed for a decade. I do not call that ‘limited commercial success’. No, we were not millionaires, true, but what other experimental indie bands did as well as us? Yes, in retrospect you can call us pioneers, although the term is a tad exaggerated, as in, we did not exactly go to the moon, invent penicillin or open-heart surgery, or create Facebook. We experimented because that was the time, the place, and that was our nature, and some people were influenced by that.
Dream-pop and shoegaze acts of late Eighties/early Nineties have reunited in the last few years, earning credit from a new generation of fans. Would you call it retromania?
Yes, I would, if it were a term that I used, which it isn’t. I was influenced by the 50′, 60′, 70’s. Although I find it hard to imagine that anyone would look back at the 80’s indie and feel anything but amusement, embarrassment and disgust. I guess people look back with rose-tinted spectacles.
Is 69 your favorite album among those you released as A.R. Kane?
Yes, it is. It is the most spontaneous, creative, uncompromising thing that we did. And it has a very cool cover.
What were your influences when you started your career?
My mother – she played Strauss waltzes all the time – hence we often used waltz time in our songs. Oh, and the velvet underground. That’s all really. Oh, and dub, punk, disco, jazz, funk, new romantic, new wave, house, classical, folk. Not country.
Are there any contemporary artists that you really admire?
No. Contemporary music is awful, conservative, retro. Dead. Pop music is dead. Most bands are simply Facebook pages come to life, with a ‘oh look at me, I’m so cool, look at my friends, we are so cool’ kinda attitude. It has become image-obsessed. Everyone is so sophisticated and clued up, everything contrived, it’s like a dystopian music reality of clones, of copies of clones of clones. I dream of hearing something genuinely new and different and worthy and not about the players, but about serving the music. Please recommend something. Just one song that will make me say – “Fuck my boots, that is the dog’s bollocks!”.
Being back on tour, which are the places and venues you like the most nowadays?
I prefer smaller venues, more intimate, real fans, although I enjoy the festivals – I quite like musical tourists, too. I prefer countries where there are not so many outspoken fascists, where I can walk down the street without being abused, searched, bullied. I may have to leave this planet, again.
As a British citizen what is your opinion on Brexit?
Brexit is what Britain wanted, it never wanted to be truly part of Europe. Britain is an island, off the coast of Europe. The reason Britain is the heart of popular music, is because it is disconnected, an outsider if you like. If it became European it would lose its edge. Every Briton wanted to keep the sterling currency, to refuse to speak foreign languages, to drink too much beer and eat crap food. Whatever the ‘Remain’ folk tell you, they never really loved Europe, they just hate the poorer people and the crampening of their traveling lifestyle. Oh, and the cheap imported goods and cheap labour. It is a shame that it has become openly racist, but in truth it was always a racist nation, just like France, Italy, Germany, Spain, Belgium, Poland, Sweden, etc etc. Europeans hate foreigners, in general. Today it is muslims and Eastern Europeans. Tomorrow I suspect they will turn on blacks – anybody of African descent. Humanity is going to bad places, it is becoming increasingly fearful, hateful and uncivilized. This is a good time to make music. We are now just starting to see it; what was once exotic and interesting, is now threatening and irritating. Welcome back to the good old days, eh.
When will you begin to record new stuff?
Yes, we start next week. I do not know how many songs or when they will be released, or how, as we do not yet have a record label. We’ll just see how it goes.