Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Gary Numan Once Had a Job So Terrible It Nearly Killed Him

Posted By on Wed, Mar 26, 2014 at 3:01 AM

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You then retired briefly in 1981. Why did you decide to retire, and why did you come back to music?

My success was very sudden and very extreme, especially in the UK and Europe, and even in the U.S. very briefly. I was overwhelmed by it, and I just wanted to get my feet back on the ground. I tended to blame a lot of the problems I was having on touring, and so I decided to pull out of touring and concentrate on studio work, songwriting. It was widely reported at the time that I was retiring from music although that was never true. I just wanted to take a step back, catch my breath, and then come back into it but at my own pace. That's pretty much what I did, but when I came back 90 percent of the fan base had moved on, and so things didn't work out quite the way I planned.

With Dance and each album after, you seemed to be trying out different musical personas, almost searching for a new image. Was that the case?

For a while, I did that until 1992 when I realized that I had been going about it in entirely the wrong way, on many levels. At that point I thought my career was finished, and I went back to doing it, as I thought, for a hobby. That change of attitude brought about a new way of thinking about music, and the music I made after that was very different. Much heavier, much darker, and it started to do well again, and so I had something of a renaissance. That continues right up to today.

In the '90s, you did some film scoring. How was that different from your solo work? Are you interested in scoring more films?

Writing for film is a very different process to writing conventional albums. You are no longer tied to tempo, for one thing. I recently moved from the UK to Los Angeles, and part of the reason for doing that was to get more involved in film scoring and writing for TV. I'm just finishing off the first score that I've been asked to work on since moving here, for an animated film called From Inside. It's been a great and very interesting experience, and I would definitely like to explore that further.

Considering your new album Splinter, how has your songwriting changed the most since the days of Tubeway Army?

In many ways it hasn't changed much at all. I still sit at a piano and write the basic melody and arrangement. Once that's done I turn to the technology and begin to flesh out the song. It's at that point that the changes begin to tell as we now turn to computers and plug-ins. The power to manipulate sound these days is quite incredible.

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