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For the first time the creative heads of OMD
talking concrete about their future plans
 

by Hagen Schmitt (achieve of the questions)
and Lola (Interview)

March 8th 2006 (Munich/Germany)
(in approache of the recording of the german
"Best of Formular One" - TV-Show)

transcription of the original audio recording:  Kerstin Peter
correcting the final english version:  David Smith
photos
:  Lola, RTL

 

 

The message at the OMD-reunion of the original line-up was a great surprise for the fans, we are so very happy about it! What was the reason to come together after such a long time and risk a new beginning? When did you feel that it was the very moment to say „now we’ll do it again“?

ANDY:
I think it all really started when we decided to do this television show in Cologne last June
(notice by the author: "The Ultimate Chartshow", recorded at May 30, 2005 in Cologne/Germany). We´d been asked to do TV shows before and we always said: „No“ and I don´t know why but we just decided „Oh why not? Let´s do it. Let´s have some fun!“. And it was when we were at the TV show we had such good fun doing it and it was so easy. I think we all looked at each other and said: „Shall we do some more of this?“. That was the beginning of saying: „Hey, maybe we can get together again.“

 


Andy and Paul at the "Ultimative Chartshow" in Cologne/Germany
- the final decision for the OMD reunion was made here

 

Another possible reason for the reunion could be the fact that your former record label does everything to let OMD and OMD’s releases of the last 26 years be forgotten. The financial aspect of that fact alone can’t be very positive for you. Do you fight against being forgotten? Are the planned A&M-concerts (which you intended to play mainly to representatives of the media) a direct reaction to show the true significance of OMD in the musical history and to get a place next to Synth-artists like "Depeche Mode", "Pet Shop Boys", "Human League" etc.? A place that you really deserve but that is not recognized for years now?

PAUL:
Well, I do think there is some truth on the fact that OMD have been forgotten by the media. There’ve been a lot of sort of retrospective shows over the last couple of years really that I’ve watched on TV. But in a lot of english shows they don´t include OMD and we had some significance in the 80s as much as some other bands that they have been on there and it had been a sort of source of annoyance for us the fact that OMD have been kind of forgotten. And maybe it´s a motivating factor for us to kind of go out and say: „Hey, we did do some good stuff in the 80s and we are capable of doing some good stuff again.“

ANDY:
I think it´s understandable. Because the band stopped, people will forget you apart from maybe a few songs on the radio sometimes. So it´s understandable why this happend, but for us it´s frustrating. And part of the reason is to remind people of what we did, because we are proud of it. So that is one of the reasons obviously though we had fun doing the TV Show last year. We´re having fun today, we´re here in Munich doing a TV Show and we are looking forward to having fun in the next few years.

I don´t think OMD is going to be something we will be doing everyday for the next 30 years. I think Paul has other things he wants to do, I have some things I want to do. But I think the next 2 years we will do some OMD things and if we build the band back up again then maybe every 2 or 3 years we will do some gigs and well, make a record.

PAUL:
I think also a lot of the TV shows, they seem to focus the bands who had Number One Hits in the UK. Somebody pointed it out to me recently, that there is a lot of bands who they pick all had Number One hits. And OMD never had a Number One in the UK, although we have had Number Ones in Germany, throughout Europe we actually had Number One hits. But a lot of the retrospective shows in the UK they pick bands, that have had number one hits.

 


Paul Humphreys und Andy McCluskey (2006)

 

Andy, you told us recently, that the fans will get „traditional“ OMD on the new album. But in the past you were the very champion in trying out new styles and let every album sound totally different compared to it’s forerunner. So can one guess that the new album – following the OMD-tradition - will sound totally different than everyone expects?
 

ANDY:
Well most of it hasn´t been written yet, so I don´t know. But I think that one of the things that I´m looking forward to - and I have done a little writing so far. We haven´t had the chance to work together much yet, but I think the fun is actually that it will sound like OMD, but it will sound – probably mostly sound - like early 80s OMD, not late 80s or 90s OMD. But times change, there is new equipment and technology, new sounds, so i don´t think it´s just going to be a complete kind of historical sounding record. I think it’s important that it should sound like OMD now.

PAUL:
It won’t be retro-OMD, although there will be some reference-points. My writing I have gone very far back to kind of early electronic music again. I’ve rediscovered sort of hardcore electronic music again, which were our roots. So to any writing that we do, I’ll be bringing that again, because I’m inspired by our early things again. I’ve recently been listening to a lot of "NEU!", Kraftwerk and "La Duesseldorf" and all the things that inspired us back then. But I don’t want to do that as we did it then, I want to bring it into this century and into this period.

ANDY:
And then the whole album will be remixed by the Micronauts.

PAUL:
The Micronauts, who did an awful version of Electricity.

ANDY:
I would like this!

PAUL:
You would like that! I don’t agree with that! It’s an interesting track but for me it has
nothing to do with Electricity!

 

How will the songwriting be organized for the forecoming album?
Will we hear a McCluskey/Cooper“ or a „Humphreys/Holmes song for the first time?
Or will the songwriting stay a job for the heads of the band like in the past and the main constellation will remain „Humphreys/McCluskey“?

ANDY:
It will be Humphreys and McCluskey. Sure. Malcolm never really wrote and Martin… Well, one thing we realized about OMD coming back is that Martin is very busy as an artist, his main career is painting and selling paintings… No no, basically it will be Humphreys/McCluskey!

 

Will Stuart Kershaw be a member of the band „only“ for live performances or will he take part in the recording of the album, may it be as a songwriter or as a musician? Do you think there is a chance for the Weir Brothers to rejoin OMD? After all they were long time members of the band…
 

ANDY:
Weir Brothers -
(and same time with PAUL) - no. Stuart - maybe on stage and probably
a little bit of writing.

 

Who will produce the new album?

ANDY:
We will.

PAUL:
Like we did the early albums.

ANDY:
Both Paul and I have our own studios. We will do the recordings ourselves and then probably we will get somebody to mix the album, just to do the final recording, but we will produce it.

PAUL:
We will drive the whole thing.

 


Andy und Paul - interviewed by Lola

 

Until now you „only“ speak of releasing an album. Do you also plan to release a single? Some people are talking about the 10-year old song Sister Mary Says to be the new OMD-single. Don´t you think a new song taken from the new album recorded with the actual band would fit better? And how comercial or hit-orientated may a single be? In the 80s you accepted compromises (or better you had to after pressure of your record label) but you only have this pressure to write a hit-single in an indirect way today.

ANDY:
I think since we only have a few ideas for songs that we definitely want on the album so far, it’s too early to say what will be single. But I’m sure there will be singles, we’ll definitely release singles, but it’s too early to say what it will be. I also think the time of the release of the album is probably going to be the autumn of 2007, so we have a long way until it’s released. The most important thing for us is that we have to start again. The band has been gone for a long time and often forgotten, so we have to start to making people think about OMD and hopefully create a demand for a new album. To make people want an OMD album.

PAUL:
We have a fan base who would love to have a new OMD album but we want more than just the fan base. And so we want to remind people of what we have done and where we’ve come from and people to remember the name again and then hopefully that will create a demand for a new record, which also gets the time to reinvent, to write some decent songs.

 

The medial landscape has changed a lot compared to the past. The extreme quickness and a discretionary replaceability of the artists is dominating nowadays. The record companies don´t care about a gentle build-up of newcomers and an intensive care of well-known artists anymore. What chances do you think you have to be recognized in an adequate way by media and audience? Don´t you think the 8 years that OMD were absent from the view of the media are a very long time to get a foot into the buisness again.

ANDY:
Yes, it is. But I think we are prepared to do some hard work. We think we are going to make a great album, the band has been always very good on stage and we will use the live performances to start people thinking positively about the band again. But we realize that it’s gonna take time and also I think we are realistic. Even if we make the most fantastic album that OMD ever made it probably won’t sell as many as the old albums did, like "Architecture & Morality" or "Sugar Tax".. We have to be realistic about that. But we gonna write the best music we can, play the best gigs we can and then hopefully that will be the beginning of a new future.

 


The "The Best Of Formular One" TV performance - March 8th 2006

 

Andy, you have a studio in Liverpool and you are a producer, Paul is busy with his actual band ONETWO and his label "theremusic", he will go on tour in spring, Malcom has a label himself and Martin’s regular occupation is being a painter. But with the reunion of OMD there is a lot of work coming towards you. You have to rehearse for the „Architecture & Morality“-Live Shows, for an Europe-Tour and by the way write and record the songs for the new album. Do you have a master plan to pursue the new OMD activities in a way that satisfies both the band and also the fans?

PAUL:
It’s just a lot of hard work ahead, but we never find it hard work. I’ve always enjoyed working, so if I was not working, I get really depressed so I personally like hard work.

ANDY:
Obviously Paul and Claudia have their own band, they have their own music and we have to realize that that’s important about Paul and Claudia. Paul’s not going to do just OMD, I will do different things, we just said Martin paints. And one of the other things is that about myself and Martin in particular we have quite young children. We don’t want to be on tour for six months and never see our kids or wives. Yes, and Paul’s the same. We have to think about that. It’s a little bit more complicated then when we were all in our twenties and OMD was 24 hours a day, everyday.

PAUL:
It was our life, 7 days a week.

ANDY:
But we can do it.

PAUL:
It doesn’t mean we can’t do it. We’ll do it very well!

 

If there will ever be a DVD what are your personal wishes for it´s content? You have recorded a lot of video footage by your own during the tours of 1986 until 1988. Will there be a chance for the fans to ever see this?

ANDY:
I know that we never released a DVD of all these single videos but the funny thing is: I think if we want to be a cool band, I don’t think we should ever release a DVD of the videos, because most of them are horrible.

PAUL:
I totally agree with him!

ANDY:
But I mean we are actually making a television programme this year which is going to be shown in the UK and hopefully will be shown in other countries. We do have film footage of things that have never been seen, which we will be trying to use. So there will be things for people to buy and to see and to listen to, not just concerts and a new album, there will be TV-shows and DVDs, all this is going to happen.

 

Who will design the cover for the new album? Martin maybe?

ANDY:
Peter Saville, who did all our early sleeves.

 

 

Paul, are you in a conflict working with two bands?
How do you decide which of your songs you will use for which band?

 

PAUL:
It’s a little bit like dancing at two weddings, as we say in England.

ANDY:
He’s going to use the best ones to OMD, but don’t tell Claudia!

PAUL:
Pretty much I have written today is on the next OneTwo album. We have said that there are some things we have started, which won’t be on the OneTwo album, which I am gonna be sending Andy…

ANDY:
He’s been telling that for three months!

PAUL:
I have a deadline to finish my record by the end of this month, so it’s a little bit tight over there, but No, I don’t see it as a conflict, it’s just a question of beeing organized. And I’m far more organized than I used to be.

 

Andy, does the reunion of OMD mean the unavoidable end of the Genie Queen?

ANDY:
They’ve already finished. It’s over. They ended. I had to give up and finally accept defeat.

 

MANY THANKS TO ANDY AND PAUL FOR DOING THIS INTERVIEW!

 


The complete interview as a audio-file (mp3) download:

 

GERMAN TRANSCRIPTION OF THE INTERVIEW:


© 2006-2016  /  www.germanmanoeuvres.com and Hagen Schmitt & Lola

No part of this interview may be modified, reproduced, transmitted, distributed,
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without the specific written permission of the author.


  


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