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Oct 2008

LineaMusica Interviewed Nik Kershaw


Q.: When did you approach to music world?

A.: I first became interested in making music when I was 15, when a friend got himself a guitar and amp.

Q.: You started to devote your life to music in the half of 70's. Which are your reference models?

A.: My early influences were, Bowie (Aladdin Sane), T Rex, Genesis and Deep Purple. Later in the 70's it was Steely Dan, Weather Report and Stevie Wonder.

Q.: Which was your opinion about punk movement?

A.: At the time I hated it. I'd invested a lot of energy into learning the craft of writing and playing music and these guys were just trampling all over it. Looking back, I can see how important it was. It took out the pomposity and exclusiveness of the business.

Q.: Can you speak us about bands in which you are a member before succeed as Nik Kershaw?

A.: I had my own bands to start with. The first was called Thor and we played all covers. Later bands were Half Pint Hogg and Hogg. This is when I started writing original material. Then I joined Fusion, which was a professional functions band for the most part and Jazz Fusion band for fun.

Q.: What did you remind about your teen age in Ipswich?

A.: I spent a lot of time locked in my bedroom, making crude multitrack recordings on a reel to reel tape recorder and practising my guitar. Apart from that, it was the usual stuff like hanging out in pubs and clubs with mates.

Q.: In 1983, left the Fusions, what did drive you to follow your soloist carreer?

A.: I was on Unemployment Benefit and needed the money. I loved music and wanted to make my living playing it but, like most people in this business, I was driven by the whole fame thing as well.

Q.: Your first single "I Won't Let The Sun Go Down On Me" is inspired to "Cold War" between Urss and Usa. How did you bring to fruition of this work and, personally, how di you live that period of international tension?

A.: It's easy to forget that there was that tension. It was always at the back of people's minds. The song was originally written as a kind of folk protest song but it turned into a pop anthem in the studio.

Q.: You had by your side different producers: I remeber Peter Collins and Peter Wolf. The first one for albums Human Racing and The Riddle; Wolf for your forth album (The Works). Which are your memories of these collaborations?

A.: Peter Collins was the perfect producer for my first two albums. A lot of the work had already been done on the demos so it was just a case of recreating them in a proper studio. He gave me a lot rope. He knew when to get involved and he knew exactly when to stand back and let things happen.

Peter Wolf was a completely different kind of producer. He was very "hands on". Unfortunately, although I had a huge amount of respect for his musicianship (he was rank Zappa's keyboard player), we didn't always see eye to eye and there was a fair amount of tension in the studio.

Q.: The most consider "Wouldn't It Be Good" your simble-song. How did this successfull 45 rpm record born?

A.: This was the last song to be written for the first album and only just made it on. I remember spending hours and hours overdubbing single guitar lines in the choruses. I played a guitar solo which Peter took over to LA to get Michael Jackson's horn section to double.

Q.: After this time-space and expecially further to big social and cutural changes, what would you give from 80's to young boys of today and instead, what wouldn't you advise them to copy from that society?

A.: I think the 80s was a very greedy decade and it was every man for himself. It was a very creative time however.

Q.: How much did your personal life influence your realizations?

A.: In the past. Not a lot. I always went out of my way to avoid writing about myself in case I got found out. I always felt a bit of a fraud. Nowadays, most of my songs are about my life or the lives of the people around me.

Q.: In 1999 you arranged "Wouldn't it be good" and "The Riddle" performing its simply with guitar and voice. Why did you "clean" its from the tipical sound of 80s?

A.: When you perform one of those songs on acoustic guitar, it becomes a completely different entity. 80s production was epic and self important can almost put a wall between the listener and the song. Acoustic versions do the opposite.

Q.: In you carreer you collaborated with different artists, among which Elton John, Bonnie Tayler, Tony Banks. Did one of this occasions stick more in your mind? Or an episode referred to these which you like to remeber.

A.: I was a big Genesis fan when I was a kid so it was a blast working with Tony. Elton called me out of the blue one day, told me he was making a duets album and asked I had any songs. As it happened, I didn't so I spent the next couple of days writing two songs and a week later we were recording them. In spite of his reputation, he was very easy to work with.

Q.: In july 1985 you took part in Live Aid. In that period music was considered a mass phenomenon so big to join people and supranational to think that it could modify condition of things or at least contribute provably. From 90s how did the connection between music and society changes?

A.: Live Aid raised one hell of a lot of money and a lot of people are alive today because of it. But, in the long term, I don't think it changed much at all. Music has always had the power to bring people together but it will always be up to people how they use that.

Q.: "The Riddle"'s video is maybe a more explicit example of 80's "Baroque", overlapping Animation, Metaphysics, Surrealism, Conceptual Art. Can you tell something about his realization?

A.: Storm Thorgesson directed this and I think a lot of the detail in this was his idea. I was pretty useless when it came to presenting myself visually. My contribution was mostly "yes I like that" or "no, that's rubbish". The lyric to song was nonsense so it made sense that the video should be the same. I think our model was "Alice in Wonderland"

Q.: From the "The Works" of 1989 to "15 Miuntes" of 1999. What did you do in this long period? How come, after 10 years without productions, did you decide to come back in the limelight?

A.: Mostly writing and producing. After eight years of the frustration of dealing with A&R men, managers and divas, I started making "15 Minutes". It was just made up from the bits I knew would never be recorded by anyone else. They were to personal to me. It was never a plan to "come back in to the limelight", it just made sense to release it as an album, that's all.

Q.: How do Nik Kershaw's song born? Who's behind lyrics and music?

A.: The best one's just turn up out of nowhere. I get a tune in my head, occasionally with a lyrical phrase. Most of the time, it's just bashing about on a guitar to see what develops. There's no real science to it. I think the tricky part is spotting a good idea when it turns up and knowing what to do with it.

Q.: "You've got to lough" is published by "Shorthouse Records"". What did you push on create a your own recording label?

A.: It just made sense at the time. I'm not prepared to spend all my time and energy promoting a record and no record company is going to sign me on those terms. When you've got your own label, you can do exactly what you want. You can make the record you want and do as much or as little promotion as you want.

Q.: What did and do Kershaw when he's not singing or composing?

A.: Family stuff, the same as everyone else. I play golf (badly) when I've got the time and I do like a good book or movie.

Q.: How did your last work "You've got to Lough" born?

A.: There was no particular concept to it. It's just a collection of songs. When I got enough together that I was proud of, we release an album. Simple as that. Most of it was recorded and mixed at home with the odd trip out to record drums etc. Because of advances in technology, making an album isn't such an event anymore. You don't book studios, musicians and engineers and record over a set period of time. I can do pretty much everything here on a laptop, which means you just end up dipping in and out of it. That's why my records take so long to record. Too many distractions.

Q.: Have you new works in plan?

A.: I stopped making plans years ago. They never "go to plan". I just wander aimlessly about bumping into things. I'm always writing songs and there will be another album at some point. I'm doing bits and pieces of music for TV and Film and we'll see how I progress with that. I'll be doing the occasional gig. That's as much of a "plan" I've got

Thanks A lot Mr. Kershaw from all Team

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