Gary Numan, the british electronic musician legend, kindly gave us this interview about his collaboration with Jean Michel Jarre on Electronica 2. Thanks a lot, Gary!
1. How your collaboration with JMJ started?
I had an e-mail from Jean Michel, maybe two years ago, that outlined the project he was putting together and he asked if I wanted to be involved. I was very flattered to be asked.
2. Can you describe how is the track you made with JMJ?
It sounds very Jean Michel, which is a good thing of course, but with a little bit of me sprinkled on top. Mid paced with quite a heavy electronic groove running through it with a big build towards the end.
3. What was your role in this collaboration? You made the music, the lyrics?
Jean Michel came to me with the music already ready in demo form. I added a few little things musically but it’s essentially Jean Michel’s music. My main role was to come up with the vocal melody and lyrics, and the vocal itself of course.
4. What was the process that JMJ and you followed in order to make the track?
After Jean Michel had come over to LA to talk about the project in more detail, and to get to know each other a little better, he left me with the music he had done up to that point for the track and I just got on with it in my own studio. I would send him ideas as they were recorded and he would send back opinions and it evolved into what it is now.
5. Did Jarre send you just the track that will appear in Electronica 2 or did he send you more tracks to work on?
Just the one.
6. Are you satisfied with the final result of your collaboration?
Very. It’s always interesting working with another artists, especially one of Jean Michel’s legendary status, but you never really know if things are going to work out. I’m glad our track went well.
7. How is to work with JMJ?
He is a very charming and entertaining man to be around but he knows what he wants, and what works. He pushes you quite hard to get the best out of yourself and he isn’t afraid at all of asking you to make quite drastic changes if he thinks it can be better. It was a great experience. His knowledge of current technology is very impressive and his awareness of what’s going on in music is quite remarkable. He understands the business very well, and still loves it. It was a real honour to work with him.
8. Have you known about Jarre before your collaboration?
Of course. I’m often described as a pioneer of electronic music, as legendary myself, but Jean Michel was there long before me. He has earned a huge amount of respect from so many artists.
9. If so, what is your favorite JMJ album and track?
Oxygene will probably always be my favorite as it was such a groundbreaking album and opened the doors to the potential of electronic music to so many people. It also opened the minds of so many creative people that were to follow.
10. What is your favorite track of Electronica 1 and 2? (Your track don’t count!)
I have only heard one track of Electronica 1 so far, and nothing at all of Electronica 2, so I can’t say at the moment.
11. Are you going to play live your track with JMJ in concert or in your own concerts?
That’s all to be decided but quite possibly. I won’t be playing live with new material until 2017 anyway so it’s quite a way off for me. It would be very exciting to join Jean Michel on stage though.
12. Would you like to collaborate with JMJ again in the future?
He’s become a good friend in the course of working on the track, and he’s one of my favourite people, so it’s very possible. My family and I recently went to Paris to see him, and show support for France after the terrorist attacks, and he travels to Los Angeles regularly, so we do see each other quite often.
13. In the last years you have experimented a critical and commercial renaissance after a long period of being a cult artist. What is your feeling about this?
It’s always exciting to see things building back up. My career was in a very bad position for many years but I was able to find my place again, find my musical direction once again. The music is now very heavy, a dark form of electronica merged with rock, so it’s not easy to reach out to the public with it. There are very few radio and TV avenues to promote my kind of music so it’s a constant battle but, each year seems a little better than the one before.
14. You are working on a new album and the fans even can participate in the process of making the album. Please tell us about this.
I have my new album (unfinished for now) available as a pre sale on Pledge Music. It’s not crowd funded as luckily I’m financially secure but it is an attempt to release an album in a different way, at least in part. I wanted to have a more direct relationship with the fans, and I also wanted the fans to be able to follow the process of what it takes to make an album. The good days, the bad days, the stress, the euphoria, all of it.
15. In some interviews you talked about the asperger syndrome you suffered. How manages an artist so exposed to public to deal with that issue?
In a way having Aspergers is an advantage in the music business. It gives you a high degree of focus, an almost ruthless determination,an obsessive degree of ambition, a desire for perfection, control, and an environment where being a little odd isn’t seen as a bad thing. I’ve never regretted having it, always been quite proud of it actually.
16. Have you ever performed in Spain?
Sadly, I think my only time was at a Festival in Barcelona a few years ago. I would love to be able to play there more often. Perhaps when the new album is released we can look into that.
17. Please tell us about your future projects.
The new album obviously is top of the list at the moment. I will be touring that album for about eighteen months to two years once it’s released, so most of 2017 and 2018. I’m working on a High Fantasy novel that ultimately I would like to see become a TV series, various musical collaboration projects beyond the one with JMJ, a side project album with a friend of mine from the UK, a book of children’s stories (although I have a lot of work still to do on that), the second volume of my autobiography, a documentary film and various other little things.