Hi, I'm sat here now with Brendan Perry who has come into AV Deck for a quick chat, Hi Brendan!
Can you tell us what you've been up to since 'Eye of the Hunter' your debut solo release was released?
-ooh lots of things...
it's been a while hasn't it?
-part of it's social, family, I have a little daughter now so I want to devote more time to her before she goes to school and gets into a more regimented sort of lifestyle. I've got a bit more involved in my local community doing drum workshops, percussion workshops which is something I've really got into of late, afrocuban, african percussion and more recently samba - I've started up a samba school in my local area just to get people motivated towards rhythm more and to play in large band settings, multiple people
so are these the ones you hold at Quivvy? I read about it on your website
-yeah, well my studio at Quivvy Church is a performance space as well as a recording studio, so we held all the workshops there on Monday and Thursday nights and we were doing African music and we did some international workshops - two last year and I'm doing two this year. I've had people come from as far afield as Los Angeles and Canada, as well to Turkey... all over Europe. It's something I've really enjoyed, meeting people from other countries and getting into a community type experience and experience music together and I get great joy from seeing people experience the power of playing music together who don't necessarily have a musical background
so really, anyone could do this?
- well yeah. Most people have a sense of rhythm - there's very few people I've encountered who can't keep a basic beat. and the way a lot of this music is it sounds very complicated but the individual parts are quite simple once people focus and get into their part and keep it going. The whole group tends to pull together and have this wonderful complexity that'll have all the individual parts. I get a great feeling of seeing people perform in a community setting where they are actually having a musical correspondence and it isn't talking with the aid of drinks in a social situation. and the power of that and how it affects their lives is quite profound. I don't think I could explain it that well, because really what you're doing is expressing yourself through a musical instrument anyway, things that you wouldn't normally be able to express. So yeah, that's taken up a lot of my time, and in between I've been constantly writing, demoing material
so have you got a new record on the horizon?
-yeah, I'd say late summer next year would be the release date. I hope to complete it next spring
is it moving more towards a rhythmical more samba-y sound? like the last album isn't like what you're doing now with the workshops
so is that influencing the sound on your record?
-yeah I'd say so - even with Dead Can Dance, every album that we made was directly influenced by the music we were listening to at the time like we were listening to a lot of classical music and not much rock at all by the time of the third album 'Within The Realm of a Dying Son' so that's reflected in the music. Then later our interest in medieval and renaissance music 'Aion' and its constantly been like that and I suppose I show my influences in my music on the records I make, but I try and let them come through and surface in their own personalised vision of those influences - so even though the rhythms I'm doing at present are based on African afro cuban and now brazilian rhythms, once I've come to grasp the authentic way of playing them and how they should be played, I then usually move on to assimilate them into my own creation or version of that music and I think the next album will have that percussion influence as a result, but then I have my quiet moments when I just take up a guitar. this new instrument I've got
-its called a glissentar and its based on a 11 string Oud, the arabic oud which is like a lute shape, its a precursor of the lute in fact, its the ancestor and this one's electrified and its fretless. but it enables me to do slides and slurs but tune it into more oriental modes and things. But I'll often go back to a guitar and write a song and have a more orthodox approach I suppose, to writing. So I'm really not sure. I think there'll be a lot of rhythm in there - it depends on how dense it will be. I still wanna have songs in whatever it ends up being. But for the moment I'm finishing off a 10 minute film, a short film that I've made with a friend Graham Woods from Tomato, based on the kyodo Japanese archery and its a very meditative piece of music which has lyrics and words and its something we want to eventually put into film festivals and hopefully license to television networks
Will that get released as a proper soundtrack then?
-well its only 10 minutes, so its a short format whatever medium it comes out in. I'm not sure, I mean I was just talking to Chris 4ad just now and we were discussing the possibility of it being on my next album but I should have it finished and entered in some film festivals hopefully by the end of this year and then I'll have some more international percussion workshops and I'll be working on my next album. That's the immediate future anyway
And of course there's the Dead Can Dance box set coming up as well, which of course you're very closely involved with. What exactly is that gonna have on it?
- well its gonna be a selection, a new selection of tracks from our previous albums but its also gonna include John Peel sessions, unreleased tracks too which have never appeared over the years, some radio sessions from America from KCRW Radio. Odd things like 'The Protagonist' which appeared on 'Lonely is an Eyesore' which is a soundtrack to a film that we made for that and also a track that was on the album that I was making Lisa after 'Spiritchaser' which we never finished and decided it was just time to disband for a while. We've reached a creative impasse in our working relationship we were able to finish this track
So is this something nobody will have ever heard?
-nobody will have.. well apart from friends! and plus it will have a DVD of the 'Toward the Within' concert plus every video we've made. its an unusual box set, it wont be like the box sets you normally see, which are are a shortened version of a shoe box Lots of care and attention on this one -yeah, like a book and actually Graham Woods, my close friend has designed all this. I think its scheduled for an early November release, something like that.
I was going to ask as well, are there any plans to make your 13 Year Itch gig available? We get queries about that every now and then
-its in my will actually
- yeah, I put in my will, "only to be released posthumously" - not that I'm ashamed of it, I really like it a lot but there are songs in there that I may well do studio versions of. I'm a little bit loathe to release versions from live concerts before releasing an official studio version in a sense.. I'm a bit old fashioned like that. But yeah, I look back on that as a very special concert, for me it was a landmark for it was a direction of music, country folk blues that I'd never done anything like that before. It was a real departure, from Dead Can Dance anyway.. so yeah I wouldn't be surprised if it was released at some point. So, we'll see.
I wanted to also ask you about your website which has just been launched... I wanted to say, it looks really good how, long has it been up and running now?
- Just a week
Are you going to do a lot more stuff online?
-Yeah, I've got a little bit of merchandise on there which is left overs from previous tours, tour books and posters and bits... there's no reason why we can't do some specialised kind of things, of a more artistic bent, in the future... its great for me as a communicative device directly to people like I advertise all my workshops, update news constantly-where I'm at, also its got good background material, where I live, the studio, and a biography. That's the basis at the moment but we're going to introduce music..
So there'll be updates on the new record and that kind of thing?
-Yeah, we could have a news group, and interactive elements on it
I don't know if you've seen Kristin Hersh's Throwing Music site? What they have on there is when Kristin is recording, she has demo versions that are available through a special subscription service that are available for fans to download...
-That's right! She was telling me about that on tour...
Would you think of doing that sort of thing?
-My feeling is that you either go the whole way or not at all... make your own music... I shouldn't be saying this really, but if things do take off in that department then why not make your own records, which we are doing in effect anyway... we've had no advances to make our albums really from the record company because we have our own studio, and why not do it yourself... if you can avail of that directness with your public, then it begs the question of maybe you should be also selling product that way... obviously, record distribution, the way that records are distributed, is pretty much an industry concern and record companies do that much better at the moment than I could possibly imagine doing it.... through limited sales anyway through it... but it's certainly there in the future. I'm a little bit old fashioned like that... she(Kristin) would sell subscriptions of the actual cd's, would she?
No no, you can download the actual tracks online and then burn your own cds from those tracks and you hold them in your computer.
-The other thing is, I just don't like the quality... I'm really holding out for this 96 kHz DVD surround sound and hoping that it becomes a universal medium, because everything else is second best as far as I'm concerned... cd is a backwards step, I felt, from vinyl anyway, and I would be loathe to do it in that format anyway... that's why, on my own site, if people want to hear our music, then I just direct them to amazon.com, or yourself, to hear snippets of it. But, with Dead Can Dance music, it often starts very slowly, with drones... very low frequencies and basses and you can't capture that on realplayer and things, so I let other people get into that because it would be too frustrating to constantly knock up against the limitations of that format.
Well, just to finish off, what is the future going to bring? We've got the album next year, can we expect a tour?
Are you planning on doing any live dates before then?
-Probably... that probably will happen in fact because the album will be finished, then there'll be the period where everything is put in place for its release, and we'll be kicking into the summer, so maybe some summer dates... Though I would suspect I'm going to have to cut down a lot of what I want to do, on a budget/economy level... and have to do a minimal setup, and supports and stuff like that.
-Yeah well, that's the way it happens, y'know.... A lot of our former audience with Dead Can Dance haven't made that transition, to Brendan Perry as a solo artist and on my last tour it was difficult, it was hard work getting the message out. It was a club tour at the end of the day... so I really have to think about how this next album will be presented, anyway, and the music will dictate that..
So if you ended up doing a support, who would you play with?
-Hmmmm... someone who would allow me to have a two and a half hour soundcheck, at least (laughs), and use their drum riser... it gets very political all that stuff, but we'll have to look into it later. I'd really like to do an alternative circuit, always. I've done the club thing and its like, nah... its not really suited to my music. A seated audience, nice acoustic surroundings...
Well, thankyou for coming in Brendan
-Thankyou very much