AUTOMATON TOUR PROGRAMME
What was the inspiration behind 'Automaton'?
Has anything changed in the way you approached recording 'Automaton' compared to your previous albums?
Jay... This project was different because we had to try and take our old sound and give it a slightly contemporary edge, without it losing what we felt like people liked about us, and what's always suited the style we always created music in. So instead of using plugins on
Pro Tools, we decided to use a lot of old vintage '70s and '80's synthesizers in their analogue form as the basis for the music.
On top of that, the drum recording was done initially with plugin drums and then embellished on top of the live stuff - sometimes just with live hats - to keep a fluid feel to it. We were also careful about how we use horns because in the past we were criticized perhaps for being too retro, so we decided just to be very careful about how we used them. So it's a very fine line between having the sound that we've had and that our old fans enjoy, and bringing something newer that people who aren't familiar with the band could enjoy.
How do you feel your music has developed from your first album to Automaton?
Was there anything particularly challenging or easy when recording 'Automaton'?
Jay... The most challenging part was actually starting up again. I didn't know whether I particularly wanted to carry on in the business because it can be overwhelming. It's a little bit different when you're younger, but the whole industry has change so dramatically now. Although you see artists who were from an era before me carrying on, they tended to have all their major stuff release long before the whole internet and social media thing ever came along. I still started at a time when you put out one single, an A- and B-side, and then you had an album and that was really it. There might have been a 12-inch remix as well, but now things have changed so dramatically that you almost have four times the workload and there was no "least challenging" part to that. So it was definitely deciding to start up and debating whether it was worth it, but then again you continue to do it because you love doing it and you love creating music.
I love the buzz of starting with a blank sheet of paper then seeing songs come together, especially when you see and know when they're finished, and when you are overdoing or overcooking them, and when you feel you've got it right. The buzz of creating something from scratch and seeing that lyric you came up with in your head go onto a record, and then off to the radio and eventually you end up
with 30,000-40,000 people singing that line that you thought of when you were wandering around your garden thinking,
"What can I do for a chorus?" - that's the buzz and that's why most musicians do what they do.
Visual aesthetics have been a key feature with your previous success, how do you feel these will feed in
with 'Automaton' and what can fans expect with the live shows?
Jay... It was imperative that the visual was right for Automaton, particularly in regards to how I was going to move the headgear
forward from where it had been in the past, such as with the feathers, carbon fibre and now a lit electronic piece.
I'm pleased that the visuals match the tune directly. I think it works, we're very happy with it - and to still be dancing at 47!
If you could collaborate with any artist in the world past or present, who would you choose and why?
Jay... Difficult. It would have to be Stevie (Wonder) - he's just in a different league.
He has given me so much inspiration and pleasure over my life.
Out of all the songs you have recorded over the years - which one are you most proud of?
Jay... I think it's Virtual Insanity - it seems to have been an uncanny premonition of our future!
What is your greatest achievement musically?
Jay... Staying in the business for 25 years. The Grammy award is still special.
Is there anything in your career that you would still like to achieve?
Jay... Still looking for that 'all time' great track.
What song by any other artist do you wish you had written & recorded?
Jay... Sunny by Stevie Wonder. (This song was in fact written by Bobby Hebb)
Do you have a preshow playlist, if so, what's on it?
Jay... I don't.
Do you have any rituals before going on stage?
Jay... Not really - a lot of pacing and aggression channelling.
What's your favourite song to perform live?
Jay... Love Foolosophy.
From all the countries you've performed in, what has been the craziest?
Jay... Chile, Argentina. They know how to party down there!
Can you tell us about any embarrasing moments you've had on tour/stage?
Jay... Couple of trouser splits.
How do you relax between shows?
Jay... Read, read, read.
What do you listen to on the tour bus?
Jay... Anything, but mostly films and reading.
What are your MUST HAVE items on tour?
Jay... Books, books and recorded BBC 4 documentaries.
What are you most looking forward to on this tour?
Jay... Well it's the buzz from the audience that is my greatest kick.
What's your favourite bit about a live show?
Jay... As above.
Are there any countries that you haven't performed in that you would like to?
Jay... Not really except Israel. I hear Tel Aviv rocks.
How do you usually wind down after coming off stage?
Jay... Cold beer, book.
What's the first album you ever bought?
Jay... The Who by numbers.
If you could swap lives with one other person who would it be and why?
Jay... Don't know. Don't think I would.
If you could give your fans one piece of life advice what would it be?
Jay... Follow your dreams, don't let other people put you off it.
If you had the chance to meet anyone in the world past or present, who would it be and why?
Jay... Jesus Christ. See what he's like.
Favourite place to go on holiday?
Jay... I love Italy. I love Scotland. I love nothing more than travelling by car around Europe.
Do you have a secret talent or freakish flaw?
Jay... I don't think so.
If you were not a singer now, what other job would you like to do?
Jay... Architect... or racing driver!
If you could go back in time where you would go and why?
Jay... To have a few quid in the late 60's early 70' I should imagine could have been a lot of fun.
Apart from that late 1700' could be an eye opener - but not if you're skint!
What would be your desert island play list and your reasons for choosing them?
Jay... Can't tell you - might spoil it if I get to go on the real thing!