Blancmange are hitting Glasgow and Edinburgh, whilst on tour in October with both dates at Audio and La Belle Angele, promoting new album, Unfurnished Rooms, which is released on 29th September.
The Fountain spoke with Blancmange’s Neil Arthur about his working practice, getting John Grant to collaborate and his streamlined perspective when it comes to equipment.
TF: And you have come a long way since 1982 when you first released Happy Families. How do you think your sound has developed over the years?
I guess having worked with electronics for forty years helps a bit, but fundamentally I use as little equipment as I can. And hope that the development comes from refining both the sounds and the song writing process.
TF: Why did you choose Cornwall as your location to produce the album? Has this fed into the sound?
I mixed the album with Benge, (John Foxx and the Maths, Wrangler) at his studio, where he replaced and improved some of the drums and rhythm parts I’d recorded at my studio. His studio is in Cornwall. The local pub had a huge influence on us. I also paid a visit to Tintagel – as an Arthur I felt the need.
TF: And how was the process of writing and recording songs? What is the average process for you guys from a written track to a polished off record?
Well, I write these songs, I don’t have a formula, if I did I’d have tried writing a few more Living on the Ceilings, ha. I then recorded them in my workspace. They got sent to Benge, who has a listen through and then chatted with me about what he’d like to change, replace virtual synths with analogue synths. I gave him the audio stems etc, to work with, then went down to Cornwall, as I mentioned to set about mixing with him. That’s about it.
TF: And you have a couple of collaborators on this album. How did that come about?
David Rhodes played guitar, as he has done on most of the Blancmange output over the years. He has done on most of the Blancmange output over the years. He’ll be on tour with me too along with Oogoo Maia and Adam Fuest. My manager sent John Grant, whose work I really admire, a working mix of Don’t Get Me Wrong, in the hope of him playing piano. He liked the song, in fact, he’s a fan of Blancmange and not only added his piano to the track, but also sang backing vocals along with me too. I’m a lucky man.
TF: And you are promoting it with a tour, which includes Glasgow’s Audio and Edinburgh’s La Belle Angele – what are we to expect from these gigs? What do you both expect from these gigs?
We’ll be playing songs from the new album along with some of those from the first three albums, which were recently re-released with a part of the Blanc Tapes Boxset. Also, there will be a number of musical surprises on stage and maybe off it too.
I hope everybody including us has a bloody good time, even when we venture through the dark door with Blancmange. There is light at the end of a tunnel where you’ll also hear us perform say Living on the Ceiling, Don’t Tell Me and the like.
For more on Blancmange, their forthcoming album release and tour click here.