by Zolton in New Music on Saturday 12 April 2008

We’re big fans of the diverse musical output of Barry Adamson, so we caught up with him for a chat. From Visage to Pan Sonic, to your solo music. You’ve covered virtually every sonic territory. Anything left to take on? ‘I’m sure there’s lots! Recently, I got the chance to do live experimental improvisation; controlling effects and working around a storyteller. It felt really fresh, and sounds seem to be evolving from nothing. It felt like somewhere I had never been before’. There’s a timeless pop feel to your songs. Did you take inspiration at any stage from the Brill Building songwriters? And is there a subtle nod to Motown in the arrangements on your new album, Back To The Cat? ‘Yes, I guess I regonised something in the music of my childhood that goes beyond a simple nostalgia. The idea of originality and sublime emoting from a three-minute song was everything. Those songs were so powerful that I’m completely nodding in that direction and trying to find the stuff of great songwriting along the way. With [his song] Straight ’til Sunrise, there is an obvious and almost direct steal from Motown: on purpose, to make a point. ‘Baby don’t leave me’, but in my song it’s too late — she’s gone! So I’m playing with the idiom and using real time stretching to refurnish an idea that hit me once’. Of all the people you’ve worked with, who most notably just had ‘it’ whatever ‘it’ is that indefinable spark of genius that differentiates them. ‘Lots of the instrumentalists I work with. The saxophonist Pete Whyman has “it”, so does the trumpeter Ben Edwards, and the organ players, Nick Plytas and Dave Formula. Oh yeah, and Nick Cave’.