David Sylvian: To Blow the Heart Wide Open

Nenad Georgievski By

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DS: Personally, it was getting my voice to sit well within the context of the guitar-heavy music. As you can hear, we ended up treating it a fair amount to enable it to rise above the fray to some extent. I left the sessions about one week into the recording as things didn't appear to be working out the way I would've liked them. I thought it best to leave Robert (Fripp) alone at the helm for a bit. Two weeks later I returned, and a number of basic tracks had been recorded, but sonically the sound was incredibly dense, with little room for air. This fact was compounded by yet more overdubs on guitar and Stick. It took quite some work to sort the material out in the mixing stages. I was still trying to improve upon it in the mastering stage. Never a good sign, that! As for the experience overall: I really enjoyed touring with Robert. That's where the material seemed to come alive. I thoroughly enjoyed my friendship with him. They were difficult times for us both. His presence in my life was benevolent.

AAJ: One of the past projects that I would really like to ask about is Rain Tree Crow. How do you look back on its music from this standpoint?

DS: I haven't heard the album in its entirety since the time it was completed, but I was happy with many elements of that particular collaboration. Most of the work was born of improvisation, but much of it was worked and reworked over time, although the final recordings still contain elements, seeds of the original improv from which they grew. If personal relations had allowed, I think all involved could've foreseen the project developing over two or three albums, with the possible addition of live work.

David Sylvian / Everything ande NothingAAJ: Life is full of disputes and politics, yet that friction can yield some timeless music. Does tension serve as a creative catalyst for you?

DS: I once would've answered this question in the negative, but I've embraced the conflicts in my life to the point where I've tried to get at the root of them in my writing, without feeling the need to provide tidy resolutions.

AAJ: Beside the two compilations, Everything and Nothing and Camphor, there were several reissues of your past solo work as well as some older material with your previous band. The additional material on the reissues is present on your boxed set, Weather Box. Since there was a lot of rumor about the re-release of this box, was this the only way to re-release the material from this box?

David SylvianDS: It isn't true to say that all of the additional material on these re-issues were present in the Weatherbox set. There's material on the re-issues that's available for the first time. As for the re-release of Weatherbox, this was something Virgin/EMI were interested in pursuing. I personally never thought it the right thing to do. Fortunately they couldn't find the original artwork, so that idea was put to rest. The re-issues were always on the cards independent of the boxed set. In fact, Virgin/EMI are still talking over the possibility of creating a new boxed edition.

AAJ: In relation to publishing out-of-print materials, the bootleg community is flooded with these materials, be it video or audio. Bands have been releasing stuff from their archives (live stuff, mostly) to prevent this. Do you plan to re-release any past material video/audio/books in near future? (This refers to stuff like Preparations, Steel Cathedrals, Trophies Vol.1, Polaroids, etc.)

DS: I don't like the idea of being forced to recycle material that has, to my mind, run its course just because the bootleg community are having a field day with it. However, if there's a demand, and if I still feel a connection of sorts with the material, then I wouldn't be adverse to re-issuing certain editions. No plans at present, though.

AAJ: In 2003 you founded your own label, Samadhisound. How has the label evolved from an idea to what it is today?

DS: Samadhisound came into being almost of its own volition. Running a label wasn't something I'd anticipated as being on the cards for myself, but I've enjoyed my involvement in Samadhisound quite considerably. There have been periods where I've fought for its survival because we'd come a fair way in establishing it on a fundamental basis, and it felt premature to let the enterprise go. Having said that, we can see that the business and media are changing rapidly and that sales are in decline. If it wasn't for the hard work of a few good people, the label couldn't possibly have continued to exist as a platform for as long as it has. With that firmly in mind, I only look to the year ahead. I believe 2010 will see more releases on the label than in any year prior. Rather than indicating the health of the industry or label, this simply reflects the number of projects that have reached my ears that I've wanted Samadhisound to be a part of. As frequently said in reference to my aspirations for the label, it's possible to plant an apple tree without harboring dreams of an orchard.


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