After 20 years of great music and no solo gigs, this year you've chosen to return to stage. Can I just ask which forces brought you to this decision?
Of course, I have been performing with one thing or another non-stop the last 40 years. It's just that I haven't done the solo thing for a while. When I started working with my new agent in Belgium, Pieter de Clercq, he found some dates for me solo. That's it.
This new solo tour is not a solo tour at at all: you're sharing the stage with Georgio Valentino, a man who's followed an opposite path somewhat, compared to you. Many live shows and very few discographic works. How was your relationship and partnership born? Where do you find artistic correspondances (or contrasts) between your approach and sound and his ones?
Georgio introduced himself to me online, first in his role as a journalist for a Belgian magazine and later as a musician. He visited me in Athens to work with me on one of his songs. I liked him a lot, found him a funny guy and we worked well musically. I played several times as a guest of his band, playing in Belgium, France, and Holland. In 2014 I was invited to do a special show for some friends in Amsterdam and so invited him along. It worked out well. Then Pieter started finding us some dates around Europe. We will even play Hong Kong later this month.
I saw in some videos that you've reached a particular sinergy on stage. You're usually jumping from guitar to violin, while he is doing lots of different sounds and numbers with his 12 strings guitar. Can you explain what kind of instrumental dialogue you have set up?
I am not actually playing keyboards on stage with this line up. I have recorded the synthesizers and rhythms and use my laptop. I have successfully adapted most of my classic numbers to guitar, even though they were originally composed for keyboard. The violin is always there, as it must be. George has added his 12 string guitar nicely to the arrangements.
And what about the setlist? It seems it's a melange of everything you've done in your careers, that brings to a very heterogeneous set. Did you choose the tracks together? How do you manage to have the right technical set to play so many different kinds of sounds?
Yes, the set is composed of a survey of my career, with and without tuxedomoon. This instrumentation has been working well. I am pleased with it. We do a couple of Georgio's songs as well. 5. You've started this new tour as you've ended up your last one with Tuxedomoon, following the release of "Pink Narcissus".
After 35 years of career, what do those different experiences represent for your art in 2015? What tiles of your "puzzle" do you feel you've just collected in those last 4 years?
I am happy to feel that I continue to learn new things, that new artistic paths reveal themselves to me in my work, even at my age. Perhaps especially at my age. Feeling that one has matured in one's art, feeling more capable rather than less, figuring out one or two things, these are the rewards of surviving to maturity.
I noted you've never give up playing some "old" glorious tracks in your concerts. Many musicians coming from your age don't do the same, and they often try to centre their gigs on their last and most recent projects. Or sometimes they play old stuff just to let the audience enjoy the show. What is in 2015 your relationship with the music you made in 80s, both on solo projects and with the band?
I like to include what I can of my newer things, though few of them adapt well to live performance. There is, I think, a joy in performing an old song that reveals new depths over time. It is also a way to judge one's own passage through time, how you have held up, how you have changed, what you have learned. I also know that many people who come to see someone they have known for a long time are disappointed if they only play new material.
A quick-list questions to conclude: after the last collection of "Commissions", are you working on any new project? Do you think Tuxedomoon's experience will go on on the path of "Pink Narcissus" with new projects in the next years? Any chance of a studio album from you and Georgio?
There are plans within plans. I continue to work all the time, every day on my own material. What happens to it remains to be seen. I just finished working in Switzerland on a very cool video project called “Angels”. I would like to release that music. Tuxedomoon plans to get together next year to write new material. We are also planning a tour wherin we play our album “Half Mute” in its entirety. As to what happens with Georgio, who can tell?