Interview with Robert Reed: "I've always been a huge Mike Oldfield fan" (by Orabidooblog)

Hi Rob, first of all I would like to thank you for having accepted this interview, I know many Mike Oldfield fans really enjoyed Sanctuary -your first solo album released last year- and we all were very impressed by what you managed to create. A piece of music which can find its proper place between Ommadawn and Incantations. How could you managed to capture this Oldfieldian style, so special; and why did you decide to record your 'own Tubular Bells'?

I've always been a huge Mike Oldfield fan from a very early age, it's why I got into making music, and learning to play all these instruments. I've released many album with my band Magenta and a all star epic Kompendium featuring Steve Hackett from Genesis. There has always been overtones of Mike’s style in all my music. I've always been asked when I would attempt a long form instrumental album, and last year decided to attempt it. Also, as a fan I wanted to hear more music in that style, hand played, real music, in a long complex form.

Do you know whether Mike Oldfield has listened to Sanctuary, and, if so, what did he think about it?

I'm not sure, a copy was sent to him via his manager at one point, but I don’t think Mike plays or listens to other people’s music. I would be intrigued to know what he made of it, and hope that he appreciates why I did it and the spirit of it.

Some fans have qualified your music as great but too close to what Mike Oldfield has done in the past, like a 'pastiche'. I guess in paying tribute to Tubular Bells, you expected such reactions from a part of the fans. What would you like to say to them?

I remember reading an interview with Mike when he said that he was surprised and disappointed that nobody had made music in the same style after Tubular bells, and that he hoped that it would lead to a lot music like it. Also I read that when Mike made Hergest Ridge, he had a pile of records and just took the best bits he liked and folded them into Hergest Ridge. It's what all musicians do. Your influenced, but what is you is the melodies and the emotion you generate from them. For me what I wanted to attempt was to capture the emotion that the first 4 albums had. They all had fantastic melodies and hand played. Also when you use the same instruments it's going to sound like them. The easy bit is making something that sounds like a Mike Oldfield album…. the hard bit is writing the melodies that stand up on their own. When I finished, I though I had something special, but didn’t know if I was too close. This is when I contacted Tom Newman…I wanted a second option of what I had…who better to ask. If he had said that it was some cheap pastiche, then I would not of released it. BUT he said that , yes it sounds like Mike, but it was so well done and that the melodies were so good. Tom was so encouraging. In the end I knew that it would divide the Mike Oldfield fans. One of the great things is the number of people who haven’t heard Mike Oldfield's music, who love Sanctuary, and now start getting into Mike’s music.

Since Sanctuary you've released an EP featuring a new version of Willow's Song from 'The Wicker Man', also a cult horror movie from 1973. Can you tell us more about this piece?

I'm a huge horror film fan..and love The Wicker man, and that song. The original plan was to have Willow Song as the last track on Sanctuary… But When I finished the album, it didn’t fit. I was worried that the album was too short, but Tom Newman, again guided me and said that it was right to leave it off…and he was right… I love the version and was glad to finally release it, along with the video.

We were very excited to learn that you are working on the second opus of Sanctuary planned for the next year. The first album was a success, is it for that reason you decided to record a second opus, or was Sanctuary II already somewhere in your mind? By the way, is it the definitive title?

Yes Sanctuary II is the title… I know !!!???? But I couldn’t think of a better title, as this music really is my Sanctuary…as was Mike’s music. It's two 20 mins pieces of music. There is a new element that I will be announcing soon, that really takes it to another level. I was soon pleased. I have also recorded a few shorter pieces, one is another HORROR film theme from the 60’s, the other is a David Bedford track, which I love. But I’m not sure what will make up the album yet, I may release the shorter tracks leading up to the album release.

For the first album, you benefited from Tom Newman and Simon Heyworth's talents, the producers who worked on Tubular Bells in 1973. Are they also involved in Sanctuary II? 

Tom and Simon are back on board... Tom has been my rock, and it's such a privilege to work with him. I sent him side one and he came back and said that it was too crammed with melodies and needed to breath… he was right. He re arranged it and sent it back, with some stunning choices.

What can we expect from the new album? A real sequel, still spreaded through Oldfield music from the 70's, or something more different, marked by other personal influences for example?

I think the new album is a step forward. Yes it's more me, but me is 20 years of listening to Mike Oldfield and being moved by his music. It's the way I play guitar. The same as Mike was influenced by Paul Kossof from Free and Randy California from Spirit. Everybody is influenced…it's what makes music go forward. Sanctuary II has the same instruments, all real. Loads of guitars, Solina strings, etc.

You've just released 'Sussex Carol', a new short instrumental for Christmas with Les Penning who also collaborated with Mike in the 70's, and released similar singles such as In Dulci Jubilo and Argiers. How this version with Les Penning was born?

Les was planned to work on Sanctuary, but it just didn’t happen….. So I kept on hauling him to come and play on something, so we finally met  a week before Xmas, and came up with this crazy plan to do a track in 4 days. Which is what we did. It was amazing to work with , and hear all the stories from him. He is so unrecognised for his contribution to Mike Oldfield's hit single of that period. Les is a real star. Hopefully we will work together in the future.

Do you think about a collaboration with Mike someday??? That could be so terrific.!

I don’t know, they say you shouldn’t meet your heroes….. I would love to explain to him what we as fans would love to hear from him… But I thought about this, it must be hard to find the motivation to produce more music, especially when you have done your masterpiece(s). It takes a lot of energy to make a whole album, especially when it's all real, and not sequenced. You really have to have a reason to want to make it.

So Rob, last question: as an Oldfield fan, what is your favorite album?

I love Incantations.. there is such great stuff on there. As a whole it has to be OMMADAWN.
Though favorite stand alone piece is First Excursions…. that really blows me away , David Bedford's piano chords, tension and Mike’s solo is just mind blowing.

Thank you Rob, and see you soon for more details and new releases!

Guillaume @orabidooblog - 23 DEC 2015

2 commentaires:

Unknown a dit…

Wow ! super interview - merci beaucoup
Sancturay est devenu un de mes albums de chevets et un compagnon de voyage et à vrai presque l'un de mes albums préférés.
Bonne année !

salociN a dit…

Préférer la copie à l'original, ça c'est pas banal...