Steve Hackett interview
1. Thank you very much for taking your time, Steve! What are you up to these days?
I am currently touring with a new set including numbers from my latest album Beyond the Shrouded Horizon. I’m also working on ideas for my next recording project.
Photo © Richard Dugovic
2. Let’s talk about the beginning of your music carrier. Your first band was called Canterbury Glass and your first recorded album, was not released at it’s time. The album is really good example of british psychedelia mixed with some progressive elements. Tell me Steve, what can you say about this band and the beginning of your carrier as musician?
I occasionally played solos for them, but I was not a full time member. I was asmuch their harmonica player as anything else. The band was semi professional during the 1960s. There were some psychadelic aspects but they saw themselves primarily as a pop group.
3. In 1970 you were a member of Quiet World, a band that included your younger brother John Hackett on flute. The group released one album, The Road, but you departed the group soon after.
Quiet World was my first experience of a recording studio, owned by the Pye company who were a British electronics firm. They had a very large studio facility near Marble Arch in London. The band was controlled by the Heather Brothers who wrote all of the material. The recording experience was fun but there were no live shows. It was through them I met Ian MacDonald (King Crimson) who had been in the army with Phil Henderson, the band’s orchestral arranger. Lyrically the music was almost fundamental Christian in tone, which I found uncomfortable. it was early days and I was anxiouds to gain recording experience. I still work with the bass player Dick Drive on albums.
Then you joined Genesis and started recording Nursery Cryme. How did it feel to be the newest member, did you get along well from the start?
Once I absorbed their language and ideas I felt I could contribute a lot to the overall sound and presentation. It wasn’t easy to put my stamp on it but I believe I did and it was ultimately artistically rewarding. People are still fascinated with the work we did in those early days. It was my first experience of a touring band and I was pretty shaky at first but gained confidence in live performance over time.
After the release of Nursery Cryme you released two of the most well known albums, Foxtrot and Selling England by the Pound. Would you like to share some of the strongest memories from producing and releasing this LP’s?
I remember being fascinated by Watcher of the Skies. I was the one who was most keen on the band using a mellotron to sound like an orchestra. of course all these early albums featured the tapping technique that I had developed, enabling guitarists to play incredibly fast on one string. I thought that Selling England was amazing in its breadth involving fusion, pantomime, folk music and choral influences. This produced our first hit single from a reject guitar riff of mine intended for Foxtrot. I felt we all worked very well together at that time.
4. During the recording of The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway in 1974 you started working on your solo stuff and sooner then later you released Voyage of the Acolyte. What is the concept behind it?
The titles and lyrics were based on tarot cards, the Devil’s picture book some call it! It created a framework on which to hang the tracks. It was wonderful to be in the driving seat – a thrilling experience.
5. Please Don’t Touch was your first post Genesis album released in 1978. You were doing a lot of experimenting at the time, that reflects on this album. Do you agree?
Yes, I was looking for a cross between European and Black American music at the time. The Americans were very enthusiastic and great to work with. I aimed for extreme variety with the tracks.
6. Let’s move into presence and talk about your latest album called Beyond the Shrouded Horizon. How long did you record it?
The album took about a year during 2010/11, although part of it was started three years ago in a woodland log cabin.
The album is amazingly good recorded. What can you say about producing it?
The production on the album is I think the best so far, thanks to Roger King’s engineering and diligence. We spent hours together working on the fine detail.
Beyond the Shrouded Horizon is really full of tension and very rich. Please tell me about the concept behind the album!
The concept grew naturally as the music unfolded. It is a kind of musical journey that visits many places and goes beyond the known. It was a voyage of discovery for me. It involves both inner and outer space, from deeply buried feelings to the outer reaches of the universe.
7. What are some of your future plans, Steve?
To boldy go where no tapper has been before!
8. Would you mind sending a message to your fans and to the readers of It’s Psychedelic Baby Magazine?
Thanks for all your interest and support. We’ve all got the secrets of the stars locked inside us…
Many thanks Klemen,
Photo © Ben Fenner
Interview made by Klemen Breznikar / 2011
© Copyright http://psychedelicbaby.blogspot.com/ 2011