Ian Boddy talks about Pearls
S&S: Hi Ian Boddy! Pearl is a 30 years retrospective of your career displayed over 2 CD. How did you approach the conception and the selection of 28 Pearl's tracks?
IAN BODDY: Well 30 years seemed like a really significant point in time to look back and try to present my huge catalogue of work in a nice condensed format. It was obvious that'd I'd struggle to fit everything onto one disc so I decided very early on that it would be a double album. It was then clear that one disc should cover my DiN catalogue work which has dominated my output for the past 10 years or so. The other album was thus dedicated to my earlier pre-DiN work although I also wanted to include some of my library album work for DeWolfe as well as some of my sound design. With the Inner DiN album I was able to include a track from each of my solo albums as well as my collaborative projects. With Outer DiN I only had room for my solo work. In choosing the tracks I tried to choose some of my favorites but also pieces that would sit well together on the continuous mix I intended and that were representative of the time from which they were released.
S&S: Your discography is immense (26 albums studios and 11 Library Music), there are certainly tracks that your fans would have liked to hear on Pearl. During the selection, did you consult friends, fans or did you simply trust your instinct? IAN BODDY: Well I did run a competition for a bit of fun asking people to guess a track that would be included on Pearl and I got a lot of nice replies. The details and winners are listed here: http://www.din.org.uk/din/node/291 However fundamentally working within the parameters I talked about above in question 1 I used my instinct to create the two long continuous mixes.
S&S: How can we make an overview of 30 a musical tale over 30 years of making music? When you make a retrospective of your musical career, what you retain the most? IAN BODDY: For me personally it's the memories of all the good times I've had, the great people I've met, the enjoyment I've got from playing concerts. It's a very personal thing as obviously music has dominated my life for 30 years. For the listener I hope at the most basic level that Pearl is just a very enjoyable double album of electronic music.
S&S: What is "Library Music" and what are those tracks we find on Pearl?
IAN BODDY: Library music is music that is commissioned by a specialist publisher - or library music company such as DeWolfe - that is intended for use on TV / radio / film / adverts. I tend to work to a theme such as space, nature, the sea, that sort of thing and then
these discs are sent all over the world to film companies, tv studios & production houses. Companies then choose to use this music in their productions and if they do so I get paid a royalty. These CDs are normally not available to the public although DeWolfe have kindly allowed me to sell them on a limited basis. I have 11 albums and over 300 tracks published by them so I thought it only appropriate to include some tracks on Pearl as they represent a great deal of my musical output over the years. The 3 tracks included on Outer DiN are Who Controls Who, Metropolis & Living Planet. There is a direct link on the DeWolfe site to all my music that I have done for them @ http://tinyurl.com/47j7obo
S&S: Every track on Pearl is entangling with a surprising sound complicity for the difference of periods. Do they follow a chronological order and were they remasterised? IAN BODDY: No they don't follow a chronological order as I placed them to provide a good balance over the lenght of each album. But there are pieces going all the way back to 1980 on my first ever cassette release - Floating from Images. I did a little bit of remastering - nothing drastic just some EQ on the older tracks and balancing levels.
S&S: From 1980 till 2010, Ian Boddy crossed three decades. How do you see the evolution of EM compared to your? Do you think you had evolved outside EM or you simply followed the current?
IAN BODDY: Well from 1980 EM has evolved in a huge way. In many ways it has gone from an obscure type of music to the mainstream as evidenced by all the dance culture & it's many sub-genres a lot of which is basically electronic music. Then there's the ubiquitous music we here on the TV and in films much of which is again very much based on what we would call electronic music. However there is still a niche for what we might call classic electronic music form the 70's in the style of Tangerine Dream & Schulze etc - however this is now a very, very small niche and isn't really going anywhere. I think with DiN since 1999 I have tried to push the boundaries of my classic EM heritage - I have thus both released music very much in the style of those early German artist with some of my own releases and also certainly with the ARC releases. However I have also worked with many musicians who are outside of this small niche such as Markus Reuter, Chris Carter, Robert Rich, Nigel Mullaney etc where I have deliberately tried to meld together my classic EM roots with more modern contemporary styles of EM. For me this is a fascinating journey and I love trying these experiments - it's what helps keep me fresh after all these years. I couldn't just churn out the same style of music ad infinitum.
S&S: Are they key elements which transformed your creative approach in each of these decades? IAN BODDY: Well obviously EM is very technology led so certainly that has had some influence although I still use many of the old analogue synths that I first started out with. But really it's hard to pin-point specific key elements - although maybe my conscious decision in the mid 90's and more so with DiN to work with other musicians has been a big influence. Once you start working with other musicians it opens up a whole new world of influences & ideas.
S&S: Outer DiN presents a very melodious Ian Boddy with poignant synths and rhythms closer to synth pop, even techno, than the Inner DiN period. Before the creation of DiN, did you feel smothered in a melodious style and a pop synth? IAN BODDY: Although it's an over simplification to say that pre DiN I was more melodic than post DiN I can see how some may view it that way. I've always loved melody and in general of course that's what is more "commercial" than purely abstract music. Looking back I think once I started doing library music work for DeWolfe I was able to be as melodic as I liked for them which freed me up somewhat to explore a more experimental path with my DiN release although there's plenty of melodic material in there as well.
S&S: You sing on Living in a Ritual. How did you like this experience and why you have stopped there? IAN BODDY: Well that wasn't me singing - believe me you don't want to hear my singing ;-) It was a heavy rock singer called Brian Ross who I knew - he heads up a band called Blitzkreig and i had helped them on a few tracks from one of their albums. I was working on this track from Spirits and initially I was just using vocoder for the voice but it wasn't quite working so i invited Brian to add some real vocals. It's a bit of a one-off track although it seems to have garnered a cult following in some German dance clubs and was recently included on a compilation album.
S&S: With all its array of percussions, Shrouded is superb. We find the same approach, although less ambient, of varied percussions on Atomicity. Has Shrouded initiated Dub Atomica? IAN BODDY: No they're very different projects. Shrouded was recorded during my first USA concert playing in Philadelphia and uses a slowed down & filtered drum loop over which I layer various ambient pads & synth tones. Atomicity was the fourth DiN release and was