Q & A with Wayne Hussey - April 2007
By Petra Sümnicht
Pic: Promo 2007
Q.) Wayne, how do you feel these days? Are you relieved when the album will be finally released and the people can listen to it or would you like to change anything now?
A.) I feel good and generally positive, thankyou. And yeah, I will be relieved when the album is finally released. It's a strange time between finishing an album and before it's released. It's a time of anticipation and expectation and hope. But what I expect is different to what I hope. And no, there's nothing I would change. It's finished and has been since the day it was mastered. I do think there are some small things that could've been better but that's the case with any finished work. It stands as testament to where I am and we are as a band at this particular time.
Q.) The first single "Keep it in the family" is a very catchy pop song. (No. 7 this week in the German Alternative charts by the way, third week overall). Even though it`s really not your first sing along song, some of your fans seem to be a bit disappointed. Did you expect such a reaction?
A.) Yeah, if I'm honest with myself I did think that the single would divide opinion amongst the hard core Mission fans but that's a whole different issue. I don't totally understand it though as I think'Family' is a great, great single.
Q.) There are also three very strong non-album tracks on the Family EP - no typical B-side tracks. Why didn`t they end up on the album as well?
A.) Well, there are already 15 songs on the album. That's enough and the album is more than long enough without the additional tracks. The extra tracks on the 'Family' EP aren't in any way weaker than what is on the album, it's just that when I choose the track listing for an album I do try to create a fluid, cohesive whole and I just felt that the extra tracks didn't quite sit as well on the album as the songs that were ultimately chosen. It doesn't mean I'm right but it does mean that the album is how I hear it. Of course, everyone has a differing opinion but that is the beauty of music.
Q.) The album sounds very fresh, powerful and guitar oriented, mixed with some *poppy* bits. Nevertheless you can hear the typical Mission style and it´s definitely a grower. Now some people are saying it`s a kind of departure from your style. What do you think, is it really that far away?
A.) I think some songs are quite typically Mission and others not so. I think there are some very adventurous moments on the album whilst others conform to what is expected of us. It sounds like The Mission but it also sounds like a band stretching their wings a little and that has got to be a good thing. Whenever we release an album there is always a percentage of our audience that want to hear more of what we've done before whilst others are a little more open minded. It's a no-win situation really for us, all we can do is what we feel and believe to be right and do our best and hopefully a fair proportion of our audience will understand it and support us.
Q.) The new album cover is quite different to the others in the past. Who came up with the idea to use a picture with cicadas for the cover?
A.) Cinthya, my wife. We talked about the concept of the artwork and we both liked the idea of the art reflecting what we thought the musical content to be. And that is something bright, light, and colourful. Again, I'm sure we'll get flak for the art but again, you have to follow your own instincts.
Q.) Same with the EP cover. For me it looks like a view out of a window into a garden. Is there a connection between the two cover? And is there a connection between the album title and the cicadas?
A.) Correct. It is the view out of our bathroom window at home in Brazil. The only connection between the 2 covers is the overall concept of which I spoke in the previous answer. We wanted to create an identity for all the releases around this album. And there is a connection between the title and the cover but it's tenuous and accidental. Let's just say it comes down to aesthetics...
Q.) Why the album title GIAB? Back in 1992 there was a related working title "With A Bullet", has it something to do with the new title?
A.) No, not at all. I'd completely forgotten about 'with a bullet' and even now after you have mentioned it I have no recollection of it. 'God Is A Bullet' is a very strong, provocative, topical title whilst at the same time being somewhat ambiguous, in my opinion. It was originally the title for the song 'absolution' but I decided that I wanted to title the album with it so 'absolution' came to be 'absolution'.
Q.) You published the lyrics on your website already and it`s obvious that it`s the most diverse set of lyrics ever composed for one of your records. What events or situations inspired the lyrics? And was it difficult not only to write about your pet subjects love & sex? ;-)
A.) Well, there's still a fair few songs that deal with 'love & sex'......They are still big factors in my life but I am a lot more settled privately these days than I have maybe been in the past and so I conciously tried to be a little more outward looking with the lyrics for 'GIAB', whilst still trying to write about subjects that I feel passionately about.
Q.) You could attract several very interesting special guests. How did it work? Did you send each other the mp3`s or did they come into the studio as well?
A.) Yeah, the internet was very instrumental in putting this album together. All the special guests made their contributions via the internet. In some cases we weren't even on the same continent. But it works although it would've been nice to actually work face to face but I do feel that each contributer probably felt less inhibited working this way rather than having me in front of them telling them what to do.
Q.) With the advances in musical technology, is it easier to produce an album today than say, 10 years ago?
A.) No, it's not easier, or even harder. It's just different. With each step in the advancement of technology there is a period of adjustment but you gotta reason that each development is there to make our lives easier. Not always so but if the technology is there I will use it.
Q.) Is there anyone you would`ve liked to have worked with on this release but it was impossible?
A.) Well, without naming names but it's probably not too difficult to figure out there were a few other 'friends' of mine that I approached with view to contributing but I received the usual 'I'd love to but sorry, I'm really busy right now'......Ah well, their loss...
Q.) What strengths did you draw from each other while you were together with the band in the studio?
A.) There was a great spirit amongst us whilst we were recording the basic tracks in the UK. Everybody was playing for the team and open to suggestion and willing to make suggestions and contribute. It's been a long, long time since it was like that in the studio with this band. Nobody was precious about what they were playing and Steve, for example, was as likely to make a suggestion about a guitar line as I was. And along with young Greg (the engineer) who afforded us a pair of young ears it was a great experience working with this team.
Q.) What were the high and low points of making this new album? In another interview I read something about a destroyed hard disk?
A.) Yeah, there was a nasty moment at the end of the first week in Bath where we suffered a hard drive crash and for a very scary 24 hours there was the distinct possibilty that we'd lost all our work up to that point. Because of my procrastination in buying a back up drive. But we found a computer 'geek' type who managed to rescue the information for us and all was well in the end.
Other lows were the normal lows that I feel during the making of an album - you know the 'normal' self examination and the questioning of whether it was actually any good or not. It's part of the process for me but in the end, as I've stated before, you have to trust and rely on your own instincts. The highs were definetly the 10 days we spent together in Bath
recording the basic tracks and eventually being able to listen back to the finished album.
Q.) What promotional activity will be going on around the release of the album?
A.) The usual interviews etc and then putting the album out and seeing what it does. Nothing unusual is planned as it's very difficult to organise anything when we live all over the world.
Q.) How important is it for this album to be commercially successful?
A.) Well, there's degrees really. Obviously what we hope for is not the same as what we expect. From a purely practical point of view we need to sell enough to be able to persuade someone to put up the money for recording another album, if that's what we decide to do. From a personal point of view I'd like to see GIAB outsell 'Aura' which, to be honest, shouldn't be too difficult. I can't see the band continuing to exist playing to ever decreasing circles, and that is what has happened to a degree over the last 2 or 3 years. It is a pivotal time as far as I'm concerned.
Q.) Which track/s would you say are your favourite on the album, and why?
Don`t yawn ;-)
A.) The easy answer is that it changes from listen to listen. There is nothing on the album that I dislike at all and nothing that I feel is weak. My current faves would be 'chinese burn' and 'grotesque', I think. Both are great musical journeys, and both feature fantastic guitar solos, 'chinese burn' by Mark and 'grotesque' by Simon Hinkler, and whilst the lyrics to 'chinese burn' are playful the lyrics to 'grotesque' are more important to me. Other worthy mentions would be 'Still Deep Waters', 'Blush', & 'Absolution'.
Q.) Before you went into the studio you told us about at least 20-23 songs you`ve written so far. 15 are on the album, three non-album tracks on the EP and one is the download song "Chelsea blue". So there are at least 1-4 songs left. What are you going to do with it and possible other out-takes?
A.) Well, if there is a 2nd single release from 'GIAB' then no doubt some of the extra tracks will be used for that. But there are provisional plans to maybe release another album in 6 months time, a bit like 'Grains Of Sand' & 'Aural Delight', whereby we collate all the extra tracks, and anything else that we deem worthy of inclusion, onto one album and release it.
Q.) Speaking of "Chelsea Blue": As far as I know this track can only be purchased on iTunes. Who came up with this idea? Is this the future of the so-called *hidden tracks* from the past and the business of selling records in general? Maybe I`m old fashioned, but I love to hold a CD or a vinyl record with a proper booklet in my hands and i`m definitely not the only one. So, do we have to buy the complete album again on iTunes to get the track or can we buy the single track at least?
A.) Mmmmmmm.....Rightly or wrongly both SPV and Cooking Vinyl like to have additional tracks for the download versions......I do think downloading is the way of the future although from a personal point of view I'm like you and like to be able to hold the finished product in my hand. I think I have persuaded SPV to make 'chelsea blue' as a single download. The way that would work is if you pay for the individual track, as with any track from the album, you can download it. If you pay for the download of the whole album then you get the track for free. I do need that confirming but I believe that is how it will work.
Q.) To promote the album you`re doing the "Tour Is A Bullet". Sadly it`s quite short in comparison to the AuraToura back in 2002. Is there a special reason for such a short tour? Or can we expect more dates at a later date?
A.) A couple of reasons. Firstly, the last time we toured it was for more than 8 weeks and it became a bit of a slog by the end. I didn't wanna have to go through that again at this point. From our perspective I think we enjoy the 2nd and 3rd weeks of a tour the most because the first week is spent getting comfortable with being on stage again and by the 2nd and 3rd week the shows start to get really good. After that there is a consistancy to the shows but we don't feel the same highs as we do earlier in a tour. Another reason is that we like to be able to play new songs on an album tour and usually the audience isn't yet that familiar with the new songs and still want to predominently hear the old songs. And yes, depending on how the shows in May go and how the album does we are thinking of going back out into Europe in the autumn and concentrating more on southern and eastern Europe.
Q.) Is touring still the thrill it once was?
A.) On the whole, yes. If we bite it off in a chewable lumps.
Q.) Given the song catalogue you have behind you, how do you decide what you`re going to play? Do you listen to the old albums and decide?
A.) No, not really. I'll look through the old albums and decide that I wanna try something that we've maybe not played for a while, like Fabienne on the last tour, but the trick is to play sets that keep us interested as well as our audience.
Q.) Any chance to see some of your guest musicians - especially Julianne or Simon - on stage in London for example?
A.) No plans but we never say never, do we?
Q.) Speaking of Julianne: Recently she mentioned that she found a couple of old demos that you both recorded. Do you remember the songs?
A.) Yeah, Julianne recently emailed me and asked me if I'd mind if she used them on the AAE re-issues that are going to be released shortly. Of course it's fine with me but I don't really have any recollection of the songs although I do remember recording with AAE at Chipping Norton studios in the summer of 1990.
Q.) Have you ever thought about a real duet with Julianne?
A.) It is something we have vaguely talked about after a couple of shared bottles of wine but that's all it's been, talk. Not a bad idea, though.
Q.) Any new plans with your Votiva Lux project Vessel? One song ("Change in the weather") was finished already, but last thing we heard was that the project is on hold again.
A.) Yeah, it is on hold again. Unfortunetly, Votiva Lux split up before I found the time to dedicate to the Vessel project. It's a shame as there were some good tunes there, amongst them 'Change In The Weather'.....We have tentatively talked about using that particular song on a Mission single release or even on the 'outtakes' album that we talked about earlier. It should be released though as it is a cracking piece of music.
Q.) How many new songs in progress do you have done again on your computer or in mind? Can you stop thinking about new songs at all?
A.) It's always an ongoing process......I do have 3 songs to finish from the Nam sessions but I can come up with new music everytime I pick up a guitar or sit at a piano. But writing is a habit like any other. Stop and it's hard to get back into it, but keep going and things always come.
Q.) Looks like it`s going to be an expensive year for a Mission fan ;-) We`ve got the EP already, the album is coming soon, in May we will get the three classics` as remastered albums inc. bonus tracks and the tour. So what´s next? Maybe the long overdue solo album or a live album from your solo tours?
A.) No, no plans for a solo album or a live album at the moment. As I said before, maybe an outtakes album later in the year. Also, Universal are planning to release two more remastered albums in the autumn - Carved In Sand and Grains Of Sand as one double CD, and Masque. But, can I suggest, if you are going to buy one Mission item this year then please make it 'God Is A Bullet'. I'd prefer to be looking forward rather than backwards.
Thanks very much for your time Wayne! Good luck with the album and see you on tour...
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