Tony Mansfield was born on 19 Jan 1955 in Clapham, London.
"On leaving school, Tony worked as a menial in the Art Department of Decca Records before leaving to work for his father's building firm [Mansell Builders in South London]. That way he thought he'd be able to buy a better guitar and devote more time to his real obsession, playing in bands. He got the guitar and continued to operate a succession of semi-outfits, Reeman Zeegus and The End of The Worls but two, trying to get his foot in the door of various recording studios as a session man and using any spare time at the end of bookings to put down his own ideas. Tony declines to tell me just what sessions he took part in prior to the formation of New Musik, claiming that they were either embarrassments or flops or embarrassing flops. Came the day when Tony had a decent selection of tapes, he legged it to GTO Records who were suitably impressed. Against the company's wishes, who saw him as a solo act, he brought in Phil, Tony Hibbert and Clive and insisted that the songs should be pushed as a band project. ... Phil Towner provided the thumping bass drum on Buggles' 'Video Killed the Radio Star'." [Smash Hits 7-20 Aug 1980, D. Hepworth]
'We don't really come from anywhere. We've just been doing basically what we're doing now, but for different people. ... Before New Musik I was doing sessions for various people. Nobody really that well known, just sessions in general: playing guitar in a unit of local musicians - I say local, I mean south London area. I mean I've done various different jobs and I left school at the age of 15 with the intention of becoming a rock star (laughs). It didn't actually work out.' [Miklos Galla's interview 15 Feb 1984]
From the very start New Musik recorded at TMC Studios at 118 Mitcham Road, Tooting, London SW17. Peter Hammond was the engineer. They continued their recordings there, with Peter Hammond, until the break-up in early 1982.
Nick Straker 4 April 2001: "Most of us went to the same school (Spencer Park in
South London which no longer exists) this also includes Dennis Bovell and
other members of the original Matumbi. I joined a 'disco' band in 1976
called Limmie Funk Limited (Limmie was from Limmie and the Family Cooking)
Pete Hammond was the bass player (he was pretty good actually), Phil Towner
was the drummer and Tony Mansfield actually became our 'Roadie'
for a time!! The intention was for myself, Tony, Phil and Tony Hibbert to
form a band and start putting down some tracks at a studio (TMC) where we
had a deal to record and pay later.
"I seem to remember playing on a few tracks; 'On Islands' i know was one (i played the 'beatleesque' piano), and 'Straight Lines' where i played string synth. at about that time i wrote 'A Walk in the Park' ( i don't know where it came from as i was into Herbie Hancock etc. at the time!!) and recorded the track with Tony, Tony and Phil with the intention of including it in the same group of songs that we were putting together. however it was played by accident to some people at Pinnacle records, they became interested and i decided to go it alone (although they all played on the disco version produced by Jeremy Paul). Because of this Clive was brought in to replace me (He was already a friend of ours).
"I remember the recording sessions as being quite boozy affairs: both myself and Tony had come into a bit more money than we were used to (after we'd got our respective deals) and were quite eager to let everybody else know it too!!(Champagne, Fine Cognac etc...).
"i think the first time i realised the depth of tony's talent was when i first heard the finished version of 'straight lines'. you can be involved in the recording process and yet find it hard to envisage the end product; not all the parts are necessarily laid down and the balance and effects have yet to be set. i'm pretty certain that we were all at tony's flat in balham and i'd just played one of my tracks which i was quite pleased with, and he put on this final mix of 'straight lines'. i remember this terrible sinking feeling, realising that this track was in a different league from my own, which now sounded feeble and like a demo in comparison!! i went away feeling more than a bit deflated!!! (straight down the pub probably!). i think there probably was some rivalry between us (encouraged somewhat gleefully by some of those around us!!) although, even though i made a couple of records that i was proud of ('a little bit of jazz' and 'straight ahead'), he went off into the stratosphere and more or less left the rest of us for dead!
"One of the reasons I decided to go it alone was that, although I liked him personally, I couldn't stand working with Tony M. in the studio! It all seemed so pretentious and I was convinced it was going nowhere!! Naturally, when it all came together I realised I'd made a rather monumental misjudgement. Tony knew exactly what he was doing and had his finger firmly on the pulse of what was happening. I myself, of course, famously went on to release a series of highly acclaimed major works: "The Last Goodbye" (No.98 in Canada), "Like Dust" (Mayday Hospital Record of the week), and, my finest hour, my personal contribution and homage to Post Punk Modernism, "Leaving on the Midnight Train". Subsequently, working with artists like Dennis Bovell and Linton Kwesi Johnson has at least given me back some self respect!!"
I think Tony played on one more of my tracks, called "Sleeping Alone" (not one of my better efforts) where he played a kind of guitar theme in the chorus. This would have been around the end of '79. After this time we were both too busy with our own projects (especially Tony, who had many production committments) to be involved with each other musically. He definitely didn't play on or have anything to do with "Straight Ahead"; all the guitar ideas were entirely Andy's, and the 'framework' for the production was created when we laid the demo in June '81. [from my own interviews]
Tony Mansfield: 'Initially New Musik was a three piece band which was myself, Phil
Towner as a drummer and Tony Hibbert was the bass player. The majority
of the keyboards I did myself, although I came across more as the guitarist
and the singer. And then the fourth member, Clive Gates, was brought in,
mainly as an additional member - it was a very small unit so it was
necessary to make it a four-piece band.'
'I worked in one band called The Nick Straker Band (they had a hit with A Walk in the Park) and I played guitar on most of the sessions for that [album]. In fact on From A To B Nick plays keyboards on a couple of tracks. That was the first thing actually that I had personally done on record musically, but before that just session work really.'
'New musik was the first project - I say project as opposed to the band because it started as a recording project, and later we took it on the road in England and some parts of Europe. (We didn't reach America - unfortunately. I mean, not that at the time we would have made much impact. There was reaction in Japan and various places, but nothing really developed in a big way [in America].) The thing started as a recording project: I had a great interest in the studio and I wanted to try and develop myself, in a sense. I'm now spending much more time producing other people, but I had [then] an unconscious liking for production and I didn't realise at the time that production was what it's turned out to be. I used to listen to Beatle records and certain records which had certain sounds and certain combinations of sounds which really intrigued me, and I was very much into, and still am very much into, the studio aspect, the effect side of things and what you can do with sound in general.' [Miklos Galla's interview 15 Feb 1984]
A person who wanted to be anonymous (more or less) sent me this info in 2008:
"Hi, I've just read your Tony Mansfield biography and some of the facts that you have stated are wrong, so I want to clear up a few things. The first synth that New Musik used was a Korg 700s [Korg Mini 700S] but it didn't belong to Clive Gates, it belonged to someone called Pepe Heath. I know this because I was Tony Mansfield’s best mate at the time and I was also Pepe Heath’s best mate, and I borrowed it from him to lend to Tony where we spent hours playing with it to see what sounds we could get out of it. We all lived in a house in Manville Road, Tooting. There were five flats. I had one, Tony had one and Clive Gates had the other. I don’t know if you're aware but at that time Tooting had a very healthy music scene; Everyone we mixed with was in a band. There was obviously New Musik, Nick Straker, The UK Subs, R.P.M who later became Search Party, Girlschool (Kelly is Lee Jacobs cousin), my own band who was called Spanker (Pepe Heath was the singer) and Suzy who was the bass player for The Slits. All of us used to hang around TMC and the castle pub and the majority of them used to land up in my flat after the pubs had shut. I also remember that Tony's dad's painting and decorating company was called Kalode, not Mansell. I also worked there with Tony (for a few years we were inseparable). Tony never worked as a dispatch rider (that was me).
But back to New Musik. I was in the studio most of the time during the recording of the first album and I must say that without Pete Hammond and Bernie, New Musik would have never got off the ground. I was also the New Musik roadie.
You also missed out two massive influences on him: "M" and the French band Space; These two albums were never off the turntable. This was just before the writing of "On Islands" and the first draft of "Science", which were the first two songs that started the whole New Musik thing off.
Also I would love to get my hands on an old demo track that Tony recorded long before any of the New Musik stuff. Iit's called Emily James, it was part of a concept album that Tony was writing called M.A.R.S. (he dropped it when punk came out and concept albums became unfashionable), and it’s one of the most haunting and emotive tracks that he had ever written. As far as I know he never reused it for any of his tracks, which he did with most of his other songs. By all means forward this on to Lee; who knows, knowing Tony he's probably still got a copy of Emily James on a computer somewhere.
I'm really pleased that you mentioned Maria, his wife, who was a very beautiful lady inside and out and I can't stress enough how important she was in allowing him his time to be creative; She was always happy to take a back seat when it came to his music and she worked and kept him for YEARS and believed in him completely.
I am still in regular contact with Lee Jacob and Alan Rear but have lost contact with Clive Gates. If you have his email address send him a hello from me, I would love to get back in contact with him again as I have something that I would love to play him that would make him laugh.
As for my recollections about the TMC sessions most of the things that went on would be unprintable!!”
Reached no 53.
Reached no 13. A promotional video was made.
Tony: 'New Musik is still pretty safe. I'm aiming for radio music - I listen to music from the point of view of switching on the radio. I wanted to create something that was controlled, rather than have four members getting together, deciding on a format and then tugging in different directions and generally creating, in most cases, a disharmony in the music. Even though you can get the magical combination in a few cases. Basically I had this idea that is now New Musik, which I think is working. We've had a bit of chart success which I feel is a pointer to what we could do in the future. But, despite all the tracks on our new album being written by me, I wanted to get the ball rolling and probably the one after will include contributions written by other members of the band now they know what to go for, in terms of style.' [RM 16 Feb 1980, Mike Gardner]
'I've always felt that what I'm doing is natural, something I've always been into. My main influences started off with the psychedelia period of the Beatles, from there to Yes, Led Zeppelin through Genesis, Pink Floyd and the odd foreign band like Kraftwerk. We're not going for a sound of the eighties, it's something that's always been there. It's just that what we've been doing seems to be in fashion, though we're not fashion conscious. I've always had this idea that during the late sixties and early seventies there was a pop sound, a radio sound, that suddenly died away and has only recently come back. I think the whole singles thing at the moment is quite healthy. You can be outrageous and still be successful. The general public are accepting less contrived sorts of things. Because of that there seems to be more room to move about.' [RM 16/2/80]
'I find it easier to write about real situations than writing love songs. I like things to mean something. It's a challenge to write something sensible in a few lines and mean something. 'Straight Lines' was very simple. It's about making decisions. You can go one way or another but whatever you decide is, in the long run, one specific way from A to B. 'Living by Numbers' is a similar thing. We are all living by numbers. Whatever situation you are in is based on a statistical thing. You are born and given a number on a birth certificate, you drive a car and you get registered - you're always a specific age. It's a bit morbid. I don't want to be morbid but you've got to look at realities of what's around. It's all down to reality.' [RM 16/2/80]
The performance was broadcast again on 31 January.
Swap Shop was a children's Saturday morning TV show hosted by Noel Edmunds. Assumingly either Straight Lines or Living by Numbers.
Reached no 31. A promotional video was made. 'It's good that people can put out records with surprises on them. People are accepting a bit of novelty. Record companies should take more gambles. There are already so many failed records, it couldn't hurt. We certainly couldn't have put 'World of Water' out from a standing start. ... You can still mould your own sound around elements of commerciality. Sometimes you can sell a record 'cause it's got one silly sound in it. Once you've got the listener's attention, you've grabbed them.' [Sounds 24 May 1980, Betty Page]
Phil Towner: 'If you listen to the words, they're about drowning in society. There are parallel images like water, getting drunk, drowning, losing money. But then again water's nice.' [Sounds 24/5/80]
Lee Mansfield: "Oh and of course the infamous Magpie (kids magazine show like Blue Peter) where the band were interviewed and played a different version of This World of Water. Instead of white they all wore blue work outfits!
'From A To B - which I'm obviously proud of, it meant a lot to me - was really a collection of separate sessions, it wasn't recorded as an album. I think I did three songs at the end to make up the album. The first real album was 'Anywhere'. The record company over here was pleased with 'From A To B' because it was the first thing we put out in this country.' [Miklos Galla's interview, 15/2/84]
'It's important to an extent [image], but... no, I don't really care. People can make what they want of New Musik, but they shouldn't write us off as a chart band. They'll think differently later on. Hopefully later on the New Musik thing will get a little weirder. We've taken a chance on the New Musik concept. We are progressing; the album's safe radio music but more diverse. Our new material is odd. There's this thing called 'Back To Room One' which is very poppy, would appeal on the radio, but if you look at it another way it's oblique.' [Sounds 24 May 1980, Betty Page]
'[New Musik] is one of those names which easily catch on. Our promotion has been low key so far, no badges or T-shirts yet, but is has caught on with radio people. Even Gerald Harper's playing the new single! Radio music is usually seen as run of the mill, but 'World of Water' is really doomy, a really nasty song. The whole LP is doomy. We're doomy. But it's put in such a jolly way that people don't take in the words. New Musik is something new. People who've heard our records or seen us live just aren't certain about it all. The idea of New Musik preceded Gary Numan's first hit; the synthesised percussive sounds - we were doing that ages ago. The John Foxx used the same riff as in 'Sanctuary' on 'Underpass'. It's on our old demos, honest!' [Sounds 24/5/80]
'Over a period of time I was into the psychedelic era of The Beatles, Hendrix, Yes, Purple and Genesis. Now it's Eno, Talking Heads, XTC and Yellow Magic Orchestra. YMO could be the big thing this year. I like the Heads' attitudes; they write on similar subjects to me, but approach them differently.' [Sounds 24/5/80]
'To get that medium between weirdness and commerciality. If you achieve that, it's new music. It's all about balance. ... We've got more tricks up our sleeve - effects nobody else has used yet. And we're not telling anyone else what they are!' [Sounds 24/5/80]
(Dead Fish (Don't Swim Home) is about Tony's fears of nuclear war.)
Reached number 35.
'I want to re-arrange some of the material so that there are differences live so it will still be interesting and a surprise to those who've bought the records.' [RM 16 Feb 1980, Mike Gardner]
Notts Porterhouse Club (2/5), Edinburgh Usher Hall (10/5), Glasgow Pavilion (11/5), Derby Assembly Rooms (13/5), Hemel Hempstead Pavilion (15/5), Ipswich Gaumont (16/5), West Runton Pavilion (17/5), Bradford St Georges Hall (18/5), Sheffield City Hall (19/5), Hull City Hall (20/5), Manchester Free Trade Hall (22/5), Hatfield Poly (23/5), Brighton Dome (24/5), Dorking Assembly Rooms (25/5), Birmingham Town Hall (26/5), Bristol Colston Hall (28/5), London Rainbow (30/5).
'To go from a studio where you're not playing in terms of volume, to playing live and loud, isn't easy. We've been studio based for a long time, so this first tour is really to knock the band into shape. ... We don't cheat - the tape recorder is on full display, bang in the centre of the stage, under spotlights. We just want to emulate the studio sound live. It'd be easy to go on as a four piece and miss things out, but instead we're using tapes on five songs and harmonizers on others. ... Making videos is just good business sense. We wouldn't have the rig or equipment we've got now if we hadn't done them, or done our bit on TV. It's a vicious circle though.' [Sounds 24 May 1980, Betty Page]
Clive Gates: 'It's like being on holiday!' [Sounds 24/5/80]
A June tour was also planned, but according to the press, only two dates were performed: Horsham Capitol (13/6), London Camden Music Machine (14/6). New Musik fan Graham Getty sent quotes from 'Sounds' magazine to my Mansfield mailing list 3 Oct 2005: "TITLE: When the Musik Stops. NEW MUSIK's British tour came to an abrupt halt after their London Venue date and the remaining dates were cancelled. [Northampton Nene College (17/6), Manchester Polytechnic (18/6), Edinburgh Heriot Watt University (19/6), York University (20/6), Penzance Demelza´s (23/6), Birmingham Digbeth Civic hall (24/6), Leeds Warehouse (25/6), Oxford University (26/6), Melksham Assembly Hall (27/6), Southampton Le Saint´s College (28/6).] A spokesperson for the band said that drummer Phil Towner was taken ill after the concert and was confined to bed for two weeks. But from the SNIPS camp, who were supporting, came dark stories that the whole tour had been less than satisfactory. 'It was like rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic' said one participant and it's understood that legal action is in the air after the cancellation of the last few dates.
However, New Musik fan Steve Bullman emailed me on 9 July 2019 and told me: "I went to the Manchester Poly gig 18/6/80 (Ticket number 68,£1.50), so, no, it wasn't cancelled. My brief note about the gig says: 'a great gig, with the drummer looking as pleased as punch. Tony Mansfield seemed impassive throughout. Enthusiastic, full crowd.' ".
Reached no 31.
'They're all quite happy with the arrangements and Clive has been allowed to contribute an instrumental [The Office] to the material for the second album. ... The hero bands were the bands that made albums. They were the bands worth getting into. New Musik is a band that writes music that takes deeper aspects of an album band and puts them into a pop mould. It's fashionable now to be a pop group whereas a few years ago it wasn't and, let's face it, to reach people you've got to get on the radio. That we seem to have succeeded at. The thing with New Musik is that although it's a pop group there's no reason why you can't produce more experimental music. We call it an experimental band which is literally experimenting with what does and doesn't work.' [He plays me a backing track, the bare bones for a song he intends to call 'Churches' which he plans to write on the subject of religion. He explains that the songs isn't written yet; he starts with a title from the list of doomy phrases he keeps in an excercise book. I'm not sure if he's joking or not.] 'That's just me being honest. Certain bands will tell you how wonderful life is. We're just trying to make people think. You switch on your telly and there's always something going wrong. How long are we going to be around? That's what it's all about. What is there to be happy about? That's what I'm asking.' Tony does at least admit that he's thrilled about the baby his wife is expecting. [Smash Hits 7-20 Aug 1980, D. Hepworth]
They performed 'Dead Fish (Don't Swim Home)' and 'This World of Water'.
'It was my choice to go with those two singles [Luxury and While You Wait]. Luxury was actually finished before the album was finished and the company said 'we need a single, so what have you got', and we'd started recording, and Luxury seemed the best bet to go with. I actually thought Luxury was one of the better things that New Musik did, but it wasn't really a big hit.' [Miklo's interview]
'Anywhere is my favourite album, to be honest. That period in time I was really happy (I still am), that was my happiest point with New Musik. Whilst we were recording that album our record company, GTO, were beginning to fold up. GTO was a subsidiary company to CBS, CBS being the main parent company, and automatically once GTO folded, we were property of CBS. And CBS obviously they have a large roster of artists and I think - with all respect to them - they were more concerned really with promoting their own major artists than taking on a small subsidiary label's left-overs. And I don't think they really saw New Musik as a potential band in general. Around that time - as far as the record company was concerned - things started to sort of dwindle a bit. When Anywhere came out, it didn't do as well as From A To B, and right after that we went straight into ideas for 'Warp'.' [Miklo's interview]
The track "Room One" is about the childhood flat that Tony had overlooking Clapham Common in South London [info from Mark Davison].
Reached number 61.
Sussex University (4/3), Hastings Graffiti (5/3), Dorset Institute, Pool (6/3), The Dudley Town Hall (7/3), Croydon Fairfield Hall (8/3), Trent Polytechnic (10/3), Loughborough University (11/3), Bradford Tiffanies (12/3), [Surrey?] Crawley Collage (13/3), Wolverhampton Polytechnic (14/3), Digbeth Civic Halls Birmingham (15/3), Leeds warehouse (16/3), Hull University (17/3), Middlesbrough Town Hall (18/3), Manchester University (UMIST) (19/3), Glasgow University (QM) (20/3), Huddersfield Polytechnic (21/3), The Venue, Victoria in London (24/3), Northampton Nene Collage (25/3), Liverpool Warehouse (26/3), St. Neots Priory Centre (27/3), Corby Festival Hall (28/3). Many thanks to Steve and Tim Masson for sending a magazine clip listing the dates.
'In early 1979 the band was formed, the recordings were kind of underway, and around that time in England there were very few electronic-oriented bands. There were obviously influences from other... there was a big electronic movement from Japan, and also obviously from Germany - that's always been very strong. So there were the usual influences. And there were poeple like Peter Gabriel who have been always very kind of innovative. I really like Peter Gabriel's work, I always have done. Basically the electronic thing didn't really materialize until sort of, I suppose, 1980/ early 1981. So when New Musik came about, which still incorporated guitars, and bass and drums and so forth (there were obviously lots of synthesizers [too])... the reason I'm relating to England there is at the time [1980/81] it was quite unheard of for bands to actually go out and play live. I mean if you're a rock'n'roll band in the sense that got just guitars, bass and drums, you can go on stage, you can jump about and do the usual rock'n'roll thing, but if you've got synthesizers you become quite stagnant as a live act. And we had various problems in the sense that we didn't really have the backing to have elaborate stage sets or anything like that at the time, so we had a fairly moderate light show, and just basically our instruments. We tended to play [live] fairly accurately to the sounds of the records. We had two keyboard player live - myself and Clive, and we had the Simmons pads on the actual drum kit, and also we had I think two or three different Syn Drum outfits. For the time [the live performances did] fairly well. Obviously every venue is different, we did a lot of colleges and universities and various clubs in the major cities. In London we played The Venue twice, it was quite nice, the audience was sort of [used to all big artists], 'you name it, they were there': Spandau Ballet, Culture Club, The Buggles, Yes, Steve Strange. I mean we weren't the greatest band live, I think it was very difficult to be a pop band, I think essentially that's how we were labelled.' [Miklo's interview]
New Musik fan Mark Davison remembers in April 2001, 20 years afterwards: "I was at the concert given by New Musik at Fairfield Halls, Croydon, on Sunday March 8th 1981. I went with my brother, Nigel, and two friends in their teens and we came to the conclusion in later life that it was one of the best concerts we had ever been too. It was so refreshing and new. It was like a reawakening in a dream world of beauty, blue skies and sparkling seas. But, as one of your correspondents said, it was strangely tinged with an inexplicable sadness. This remarkable irony is the one thing that sticks in my mind. I instantly wanted to see another gig by the band and fortunately, they were playing at Crawley Techical College, (Sussex, Southern England) on Friday March 13th 1981 - just a week later. I forgot to invite my brother, and he has not gorgiven me in the intervening 20 years. This gig was even better. Fans could mingle next to the stage while bassist Tony Hibbert paced up and down in a type of black great-coat. I remember the background taped sounds of the Anywhere album being played on a tape recorder set up for all to see in the centre of the stage. Again it was a stimulating gig and the songs were floating pleasurably around the head for months and months. I still have the tickets for those concerts framed. Also, I have a poster for the gig I prised off the wall of Crawley College. I also bought a New Musik jacket made from dark blue fabric and an enamel badge which is designed in red and green and bears the Anywhere symbol. The music was way ahead of its time. Memorable moments. Little has matched it for ethereal qualities."
Another New Musik fan, Tim Golds from Munich in Germany, told my Mansfield mailing list 2 Oct 2005: I saw them back in the early 80's when they played Mandala Hall at the University of Sussex in Brighton (I was a student at the time). I wrote to Clive Gates about this gig, he remembered it well noting "We went back to a friends house in Brighton afterwards and got totally drunk". During the set they played tracks from Anywhere. In fact we were all quite disappointed that there was nothing from A to B. My friend has the hand written set list "El Seto", which he managed to retrieve in a drunken stupor from the stage at the end of the concert (I’ll try to track him down and get a scan). I recall a large reel-to-reel tape deck on stage, providing most of the backing. Tony I think was dressed in tartan trousers and black pixie boots. He didn't talk too much but I can remember him saying "They All Run After the Carving Knife" was about the press and "Under Attack" was a love song. A real bonus were the 2 tracks from "A to B" played as an encore. I think Straight Lines and Sanctuary (one might have been World of Water can’t really remember). Both not the best renditions, I had the feeling they were not too together! Still a great gig, shame they folded as a band not long after."
'Tony wrote From The Village partly based on the TV series The Prisoner.' [Lee Mansfield, 15 Aug 1998]
Additional info from Lee Mansfield: "Swap Shop (Saturday kids tv show) featured Luxury and While You Wait. In that show the band ditched their white outfits for a more new romantic inspired look."
'When Anywhere came out, it didn't do as well as From A To B, and right after that we went straight into ideas for 'Warp'. And at that point Philip, the drummer on the first two albums, decided that he'd had enough and he left, and there was a new line-up to the band, it was just myself and Clive and we got another drummer [Cliff Venner], a friend of mine, and we just tried some experimental things really. Warp is a very strange album, not necessarily musically strange, it was strange the way it was conceived, because at the time we were using a totally different method. At that time I worked with Y.M.O [Yellow Magic Orchestra] and they had a computer and that was very inspiring. I didn't have the money or the back-up to get straight into computers, but what I did was I tried to develop a style with Warp of keying and triggering - which is now a very standard thing. The whole album was recorded with a triggering method. A majority of it was sequencers. ... The splashing sound in 'Here Come the People' was [laughs] a bowl of water. The first digital machine I that used was the Emulator, I think that was two years ago [Feb 1982 - after the recording of Warp], and I've had the Fairlight for about a year and a half now.' [Miklos' interviwew]
'Producer Tony Mansfield discusses his experiences in the recording industry during this period [late 70s]. Describes walking into control room of a study and encountering the Prophet 5 synthesizer (which was microprocessor based, and polyphonic). He says it was his first experience of system-based musical experience, and how hard it was to go back to the studio he worked at where only ordinary instruments were employed. However, he was able to purchase a Fairlight for production work. He also describes the Roland MC-4 Microcomposer, a laborious, step-by-step compositional process, and contrasts it to the Fairlight's Page R - basically a rhthym sequencer which loaded your sampled sounds and provided a drum machine-like interface on the computer screen. You just played the notes on the keyboard in real time which was much easier to relate to, musically.' [from Rick Wakeman BBS Series 'Man, Machine and Music' (3 & 4) 8 Feb 1996, written by Alan Rowett. Taken from http://www.nfte.org/back-issues/0149]
'My basic role is a producer rather than an instrumentalist or a technician. From a production point of view, synths are really good tools. I'm more of an ideas person than an actual musician - I play most of the things but it takes time. I think I'm quite resourceful - if you gave me a tin whistle and a ukulele I'd find some use for it.'
Keyboards: 'Oberheim OBXa, Prophet-5, Roland Vocoder Plus VP330, piano (whatever's in the studio). The Oberheim is my main, favourite instrument, the fact that you've got the split keyboard facility is beneficial for live work or composition. If you spend time in the studio, you're going to track those things on anyway. The Prohpet I've used for about the last two years. It's a very simple system for someone like myself - very instant. It's a good instrument to develop on. Sequential Circuits opened it up for all the others. The Prophet and the Oberheim are very similar systems, but they do have their own individual charachteristics. I think everybody's trying to make the ultimate polyphonic synthesiser, but there are always going to be slight differences between makers. Ultimately, someone will bring out a synth that's got everything! With keyboards now, I think they've got to be made accessible to the kids, to the people who are going to grow up and develop them.'
Sequencers: Roland CSQ600 (to Prophet)
Amplification: Oberheim DI (to desk)
Percussion/drum machines: Simmons SDS-V module. Triggered by pads or Roland CR78.
Favourite studio/engineer: 'I enjoyed working at Air recently on Yukihiro takahashi's solo project. Strawberry South. TMC studio. I work exclusively with Peter Hammond, he's something of a perfectionist.'
Home recording: Two Revox B77s. 'I tend to do very 'mock-up' rough demos at home - I don't want to spend hours re-creating it in the studio.' [E&MM March 1982, Tony Bacon]
'In the early eighties, Tony was asked by Tom Watkins to produce a band he was managing called 'Spelt Like This'. Tony was sent their demos but decided it wasn't his cup of tea. Tom then said to Tony that he was managing a new band that would be 'right up his street' called the Pet Shop Boys! But unfortunately, by the time their demos arrived Tony had moved on to other commitments. Then during recording sessions at Abbey Road Studios (where I still work) for their 'Actually' album, Neil Tennent told me that he would be quite keen to work with Tony... But again alas, it was not to be. As far as Holly Johnson and Kajagoogoo, again, Tony was approached to produce albums for these at different times, but although some vague pre-programming may have been attempted - nothing solid came of it.' [Lee Mansfield, 13 Aug 1998]
'Basically I still see the band, I'm still in close contact with everybody, we're all doing different things. Clive is beginning to produce other people as well, the bass player Tony runs a hire company, and Phillip has a small demo studio - and he does sessions, in fact he's going to do a session for me this week. So they're all still involved in music in one way or another. After Warp, at that point I personally started with production work, so I tended to get pretty busy with production. There was no kind of a big bust-up or anything like that.' [Miklos' interview]
'I've been signed for publishing just recently and I'm expected to do an album in summer . At the moment I've though of various names. I mentioned it to the band [New Musik] about two months ago, we happened to be all together at the same time, and I said 'Would we like to go in and do another album?'. I mean there is no deal, there are no companies interested in the band because we haven't done anything [recently]. There is interest, I mean we all said 'Oh yes, I'd be a good idea'. Obviously we'd have to incorporate some of the old ideas, but things have changed so much in such a short space that obviously the album would have to be a lot more sort of up to date [laughs]. I would like to do another New Musik album, probably with the original line-up. I think we [would all be] pretty weary about doing another album and weary at the thought of how it would be accepted. I we did record another album we would put a lot of work into it, and then suddenly it's a situation that nobody wants to sign the thing or put it out. I would create problems. But I think that maybe we would do another album, I got the impression from everybody that it would be a great idea. At the moment I think it's just a question of time, everybody finding the time to be committed to an album. I have a name [of the project], it's called 'Fun Drum'. The idea, it's a very varied idea, much more diverse than New Musik. Vince Clarke's idea with Assembly, his idea is basically the idea that I had, except that he's done it before I have. Not totally the same, but incorporate other vocalists, and generally collaborating with different people, bringing in different people for different reasons, to get a continuity.' [Miklos' interview]
"1) A new "new musik" album is in production and should be released in autumn this year. [note: this has been delayed, possibly forever]
2) The original masters are owned by Sony after GTO records were sold to Sony in 1982. Product is subject to availability however there are plans to re-package the original albums and for a new compilation.
3) There were two UK tours (1980/1981). Live tapes do exist and there were two early promo videos for "Living By Numbers" and "This World Of Water".
4) I still keep in contact with Clive (we last played together at a garden party in summer 98!!) and Tony Hibbert. Clive now works for a software company and Tony has a "live music" bar in South London. I lost contact with Phil Towner and Cliff Venner.
5) Aside from new musik, I was recently in Dublin, Ireland collaborating with Jane Siberry on an album by Japanese artist "Sotoma". I've produced an album for new Columbia artist "Ilene Barnes" and negotiations are underway in the US for a new "Naked Eyes" album based on the songs written by Rob Fisher before he sadly died." (Thanks to Mark Hershberger for doing this on-line short interview with Tony and for kindly providing it to my mailing list.)
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