Apr 2021 10

One of the most prolific and artistically engaging artists of his generation speaks with ReGen about his latest Ka-Spellian endeavors.
 

 

An InterView with Edward Ka-Spel

By Ilker Yücel (Ilker81x)

Edward Ka-Spel has over the course of 40+ years become widely regarded as one of the truly transcendental artists of his generation, so much so that it’s difficult to distill the breadth of his work into any meaningful introduction. Whether as the front man for The Legendary Pink Dots or as a solo artist, his music is often classified as a form of cosmic psychedelia, while at the same time evolving into various permutations of electronic, industrial, jazz, pop, and even classical; at the forefront of this style is his mellifluous and mesmerizing voice – at times raspy and darkly oppressive, other times warm and inviting – and his vibrantly poetic and engaging lyrics. Also notable are his numerous collaborations with the likes of cEvin Key in The Tear Garden, Amanda Palmer, Motion Kapture, Twilight Circus, and more, with 2021 marking the release of his own Prints of Darkness and his appearance on cEvin Key’s Resonance album. ReGen Magazine was thrilled to have had the opportunity to speak with Ka-Spel about his continued artistic pursuits during the global crisis of the last year, touching on his embracement of technology, the need for the live stage, and what further works of sonic splendor he has yet in store.

 

With the glimmers of hope that the pandemic’s end may soon come to pass, I’d like to start by asking first simply… how are you? In what ways do you feel you were able to maintain your creativity throughout the lockdowns?

Ka-Spel: I suspect I had a mild case of COVID in January as a number of truly strange symptoms hit me at once and stuck around for nearly a month. But I’m feeling way better now. I guess lockdowns are strangely inspirational. The new Dots album couldn’t have been made at a different time; the pandemic literally influenced every song. Oddly, I have tended to write more over the last year, feeling fresh urgency. Maybe it’s because I have no idea when I’ll step on a stage again.

You were recently featured on cEvin Key’s latest solo album, Resonance. Would you tell us about the songwriting process between you and Key? At what point is it decided whether a track will be a Tear Garden song or under a different moniker?
This also applies to your other projects – what determines for you which project a track will be part of?

Ka-Spel: cEvin sent me the instrumentals and asked me if I could write lyrics and add my voice for songs that he wanted for his solo record – great pieces too! Even so, I always knew they were destined for Resonance. With TG, we both write the music and send it through cyberspace.

 

 

You’d also released a collaboration with Motion Kapture in late 2019, Alien Subspace. What other collaborations do you currently have in the pipeline that you’d like to share with us?

Ka-Spel: A second with Motion Kapture, an album with LPD’s violin player from the ’80s (Patrick Q.Wright), a project with Sorry For Laughing, which is the baby of Gordon Whitlow (Biota), plus various guest vocal parts for a variety of projects. More to be announced soon as all of these albums are almost complete.

You and The Legendary Pink Dots have taken full advantage of such online platforms as Bandcamp and Spotify to consistently release music – new, as well as reissues/remasters. What are your thoughts on the way modern technology has made it easier to release and discover music?
On the flipside, what do you feel have been the major disadvantages, and how do you feel you’ve overcome them?

Ka-Spel: I consider Spotify to be a necessary evil as it’s pretty much like giving the music away to a huge corporate machine, but Bandcamp has been great for us. I do love the accessibility to new music afforded by these platforms.

I understand you’re planning to release your new album, Prints of Darkness, on CD and vinyl later in the year. As physical media seems to be enjoying a bit of a resurgence with the popularity of vinyl and cassettes, what are your thoughts on this?

Ka-Spel: It will always be popular as it’s tangible… a thing of beauty that can be held in two hands. I wouldn’t want everything to be reduced to a simple folder.

Tell us about the new album, Prints of Darkness. What sorts of themes did you explore in the lyrics, and in what ways do the continue and/or contrast with material you’ve written up to now? Were there any changes in your approach to the recording or production? After making music for so many years, what excites you the most about the creative process?

Ka-Spel: I’m living in the U.K. which is truly an awful nationalistic place right now – ugly politics, crap weather, and always something to fight against. It’s perfect for creative pursuits. Naturally, Prints of Darkness is full of material informed by this environment, but there are love songs too, very much from the heart.

 

 

What possibilities do you foresee for live music to survive or evolve in the wake of the current situation? A livestream obviously doesn’t hold the same power as a live show, but as it’s become part of the status quo, what sort of possibilities do you see to use new and online technologies to keep music alive and maintain the excitement of audiences?

Ka-Spel: Haven’t tried an online performance yet. I’m fussy about sound quality. I confess I want to be in the same room as the audience. It’ll happen again, eventually.

Similarly, with the pandemic hopefully nearing the end, we are seeing more tours being planned/announced; how do you feel touring will change – both across the board and for yourself personally?

Ka-Spel: Well, Brexshit has really messed things up for every musician/artist in the U.K. when it comes to touring Europe. I guess the biggest change will be the size of the lies at the borders.

What’s next for you?

Ka-Spel: New LPD material… very close now.

 

Edward Ka-Spel
Facebook, Bandcamp
The Legendary Pink Dots
Website, Facebook, Twitter, Bandcamp

 

Photography provided courtesy of Edward Ka-Spel

 

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