In 1970, a 17 year old shy boy called Michael Oldfield, spent his time visiting record companies with pretencious intention that maybe one of them would give him the chance to record his first album.
Mike took a tape with a 50 minute composition, a kind of suite, like a introductory card. That tape was the result of long months of work during which he had tried to shape a lot of ideas, playing every single instrument that sounded on the recording himself , from grand piano to mandolin.
However, there was very little interest on that tape.
What are the musical roots of Mike Oldfield?
It would be fair to say that I have 3 kinds of musical roots, all very different: folk music, heavy metal and classical music.
What do you enjoy the most, being in your studio composing or being up on the stage in front of thousands of people?
Studio work is very intense, it's like looking somewhere and finding the music through a microscope, but the stage is...well, you play and that's it. I enjoy both things but in a different way.
Mike Oldfield was born in 1953 in Reading; a little town near London, known for its heavy metal annual festival. His father was a doctor and his mother, it's said, alcoholic. He grew as a shy boy, not very sociable who played piano at the age of 7 and at the age of 12 studied not very common instruments.
Then, he could be seen playing in pubs in Reading, playing little folk tunes, accompained in some parts by his sister Sally.
Mike was classified as a genius. At the age of 15 he entered "The Whole World", and one year later he was lead guitarist of the group. After this experience, Mike decided to go on alone.
Since Tubular Bells was a hit, Mike has worked very intensely. Hergest Ridge, Ommadawn, Boxed, Incantations, Exposed, Platinum, QE2, Five Miles Out and Crises are his latest albums, one every year.
You have always been someone who spends more time in the studio than playing live, always experimenting and learning about instruments and how to take the maximum advantages from them, looking for the best sound for your ideas. Creative imagination complements with virtuosity and technique.
I remember that when I composed Tubular Bells I didn't have a computer or synth, but I have everything in my studio and I can make an album in 4 months, while the same work took me 1 year or more.
You started composing long suites, however, you tend to make shorter themes, any special reason on that?
I have a special interest in composing short songs, apart of the long parts I've always done, to complete the sense of the concept I want to compose, and the main reason, because I love to compose and compose.
His music has been described as epic, mysterious, ethereal, but Mike thinks that his music is his religion, something that he needs as much as breath. He always thought that his music is the expression of his environment and his spirituality. Although he has always made little trips as vocalist, Mike prefers other people picking up the mic: his sister Sally, Maggie Reilly, Roger Chapman, Jon Anderson and Barry Palmer have put voice to Mike Oldfield songs.
Mike is a man that seems to be out of time, whose image seems to lack of attention and whose shyness is everywhere. It's difficult for him to get out of his musical bubble that has created around him. He lives amongst amplifiers, keyboards, drums and synthsizers. He has his own guitar collection, one of the best existing. And his main hobby is make model airplanes. Mike thinks that nowadays, music is another commercial value, as well as the art in general, as if it was a deterent. He has always resisted the publicity and promotion game.
Do you think that the work of the record companies, generally, leads to experimention and to finding new ways for making music?
My record company does not help very much, they just participate in the production and then put the album in the shops. There's commercial help, and of course, if you make 7 songs, they choose which one will be the first single to be out, that's the way it is.
Tubular Bells was used as part of the soundtrack of "The Exorcist".
One year ago, David Putnam, producer of "Chariots of fire " which has a wonderful OST, asked Mike to write the music of his next film "The Killing Fields".
Mike has previously been to Spain, the most recent was last summer to play what was his last album "Crises" and part of his discography. He had been before in 1979 in Barcelona and also in 1980.
This is a very musical summer, there are a lot of artists in our country like Bob Dylan, Yes, Stevie Wonder, Spandau Ballet and OMD.
The 'child prodigy' is now 30 years old, a millonaire both in sterling pounds and with his album sales, and has left his house and his work to be with us before August ends.
The main ingredients of his shows are:
A great show, a very sophisticated light system and the songs from his latest album "Discovery" (which is #1 in the chart today at 6-8-84).
Tell us something about your latest work, Discovery:
Well, the first part is made of 7 songs that I have linked in a kind of pop opera, and that I can make and play on stage.
The second part is The Lake, something I composed in Switzerland, on the shore of Lake Ginebra, it was wonderful.
Mike Oldfield Tubular.net