For a moment it seemed that man with the bathing suit crossing the Ibiza landscape -- sea and rocks, small bays and mountains -- was Lauren Postigo . Uff! Then, when that vision finished to rub the towel after splashing in the pool of the pretty little hotel where we were, and when began walking to our table full of "pa amb tomaquet" and beer, the matter was clearing. It was not a rubbish from a rubbish TV, fortunately, he was Mike Oldfield, that was the reason, using a new blonde dye. At the same time, new album, new hair? He presented his new album, Voyager, an album of Celtic music, half his own compositions, half cover versions. Of course, that was the reason we were in Ibiza. That wasn't his reason. He was waiting for the masons to finish the work a few kilometres from the little hotel so he could move to his new home. Sweet home.
After The Songs of Distant Earth, an album based on new technologies, with Voyager you are returning to a more "organic" sound and traditional tunes. Was this a personal neccessity?
It was not my intention. I only wanted to do an album of Celtic music. I have noticed that I prefer to work with traditional instruments instead of these new machines. I am tired of them. For me it's easier. If I want to use technology I call someone who knows how to use it. In this new album there isn't so much of that, it was more spontaneous. In fact, it has been the album I've made in the least amount of time -- only a month and a half to record. I composed and recorded some songs in one morning. It is something different to my usual way. And I like it.
What is the meaning of the title of the album, Voyager? Is that a reference to a trip back into the Celtic world while listening to it?
I did not get that point of view, but maybe. It also describes the travels that someone can do into himself/herself looking for his/her real personality, the spiritual side. That is what Tai Chi does, I got a liking for it. There are exercises with lovely titles, one of them is called "Clouds Hands". They are stimulating exercises, you can learn a lot about yourself with that.
Your previous work was the soundtrack for a science-fiction book and this is an excursion in Celtic tradition. Do you think they are similar trips?
I think so, yes. I read several theories from Stephen Hawking about no future and no past -- saying it is an illusion of our mind and that we only have to break some walls of our brain to approach the future.
Coming back to more mundane matters, are you tired about still being remembered only as the man who created Tubular Bells?
I'm used to it, anyway it's a big honour to know that something you made is still recognized. I love it. I still feel something when I am in an airport and I hear pieces of that album. It makes me proud.
Would you have prefered that big success with your third album, for example, instead of the first one?
That can be a problem only for your ego, and honestly, I was never an egocentric. For many years I have been trying to unmake my ego. When that happened all I wanted was to escape. I hated the fame and what there is behind the fame.
Many people think since Tubular Bells you are trying to repeat its success but the results are not the ideal ones.
It's not important for me. It doesn't matter what some people think about me. The good thing is if people still listen to my albums, you can feel they are not obsolete. They are like classic pieces that survive and the reason is because I didn't try to make them according the lastest fashion. This is the reason they are more lasting ones. My music is not of a time period, I am not involved in the common way. I don't make rock, new age, techno... I am happy in my way. The problem is for other people, journalists for example.
How do you see other people's music? Is there something you find interesting?
I don't usually listen to much music, but sometimes I go to these mega-stores and then I buy a lot of albums. No too long ago I was in London and I got about thirty recent albums, and really I liked them, I found a lot of good energy in those albums.
What kind of music was it? Which bands?
I don't remember the names of the bands, it was only music. But I really liked them.
Anyway it seems you are interested in dance music, you will release a version for dance discos of one of the songs from the album.
Yes, I have been working on it with some young musicians. It is called "New Women Of Ireland" and it is a dance remix of "Women Of Ireland", a version of that song from The Chieftains in Barry Lyndons soundtrack.
Are you a godfather for "ambient" music, as some people have suggested?
May be. I don't know... sometimes I hear things that are inspired by my music. I feel it usually. Especially things from Tubular Bells -- atmospheres, sounds -- but that's normal. That album appeared in 1973 and it's not strange that it's inspiration for some musicians.
What is the reason Ibiza being your new residence?
I don't know, I was always attracted by these islands. I had a house in Majorca and now here. I also have bought a ship, now I'm learning to pilot it. The "fun" places and discos don't attract my attention, I like the quiet zone, it's really spiritual. It's relaxing in summer, and mysterious in winter. I feel like myself in this land, sometimes it reminds me of Stonehenge.
How does a place influence your music?
I don't think it has a decisive influence. I don't know, when you're in the studio you feel like you're in another world... But yes, I suppose it must influence me in some way, maybe not in the complete concept but it does in some sounds or ambients. For example, if I travelled to India (something that I would love), sure I would get things from there.
Mike Oldfield Tubular.net