"Surviving used to be my motivation, now it is the audience"

March, 2007


More than thirty years on stage and one album which became history: "Tubular Bells". The British musician Mike Oldfield comes back to Spain the next week in order to take part in the show "Night of the Proms" -organized by GPE- together with Tears for Fears, Ana Torroja, Chico & the Gypsies, John Miles, the tenor Tony Henry, Il Novecento & Robert Groslot and Fine Fleur. The event will be on the 30th in Valencia and on the 31st in Madrid.

Mike, you were living in Spain, have sold many copies of your albums and count with lots of fans here. Could you describe how you feel about the two concerts in which you are playing on the 30th and 31st of this month in Valencia and Madrid?

Yes, I lived in Spain, in Ibiza. Some days ago while having a look at Google Maps, I happened to find the house which I built, it is still there. I used to have a good relationship with Spain and Spaniards since my first tour in 1978.

How do you recall that?

I remember I was very anxious because I wasn't sure whether they would accept me and like my music. When the concert was over, there were so many people trying to enter that the police came bringing tear gas. We left the stage into the backstage, lights were switched on, but the audience wouldn't go away and we had to go back into stage. My compositions aren't short -half an hour each- so we played one again... That was my baptism playing live in Spain, in Barcelona in 1978. From then on, I've come back ten times and it's always been wonderful, it's the best audience I've ever had. It's very cheerful and I love that...

Do you feel like coming back again?

Sure, more than that, I feel like coming back here again for some concerts on my own. At the moment I'm working on a classical composition for orchestra -a Spanish one will probably collaborate- and for classical guitar, which I will play both on the album and live, and for piano and a small choir. We are considering the possibility of playing in all European capital cities, even in Spain at the end of 2007. This composition is based on the authentic Halloween festivity, not in Hollywood's version of it. It's a thousands-years-old festival which celebrates the transition from autumn into winter... Hallowe'en is originally spelt H-A-L-L-O-W-E apostrophe E-N. The album is still untitled, but it will be all music for orchestra, the only thing I've never tried before. After twenty two albums, I've more or less done everything I intended to, even some pop and rock songs, but I've never done anything just for orchestra.

Is that why you have decided to do it?

The reason is more in the current trends. When I began, classical music wasn't a trend. Then it was all about rock and roll. Nowadays classical music has become more popular, the number of interested people is increasing... it's a relaxing kind of music and more accesible now. I feel I'm good at it. I'm very lucky to count with fantastic people helping me and I'm excited about it.

So, what kind of concerts will the ones in Valencia and Madrid be? Are you going to play any particular songs, any from your last album "Light and Shade"?

Unfortunately not. We are only playing short versions from "Tubular Bells" and "Ommadawn" and three songs, "To France", "Moonlight Shadow" and "Shadow on the Wall". I play at the end of the show during half an hour, there are many artists previously, very good artists. It's not a Mike Oldfield concert, it's a festival.

Are you taking any singers with you?

We are very lucky to count with Rosa Cedrón's voice, from the band Luar na Lubre, who's going to sing "To France" and "Moonlight Shadow". We have John Miles, from the Electric Band, to sing in "Shadow on the Wall".

What is your motivation to go on playing live?

My motivation has changed a lot in the last years. I've been writing my autobiography with a mate for a long time; it will be released by Virgin Books in May. Its title is <Changeling". I've gone back to my past, to the most successful moment in my career, "Tubular Bells". My motivation was to survive, music was my salvation then, my way to deal with the reality and my psychological problems. After sorting out those problems, I had to look for a different motivation. In the 80s, it was to try to write the best pop song, the best album.
I've already fulfilled all what I wanted to do and now the motivation is a problem. I'm not saying that this project, Hallowe'en, will be the last, it depends on how much I enjoy it and its success. Playing live is different, you are there, in front of the people and it's possible to notice whether they like it or not. The audience is honest, they aren't manipulated by the media. I'm lucky that the audience likes me, especially in Spain, so that's my motivation.

Do you remember the last time you played in Spain?

Yes, I can recall it very well. In 2004. I had never played in front of so many people. I mean, we were on the San Cristobal beach in A Coruña, Galicia. The beach is 200 metres wide, the stage was at the end and there were 100.000 people, they reached one or two kilometres from the stage. Amazing. It was a fantastic concert, there are still talks about that event. There were also other bands like Luar na Lubre, The Corrs and other artists, it was great.

Could you explain the differences between "Light and Shade" and your new project?

Yes, I'm always doing experiments with new technologies, and so I did with "Light and Shade". We finished two albums, one of them was "chill out", so to say, and the other "trance", influenced by my time in Ibiza, where I spent nights clubbing until dawn listening and absorbing those rhythms. Now I want to do something purer, with accoustic instrumentals and a symphonic orchestra.

What kind of music do you listen at now?

I don't listen at any kind of music now because I'm too busy closed in my own ideas. I saw a USB and thought that could be the opportunity to take my vinyls out to listen to some of them, but it got stuck.

Mike Oldfield Tubular.net
Mike Oldfield Tubular.net