Mike Oldfield Thinks Pop Today Is Music For Children

September 16, 1993
Fietta Jarque
El PaĆ­s (Spanish newspaper)

'Tubular Bells' creator plays in seven Spanish cities.

Twenty years are between the two albums have signed Mike Oldfield's music career and both carry the title 'Tubular Bells'. This is also the name of the tour the british musician started yesterday in Barcelona, the one that will carry to Madrid, 18th to Oviedo, 19th to Vigo, 21nd to Puerto de SantaMaria (note: replaced by Malaga), 24th to Burgos and 25th to Bilbao. Anyway, he thinks the success is the lone pleasure to make music and he says pop today is music for children.

"The problem is people is trapped into success illusion", says Mike Oldfield, the young boy that being 19 years old was involved into fame peaks. "Everyone thinks success in sales terms and radio airplay. Real success in music would have to be so far you can get into performance and enjoying. I would like sales charts didn't exist, because that stupid illusion wouldn't exist. In Seville, for example, people play flamenco and dance because they love it and it's an old tradition. We have new instruments and synthesisers, but that would have to serve only to grow up the force of our old traditions", Oldfield says.

"And this is what I am doing", he continues. "I only feel success as I am enjoying making music. Sometimes I find myself making music that does not satisfy me, too much commercial, then I try to change my way".

Mike Oldfield uses the word "enjoy" instead "fun", the one that maybe the most commercial musicians prefer. "It was a hundred years ago the children and the young boys got fun with infantile songs, pop songs today are like a modern version of those infantile songs. They are choruses that are round in the head, you are shouting and jumping with them. It is music for children."

Anyway, Oldfield does not deny to say what he wants to offer is quality music, "like a travel to Disneyworld or a Steven Spielberg movie". "I like these games from Universal City like Back to the Future, or E.T. There is an infantile taste for it, but also emotion. It's something spiritual".

Special effects seem undoubtfully to atract him and his music has the magic touch of electronics as a usual part. "Synthesisers contain sounds showings that in a remote past were played by a musician with an instrument. You have recorded, for example, a riff from a special drummer. Is more than an excerpt, it is a performance and you can include it into you are composing. This is the way music is made now. I like to play real instruments, but these new elements are very interesting", Oldfield says.

Using What Exists

In opinion from the british musician, "it seems pop is into this way. I don't think it is the most marvellous thing, but I can't stop it and I try to make something creative with it. What always I did was use music that already exists and then doing something unsual with it".

It's the perfect way to work for a lone composer, as Mike Oldfield seems to be. "It was unusual a musician playing all of instruments in album recording sometime ago but now is usual. It depends how much original is the person and what can do with these instruments, anyway I hate to see decandence with real musicians".

Oldfield thinks the most important thing is intensity into composition performance. "You can play the most beautiful piece and it won't get a meaning because it was played without feeling. The best way a piece can last is with performance".

But a musician like Oldfield, that creates in loneliness and thinks performances are so important in each one of his albums, the spectacle work for a tour is a big change. "It used to be a problem to translate the album to live performance but I treat it now like a classic music concert and I have a director. Everything is perfect now, it is not like a rock concert. No improvisation".

His instrumental music would be like abstract language, comparing with little stories from realest pop songs (love songs, social critic songs...). "Pop is like a room into the big hotel of music", Oldfield ends. "I think every instrumental music don't have the language problem. Language restricts you and let you going out of the hotel or palace. You can see the gardens like if you were in a balcony and at the same time you have the space to explore the different places in that palace".

Mike Oldfield Tubular.net
Mike Oldfield Tubular.net