The introspective New Age sound of Tubular Bells 1 has gone. Now Oldfield is taking inspiration from the European dance club scene. A rare LIVE! performance premiered "Bells 3".
So Mike, what prompted you to bring Tubular Bells into the '90s?
I suppose it all started with my dream of building my own house. I always had this idea that one day I build my own house and it was going to be by the sea and it was going to be my dream house. So I looked in all kinds of places. I was living in Los Angeles at the time. I looked at Hawaii where you could basically buy a piece of land big enough for a dog for a million dollars, you know. It was like ridiculous. I looked all over the south of France and eventually spotted an advert advertising some land in Ibiza. So I went there, immediately fell in love with the piece of land, bought the piece of land right on the sea, designed the house, built the house, built the studio there, and by coincidence realized I'd ended up in the dance capital of the whole of Europe. I was about to start a new album and I thought perhaps I can incorporate some of these dance rhythms in my kind of music.
But doesn't Mike Oldfield make ethereal, new-agey, relaxing music, not dance?
[There are a] great range of emotions I go through: through peace, beauty, tranquility, aggression, anger, violence, you know. I'm not ashamed of, and am very good at, displaying all of these things. The New Agey part, which I have been identified with, is just one little part of what I do.
Now if I was a record buyer, and I bought the original Tubular Bells 1, would I buy Tubular Bells 3, and would I enjoy it?
I think so. Um, the original...[ gets interrupped by rude interviewer]
Or is it for a new audience?
I think it's both. So far, it's doing extremely well and everybody seems to love it, doesn't matter what age they are. I mean [holding his palms apart a measured distance], a normal techno album would have it's dancy bit and then it would have it's "chin-out" bit [holds left hand out like pointing a gun with left index finger and runs right index finger over the contour of his left hand and lets it drop off, indicating some sort of ledge]. What I've chosen in my 'chin-out' bits is to do one of my kind of more relaxed, New Agey, more peaceful folky, Celtic things. And then comes another dance bit. So I kind of sat on top of the format I was given that is currently hip and trendy now and put my own signature on it [runs his hand down over humps like sliding on an imaginary Giant Slide]. And I think this will survive as well as nearly all my albums survive the test of time.
Mike Oldfield Tubular.net