Interview at La Coruña

July 31, 1999

How would you explain the huge acceptation of your music in Spain?

Because I'm really a guitarist, a real musician, able to play an instrument as the guitar. In my last tour I've used synths and other gadgets, but the guitar has been the main instrument. That, and the slight influence of flamenco in my music, are the reasons for which I think the Spanish audience likes me.

The release of 'Guitars' hasn't let you to comfortably enjoy the success reached with 'Tubular Bells III'. Why two records in as little time?

I was preparing my new project for the new millenium and I had few spare time, but it was enough to record the album I owed to Warner. But I wasn't interested in just fulfilling a compromise, I also wanted a worthy work with which I wanted to close another of my stages, and thus be able to face the year 2000 with something new and different. For that reason I decided to record an album where everything were surrounded by the guitar, and it were the great protagonist.

You have always stood out for your innovative spirit, even stepping forward to the music trends of each moment. What can we hope of Mike Oldfield in the new millenium?

I'm currently working in a concert to welcome the new millenium, which will be held the night of the next 31st of December. I still don't know if it will be in London or in New Zealand, where the first dawn of the 2000 will be seen. It's a very ambitious project, for which I'll have a musical representation of each country, and will be a history retrospective from the coming of Jesus Christ until our days, passing through different periods as the discovery of America, the slavity, the golden age of Venezia, the Romanticism, the Second World War... Music and image will combinate in this show of intimate character (it will be presenced only by a hundred of spectators), and will conclude with the sound of a bell, designed in Japan, which will indicate the change of millenium. Once the midnight is hit I'll play one of my new compositions.

Do you have in mind recording it for its future release to the market?

Yes, I want to do it, and I'll perhaps work again with Richard Branson for this to become possible. He is very interested in my project, and I'm also interested in working with him again. With this we could renew the old relation of my years in Virgin.

The discographic sector see a dangerous enemy in some of the uses of the Internet, as the MP3 format, which lets the access to songs without any cost for the user. What's your opinion in that respect?

I think that the Internet is something fantastic and exciting, which can be a tool of great help to the artist. While most part of the companies are in hands of 4 or 5 multinationals, the Net represents the total anarchy. The Internet is an exciting world that will help to reinvent the music, and I like that because it appeals me. Like serpents, I like to shed my skin every some time, start again... and that's what the Net represents, to leave the past and hope for the future.

Are you interested in contemporary music?

Only what I listen sometimes in the television or in the radio stations. The work, being recording, playing or compositional, absorbs the most part of my time, and when I have some spare time I dedicate it to meditation or to rest. I don't exactly follow the music trends, but if I listen to something I like it can influenciate my work. So I chose the techno rhythms for Tubular Bells III.

How started your relation with Luar Na Lubre?

It was by chance. In that time I went out with a galician girl. In a travel to La Coruña I called to my record company in Madrid, to ask about interesting shows in the city, and they prepared me an exclusive concert with Luar Na Lubre. I was impressed. Although firstly my plans didn't include to work with them while the recording of Voyager, I though that they could perhaps participate in the project, so we started a good relation, that has been kept until today.

Do you think the group could get public acceptance outside Spain?

Yes, of course, although they're starting. The traditional music market is very limited and I think that if the galician music wants to progress it has to be open to the influences of other countries, as it has happened in Ireland, where another sounds, as rock, have been interweaved with the celtic roots.

Are still the United States a pending subject?

It has been some time since I went there last time, since 1992, and that has an explanation, as it's very expensive to bring my show, with 40 musicians on stage, to the other side of the Atlantic. But now it's different, because my band is reduced to 6 members. That represents a great reduction in the expenses chapter, and it could be a great advantage thinking of a possible come back to the USA. We're actually studying in bringing the millenium tour to that country in a small tour by different cities.

What made you installing yourself in Ibiza?

Ibiza has a great history, and a valuable legacy, because of all the cultures that have populated the island and who always considered it as sacred territory. Ibiza was surrounded of a lot of mysticism, but then it was transformed in the party capital of Europe, with huge discos and thousands of people devoted to the fun. Of course, that only lasts a few months each year, but after two years living there, I got a bit tired of all that, I sold my home, and I returned to my country.

'Tubular Bells III' is a record with a very 'Ibiza' feel to it...

Ibiza wasn't as much the influence as a techno tape that a friend lent me there and that let me know an till then unknow style to me. I liked it, and so I decided to incorporate it to Tubular Bells III.

Mike Oldfield
Mike Oldfield