His millennial bells will play at the Brandenburg

December, 1999
Elena Pita
El Mundo (Spanish newspaper)

You should remember to that young prodigious who captivated the world of rock playing himself twelve instruments in an initiator record, Tubular Bells. Well then, 40 million records and 26 years after, he is still the same. An indomitable youngster who escapes from his commitments with the press in order to be lost with his new girlfriend (one every year) in the streets of Madrid, and who returns with a naughty air asking for a cappuccino and a cheese sandwich. Do not ask him whys: he never answers anything that begins with this adverb. Too much simple questions to the little genius. Inventor, alchemist, and autodidact: he will be receiving the millennium at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin with his new album, The Millennium Bell (almost as initiator as the first Bells, and this is the fourth of the saga).

He, who does not believe that this date will change anything, who disdains the marketing and the opportunism which surrounds the music after the 70s, mister Oldfield, why then Millennium Bell, only for enjoy? "You owe me one thousand pesetas, please, I warned you: any whys. This issue is more than an entertainment, well, although I have enjoyed making it: I love my work. When I am in the studio, the technology gets invisible, I enter in a kind of hypnotic state and my music comes up: it is like a complete mystery. I am not an expert in these things about the millennium, but for me it means something: since I was a child I ask me for what will be doing in the 2000. It sounds like something big, I think the world must celebrate it".

Mike Oldfield, Reading, England, 1953, has causes to be rebellious. Son of an alcoholic mother, he knew closer the anger and the fear; at the age of 14, by the hand of his folk singer sister Sally, he submerged in the world of music, which no-one had shown before, and the LSD. Three hallucinatory winters which generated the first Tubular Bells, which made multimillionaire to his producer (Richard Branson, who at his cost created the Virgin empire), and threatened to the young Mike to hate more the world. Ignored by the press, excluded by the record company, he continued composing, maddened; he married, he had four sons, he divorced, eight years without news from his family; he goes to Ibiza, women, public altercations, roses and wine. At least Michael Gordon Oldfield believes and trusts in psychotherapy. " Now I do not practise it, but I will not have no doubt to come back if I could need it. At this moment my life is quite good, I am reasonably happy". At least one thing related to reality. "If I get on well with reality? No: I hate reality (and he burst out a deep laugh). The only kind of reality I love is that one which surrounds me when I make music or when I travel to wonderful places, because I have luck to travel to the most beautiful places of the planet and make things like swimming with turtles; this is the reality that I like".

What has really happened is that the musician has left his foundation, which offered free psychotherapy to people who cannot afford it ("I left it a year and a half ago, because psychotherapy is something very accepted now, not like before which was scaring"), and he has changed his things, divan, memory and Kleenex, for this other of meditation: "I have an adorable garden which where I walk, between trees, and I try no to think (spectacular mansion outside London). I do meditation every day. Sometimes, walking, curious things happen to me, maybe they are messages".

TRAVEL IN TIME. The Millennium Bell is a historic travel in Christian eras through the time. Do not be surprised when you switch on the CD and a carol, Peace on Earth, is played, Mike Oldfield has not converted. It is History simply. But do you believe in God? "I don not believe in the normal concept of God, but I believe in the existence of the divinity, I think all we are part of it. I do not know exactly in what point of time, five thousand, one hundred thousand years, if we do not destroy ourselves before, we will know what is this divinity. The creative people, musicians, artists, painters, are echos of God; it is possible to see the powers of the divinity in a picture, in a song. When I am meditating I notice flashes of this divinity. I think all is simpler than we imagine, and it has nothing to do with success, money or violence. Perhaps in two thousand years something interesting will happen."

Oldfield travelled to the Andes; he touched the earth, he listened to the Indian people and he got shock by its power: sure that Pacha Mama, Earth Mother, had enlightened there the beginning of the world. "No, it is not necessary that the human being returns to the Earth Mother: he is a part of it, of the universe; the problem is that in some way we all feel independent, separated from it". Peru without why: "There the people are much more linked to the earth".

But comes Christopher Colombus and he believes that this is America: slavery. Oldfield travelled to Senegal, to the hearth of trade, camps as human farms, will be able his sons to forget it? "It is a big challenge for the slave's descendants, it is like a character and humanity proof. Yes, sure that someone of them can forget it". The lyrics are from an ancient captain ship and it sounds over gospel chorus.

A sad travel in eleven tracks through the History, where the splendour of the Venetian medieval and the nineteenth century romantic period sound like orchestral oasis in the middle of the horror wild by the human being and his contests during this 2000 years. Rebellious and romantic, "I like the idea of someone who thinks in an independent way, who feels the things deeply and emotionally, in a romantic sense. The attitude of the commercial enterprises is that people have to fight to death for the success, they resort to our animal side: this concept should be changed". Will come then another romantic period? "It would be beautiful. Phenomenons as the Internet make me think that it is possible: anyone from a lost island who has an idea and throw it to the whole world. It is wonderful this anarchy."

But another time the twentieth century turns us back to the wisdom and to the time prohibition. "To prohibit is unthinkable, but if I could I would make disappear the weapons, the human instinct of fight, and also the human being necessity to ask why. The logic is necessary but we could extinguish the necessity to know the whys of things".

Modernity, what is modernity? Silence, changes of position, sucking to the cigarette. And at the end: "I am not a philosopher. The normal reality turn me out very few modern: boring". Are you modern? "It is impossible to answer to this question, I am not modern nor old-fashioned, I am simply me". Is your music modern? "Oh, I get impatient when machines are not able to do what I want".

Mike Oldfield has placed the future in Africa, with dance music, dj's and a surprising ending of Cossack chorus. So long will see Africa the future? "Look, we built cities, and they still continue in a very primitive period. I search for the spirit of things, and when you arrive to the savage Africa, everything is millions of times more powerful, astonishing powerful, is the power of the spirit, of the soul, not the power of machine, and this is for me much more modern than a city". North, South, Are we go to Africa?: "No, not really. But I love the African music".

And you, if this is your last stroke, what would you do from now? "Me? Perhaps virtual music".


Mike Oldfield Tubular.net
Mike Oldfield Tubular.net