Music Interview: Gary Numan

By SallyB2 Last edited 116 months ago
Music Interview: Gary Numan


Be still our beating hearts. It’s not every day that Londonist gets to interview heart-throb superstars. Thirty years ago we’d have been up there with the rest of them throwing items of intimate apparel at Gary Numan on stage (well, probably not that, to be honest). We’re fans. And we’re dead impressed that he is still turning out fun and original electronica after all those years in the business.

Following his recent London gigs, which included an appearance at Lovebox, we tracked the cult king of synth-pop down and to get some insider stuff on both him and his 2009 tour.

Synth-pop seems to be stronger than ever: what does it feel like to be one of the founding fathers?

It’s very flattering. I seem to be considered a founding father for most forms of electronic music, from Synth-Pop to Industrial, which is recognition I’m not entirely sure I deserve but it’s nice that people think so.

What (or who) inspires you?

It will probably sound corny but life itself inspires me. Everything I write comes from the various experiences that life throws at you and it’s never ending, and constantly evolving. Each day brings something new, some of it good, some of it not so good. The not so good stuff is what fuels the desire to write it all down and turn it into music.

What’s your favourite London venue?

For big shows the O2 Arena in Greenwich, for medium shows Brixton Academy and for smaller gigs the choice is vast but I’ve seen some great gigs at the Barfly in Camden.

And your London secret?

I was once stabbed in Broadwick Street on my way to see a band play in the old Marquee Club.

What’s your earliest London memory?

My Dad used to be a London bus driver so my earliest London memory is sitting in his bus, with my Mum, driving down Regents Street looking at the Christmas Lights.

You’re known for your cyberpunk image: do you dress like that off stage as well?

Mostly, unless I’m feeding our sheep in which case I’ll probably put on my wellies. Can’t afford to get sheep shit on my New Rocks.

Tell us something funny that has happened at one of your gigs?

Nothing funny ever happens at my gigs. A bit of the ceiling fell on my head once but I didn’t think that was funny, although everyone else seemed to.

Touring must be pretty tiring: how do you keep up with it all? What do you do to relax? We know you like flying…

I don’t find touring tiring at all. We all treat it as one huge party from the moment we get on the bus till about two days after we get off it. I love it. Can’t imagine a better way to live your life than on a tour bus, with your best friends, playing music each night to people that love what you do. On longer tours we often play ten or more gigs back to back with no days off. When you’re doing something you love why would you want a day off?

What’s on your iPod right now?

Pretty Hate Machine by Nine Inch Nails

What London artists should we be watching out for?

I really like IAMX at the moment but I’m not sure if they come from London or not.

Are friends electric?

My wife seems to think so, whenever I’m away. I have a business account with Duracell to cater for her demands.

Have you ever been sick on the tube?

Yes. I can’t remember why though as I don’t drink.

Gary Numan's next London gig is at the Indigo 2 on the 3rd December, part of his Pleasure Principle Tour. AND he has a new album, Dead Son Rising, which is rumoured to be coming out some time this year....

Last Updated 04 August 2009