‘siliconchipsuperstar’ by CIRCUIT3 slipped out quietly in December 2015 but became one of the surprise independent success stories of 2016.

The work of Dubliner Peter Fitzpatrick, it was a musical love letter to the classic era of electronic pop between 1978-1982 and like TUBEWAY ARMY’s debut long player, the blue vinyl edition sold out. Rather than go on a cruise or buy a DeLorean, he spent his royalties on more synths!

Those synths have been put to good use on ‘The Price Of Nothing & The Value Of Everything’, the new album from CIRCUIT3 due out in Spring 2019 on Diode Records.

Acting as a trailer to the album, ‘For Your Own Good’ is arguably the first Irish synthpop hip hop crossover featuring CIRCUIT 3 working with Ricki Rawness, a respected figure on the Irish urban music scene who is not your average MC…

Peter Fitzpatrick took time out to chat about his love of electronic music, his thoughts on the current fashion for Synthwave and stalking the pioneers of Synth Britannia with his Arturia MiniBrute…

It would be fair to say ‘siliconchipsuperstar’ was an unexpected success? Why do you think listeners connected with it?

It exceeded all of my expectations. Originally I just wanted to make an album that echo’d my teen years and love of that 1978-82 era of synthpop and electronic music, put it out on vinyl and create a couple of promo videos. Above all else I wanted to have some fun.

I thought I’d sell a handful of copies and get a few video views. I didn’t expect the vinyl to sell out or for my mailing list to quadruple in size or for the gigs and festivals and offers of collaboration to happen. That’s the quantitative measure of success, but for me the true success was in making the LP and sticking to my vision of what I wanted to do. On that measure alone, it was hugely successful.

Why listeners connected is something I can definitely talk about because I have the messages from them. They loved the genre and sounds I used as it reminded them of those artists that we share a love and fascination for. All art is theft and so is using motifs and sounds, but I’m ok with that. I’m a magpie.

Another recurring message from the listeners was my old school approach to physical product, making promo videos and not taking it too seriously. They really enjoyed holding the album reading the lyrics and possessing something that was theirs alone. Synthpop is not dead!

What had inspired you to do a synthpop album after many years in rock?

After a number of years playing quite happily in rock bands and earning a living as a composer and sound designer, I was caught up in this belief that nobody wanted to hear my electronic music and that there wasn’t an audience for synthpop anyway. I thought people were only listening to ‘crappy-4tothefloor-house-handbag-squelchy-303’ dance music from whatever EDM EBD ABC XYZ genre was flavour of the month. I was so incredibly wrong.

What triggered it all was when I heard that there was a KRAFTWERK tribute show in Dublin and went along to see THE ROBOTS. Supporting was the Dublin artist POLYDROID. I was blown away both by the music that night but also the crowd at the gig. I must have made a dozen new friends in the space of 3 hours. After the gig we were all talking about our favourite artists. This sounds like a stupid movie story but next day I went online and bought a keyboard controller and a softsynth package (Vintage Collection from Arturia). I started writing and in the first 2 weeks wrote ‘Blue Diary’ and ‘New Man’. I was hooked again. I remembered what I loved.

Don’t get me wrong though. I learned a huge amount when I was in rock / pop bands and made some lifelong friends. Brian Downey, THIN LIZZY’s drummer, taught me a lot about how to push and pull the beat live and of course I grilled him about Midge Ure’s time in the band. Brian is a lovely man and one of the most underrated drummers in the world.

In all that time in rock bands I learned how to structure songs and I learned about confidence when onstage – if you don’t look like you’re enjoying yourself on stage, how is the audience going to feel? Playing in those bands paid my way through university and gave me some lifelong friends. I bumped into Brian shortly after ‘siliconchipsuperstar’ came out and he was fascinated by it – kept referring to Midge and Rusty. He thought it was brilliant that Rusty had played ‘Hundred Hands’ on his show after someone had recommended it to Rusty. He knew Rusty from the early 80s and his work with Phil Lynott, Brian’s close friend and bandmate.

‘Hundred Hands’ had some wonderful drum programming…

Thank you – one review referenced Martyn Ware which is a huge compliment. There are three drum machine touchstones for me: the CR78 which John Foxx used on ‘Metamatic’, the Linn on THE HUMAN LEAGUE’s ‘Dare’ and HEAVEN 17’s ‘Penthouse & Pavement’.

I think Martyn is the funkiest lad from Sheffield ever. I have clear memory of programming that track and trying to mix between what a real drummer might do and then add some of those funky little off-beats that Martyn uses with Linn rimshots and claps, plus I used the toms like percussion instruments – something I think he has done in the past.

The not-so-secret sauce is to use some parallel compression on the drum subgroup. Now that you’ve mentioned it, I think the snare on that track is pretty dry which is unusual for me because I love a nice bit of gated reverb on my snares…. call me old fashioned….or Steve Levine…

‘Ghost Machine’ had a terrific icy synth pad, what did you use for that and how did the track come together?

Icy! That’s a lovely word to use about synths. I love icy sounds. That’s the Arturia version of the Solina string machine plus a layered sound from a Roland JP8000 and a touch of Roland Juno 106 underneath. There’s a bit of plate reverb on it too.

That track has a cracking story attached to it. Chatting online with a Facebook friend Brian McCloskey who is originally from Derry in Ireland but is now living in California, I mentioned I was making an album and he mentioned he had tried writing lyrics in the past. I rarely had success with a collaboration where a lyricist sends me their words and I write a song around them. We gave it a try and hit paydirt on the first song.

Brian runs the very wonderful blog hosting old issues of Smash Hits ‘Like Punk Never Happened’ and we have a shared love of synthpop and pop in general. Brian’s blog had garnered him credits on BBC documentaries about ‘Top Of The Pops’ plus after show party invites from Mr Gary Kemp from that there SPANDAU BALLET. He moves in all the right circles does Brian. He also has the best legs in California. Enough of that! *LAUGHS LOUDLY*

Back to the challenge in writing songs using someone else’s lyrics; I think the reason this worked is that I visualized what the promo video was going to look like. In my mind I saw ‘Metropolis’. Sure enough when I made the promo video I used that footage.

Have the two of you written anything else?

Brian and I have another song written and it’s a bit of a synthpop cracker even if I say so myself. It’s titled ‘Future Radio’ and sounds a little like the lovechild of BUGGLES and PET SHOP BOYS. I had hoped to include it on my next album but it doesn’t fit with the other tracks. I have other plans for it and can’t wait to release it. There’s a super little vocoder part in it.

Actually, Chi while I’m here and thinking about vocoders… I’m really p*ssed off with Waldorf. They announced a string machine and vocoder a year ago. It’s exactly what I want for ‘Future Radio’ and would be ideal for playing ‘Ghost Machine’ live. It’s complete Vaporware… hasn’t materialized and I’ve had it on pre-order since early 2018! I wish they wouldn’t tease like that.

I’ll bet they’re holding off because Behringer claim to be making a clone of the classic Roland VP-330. If anyone in Dublin is reading and has a proper vocoder to loan me for a day?

Was the minimal structure of ‘In Your Shoes’ influenced by anyone in particular?

Very much so – well spotted. The song was written the week that Robin Williams died. I remembered the quote attributed to him “You’re only given a little spark of madness. You mustn’t lose it.” and being quite affected by his illness and what must have been a tortured state of mind that he would lead him to take his own life.

The music, arrangement and production was very heavily influenced by my favourite Howard Jones song ‘Law Of The Jungle’. I think that’s one of his finest tracks and it was only a B-side! I got to ask Howard about the song in the context of a Q&A with him at Metropolis Studios in late 2018. I’d been saving that question since 1984. I do play the long game sometimes! *laughs*

My recording is almost entirely Arturia ‘Modular’ softsynth which is an emulation of the Moog modular system. One of Howard’s trademarks is hitting the occasional high note. He has a very good falsetto. Howard’s an artist who is unfairly written out of Synth Britannia and attracts snide comments. What sort of war crime did Howard commit? I’d like to see some of the people who knock him try doing what he did live with an 808, Moog Prodigy and a Jupiter8. They probably wouldn’t know the difference between a tape recorder and a drum machine anyway. I’ve never understood the nasty responses to his work.

Which songs have been your own favourites?

Off the new album ‘The Price Of Nothing & The Value Of Everything’, it’s a pure pop song called ‘I Don’t Want To Fall in Love Again’. It’ll be a single and one of the remixers said it sounded like something off the third YAZOO album that never happened. Possibly that’s the Fairlight samples I used for the rhythm track – almost PET SHOP BOYS I think.

iEUROPEAN did a great remix which I’m delighted with. It’s pure pop and isn’t pretending to be anything else. I’d love to hear this covered by a female vocalist or re-recorded by Geoff Downes and Trevor Horn from BUGGLES.

Now, if you’re talking about the first album ‘siliconchipsuperstar’, I think it’s ‘New Man’ simply because it was the first song recorded for the album and in the live shows it always gets a great response. It opened some doors for me. It’s a track that lets me stomp and play that lead line on as nasty and loud a synth patch as I can put together. On a keytar … doubly so. I love pop so who can resist an opportunity to get the crowd to do the claptrap part? Yes… I borrowed that from ‘Being Boiled’ and I don’t care who knows *laughs*

I know some radio shows have picked up on the ‘New Man’ Numan thing but it’s not about Gary honest! It’s also in C Minor, which as every synthesist knows, is the darkest of all keys.

Talking of YAZOO, how do you look back on your tribute album ‘All I Ever Knew’?

With great fondness. Anyone who knows me will know I’m a huge fan of Vince and Alison. Recording ‘Upstairs At Erics’ was something I’d wanted to do since I first heard the LP in 1982. In truth, ‘All I Ever Knew’ was pure self-indulgence. I made it for me and happened to release it on CD.

I made two decisions before starting on the project. Firstly I decided to stick pretty close to the original sounds and arrangements. Secondly, I decided to bring in some guest vocalists.

The sounds and arrangements decision was the most difficult. With infinite resources and a brave heart, I might well have tried my hand at doing completely new takes on those songs. However, I don’t think that ever really works.

Very few ‘reworkings’ of classics are ever pulled off well. Most are pure crap and don’t get me started on rubbish twee ukulele interpretations of songs I love. I did however put a couple of little twists and sounds into the recordings but purposefully stayed close to the originals. I’m such a fan that they’re like sacred texts! *laughs*

Working with Emma Barson, Neil Francis and Andy Patchell was really enjoyable. I sent a copy to Vince and he emailed me with some very kind words. The 16 year old me was dumbstruck *laughs*

Then before her show in Dublin I managed to meet Alison and gave her a copy. In return I got a hug. That’s a fair trade I think. Before you ask… no, I have no plans to record ‘You & Me Both’. If I had the chance to do it all again then all I would change is to start it a year earlier and have a go at properly reworking some of the tracks.

The new single is ‘For Your Own Good’, you’ve really gone to town on that with a video and some radical remixes? How would you describe its genesis?

‘For Your Own Good’ is a lesson in embracing collaboration opportunities.

That track was written about 18 months ago and has sat lonely on the digital shelf waiting for me to do something with it. I was mid-recording the YAZOO tribute and had been listening to HEAVEN 17 a lot.

The bassline is Juno 106 and I’m using the Aly James emulation of the Linn LM-1 drum machine. As I looped the bassline, I grabbed a mic and riffed on the notion of privacy, or lack of! I visualized CCTV cameras and Zuckerberg sticking his nose in where it’s not wanted.

Listening to the tracks for the new album, I offered it to a couple of remixers and one of them – a local lad Goldy – created this brilliant remix which has more hip-hop than synthpop. He brought in another Dublin artist Ricki Rawness who added his own spoken word rap to the track. There is no way in a million years that I’d have planned this, never mind known how to put it together.

What I really loved about where Goldy and Ricki took the remix was the words Ricki wrote which took the song into the territory of medication, mental health and the 9-to-5 grind. Arguably we’ve made the first synthpop hip-hop crossover *LAUGHS LOUDLY*

How did the video come about?

We were discussing the track and laughing about how much craic we’d have making a promo video. Well one thing led to another and I found myself with Goldy, Ricki an actress and a cameraman in a video studio in Dublin. We took half a day under Goldy’s direction and made some art. He interpreted the song as me sitting on a virtual bus while the negative sh*t that invades our brains sits alongside these characters invading my personal space.

The remixes really are ‘out there’. Fans of more traditional synthpop will be pleased to hear that there is a synthy extended remix too where you can really hear the Linn and the 106… oh and a remix by Duckworth from ANALOG ON who rendered a ‘Tomorrow Never Knows’ type remix. He claims he remixed it on a recent trip to Mars. That’s the kind of friends I have! *laughs*

They’re all on the limited-edition CD single while the original track and Goldy’s remix are on digital platforms.

It has provoked some quite Marmite reactions! From “that’s quite something” to “I turned it off when the rap started” and all points in between. I knew this would happen and while my inner critic said “I told you so”, I remind myself that I’m doing this for me and nobody else. It’s not like I’m U2 and breaking into people’s iPods to force their music on them.

‘The Value Of Everything & The Price Of Nothing’ is the title of the forthcoming album, that’s quite a mouthful, is there a concept at all?

I do like my long-winded album titles don’t I? *laughs*

With so much populism and division undermining our society I want to focus on the value and not the price. It was also a misheard statement on Black Friday which my inner magpie borrowed. There’s a bit of a concept there. If I reflect on the subject matter of the songs the common thread is that they’re all dealing with some aspect of the human condition. Everything from allowing populism to distort your worldview (yes I wrote about Brexit in ‘New Beginning’) to contentment (‘I Don’t Want To Fall In Love Again’) with a stop off at regret (‘Sold My Soul)’ and mental health (‘The Rain’).

I waited until I had a set of songs which all worked together. That was a frustrating wait but one that was worth it I think. Simultaneously I’ve been working on a separate album which is very much a concept album in that it has a storyline – I’ll share more about that another day – and I have Hannah Peel to thank for inspiring me to do it.

Is ‘The Value Of Everything & The Price Of Nothing’ a one-man musical show like ‘siliconchipsuperstar’? Anything you can reveal?

The new album features some backing vocals from my friend Andy Patchell and I’ve got friends contributing remixes. Aside from that, I won’t say more at this stage but there is a very cool artist I’m working with on a mini-album (or is that an EP?) who recently brought in a quite legendary UK electronic music pioneer to further the collaboration. And now we are three.

I had some songs that didn’t fit well with ‘The Value Of Everything & The Price Of Nothing’ and they’re working nicely in this collaboration. My collaborator brings a fresh view on the songs and I have to admit it’s great not having to do all the lifting myself. It’s going to be a hell of a ride in the next 18 months plus I feel another batch of songwriting sessions coming on. Not nearly enough hours in the day to do all of this.

Have you brought any new synths on board? 😉

Chi, you bloody well know I have! How long have you got? *laughs*

One of the reasons I delayed rushing out a new album was to take time to explore some new synths and move out of softsynths. There were a couple of synths I really wanted and managed to find a Sequential Circuits Pro-One as well as a Roland Jupiter 4 in really minty condition. Both had been in storage for years. The Pro-One is like ‘instant Vince Clarke’ when you use a sequencer to manipulate the filter cut-off. Every person who meets it can’t help touching it and talking about ‘Upstairs At Erics’ *laughs*

The Jupiter 4 was an obvious choice and damn I feel sorry now for Vince having read that he carried it to ‘Top Of the Pops’ from the tube. It’s bloody heavy! Seriously it’d damn heavy. I found it in a tiny village on the west coast of Ireland – drove all the way there to get it one Saturday last spring.

What I love about the Jupiter 4 is both the filter and the arpeggiator behaviour. It was Clark Stiefel of MAISON VAGUE who really sold me on the Jupiter 4. Check out some of his videos on YouTube. Set-up a simple patch and let the filter modulate while running the arpeggiator. I could sit there for hours listening to it. Actually… I have… it’s like synthy AMSR *laughs*

The Jupiter 4 features prominently on the song “The Rain’ off the new album. It has this lovely raindrop-like sound but in a melancholic way. Aside from those synths I managed to get my hands on a Moog Sub37 because… well… Moog. It’s got this lovely beefy sound and is possibly my favourite bass synth.

On the drum machine side, I invested in a Dave Smith Instruments Tempest which has challenged me as It’s not a simple machine to operate. I also got a recreation of the Roland CR78 called the Beatbot TT78. It has that lovely metal beat. What I really like about them both is that they force me into processing the sounds when I record them. There’s a couple of tracks where I’vetaken the raw sound out of the Tempest and applied bit crushing or other effects from the Soundtoys plug-ins.

Shortly after releasing ‘siliconchipsuperstar’ I bought the Korg reissue of the ARP Odyssey. Anyone who admires Billy Currie will want one. What’s fascinating about that synth is that it doesn’t follow the so-called traditional left to right layout of oscillators into filter into envelope. It really messed with my head at first and even now when I go back to it I have to think through what I’m doing.

You know what’s the best fun? Putting the Odyssey through a bit of distortion and a delay or reverb, then pretending you’re Billy Currie while playing the filter live. I defy anybody to tell me otherwise *laughs*

It’s the synth version of singing along to with a hairbrush to the new DURAN DURAN single. That’s the thing with the Odyssey. It’s meant to be played on the keyboard with one hand while you ‘play’ the sliders with the other hand. It’s all over the new album especially on the track ‘Sold My Soul’. Big droning beefy wailing sound with lots of echo! What’s not to love?

What’s your favourite synth of all time?

How am I supposed to answer that question? Just one? I’m not having that! *LAUGHS LOUDLY*

My favourite mono synth is the Pro One because it has that Vince sound and is so versatile with all its modulation routings.

My favourite polysynth is the DX7… no just kidding, don’t print that! It’s the Juno 106 because that was my first synth back in 1985. Even now I go back to that synth for simple pads and mad little sequenced ear candy.

How have you managed to blend the mix of analogue and digital while still remaining authentic, do you have any particular stance on this?

Thanks – authentic is a massive compliment. I know this sounds corny but I do try to listen to what I’m doing and put it through the lens of someone producing in the 1970s or 1980s. Dammit, I’m mixing my metaphors again aren’t I? How do you put sounds through a lens? I suppose I could try *laughs*

What I mean is I try to achieve the aesthetic that served my musical heroes so well. Frankly my dear I don’t give a damn whether it’s analogue or digital. I really couldn’t! Having said that there is something gorgeous about analogue when it’s in full flow and executed well.

Let’s take an example: the Linn that was used on ‘Dare’. Should we hate it because it’s got digital in it? I can’t get on with the analogue snobbery. It’s all reduced to 1s and 0s anyway and life is too short.

Electronic pop within the Emerald Isle seems to be in a good state of health at the moment?

It is isn’t it? I’m afraid to list any artists in case I leave someone out. I will call out Hannah Peel though. Oh my god isn’t she brilliant? You recommended Hannah to me so I went to see her prior to my playing a show in London couple of years ago. That was a genius move Chi, I was thinking after seeing Hannah’s show that I was a complete fake *laughs*

So yeah thanks for that, it really set me up for playing my first London show. Hannah is doing exactly what I wish I’d been able to do had things been different in my particular circumstances. I totally admire and envy her in equal measures.

But back to the other artists on this island, I have to say there is some very cool stuff going on and the support CIRCUIT3 has received from other artists here has been really great. What is interesting is the absence of infighting which I’ve seen in other places. No breakaway gigs, festivals, radio shows or weird social media behaviour. The big problems we face here though are outside of our control.

The thing to understand about Ireland is that in almost every home here, there is a musician so the fact that someone makes music isn‘t at all unusual. So it’s really difficult to get people out to gigs aside from a hard core group of fans who I and others are very very grateful to. Music lovers are spoiled over here.

But there‘s still a heavy bias against electronic music in the venues, TV, Radio, print media. So for example there‘s my situation in mid-2016; I was selling vinyl copies of my debut album as fast as I could take them to the post office, I had been invited to play both the Electric Picnic which is arguably the equivalent of Glastonbury over here plus I was getting airplay on Dan Hegarty’s show on RTE as well as iRadio, plus of course multiple internet radio shows and was invited to play on a bill in London alongside some of the best UK artists and Wolfgang Flür, a former member of KRAFTWERK.

So how many column inches did Hot Press, the so-called go-to music and popular culture publication give to CIRCUIT3? They gave the square root of sod-all. Nothing. Not even an album review. I might as well be invisible. Yet the latest beardy fake folk hipster cr*p is flavour of the month. Some Z-list Bobby Dylan wannabe groans out loud and that’s worth writing about? Give me a break. It’s all so beige if you know what I mean?

Nothing has really changed since the 1980s here. There’s some weird fear or ignorance of synthpop here and it all gets lumped into a lazy ‘80s retro’ label. Well, the electric guitar blues comes from where? Robert Johnson right? That’s the 1930s, so why isn’t electric blues guitar called ‘Retro 1930s music’?

All of the traditional music forms here haven’t changed in hundreds of years, but the ‘new and exciting’ trad artist is anything but. Music is, by and large, all good but I just can’t get my head around the conscious bias against electronic music here and especially synthpop. The tastemakers have no taste.

As a comparative success within independent circles, it must have been interesting to observe some of the comings and goings of other artists and their efforts to get traction? What advice would you give to other artists on this? 😉

Oh where to begin? Well look. In my own head CIRCUIT3 is not a success really. I think there’s a way to go before CIRCUIT3 is a success I suppose. Another album for a starter. A tour would be nice.

My observations? I look at other artists and think to myself “damn they’re nailing it!” and then on the same day there’s some really weird stuff happening on social media. Everything from creating scenes that aren’t actually there, to social media personas that aren’t real. I mean don’t people realise that we’re capable of doing google searches?

For whatever it’s worth, my advice would be to focus on the music, ignore the sideshows, don‘t be an a*sehole and try to remember your own little bubble isn’t the world. Tell you what though, I’ve travelled over to gigs in the UK and met up with people and they’re so friendly and cool. I’ve met some great friends through being an ‘artist’ but I’ve seen some weird sh*t, really weird sh*t and if I’m truthful, some of the behaviour I’ve seen online has been quite bizarre. I can’t see how that benefits anyone’s music career.

As a long-time electronic music enthusiast, what do you make of this Synthwave thing?

Do you really want to know? This is a real bug-bear of mine! *laughs*

I think it’s a bit of old nonsense and that‘s as polite as I can be. It’s nostalgia for a sound that never really existed outside of maybe a couple of episodes of ‘Miami Vice’ and a Michael Shreeve album. I was there in the 1980s and this Synthwave thing simply didn’t exist. It’s a complete fraud! It’s like someone dropped acid and watched some YouTube videos.

It’s a complete fantasy. Whoever made it up deserves a medal. It’s a bit like Britpop label, an excuse for dull uninventive repetitive sh*te to be packaged up and sold to people. A saxophone and a Poly6 bass patch does not a song make. I did try to take a listen to some of this earlier this year and figured I’d try to have a go at making some of that sound. I got bored incredibly quickly… too quick to stick a saxophone on it, you’ll be glad to hear! I was going to put it out as a free download but decided against it, in case I got lumped in with the rest of it.

It was quite amusing when the Synthwave fraternity went into meltdown over the artwork of ‘Simulation Theory’ by MUSE?

I was on holiday at the time and thought it was pretty funny. A community built on a genre that never really existed getting their Filofaxes in a twist over a band that has a track record in pinching stuff from ULTRAVOX *laughs*

Ironic as MUSE have always used synths and borrowed heavily from ULTRAVOX since 2003…

I’m not in a position to throw stones though, Midge Ure will be after me for royalties if I’m not careful! *laughs*

If you’re going to borrow then borrow from the best I say. I think MUSE are great – they’re certainly selling more albums than CIRCUIT3 and playing to huge audiences. I can’t quite get my head around why they’ve spent so much time on Reddit as inspiration for their new album.

There was like a ‘holier-than-thou’ attitude that you couldn’t use ‘glowing’ artwork unless your music comprised of meandering formless electronic instrumentals… discuss! 😉

Oh yeah ‘rules’ and ‘style’ right? I suspect this whole Synthwave thing was invented so that a couple of artists could feel they belong to a ‘scene’ and it just got out of control before someone could say the emperor has no clothes.

But look, it’s a very normal thing wanting to be part of a gang. Teenagers have done it for years. I dunno, I find the whole thing quite strange. I keep going back to the fact that this is unrecognisable to anyone who was a music fan in the 1980s. The glowing graphic is closer to bloody ‘Blockbusters’, gimme an ‘S’ Bob!

You got to meet one of your heroes Howard Jones recently, how was that?

Ah that was brilliant. It was part of the event to celebrate the box sets of ‘Human’s Lib’ and ‘Dream Into Action’ hosted in Metropolis Studios. I had just landed after a flight from Seattle and was silly jet lagged. The Q&A session with the production team of Stephen W Tayler and Rupert Hine was fascinating.

I got to ask as geeky a question as I wished – basically asking them about their respective approaches to their role when trying to preserve the feel of a demo. Too often that’s lost in the process, perhaps less so these days due to digital audio workstations.

As you would expect, Howard’s live set on Freddie Mercury’s piano was great – especially his impressions. The less well-known side of Howard is his sense of humour – he does a great Welsh accent. I got to meet with him and chat a little. He signed my Live Aid program (yes I was there) and chatted about synths.

You have this mission where you get the great and the good to sign your Arturia MiniBrute, who realistically would you like to add their scrawl on it?

Guilty! *laughs*

I have an Arturia MiniBrute SE which has the wood sides and metallic control panel. What happened was I had a chance to meet Vince Clarke before an ERASURE gig in Dublin so figured ‘why not?’ and brought it along.

It has been signed by Vince, the OMD lads, Gary Numan and now Howard Jones. It’s always a talking point with the artists and we get to connect a little over music which is nice. Paul Humphreys from OMD wanted to go have a chat about the other Arturia synths. A travel issue meant I couldn’t bring it to my meet with Thomas Dolby so maybe next time.

If there’s someone I’d very much like to get to sign it, I think it would have to be Daniel Miller. I think the chances of that happening are pretty slim though and I’ll probably be escorted out soon as I try to show him my Mute logo tattoo *laughs*

Oh and John Foxx… and Martyn Ware… and Eric Radcliffe…

Where would you ultimately like to take CIRCUIT3?

I want to keep getting better at songwriting and making music that people want to listen to. With the new album ‘The Price Of Nothing & The Value Of Everything’, I feel I’m doing that. I’m keeping the flame alive for those sounds and hopefully developing my songwriting along the way. The other album which I’ve been working on at the same time has some songs I’m very proud of and I can feel the development in my writing and production.

One of my dreams would be to tour either as support to another act or to do some shows around UK and Europe on my own or as part of a package tour similar to the ‘Ohm From Ohm’ tour. To be at that level where people are listening to and willing to pay to see you perform live is to me one of the dreams. Maybe the opportunity to work with one of my heroes? Yeah I’d be pleased with that. For now though… I have this new album to mix.

ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK gives its warmest thanks to Peter Fitzpatrick

‘For Your Own Good’ is available as a CD single or download from https://circuit3.bandcamp.com/, along with other releases in the CIRCUIT3 back catalogue






Text and Interview by Chi Ming Lai
28th December 2018