Tag: Rupert Hine

RUPERT HINE Surface Tension: The Studio Works 1981 – 1983

Rupert Hine sits in that group of producers whose work was all over the charts for several decades.

But unlike majority of his contemporaries (with the exception of a certain Mr T Horn), he was also a musician of note who produced some of the most engaging releases of the early part of that decade which are now being revisited in this excellent boxset from Cherry Red. A quick history lesson firstly. Hine’s career began in the 60s as one half of the folk duo Rupert & David, their debut release being a cover of ‘The Sound of Silence’ which featured a young session player called Jimmy Page on guitar… whatever happened to him I wonder?

This failed to set the heather on fire but the pair soldiered on into the next decade and their tenacity was rewarded when they signed to DEEP PURPLE’s Purple records label. Neither of the two albums released at the time were a commercial success but with the encouragement of Purple’s Roger Glover, Hine began his career as a producer.

An early taste of what would be an eclectic career behind the desk was signalled by the release of the single ‘Who Is The Doctor?’ which saw the then occupant of The Tardis, Jon Pertwee, reading a poem over the Doctor Who theme music. This was backed by incidental music from the Doctor Who story ‘The Sea Devils’ and anyone that has heard that will find it amusing when compared to the electronica that was to come in Hine’s solo career.

Throughout the decade, Hine worked not only as a producer but also with future PENGUIN CAFÉ ORCHESTRA leader Simon Jeffes writing advertising and television music which, by his own admission, paid the bills. At this time he was also picking up more and more production work and as always this was with a heady mix of artists from Murray Head to CAMEL. There was also CAFÉ JACQUES who featured future SIMPLE MINDS drummer Mike Ogletree, THE FIXX and his own band QUANTUM JUMP, best known for the surprise hit ‘The Lone Ranger’.

Moving on, we come to the subject of this release, the three Hine solo albums released between 1981 and 1983. The first thing that should be noted is these came out in a period that also saw him producing Canadian band SAGA and THE WATERBOYS as well as Jona Lewie and Chris De Burgh. As previously noted, it is an eclectic body of work for anyone over a whole career, let alone some 36 months.

1981’s ‘Immunity’ is, simply put, a masterpiece. Dark and brooding this early slice of electronica sits as an equal (and in places above) anything that was released by contemporary artists. Opening with ‘I Hang on To My Vertigo’, it’s clear from the outset that this is an artist that was keen to throw away rule book. This approach is discussed at length by co-producer Stephen W Tayler who remastered these three albums for the boxset.

Experimentation is to the fore on ‘Immunity’ with tape loops, heavily effected guitars, drum computers vocoders and synthesizers coming together to create an LP that followed the stated rule of “…if you’ve done something a certain way, find another way to do it…” to create something new.

Other highlights include the dreamlike sonic painting ‘Samsara, ‘Psycho – Surrender’ with its spiky percussion and ‘Misplaced Love’ which features Marianne Faithfull on vocals. The surprising thing, giving what was going on musically in the UK at the time, is that none of these tracks bothered the UK charts. This in itself would be a welcome re-release but the wealth of riches continues on the subsequent two discs.

1982’s ‘Waving Not Drowning’ is slightly more accessible in its structures and arrangements with songs like ‘The Set Up’ but no less adventurous in its execution. The dark lyrical themes of this release, written by long time Hine collaborator poet Jeanette Obstoj, cover subjects such as the many ways to you can be killed on ‘Sniper’ to apartheid on ‘House Arrest’.

‘The Curious Kind’ is the best single Gary Numan never released, the previously mentioned ‘Sniper’ is the type of track that would have gone down a storm at places like The Blitz with is driving bass and effected vocals whilst ‘The Outsider’ features orchestrations and choral arrangements played on a Synclavier and PPG Wave 2, highlighting perfectly how Hine was always at the forefront of technology.

Closing number ‘One Man’s Poison’, the most overtly rock song here, flies in the face of the approach taken by Peter Gabriel and Kate Bush at the time and floods the close of the song with a multitude of ride and crash cymbals over a fabulous Philip Palmer solo.

Concluding this trilogy of solo releases is ‘The Wildest Wish To Fly’ which is the most pop of the three albums. The most striking aspect of this release is the vocal contributions from Robert Palmer. By a long chalk, one of the finest male singers to come of the UK, this is an interesting what might have been from a Hine produced Palmer release. Certainly to my ears, there are flavours of ‘Wildest Wish’ on both ‘Pride’ from the same year and the subsequent global behemoth ‘Riptide’.

That said, the album as a whole is massively entertaining. Opener ‘Living in Sin’ is a fabulous slice of dance pop whilst the title track cover the sort of source material the likes of UK band BIG BIG TRAIN excel at bringing into their music. This is the sound of an artist producing something special and clearly enjoying what he is doing.

The great pity is that these three albums are feted by those in the know, Kate Bush for example is a huge fan of ‘Immunity’, calling it “very special”, but the commercial success they deserved eluded them at the time. There is, when listened to in sequence, a clear sense of purpose and sonic footprint to these albums which highlight why, moving through the decade, Hine became such an in demand producer and continued that previously commented on eclecticism work with the likes of American starlets Tina Turner and Stevie Nicks as well as RUSH and most notably Howard Jones, all artists who recognised the unique stamp that Hine could put on their work.

These are essential albums for anyone that has an interest in the development of electronic music and one can only hope Cherry Red follow this with a similarly curated collection of what followed from the THINKMAN project.

In memory of Rupert Hine 1947 – 2020

‘Surface Tension: The Studio Works 1981-1983’ is released as a 3CD boxed set by Cherry Red Records on 9th December 2022



Text by Ian Ferguson
26th November 2022

Hunt The Self: The Legacy of HOWARD JONES

When Howard Jones’ debut Colin Thurston-produced single ‘New Song’ emerged in September 1983 it would have been very easy to dismiss him as yet another fluffy synthpop act; the single combined an early DEPECHE MODE style lead synth riff, organ chords and lyrics chock-full of optimism and positivity.

Whereas many synth acts of the era used synthesizers mainly for their sonic appeal, Jones’ background at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester meant that he melded a more traditional songwriter-driven approach to his prominent electronic productions.

What also differentiated Jones from some of his peers was his insistence on not relying on backing tapes live and taking his main synths including a Roland Juno 60 and Sequential Circuits Pro-One on the road with him.

This one man band approach, although a bit risky due to the unreliability of the technology at the time, did however help him secure some major support slots with artists such as CHINA CRISIS and OMD. An early session for BBC Radio One’s David ‘Kid’ Jensen also helped provide exposure and all of these factors contributed to Jones hitting the ground running with his initial singles and album successes.

The release of the No1 album ‘Human’s Lib’ in March 1984 showed that beneath the woolly jumpers and multi-coloured spiked hair there was considerably more substance to the act. Produced by Rupert Hine of QUANTUM JUMP, the album yielded three more hit singles, ‘What Is Love?’, the glacial ‘Hide & Seek’ and ‘Pearl In The Shell’ but it was with some of the album cuts that there emerged a different side to Jones’ work.

Songs like opener ‘Conditioning’ and the album’s title track showcased a far more mature lyrical stance which was understandable as Jones at the time was a good 8-10 years older than most of his musical peers at the time. The former tackled the subject of brainwashing and bullying within a track which featured some nifty metal-bashing sampling alongside the omnipresent Yamaha DX7; meanwhile ‘Human’s Lib’ still raises an eyebrow with it’s opening line “Sometimes I’d like to go to bed with a hundred women or men”.

HOWARD JONES’ upbringing defined the sound of ‘Human’s Lib’ with its themes of self-empowerment and positivity stemming from his membership of the Buddhist association Soka Gakkai International and the prominent usage of synth chords, rather than the de rigueur one-finger approach, coming from his time spent in prog rock band WARRIOR.

The singer / songwriter approach really reveals itself on ‘Don’t Always Look At The Rain’; another positivity-themed piece which showcases Jones’ piano-playing background and again further distanced the artist from other synthpop acts of the era. The success of ‘Human’s Lib’ on both sides of the Atlantic meant that a follow-up to ‘Human’s Lib’ started gestation in Farmyard Studios in Buckinghamshire the same year.

A stop-gap single ‘Like To Get To Know You Well’ was released alongside the remix album ‘The 12” Album’ before the emergence of ‘Dream Into Action’ in March 1985. Prior to the album release, ‘Things Can Only Get Better’ gave jones another Top 10 UK single. Although still featuring electronics, in places ‘Dream Into Action’ showcased a more soul-driven sound; backing vocalists AFRODIZIAK (including SOUL II SOUL vocalist Caron Wheeler) being brought on board to fill out the overall production, again by Rupert Hine. In a QUANTUM JUMP connection, their drummer Trevor Morais joined the expanded live set-up along while Jones’ brother Martin came in on bass guitar.

Some of the lyrical content on ‘Dream Into Action’ was again ultra-personal to Jones; being a long-term vegetarian, ‘Assault & Battery’ tackled the subject head-on with choir-like voices delivering the “Children’s stories with their farmyard favourites – On the table in a different disguise” lines.  Other tracks worthy of a mention include ‘Automaton’ with its ‘Tour De France’ slap bass synthetic intro which is unsurprisingly KRAFTWERK influenced and ‘Elegy’, a downtempo and atmospheric reflection upon life and death given additional resonance with a solemn cello contribution by Helen Liebman.

A further three singles all made the Top 20 including a re-recorded version of ‘No One Is To Blame’ with Phil Collins and Hugh Padgham. This union was hardly surprising as Jones’ keyboard style and sound in places here echoes GENESIS synth man Tony Banks; especially with its’ Yamaha CP80 piano sound and FM keyboard textures.

Considering the success of these first two HOWARD JONES albums, it’s perhaps surprising that there haven’t been deluxe versions issued sooner; but what has prompted their appearance now is the fact Jones initially licensed his own music from Warners for his own Dtox label which resulted in some box sets. Then Cherry Red bought his catalogue thus leading to these two updated packages in differing formats.

As far as deluxe issues go, these are REALLY exhaustive, and it appears no stone was left unturned when going through the archives to put these albums together. Worthy of a mention in the ‘Human’s Lib’ set are a remastered version of Jones’ original demo cassette and a few rare unreleased BBC radio session tracks. These include the live favourite ‘Don’t Put Your Curses On Me’ which should really have featured on his debut album, although Jones’ himself felt the song was jinxed after an equipment glitch while performing it on Channel 4’s ‘Loose Talk’ for his live TV debut.

There is also a version of the ‘Human’s Lib’ song with the now-forgotten extended spoken intro referencing Ruth, David and Dennis who feature on the album’s artwork. The various formats include live footage replicas of tour programmes, pin badges and archive TV footage from ‘Top of the Pops’ and ‘The Old Grey Whistle Test’.

In terms of the legacy and overall influence of HOWARD JONES, the main thing the musician should be credited for is showing how modern technology finally made it possible to adopt a ‘one man band’ approach; not just in the studio, but live as well.

Back in the day, it was almost second nature for electronic acts to use backing tapes and also take additional musicians out live as FAD GADGET and TALK TALK did. Although there is no direct influence musically on contemporary artists such as MAPS, EAST INDIA YOUTH, MAN WITHOUT COUNTRY, NILS FRAHM, ULRICH SCHNAUSS and JON HOPKINS, all of these current performers are great examples of people still adopting the ‘one man band’ approach and doing it super effectively.

With grateful thanks to Matt Ingham at Cherry Red Records

‘Human’s Lib’ + ‘Dream Into Action’ are released by Cherry Red Records on 30th November 2018 as super deluxe 12”x12” boxed sets, deluxe 2CD+DVD packages, coloured vinyl LPs and repackaged CDs  – for more information, please visit https://www.cherryred.co.uk/artists/howard-jones/

HOWARD JONES ‘Transform 2019 Human’s Lib – 35th Anniversary Tour’ with special guests CHINA CRISIS includes:

Birmingham Symphony Hall (23rd May), Southend Cliffs Pavilion (24th May), Cardiff St David’s Hall (25th May), London Palladium (26th May), Leicester De Montfort Hall (29th May), Manchester Bridgewater Hall (30th May), Edinburgh Queens Hall (31st May), Gateshead Sage (1st June)





Text by Paul Boddy
Portrait Photo by Simon Fowler
27th November 2018


Howard Jones-2010-2April 2012 will see Howard Jones perform his first two albums ‘Human’s Lib’ and ‘Dream Into Action’ in their entirety on a nationwide UK tour following a successful premiere at London’s IndigO2 in November 2010.

That event was captured for prosperity and is now available as a 2-disc DVD set via his website. Throughout the DVD, the sound reproduction is excellent while Howard engages with his audience and delivers a superlative performance while in charge of his Roland Fantom G8 and Jupiter 8.

One of the bonus features is the VIP soundcheck where Howard gives a fascinating synth masterclass in how the different audio aspects were put together. On this new tour, Howard will again be augmented by Robbie Bronnimann on keyboards/sequencing and Jonathan Atkinson on electronic percussion. As can be seen on the DVD, the show promises vintage synth sounds and cutting edge technology combined with thoughtfully crafted live visuals

It was in 1983 when Howard Jones first became known via his support slots with CHINA CRISIS and OMD. At the time, he had also recorded a warmly received BBC Radio1 session for David ‘Kid’ Jensen which featured prototype versions of ‘New Song’, ‘Human’s Lib’ and ‘Natural’ plus ‘Don’t Put These Curses On Me’, a track that didn’t see an official release until his 2003 Very Best Of collection.

A classically trained musician who spent two and a half years at the Royal Northern College Of Music in Manchester, he used sequencers live on stage whilst playing and singing simultaneously in a type of one man synth act that previously only Thomas Dolby had attempted.

His debut album ‘Human’s Lib’ was released in March 1984 and went straight in at No1 in the UK charts.

The follow-up ‘Dream Into Action’ came out a year later and although missed the UK top slot by one, its final single ‘No One Is To Blame’ became an American Adult Contemporary Chart No1 in re-recorded form with production assistance from Phil Collins.

This period could be described as Howard Jones’ imperial phase, a time when his singles ‘New Song’, ‘What Is Love?’, ‘Pearl In The Shell’, ‘Hide And Seek’, ‘Like To Get To Know You Well’, ‘Look Mama’, ‘Things Can Only Get Better’ and ‘Life In One Day’ were charting in Germany, Italy, Sweden, Canada and Australia.

ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK had the pleasure of chatting to Howard Jones about his upcoming tour and in particular, the years between 1983-85 when he became a household name and many people’s entry into the world of synthpop.

You have this live DVD out of when you debuted ‘Human’s Lib’ and ‘Dream Into Action’ at IndigO2 last year. What are your stand out memories from the night?

At the time, it was only going to be a one-off and it was two and a half hours of music *laughs*

So I was absolutely at the limit of my capacity to remember everything. Everyone pulled it off and it went really well. I was a little nervous whether I could get through the whole night but it was good. I was very pleased with the videos which we had on this huge LCD screen behind us. They worked really well in sync with the music.

It obviously went well enough for you to do this forthcoming tour in April. But one thing that intrigues me about these classic album shows is what goes through an artist’s mind with regards choosing the running order?

We’ve just done this show in America so I did ‘Human’s Lib’ first, then ‘Dream Into Action’ as ‘Dream Into Action’ was the biggest album for me in the States. But in the UK, it was ‘Dream Into Action’ first, then  ‘Human’s Lib’.

I chose the order of the songs based on what works live because if I stuck to the album order, you’d have all the hits like ‘What Is Love?’ and ‘Pearl In The Shell’ first and then the much more obscure tracks at the end of the show, I didn’t think that would work *laughs*

So I’ve just chosen the songs based on the forward momentum of the tracks.

What about musically, like whether you tinker with the sounds or the arrangements?

What I decided to do with all the big hits sound wise, we’ve recreated exactly what it was on the album but I’ve changed the structure a bit to allow for audience participation. But with all other tracks, we’ve stuck exactly to what it was on the albums. It’s strictly like it was because I think that’s what people want.

Is there anything technically that you’re changing now you’re going to take this show out on tour?

I’m using in-ear monitors because it’s always so difficult to hear things, so we’ve changed that.

I’m going to add some MIDI harmonies that I’m generating live and we’ve changed the drum kit now to a more portable electronic drum kit that fits into a case. That works much better. And I’m thinking about having my Yamaha KX5 chromed so it looks a bit more flashy! *laughs*

Are you taking any vintage gear with you?

No. At the IndigO2, I had my Jupiter 8 which for one gig is fine. But to take it on the road, it’s just too precious. And if it goes wrong, there’s nobody there to fix it. I’ve got to be practical so I’ve got a software version of the Jupiter which works really well and is very reliable. I’ve had my Jupiter next to the software version and I’ve tweaked the sounds so that it’s exactly what it should be.

What first inspired you to actually get a synthesizer?

I always wanted to get into synths because I saw ELP’s Keith Emerson with his big Modular Moog. Hearing that when I was fourteen at the Isle Of Wight Festival, it was so exciting to hear those sounds but there was no way I could afford anything like that until I had a job. By then, the Moog Prodigy was available so I went up to London and bought one.

By some bizarre mistake, they delivered another one to my house so I had two Moogs – I used one for bass and one for leadline. Somebody gave me a really old primitive drum machine, a Bentley Rhythm Ace which was made by Roland. I had a Fender Rhodes electric piano as well so I started to develop this idea of a proper one man electronic show. I kept upgrading, I got a CR78 and then a TR808. Then I got a Pro-One which had a sequencer in it. Gradually, it started to evolve into quite a big rig and made a hell of a racket!

Your first live breaks were supporting CHINA CRISIS and OMD in 1983 before ‘Human’s Lib’ came out. What was your live equipment set-up at this point?

At that stage, it was the two Moogs, a Juno 60 which did arpeggios and pads; I had the Pro-One which could only do eight notes which I had to programme in before every song! And I had the TR808. I was able to take the Prodigy off its stand and put it round my neck so it was like a primitive mobile keyboard, a bit heavy but it worked!

You did rather well on that CHINA CRISIS tour; I saw you at the London Lyceum gig and you’re still the only support act I’ve ever seen get an encore!

I have so much affection for that tour, it was the making of me. We were staying in the cheapest bed and breakfasts we could find, it was absolutely on a shoestring that tour. You got the feeling it was going to work and there was a future. It was just the timing. CHINA CRISIS are still one of my favourite bands, I absolutely adore their music.

But I was on a roll at the time, I was just at the point where I was going to be signed. In fact, at that Lyceum gig, there was a contract by Stiff Records on the table. I’d been waiting all my life to sign a record deal but I didn’t sign it because the guy who wanted me was going to Warners so I signed with them instead! That was a big night.

I did feel a bit sorry for CHINA CRISIS because I was a tough act to follow on that tour. It was just everything was going my way; I’d just done a Radio1 session and there was a huge momentum. I was so fired up because that was the first time I’d had a proper big audience to play to and it was very exciting. I’m still really good friends with CHINA CRISIS, I’m very close to them.

How was the OMD tour?

I didn’t do so many gigs with them, I seem to remember it was only two or three. It was great to be on the bill with them because I used to do a cover of ‘Enola Gay’ live, it was one of my favourite tracks. It was also one of the few covers I ever did so I have a lot of affection for OMD and it was great to be opening up for them.

I understand you introduced OMD to the Roland Jupiter 8?

Did I? I didn’t know that! That’s a bit of trivia I didn’t know! *laughs*

Yes, they bought one for ‘Junk Culture’ which was the album they were working on at the time of that tour…

I think I’d signed a deal by then so I could afford one, but they were so expensive! They were like £4000 and that was hell of a lot of money at that time for anybody!

It seems to be the synth most associated with you because of the ‘New Song’ sleeve. Is it your favourite?

It’s absolutely my favourite synth. Nothing sounds like it. And it’s so easy to programme, everything’s laid out in front of you and you can quickly get the sounds up. Although I’m using the Arturia synth software, you can’t recreate that stereo that the Jupiter has. I’ve been able to get the sounds close but not that wide stereo effect.

‘New Song’ as the first song released from ‘Human’s Lib’ and produced by the late Colin Thurston while the remainder of the album was produced by Rupert Hine. Why was that and how did their methods differ?

Warners wanted me in the studio as quick as possible to get something going and Colin was doing very well with DURAN DURAN and KAJAGOOGOO. So I started with him but it was quite convoluted, we did a first attempt at Chipping Norton Studio and the record company didn’t think it was quite right because the version I’d done for Radio1 was really great and quite simple. They wanted to get more of that feel into it and I think Ian Curnow (later of TALK TALK and PWL fame) helped out with some of the programming and tweaking.

So everyone thought it was right and it came out as a single. Max Hole who was A&R at Warners really thought the rest of the material I had would be much more suited to working with Rupert and Steven W Tayler. I think it was the right decision. And when I met Rupert, we got on so well and there was a kind of synergy there so I did both albums with him. There wasn’t any reason, I think Colin Thurston was just too busy working with other people, it was probably something like that!

So was ‘New Song’ inspired by Peter Gabriel’s ‘Solsbury Hill’?

No, there might have been a subconscious influence and I’ve always been a massive fan of Peter’s. It’s funny but sometimes when I do acoustic shows, I mash the two songs together! I never thought of it like that, but I can see what people mean… *sings first line of Solsbury Hill*

I mean there’s always something you can compare things to, but there was no conscious influence *laughs*

What were the main synth sounds on that?

The lead line of ‘New Song’ was on the Prodigy, but the organ sound came from the Juno 60.


‘Equality’ was one of the tracks that stood out. What’s the background behind that?

It was one of those that, like the other songs on ‘Human’s Lib’, was based on the limitations of the gear. So just to have a pumping eighth on the Pro-One was quite easy to do live, then to have a big riff and a simple chord change; it was one of those ones that really suited my live rig. Because it’s so empty, it was very powerful live.

Is that the slap bass from the Yamaha DX7?

Yes, I think we were one of the first people to get a DX7 and record it. The bassline of ‘What Is Love?’ is DX7. The DX7 featured a lot on the first two albums because it was so different with the FM sound compared to analogue. It was great to get your hands on another synth that sounded different.

How did you find going digital?

Really, it was like a kid in a toy shop, “WOW, this is great, let’s use it!” – One of the things we did, especially on ‘Dream Into Action’ was layer up things a lot because MIDI was just getting going so you could connect up a lot of synths together and get this big complex sound with these different attacks and timbres. I used to use a Prophet T8 as well which had after touch and things as well. That was one of the difficulties with the show…to recreate those complex sounds, you had to have all the elements and until I got the multi-tracks, I couldn’t work out exactly what I’’d done. So that was a big part of putting this show together, unzipping all the layers.

I understand you tried the first Emulator at the time but weren’t impressed?

I didn’t like the Emulator I but the Emulator II, I did like. It was great and I started sampling my voice and using string samples. That became part of the whole thing as well.

The only thing with it was that it was so slow, so everything was behind when you played it live.

You couldn’t shift it like you can now with technology. But you use the limitations of the instrument and get some interesting things going. Rupert and Steve had been sampling for a good couple of years so they were really on top of all that and they’d been using the AMS to do sampling, they were some of the first people to do that so it was great to have their expertise.

The title track ‘Human’s Lib’ was the story of a love triangle but that wasn’t always apparent to listeners unless they saw you play it live or heard the Radio1 session version with the extended intro and monologue? Do you still do that bit?

No… Ruth, David and Dennis!! That was fun at the time, I don’t do it now… maybe I should think about it again! *laughs*

You released the interim single ‘Like To Get To Know You Well’ in between the two albums and dedicated it to the original spirit of the Olympic Games. Why was that not on ‘Dream Into Action’ and will it get played in the show?

It was on the American version of ‘Dream Into Action’ – I always think of it as part of that era but it was written separately. It was one the record company had heard and they thought it would be a great single.

‘Dream Into Action’ reinforced your reputation. How did you feel you had improved as a songwriter, musician and arranger for that album?

‘Dream Into Action’ by necessity was written on the road because I’d used all my songs up on ‘Human’s Lib’. I was writing in dressing rooms on an Akai 12 track recorder set up for me everywhere I went. The songs were written on the road and when we went to the studio using whatever keyboards turned up, we were experimenting a lot so it’s a much more complex record. We used real brass, cello and backing vocals. The palette was extended so it’s more eclectic and diverse. There’s so many different things going on.

Were you challenged as a lyric writer because a fair number on the ‘Human’s Lib’ album were written by William Bryant?

Yes, I had to really develop that and become more confident with lyrics.

‘Elegy’ captured a type of fragile beauty that perhaps hadn’t been apparent on ‘Human’s Lib’?

I suppose I was trying to extend the emotional range I’d had with ‘Human’s Lib’. I was trying to stretch things and do more epic tracks. It’s always something I’ve tried to do as well as the pop stuff. I suppose there’s the influence of my classical background… it all comes out somewhere!

Synth technology was developing at a ferocious rate at that point? 

I was just having a great time in the studio; all these amazing new synths turning up and it was like “what can I do with this?”. The way we used to work was that Steve Tayler would set up the desk so that I had all my keyboards coming through these huge wardrobe sized speakers.

So I would get in early at midday and they wouldn’t get in until much later, maybe 4 or 5pm. So I had most of the afternoon to experiment, but with it really loud. And when stuff is really loud, you simplify things because you don’t need so much. I think that was one of the reasons why some of the tracks sounded like they do.

The Prophet T8, DX7 and Emulator II were very much part of ‘Dream Into Action’ plus I was still using the Juno and Jupiter 8. They were often all MIDI-ed up together. I was using that Roland JSQ60 sequencer and when you overloaded it with too many notes, it would do weird things and I love it when stuff can’t cope with what you put in. *laughs*

Keyboards don’t tend to be like that anymore so a lot of weird sequence stuff came out of that like ‘Things Can Only Get Better’ and the middle eight of ‘Look Mama’ where it was all cascading.

How do you think ‘Human’s Lib’ and ‘Dream Into Action’ stand up today? And what are your own favourite tracks from your first two albums?

Since they’ve been remastered, they both sounding great. Obviously, they’re of their time and reflect where keyboards were then. My favourite track from ‘Human’s Lib’ is ‘Hide And Seek’, I think it’s become quite a classic for me and the most emotional, I’m really very proud of that. On ‘Dream Into Action’, ‘No One Is To Blame’ as a song and ‘Automaton’ as a piece of electronica of the time.

ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK gives its warmest thanks to Howard Jones

Special thanks to Peter Noble at Noble PR

Howard Jones performs his albums ‘Human’s Lib’ and ‘Dream Into Action’ in the UK during April 2012, dates include:

Bristol O2 Academy (11 April), Sheffield O2 Academy (12 April), Liverpool O2 Academy (13 April), Birmingham O2 Academy (14 April), Newcastle O2 Academy (17 April), Glasgow O2 ABC (18 April), Bournemouth O2 Academy (20 April), London O2 Shepherds Bush Empire (21 April)

The new live DVD ‘Human’s Lib & Dream Into Action – Live at The IndigO2 ­ London’ can be ordered from http://www.howardjones.com/shop.html




Text and Interview by Chi Ming Lai
Photos by Simon Fowler
11th December 2011