Spandau Ballet are a British new wave band formed in London in the late 1970s. The band initially was inspired by, and an integral part of, the New Romantic movement, becoming one of the most successful groups to emerge during the New Romantic era. The band released their third album, „True“, in March 1983, produced by Tony Swain and Steve Jolley, it contained a slicker pop sound. Preceded by the title track which reached number one in various countries, the album also reached number one in the UK. Their next single, „Gold“, reached number 2. After a hiatus from recording, the band released their next album, „Heart Like a Sky“, in September 1989. The album, and its singles, were unsuccessful in the UK and the album was not released at all in the United States. In 1990, the band split up. Spandua Ballet eventually confirmed the rumors at a press conference on March 25, 2009, on board HMS Belfast in London to announce their comeback tour. On October 19, 2009, the group released a new album, „Once More“, which featured reworked versions of previous songs plus two new songs, including the single of the same name. A new greatest hits collection called „The Story – The Very Best Of Spandau Ballet“, was released in on 10th of October 2014 which also contains three new songs. On 22nd of March 2015 Spandau Ballet are performing a concert at the Rockhal in Esch/Alzette and for this occasion Gary Kemp, the guitar player and chief songwriter, was ready to answer some of our questions.
Hello and thanks for taking your time! Where are you at the moment?
In London, my home. Recovering from a round-the-world trip promoting our archive-only documentary film, „Soul Boys of the Western World“.
It’s been some time since your last record, do you want to talk about your time off and how you were spending it?
Not sure what last record you mean. „Once More“ was 5 years ago. Since then we’ve been involved in various music projects as well as acting in film and theatre here in London. Also looking after my three young boys.
You and your band have been together for 35 years. How do you stay creative for so long with the same people?
We haven’t been together for 35 years! I’m sure you’re aware that we took a 19 year hiatus during which we ended up fighting each other in court and not speaking. It’s all in the film, and brutally honest. A film about friendship and its vagaries. Thank god it was resolved and we came back together 5 years ago for some new recordings and a world tour. We get on very well now, especially on stage!
How do you resolve any creative differences in the band during the recording process?
Go to court! No, we think very similarly about what is Spandau Ballet. I guess that’s why bands need producers and Trevor Horn did a brilliant job in capturing our vision.
Your new songs on „The Story – The Very Best of Spandau Ballet“ have a very warm sound and positive vibe. Does this reflect your momentary emotional situation?
I wrote „Steal“ and „This is the Love“ and they very much reflect my emotional situation. My wife Lauren is at the heart of my inspiration and story telling. I think the band are feeling euphoric about playing and touring together, and this energy is certainly in the music.
With all the success you have, how do you keep yourself grounded?
I come from a working class family who had a great work ethic and belief in family. I have little children and they certainly keep me grounded doing school runs and cleaning up mess!
What advice do you have for upcoming artists?
Be true to yourself and think of an exciting way to promote yourself using originality and mythology.
Considering touring, do you like being on tour?
I love playing on stage and can’t wait to get our show up in front of people. The audience is everything; but can’t say I like leaving my family at all. It’s what I do, I’ve been a professional performer for 45 years now!
While you are on tour, do you work already on new material?
Not usually but I think this time as we’re planning on doing more new material ASAP.
Any last words to out readers?
Looking forward to playing in Luxembourg. Get ready to embrace your community and have an amazing evening!
Thank your for the interview and good luck for the future!
(Interview by Mike Dostert)