David Sylvian’s audio diary airs on BBC Radio 6 Music
David Sylvian hasn’t spoken to the media for around 14 years, but that changed today when he appeared on BBC Radio 6 Music.
In his audio diary broadcast on the Mary Anne Hobbs show, David said that he had to give it some thought, as to whether he should do it, having not talked on radio or TV since 2005.
“So nothing personal, but I had to make sure that it was the right thing for me to do at this juncture, and if you’re hearing this, then you know that I’ve decided that it is,” he said.
Commenting on the audio diary, Mary Anne Hobbs says: “David Sylvian has been comfortable in his own silence for 14 years. There’s real power in silence. It’s a perfect condition. But of course, there’s also a great joy in an artist opening to us after such a protracted period of time, to share some of their thoughts and ideas.
“It doesn’t matter what kind of relationship you have with David Sylvian; you might be a committed fan, you may be brand new to him… I think you’ll find David’s words about how he shapes and how he reflects on his creative process, fascinating, and deeply inspiring. I do.”
David began by talking about the origins of his record label Samadisound which ran for 10 years from 2003. He spoke of working on a series of retrospectives and remixes for the Virgin label – material that had been left incomplete, and it was his last opportunity to have access and complete it.
It was around this time he and his family moved to a new home in New Hampshire, where he built a studio. “I hadn’t recorded new material in a considerable amount of time, I decided to just enter the studio with nothing in mind, no compositions,” he revealed.
David carried out a series of improvisations with no editing involved. It was unconventional by songwriting standards, but slowly began to take shape. He felt something new was happening, with an open-ended structure unlike anything he’d heard before.
This led to him working with the guitarist Derek Bailey and a new album, Blemish, which he says was a new beginning. He tells how management liked the album but didn’t think anyone would be interested in it.
He decided to set up a label, selling it online and went on tour where he met Burnt Freidman and ended up collaborating with him on some tracks.
“It was a productive time, possibly the most productive of my life, and I really did enjoy the process of running the label,” David says. “Creating a platform for other artists whose work couldn’t find a home elsewhere and working very closely with the designer Chris Bigg to create a visual element to the entire catalogue.
“That was also another aspect of the work that gave me great pleasure – creating a visual identity for the label, and so on. And that more or less brought the label to a close.”
David also talks about how he feels about younger generations of artists working with samples of his material and about the re-release of his material.
Apart from music, he has also be involved in other areas of the arts including visuals, photographic work and a book based on his road trips across America.
You can hear David Sylvian’s Audio Diary on BBC Sounds – it’s available for the next 30 days.