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31st October 2018

Dave Sturt (b)
Kavus Torabi (g)
Fabio Golfetti (g)

Ian East (sax, flute)
Steve Hillage (g)
Cheb Nettles (d) (absent)


Gong in Japan


Q: Any ‘First time in Japan’ amongst you?


KT: It’s my first time as well as Cheb and it’s amazing – loving it. It’s Steve’s 34th.


Q: 34th?


IE: Yeah. He’s been coming here for a few years now.


DS: We three (Ian, Dave, Fabio) have just been here once before in 2012.


IE: In fact that was the last gig we did with Gilli.


Rejoice! I'm Dead!


Q: Carrying on with Daevid’s blessing, Rejoice! I'm Dead! is both a coda and a birth how much of each of those were you feeling at the time of writing and recording?


KT: For me it was both. When Daevid wanted us to carry on I think we were all pretty skeptical as to how it would work because we are all big Gong fans and I thought it was going to be bogus because there are no original members but then we went out and did the I See You album and honestly, from the first gig, we thought ‘Hang on, we’ve got something here.’ We did seven or eight of those and then people just kept asking us to do more but we never wanted to be a tribute band and we wanted to carry on writing which is what Daevid wanted as well. So we decided to make a record just to see how it sounded and obviously we wanted to make the record we wanted to make but that is why we were so pleased when we found the title which came from one of Daevid’s poems because it was the end and it was the beginning. Daevid walked into death with open arms and we wanted to make a positive death album. In fact these are the last gigs on that album because when we get back to the UK, we start recording the new album on Wednesday next week.  


Q: Recorded at Brixton Hill Studios, did you use their analogue equipment or was it done digitally?


FG: We used the analogue desk with valve pre-amps for recording.


Q: What are your individual opinions Analogue vs Digital?


SH: I’m more digital myself.


FG: Yeah I’m more digital but I like the way we keep the music in an analogue system. I normally think analogue using the digital equipment. I think it’s more controllable but also you shouldn’t stay too much on the digital way otherwise you lose a lot of possibilities..


KT: We all started recording on 2” tape but I tell you what I don’t miss and that is when I have to drop in one note and have to rewind the tape (makes tape rewind noise) and find the spot – I don’t miss that one bit. When I was an engineer I got really good at drop-ins but it’s a talent I don’t use anymore.


DS: That’s one thing I do miss; the sound of a rewinding tape. I used to love that.


SH: The thing for me with the digital – analogue debate is that I agree with all the advantages and nice things about analogue but the thing with digital is that if you have a system you know really well, you can work really rapidly. If you get an idea – and it’s all about getting ideas and being able to manifest -   I find it much more efficient and easier with digital. You have to ask yourself, what is music and where does it come from? It’s a whole philosophical thing and if you are disrupting the creative flow because you want to use some esoteric classic analogue system to get some fantastic sound, is that really benefitting your music? I’m not saying one or the other but I tend to prefer working digitally because I find it more rapid.


KT: Yes and I think also, when I first started recording in the late 80’s when it was all analogue, the level I was at were the 16 Track studios and you’d have maybe a couple of compressors or multiverb effects but that was it but now, even in my shed, I have access to the kind of recording technology that I could not have dreamt of. Nowadays there is no excuse for making bad sounding records.


Q: There are three versions of the album; CD, LP and Deluxe with DVD-A; do you have a preference for audio?


DS: Well since I don’t have a record player…actually I haven’t really listened to it for a while. I did for a few months after we released it but not for a while. That was quite unusual fro me because normally when you’ve worked that hard on an album for such a long time you don’t want to listen to it but I was extraordinarily pleased with that album.


Q: Was it a long recording process?


DS: Not that long…


KT: From the actual composing, maybe a year but the recording was a couple of months. The way we did it, it wasn’t all recorded at Brixton Hill, some of it was recorded in our own personal set-ups then everyone sent the stuff to me and I was the guy who put it together.


SH: You were the Gatekeeper (laughs)


KT: Yeah! As for records, I don’t think they sound as good as CDs but I love them. The only reason I stopped buying them was because nobody pressed them but I’ve gone back to buying them now. I have a nice turntable, I like the smell of them…


SH: (laughs)


KT: …my daughter likes them, she’s nine and I’ll sit in my front room and listen to records.


FG: I have a home studio so I listen to most albums on my professional system but normally I have to listen to CDs in my car. It’s one thing that I normally do because I have a reference in my car of a good recording that I like so I can compare. It doesn’t matter if you have a very good system if you don’t know the reference you have.


IE: I agree with these guys, much the same but want to say I hate mp3s. They destroy so much of what we do. I was in this amazing bar the other day that we found and the proprietor was playing Steve Wright (English Radio DJ) via his phone and it was awful. We were sitting there, this guy is obviously a music lover, we are all musicians and it was stopping every two minutes because of the way it was loaded in. It’s insane; why are we tolerating this?


KT: When I make a record, I like to imagine that the listener has taken it home, turned the lights down, got really stoned and are listening but of course they are not! They more than likely have it on in the background, they are making phone calls, texting, Googling, doing emails…


All: (laugh)


Q: Steve?


SH: I like vinyl. I’ve got a really nice Technics deck but it’s really fiddly to set up. If I’m listening myself, I tend to listen to WAV files that I’ve imported from CDs either on my laptop or on Pro Tools in my studio. I don’t like earbuds and don’t particularly like earphones.


Q: Gong fans are incredibly loyal; was there an element of pressure that you had to get it right for them as well as yourselves and Daevid?


DS: Not particularly: We had to do what felt right for us. There was no way we were going to try and replicate what came before. We had been left this legacy and decided that whatever we produce is what Gong is now and that was what we focused on.


KT: Yes but that said, there would be certain things that we do and an arbiter would say ‘You know what? This is great but it doesn’t feel like Gong.’ I can’t put my finger on it but we’ve talked about it. There was one song on the album that we were doing and it was good but we all agreed that it didn’t sound like Gong and then we got it.


SH: Yes. Interestingly enough, when I first joined Gong back in early 1973, in about three weeks, the band disintegrated…


All: (laugh)


SH: …and there was no band left. Daevid went off in a sort of fit of panic and depression, storming off saying he wanted to retire…


All: (laugh)


SH:…and we had gigs booked under the name of Gong so got a new drummer and bass player – we went through several and finally found a couple of good players – and thought we would make a go of it. It started to really gel with a fantastic drummer named Pierre Moerlen who just sort of appeared, Mike Howlett was recommended by a friend and also Daevid had met him and it really was gelling so we started writing new material and we were jamming all kinds of things and we had the same as this time: some ideas would come up and we’d say ‘That doesn’t sound very Gong-y.’ Then other things would sound really good. Oily Way, Inner Temple, Outer Temple, we wrote all those before Daevid returned and they were the ones that sounded Gong-y. Daevid was always coming and going so a Gong without Daevid is not new.


DS: There is an album called Paragong…


SH: Yes but that’s just a recording of some jams. I’ve found some gig tapes and they will appear at some point. (A few people express their delight at this.) Tim Blake never liked the name Paragong; Didier came up with it. I thought it was rather good. We were being billed as Gong in France and we were getting people coming up saying (adopts French accent) ‘You are not Gong! Where is Daevid Allen?!’ Well…sorry mate.


All: (laugh)


KT: That’s one thing we took when we did this as well – Gong has previous on this. In 1975, there were no original members in the band so it’s not like this is the first time it has happened. I think of it like Dr Who (English TV show); you have different Doctors, different directors but it’s still Dr Who right?


All: (laugh)


KT: There is no one working on Dr Who now that was working on the original series back in 60’s with Patrick Troughton but it’s still Dr Who and that’s how Gong feels. I don’t watch Dr Who by the way but I’m sure the guys who are writing it are going ‘Well that’s not quite Dr Who.’


Q: Well I know you don’t watch Dr Who because the original series was William Hartnell not Patrick Troughton.


All: (laugh)


SH: Yeah where’s William Hartnell? We want him back! Where’s Patrick Troughton?


All: (laugh)


Gong Legacy


Q: The internet is rife with rumours of a big Gong Box Set for your 50th anniversary next year. Are there any plans for releases or otherwise?


SH: The Universal box set is being worked on. It’s not going to be huge but we are pretty happy with it because the key thing is that, despite rumours to the contrary spread by a record label that we’ve had long disputes with…


All: (laugh)


SH:…all the real original masters of that period are with Virgin Records which was then sold to EMI and is now owned by Universal. We’ve had access to the Virgin archives so we have all the original masters and we are calling the box set ‘Love From The Planet Gong; The Virgin Years 1973-75’. The other good thing is that we’ve recruited Simon Heyworth who was the original engineer of Angel’s Egg, Flying Teapot and You. He’s now a top mastering engineer and he’s re-mastering everything in his own way. It had to be him because of his connection with Gong. There are bonus tracks. We’ve managed to find the lost Quad mixes of the You album which have been converted to 5.1 by Simon who is also a 5.1 expert so if you have a 5.1 set-up…


Q: I have a 7.1…


SH: Well then this box set has your name written on it. (smiles) The we have some live recordings. Some of the tracks have appeared but none of the entire gigs have ever come out. These have the entire gigs and are being remixed by Mike Howlett so it’s going to be a pretty tasty thing but it’s not as large as the one I did.


Q: You’ll be touring?


KT: Yes! Hopefully the new album will be April and May but haven’t exactly cemented what will be going on but we will tour the album and there will be some 50th events as well. It will be Gong in different capacities kind of thing.


Q: There’s been 52 musicians who have contributed to Gong (not counting session players) and the line-ups have always had different cultures and nationalities in them; how important is that to Gong’s music?


DS: What an interesting question…


FG: I think in the sound it is reflected. In the 70’s it incorporated some Balinese sounds…


KT: I always enjoyed the Eastern element but it would be too easy to say I love the Eastern stuff because I’m from Iran. I think I’ve always liked that sound even listening to Rainbow playing Gates Of Babylon and things like that.


SH: The basic story is pretty multi-national anyway with Daevid being from Australia. He went around Europe, found himself in Canterbury, England which is another part of the patchwork and he had to leave Soft Machine because his visa failed so he started a whole new thing in France. One of the first drummers was Algerian - Rachid Houari – Algerian or Moroccan…and it the student radical explosion was happening at the time as well…1968. All of these elements went into it and the actual reason it’s the 50th anniversary next year is because the first official Gong gig was at the Actuel Festival, Amougies, Belgium in 1969. (27th October).


FG: It was a Frank Zappa festival…he organized it.


SH: He was a part of it but the actual organizers were from BYG (French record label) in conjunction with a big French underground magazine called Actuel.


FG: Oh yes! A cartoon magazine.


KT: I’m from Iran, Fabio is from Brazil so I guess Gong always has been multi-national and I think Daevid’s idea was that it could incorporate all cultures into the music and to just have big ears and listen to everything.


IE: An important thing about Gong I think is that members always have different interests and when they come together they find a common ground. I’m primarily from a Jazz background but I listen to lots of different stuff as well and you find that you bring lots of elements of that into the music where it’s appropriate so you end up with this unique band. 


KT: I love the word psychedelic and what I really love about being in Gong is that there are so many bands I’ve played in where people ask me what kind of music I play and I say ‘It’s sort of Rock with elements of Folk and a bit of Jazz…’ whereas with Gong I can just say ‘Psychedelic Rock’.


SH: Yes I’m much more comfortable with that than Progressive.


KT: I’d agree with that. I find a lot of Progressive Rock, particularly nowadays, sounds like music by people who don’t like taking drugs for people who don’t like taking drugs.


All: (laugh)


The Future


Q: Can you envisage and would you give your blessing to Gong 50 years from now with none of you in it?


IE: Yes and hopefully we’ll still be in it!


FG: Yes. I think one of ideas like the Jazz musician Sun Ra and The Arkestra. They continue without the main man, Gong has a little bit of this.


KT: For me, the thought that anyone in the next 50 years will write a better riff than the Om Riff is inconceivable so the thought that in 50 years no one will be playing the Om Riff is heartbreaking.


All: (laugh)


Q: Gentlemen, I can think of no greater way to end the interview. Thank you all.


All: Thank you.

ゴング インタビュー2018



デイヴ・スタート / Dave Sturt (b)
カヴース・トラビ / Kavus Torabi (g)
ファビオ・ゴルフェティ / Fabio Golfetti (g)

イアン・イースト / Ian East (sax, flute)
スティーブ・ヒレッジ / Steve Hillage (g)
チェブ・ネトル / Cheb Nettles (d) (欠席)












『Rejoice! I'm Dead! 』


Q:デイヴィッドの遺言で製作したアルバム『Rejoice! I'm Dead! 』は終結であり、誕生でもありました。曲を書いたり、レコーディングしていた時には、それぞれどんな感情があったのでしょうか?

KT:僕としては両方だったね。デイヴィッドは僕たちに続けてほしいと思っていたんだけど、僕たちはうまくいくかどうか、みんな懐疑的だった。僕たちは全員がこのバンドのファンでもあるし、僕たちだけでやっても贋物になるんじゃないかと思っていた。オリジナル・メンバーは一人もいないしね。でも活動を続けてアルバム『 I See You 』を作った時、最初のギグから「やり続けよう、何かが生まれそうだ」って思ったんだ。7、8回コンサートをやったところで、ファンがもっとやってくれって言ったんだ。でも僕たちはトリビュート・バンドになるのは嫌だったし、デイヴィッドが望んだような形で曲を書き続けていきたいと思った。それでアルバムを作ってみる気になって、どんなサウンドになるかチャレンジしてみたんだ。作りたいように作ってみようってね。タイトルをデイヴィッドの詩から付けた時に、その出来映えには本当に満足したんだ。これが終わりでもあり、始まりにもなったわけさ。デイヴィッドは怖れることなく死を迎えた。だから僕たちはポジティヴな死のイメージでアルバムを作ったのさ。これがこのアルバムのツアーでは最後になると思う。この後またイギリスに戻って来週の水曜からニュー・アルバムのレコーディングに入るからね。









DS: 僕が無くて寂しいと思うのは、テープの巻き戻し音だね。あれが好きだったんだ。

SH: デジタルVSアナログ論争については、僕はアナログの方が優れているとは思うけど、いいデジタル機材を持っていれば早く仕事ができるんだ。アイデアを思いついて、それを形にしたいと思えば、デジタルの方がより精度高く簡単にできる。音楽って何だ?どこから生まれるものなのか?って自問してみれば、それは哲学的な話で、いいサウンドを得るために扱いが難しいアナログ・システムを使いたがるなんて、せっかくの創造過程を混乱させてしまうことにもなりかねない。それが音楽のためになると思うかい?僕にはその答えは分からないけど、デジタルで仕事をするようにはしている。早くできるからね。

KT: そうだね。80年代末期に最初のレコーディングをした時にはすべてアナログだった。16トラックの機材だった。2台くらいコンプレッサーかマルチのエフェクターがあったくらいだね。今は僕の家の部屋にさえ、当時は夢にも思わなかったレコーディング機材があるんだからね。現代では悪いサウンドのレコードなんて生まれようもないね。







KT: 実際曲を書く時点からなら、一年くらいかな。でもレコーディング自体は数ヶ月ってとこだね。僕たちはすべてブリクストン・ヒルでやったわけじゃなくて、いくつかはメンバー各自が自宅でレコーディングしたんだ。スタッフが全員に送ってくれたデータを基にね。それを僕がまとめたんだ。






IE: 彼らの意見に賛成だね。僕も同じ考えだ。でも言っておきたいのは、MP3はだめだってことだ。あれは僕たちの努力を台無しにしてしまう。先日もこの素晴らしいバーにいた時、店主がスティーヴ・ライト(イギリスのラジオDJ)を携帯電話を介して放送していたんだ。凄かったね。僕たちはここに座っていて、店主は明らかに音楽ファンだった。僕たちは全員ミュージシャン、彼は2分毎に中断していた。現地からの電波を繋がねばならなかったからね。有り得ないよ。こんなことができるなんてね。

KT: レコードを作る時、リスナーがこのアルバムを家に持って帰って、明かりを落として、集中して聴いてくれるんだと想像するんだ。でももちろんそんなリスナーばかりじゃない!いろいろな環境で聴くんだ。電話をしながら、スマホをいじりながら、ググりながら、メールしながらとか・・・・









SH: ああ。面白かったよ。1973年の初めにゴングに加入した時、それから3週間後にバンドは崩壊したんだ。




SH:それで、ゴングの名の下にコンサートをやったんだ。新しいドラマーとベーシストを迎えてね。何人か試した後でいい人材を見つけた。何とかやっていけると思ったよ。素晴らしいドラマーとやっていく中で形が整い始めた。ピエール・モーランて奴と巡り会ったんだ。マイク・ハウレットは友人に紹介してもらった。デイヴィッドが彼に会って、物事が動き始めたんだ。新曲を書き、セッションをして今の姿に近い形になった。アイデアもいくつか浮かんだけど、「これはゴングらしくないな」なんてこともあったけど、とにかくいいサウンドだったんだ。「Oily Way」、「Inner Temple」、「Outer Temple」とかをデイヴィッドが復帰する前に書き上げた。これらはゴングらしいサウンドだった。デイヴィッドは脱退を繰り返していた。彼のいないゴングは生まれ変われないんだ。

DS: 『Paragong』というアルバムがあるけど・・・

SH: ああ、でもあれはジャムをレコーディングしただけのものだからね。ライブ録音もいくつかあるし、それはいつかリリースするだろう(ファンには楽しみなものだ)。ティム・ブレイクは「Paragong」というタイトルが気に入らなかった。ディディエもそうだった。僕は別にいいんじゃないかと思ったけどね。フランスでゴングとしてギグをした時、ファンがやって来て(フランス語のアクセントを真似て)「君たちはゴングじゃない!デイヴィッド・アレンがいないじゃないか!」って言ったんだ。申し訳なかったよ。








SH: ウィリアム・ハートネルなのか。彼に戻ってほしいね!パトリック・トロートンは何してるのかな?








SH:その時期のオリジナル・マスターはヴァージンが保有しているんだ。ヴァージンがEMIに売って、それを今はユニバーサルが保有している。僕たちはヴァージンの保管庫に行って、オリジナル・マスターが保管されていることを確認した。それで『Love From The Planet Gong; The Virgin Years 1973-75』をリリースすることにしたんだ。もう一つ素敵だったことは、Angel’s Eggや Flying Teapot、 Youのエンジニアだったサイモン・ヘイワースを雇ったことだった。彼はマスタリングにかけては現代随一だからね。彼独特のやり方でマスタリングするんだ。ゴングとなると、もはや彼しか考えられない。ボーナス・トラックも入れるよ。忘れていたアルバム『You』の4チャンネルミックスを見つけたんだ。それをサイモンが5.1チャンネルにコンバートしている。彼は5.1チャンネルのミックスでも随一なんだ。5.1サラウンドの装置を持っていれば判るけど・・・






KT: あるよ!できればニュー・アルバムを4月か5月にリリースしたいね。まだ何も確かなことは分からないんだけど。でもそれからアルバムのツアーに出るだろうね。50周年のイベントも同時進行になると思う。いろいろなことを同時にこなせるのがゴングなんだ。



DS: 興味深い質問だな・・・


KT: 僕はいつも東洋のテイストを楽しんでいたよ。でも安易に東洋が好きとも言えないんだ。僕はイラン出身だからね。僕はレインボーが『Gates Of Babylon』でプレイしていたようなサウンドが好きなんだ。


FG: フランク・ザッパの主催だったような・・・




IE: ゴングにおける重要なことは、メンバーがいろいろなことに興味を抱いていることじゃないかと思う。いざ一緒になれば、同じ地平に立つ。僕は初期にはジャズをやっていたけど、いろいろな音楽も聴いていた。だからいろいろな要素を音楽に持ち込めるんだ。その結果、このユニークなバンドが出来たってことだね。


SH: そうだね。プログレッシヴというより、その方が心地いいね。








FG: 僕もだ。ジャズ・ミュージシャンのサン・ラ&ザ・アーケストラみたいな感じはどうかな?彼らは特にリーダーなしにやっている。ゴングもそんな感じじゃないかな。

KT:僕としては、50年後には『Om Riff』よりももっと気の利いたリフを書いていたいね。50年後には誰も『Om Riff』を演奏していないなんて、悲しいよね。





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