KajaFax Revisited: KajaFax Interviews Limahl
KajaFax interviews Limahl: January 2012
On Saturday 28th January 2012, KajaFax caught up with Limahl for a Skype chat and we’re delighted to bring that interview to you today.
KajaFax: Limahl, many thanks for taking the time to talk with us today, it’s lovely to speak with you and catch up.
Limahl: Guys…this is my first Skype threesome and it’s very exciting…
KajaFax: Firstly, let’s talk about your new single, 1983. This caused such a stir with the fans and I’ve yet to see anything negative said about it at all. Were you pleased with the fan reaction to the track?
Limahl: Totally pleased with the fan reaction to the track. As I’ve said in a couple of other interviews, I’ve lived with the song for several months. I was hearing all the remixes coming back and was also involved in that process to a certain degree. It’s a bit like the artist who’s doing the painting…you get so close to it you can’t even see it anymore. I actually wrote the song a year ago, more or less, it was ready before December 2010.
SC: WOW, I didn’t know that
Limahl: Absolutely. And then there was a break for Christmas, then somebody went away then somebody was busy on another project…you know everything always takes so much time and by the time we got to September we said ‘well it’s too late to release it before Christmas now because there are so many heavyweights out there. Let’s just wait until the New Year’. So I’d lived with it for so long that I think really I couldn’t quite see it anymore. Not clearly anyway. I loved the lyrics and melody but you just don’t know. I had the same feeling when I heard ‘Never Ending Story’. I lived with that for so long I couldn’t really hear it as this global number one (laughs). Let’s hope that’s an omen for 1983. I think it’s a great song…it’s a great little pop song. It’s uplifting…everything you love about pop music. I was so absolutely thrilled with the reactions, and I hope it keeps spreading. I don’t think it’s over yet.
SC: I agree.
SY: I mean everybody at this end, you know, in my circle of friends, they all think it’s a fantastic song and I’ve never heard anybody on the web say or write anything negative about it. That’s unusual. I think that if the song gets out there and people latch onto it, it would spiral and go huge.
Limahl: Let’s all keep our fingers crossed on that.
SC: Next question….
Limahl: It’s gotta happen soon coz I’m getting too old (laughs)
SY & SC: (Laughs)
KajaFax: We were absolutely joyous when we heard it, just thrilled that you’d nailed it so perfectly and that all the mixes sounded so good. What’s your favourite version of 1983?
Limahl: Oh boy, I think it depends what mood I’m in. In a bizarre way the original riff…the Norwegian guys, the co writers, sent me this epitome of an 80s synth riff. I suppose in one sense that was a sort of a little bit old fashioned, but I can see why they did that coz that’s me. They thought ‘well, it’s Limahl, that’s 80s…Let’s do an 80s synth riff’. When I heard it, it just triggered this sort idea of going back in time. Then when I really went down that road, I got very excited, coz I though of the lyric possibility. Erm, but then if I’m in a more dancy mood, I like the Tom Moroca mix. I really like that version a lot. I like the way he broke up the chorus (sings ‘I want to go back….in time’). I don’t think he even has me sing 1983 in it, does he? I can’t remember.
SC: Yeah I think he did
Limahl: I really love the radio one…the ‘Clouds and Coffee’. I think their radio mix has got the most crossover potential.
KajaFax: It’s been 6 years of course since your last single ‘Tell Me Why’. Has 1983 inspired you to record again soon, or are you just going to sit back and see what happens for a while first?
Limahl: I’m not gonna sit back and wait, no. We’re already talking about the next one. We’ve had dialogue but no music ideas have come back and forth yet. This is with the same team. We’ve had a great relationship, so when you’re working with people and it’s all very pleasant and its fun, that’s what it all about, isn’t it? If you’re enjoying it and enjoying the people your working with, and you’re enjoying what you doing, it’s everything really. Yeah, we’re certainly not rushing to get something out next week…it might take another few months, but no, I’m definitely not going to leave it 6 years. I think that was too long, but to be honest, I just wasn’t really approached by anybody. I think when your not flavour of the month and you’re a retro artist it’s very difficult to go knocking on doors to record companies coz there always really looking for someone new, and basically, they’re interested in pushing your back catalogue and not really interested in new stuff. But hey, you know, it wouldn’t surprise me if EMI came knocking if 1983 started making any noise. I’d be very happy to talk to them because we’ve always had a good relationship to be honest.
SY: If that were the case, would they go down the route of the whole video/CD promotion package? Is that standard?
Limahl: Well, the answer to that is yes of course. You’ve got the weight of a conglomerate behind you. But you know there’s something very charming, something very exciting about being this…erm…small entity as it were and watching it grow.
Limahl: Coz there’s a certain expectation when you’re with a major and yeah, they can do all the usual tricks…they spend £50,000 on marketing including the video and advertising and promotions and huge PR Companies. That’s also nice, they’re both nice. I mean, I am where I am, it is what it is. It’s great.
SY: It is
Limahl: I think it will be so exciting for the fans and me if it …I mean… the media love it when it creeps from nowhere. Word of mouth seems to have taken…it’s a bit like the Arab spring, through new communication technology we have people power…a new impetus really and things can be achieved. I think because of Facebook & Twitter and the internet and all, fans all over the world can communicate directly and instantly. So we’ll see.
SC: I agree with that. I think it’s like when we did the Death Defying Headlines promotion earlier in 2011. I think one of the most exciting things about it was that you just never knew where the next email was gonna come from. It might have gone quiet for a day or two, and we were thinking ‘what are we gonna do next’ and then an email would land in your inbox from like Pat Sharp or tweets from Tony Blackburn or Boy George or somebody like that, and you just thought ‘wow, we’ve got another break’. It was quite exciting working that way.
SY: As a matter of interest, I got an email in my inbox last week from way back then about Death Defying Headlines that hadn’t been read at the time. It was from a radio station that just didn’t respond to us last summer…all this time later.
Limahl: Well, tell them to promote 1983!
KajaFax: We know you enjoyed working with the Norwegian team and embracing digital technology for 1983. Is this a relationship that you would like to see continue?
Limahl: Yeah absolutely
KajaFax: As much as you appreciate the simplicity and availability of the download, does part of you prefer holding that physical release in your hands, such as vinyl or CD?
Limahl: I think it would be nice to have a physical product, and I think it will come. Perhaps not on the first single, perhaps not on the second, but if we get to a point where there’s a six track EP or an album, God forbid, (laughs), yeah. I think people do like physical CD’s still, but you know, it’s a very small operation so it’s one step at a time. Manufacturing records costs a lot of money, and I don’t think the small labels have got a lot of money, but there’s a big heart in the whole project. I think if it evolves and grows then yeah, we can see an album and videos and stuff like that happen.
KajaFax: By putting the acapella version of 1983 out there, were you throwing down the gauntlet to hear some unofficial remixes produced? What are your thoughts on people remixing your material at an amateur level?
Limahl:Yeah that was the record company’s idea. It was a definite decision, yes, to throw down the gauntlet as you put it. I love the idea of people having their own slant on the song and that somebody may come up with something amazing. Maybe we would use it, I don’t know. I never say never. The ideas that might come from some person from the middle of nowhere is completely unknown…you could just stumble on that. That’s the thing about pop music; it’s such an organic thing. Yeah, there are some rules, but there’s an organic process in the writing. Pete Waterman has talked about this…if you take something as banal as the old Archie’s hit from the 70s called ‘Sugar Sugar’ (sings Oh sugar in American Accent). It’s just ridiculously simple but there’s something in contrast to that that is completely infectious. And those are the things you only stumble on literally just by messing about. You know, jamming around..
SC: So you’re quite happy for people to do that, to jig about with your music?
Limahl: Oh I’m delighted, yeah yeah, because it won’t affect the original version. I’ve done remixing in the 90’s, so I understand the process and absolutely…bring it on. It’s great.
KajaFax: Leaping forwards 29yrs to 2012, we were extremely excited to see that you are playing at Rewind Scotland in July. We booked our hotels the same day and tickets on the day they came out. How do you enjoy these huge open air 80s festivals?
Limahl: Well, with all the logistics behind the scenes it’s always a lot of hard work. I’m gonna be doing 6 original songs, some of them I haven’t performed in years. I haven’t quite decided on the set list yet, so I can’t reveal any more. Getting my own band together to perform and booking flights and all of that, is hard work. We’re going to do an ‘in and out’ in one day, so were going to be a bit tired. I’ll be up at 4am to get a flight, arrive in Edinburgh, and drive out to Perth to get to the venue. Set up; probably do a couple of interviews, then on stage in the afternoon. I will then drive from the festival, back to the airport and back home all in one day.
The actual act of walking out on stage in front of 10 or 20,000 people…there’s very few things that will come close to that in terms of excitement. So, if you forget all the logistics, when you walk out there’s always that magic really…that connection, that moment. It’s in the moment, it’s very special. It’s nice.
KajaFax: And the burning question, will you perform 1983? I may be pointing out the obvious here but the line ‘take me back, REWIND, to 1983’ makes it almost perfect for that crowd!
Limahl: Well, that’s probably the most difficult question to answer, because, I’ve already been asked this by various people, my keyboard player being one of them. It’s very difficult because at these retro events, people want to hark back to their childhood, all the records they loved growing up…late teens, early twenties, or whatever it was. I think it’s slightly arrogant of an artist to try to use an event like that to promote new material. In a bizarre way, you’re right. This is what somebody else pointed out – it does kind of fit in with the event.
SC: That’s why we asked the question…
Limahl: Let me ask you, do you think I should perform it? Because I’m really scared of coming across as arrogantly trying to promote my new material when that’s not what people are there for…
SC: Yeah it wouldn’t feel like that to me. Obviously, we’re slightly biased because we know the song well and we love it, but I think the thing is with this track if it was something completely unrelated then yeah I’d kinda say the same thing. You know what it’s like when you’re at one of these retro things and a song comes on that you’ve never heard and you think ‘what’s this, I can’t sing along to this’. But I think because 1983 is so instant, it just sums up the entire reason for everyone actually being there. I wanna go back to 1983 – it’s why everyone’s stood there! It fits beautifully. I think that’s why it will go down so well
SY: It’s a big event especially with the other ‘Henley’ show. I think that 1983 could become some sort of theme or anthem for the event. For me, I would say ‘forget the arrogance’, it’s not arrogant at all. It’s good. That’s what I think.
Limahl: Wow! Well…..so you both said it, and my keyboard player said it. OK, well I’ll have to action that! I’ll tell you what I’ll do then. I’ll rehearse it with the band when we do the rehearsals, and see how it feels and sounds. Very interesting…I’ll blame it on you!
Limahl: I will, I’ll tell the audience, these 2 guys down here….
SY: Yeah, we’ll be there
KajaFax: You have more shows lined up this year. Can you give us any further information about your swing show? Are you hoping to take this out at any point in 2012?
Limahl: Probably not, to be honest. In 2011, I was offered and turned down ‘I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here’
SC: You were offered that were you?
Limahl: Yes, I was up for it 7 years in a row and this year they asked me to go in and I said I wouldn’t, and that’s when they offered it to me. It was hilarious.
SY: Would you do that if they asked you again?
Limahl: I just didn’t feel ready this year. I was kind of flippant. I said to the agent who rang me, ‘I’ve been in every year I never get it, they know all about me, they know where I am, I’ll do it, I’m interested but I’m not going in because I’m too busy’.
My point is, I think if I went on a show like that and I did OK on it, it might springboard into doing a project that requires more financial backing. For example, the swing show is expensive. You have 13 musicians and if you start taking a show like that out you’re into serious money. If you’re not selling a lot of records to back it up, you’ve gotta sell tickets coz you’ve got 13 fees, 13 hotel rooms, 13 lots of travel, a tour manager, production, sound people, it’s a lot of money. It was alright doing it once at The Stables, because Kajagoogoo were already at that venue. I loved doing it. I really enjoyed it, but there are no plans for that at the moment.
KajaFax: I know you saw the amazing US video of ‘Only for Love’ that we featured recently on KajaFax. What were your thoughts on that video and how it differed to the UK version? This video seemed to have been lost; it came as a huge surprise to us to find this one!
Limahl: Yeah that was amazing, what a bit of great sleuth work on your part! In a bizarre coincidence, the internet brings old friends together. I had an email from the director of that video, George Bloom III, about six months ago. ‘Hey Limahl, how are you, my God, I’ve found you! What are you up to? I’m doing this that and the other… by the way do you have a copy of the ‘Only For Love’ video, because I seem to have lost mine’
And suddenly you guys turned up with it.
I prefer the US version, it just looks a little bit cooler, in the UK they tried to inject comedy into it…that was the record company and directors. Video was in its infancy then. I was so busy, and they just said ‘what about doing this?’ and I said OK.
I much prefer the American one.
SY & SC: We do too!
Limahl: But I didn’t think I was believable as a police man. I had far too much lip gloss on. (laughs)
SC: I was just saying to Steve last night, when he sent the video over to me and he was like ‘watch this’ and I thought it was actual footage of you in some American cop drama series!
Limahl: Oh you can be my agent (laughs)
KajaFax: You know we couldn’t possibly let you go without touching on KajaGooGoo. Do you still keep in touch with the other boys?
Limahl: There hasn’t been a lot of communication of late, although I did speak to Nick via email about a week ago. It’s a quiet time for the band.
KajaFax: Next year marks the 30th anniversary of the band, absolutely incredible. Are there any plans to celebrate this occasion at all? If your mind is open to planting seeds of thought, a concert playing the White Feathers album in its entirety would be absolutely monumental!
Limahl: Well I’m interested. I think the answer is going to be ‘no’, because some of the other members of the band are incredibly busy with other projects.
KajaFax: Is there anything you’d like to say to our readers, any message for your fans out there?
Limahl: Eat the crusts of your bread and make sure you eat all your veg!
SY: Limahl sponsored by ‘Hovis’ (all laugh)
Limahl: Thanks guys!
KajaFax: Just to finish, we achieved our highest ever viewing figures in December, we were delighted and equally amazed. Now with Limahl January, we’ve broken the record again! Good news?
Limahl: You go guys, excellent news!!