OVER three decades at the forefront of electronic sound, Gary Numan remains passionate and motivated to the musical cause, and is finally getting the recognition he deserves.
His latest offering, Splinter (Songs From A Broken Mind) is a characteristically dark record, all heavy machine beats and driving electronic lines, and clearly reflects the personal agony Numan felt when penning the tracks and finding inspiration from the unlikeliest of places.
“Splinter is almost entirely about the five years of my life before recording the album,” Numan said. “I was diagnosed with depression in 2008 and I was on medication for that.
“Eventually, I came out of the other side, but it was a very difficult and emotional time in my life and I had felt broken.
“I lost all drive and ambition, and it nearly ruined my marriage.”
Numan, who brings his Small Club tour to Preston next week, added: “There’s a track on the album – Here In The Black – and it’s about depression.
“In the song, depression is portrayed as a dark and malevolent force hunting for you in the dark.
“At that time I was feeling really lost, lonely and frightened. I didn’t feel like I had anywhere to turn.
“But when I started to get better the desire to write again came back and I wanted to record what I’d gone through.
“As for creativity, it was brilliant, but to live through, it was horrible.
“The album, though, is not a down or miserable experience at all, quite the opposite and it has enjoyed the best reviews of my career.”
Numan once declared that his hit singles Are Friends Electric? and Cars were like giant millstones around his neck as he struggled to recapture the chart success of the 1980s.
“Yes . . . they seemed to overshadow everything I was doing, and I really resented them in a strange way which was a little bit childish,” he added.
“You almost felt bitter about those songs being so successful because people would only let you play them.
“I’d turn up for an interview at a radio station and they’d play Cars when I arrived and Are Friends Electric? when I left, and often never played any of the new stuff at all.
“I love those songs, but no matter how hard I tried they seemed to get in the way of things.
“Now, though, it’s nice to be recognised for more than two songs.”
Numan admits he has found personal solace since he emigrated to America with his family.
“I love being British, I’m proud of our history, but there’s a much more, ‘We’re all in this together’ type of vibe in America, and it’s not as aggressively competitive as it is back home.
“Britain has an extraordinarily deep layer of creative talent with each and every generation.
“I once read a fantastic article that explained that creative people in Britain succeed despite the culture rather than because of it.
“On the flip side, America is all about success, they thrive upon the dream and it’s seen as a normal part of being alive “I find it a very healthy environment to be in.
“I wake up each morning to a view of distant mountains seen through gently swaying palms.
“I’m a short drive away from the Pacific Ocean which frequently has whales migrating near to the shore, and I can be in Hollywood in twenty minutes.
“Life, thankfully, is very good right now.”
- Gary Numan, Preston 53 Degrees, July 1. £26.00.