June 2003, Italy
Interviewer: Giancarlo Bolther for www.rock-impressions.com
How do your records differ one from another?
Thematically my albums are connected by a fascination with mythology, poetry and faerielore: vehicles to explore the psyche. Stylistically they’re all eclectic… Combinations change but the principle is the same. There is a slight shift to more experimentation with electronics, but medieval / folk elements remain in songs like ‘The Lily and the Rose’. Emotionally, Alabaster is the darkest of my albums – with the realm of Hades at its centre – but an affirmation of the human spirit prevails.
Were you satisfied with the finished product?
I am never fully satisfied with my work. And that’s ok. Albums, like children, carry our strengths and flaws; we try to raise them, give them every chance, then they gather a life of their own….
Which artists have inspired you most?
(Aside from the obvious…) My favourite classical music is Respighi’s Trittico Botticelliano. I listen so widely… One night it’s James Brown, The Kinks, PJ Harvey, The Eels, Shai No Shai, The Legendary Pink Dots… Next it’s Purcell… Arvo Part… In the Nursery or Asian Dub Foundation. Or dark-ambient music by Alio Die, Stephan Micus, Robert Rich or Mathias Grassow. I’m indebted to Renaissance of the Celtic Harp by Alan Stivell. Naturally I also listen to music in the Heavenly Voices scene (e.g.) Vas, Stellamara, Gor, Vox, Dwelling, Ashram, The Moors, Bel Canto, Caprice, etc. I like ‘Shadow, Light’ by Franco Battiato… my favourite Italian singer is Francesco Banchini.
Why do you frequently refer to celtic traditions?
I have often denied any focus on ancestral roots, because if our souls reincarnate, why be limited by genes or blood? However, the recent death of my Welsh-born father has shaken my heart… Before he died, Dad gave me a Celtic cross. He said it’s the ancient pagan sign of our ancestors: four corners are seasons, circle is the world. When I was a child he called me his “little Boudacia”.
Do you have a philosophy? Your vision of the world is…
To be a Sufi is to detach from fixed ideas and preconceptions (Abu-Said, son of Abi-Khair)… I like inclusion, not exclusion. Open games, not closed games. Compassion, not elitism.