In a promotional push for his new album Drums Between the Bells with Rick Holland, Brian Eno has embarked on a great public relations swing that has brought a typically educational and thought-provoking set of ideas from One Brain. The interview on Al-Jazeera shown below, includes a great career overview too. Eno comments on the current state of the industry, his own history and the “recent resurgence in live music.”
“I always assumed I was going to be a painter, and I realized that what you could do with sound that were quite analogous to what a painter would do with color… so I started to form this idea of being a “sound painter,” and synthesizers of course played right into that. Synthesizers were instruments that really had no history, so it made perfect sense for a musician who couldn’t play anything. It was an instrument no one else could play them either.”
He discusses childhood listening to “martian music” his sister acquired for him at the US Army base near their home and his parents’ influence on his ability to sing and perform in public.
On his career ambitions in the 60s: “I always assumed I would become an art teacher. We never had any career advisors…” I’d say that assumption came true. Incredible to hear about his entry and descriptions of Roxy Music and his role in the band. As the interviewer mentions, “you like to shoot journalists who ask about Roxy Music.”
He goes on to discuss the origin of Ambient Music, his influences Phil Spector (music as product of studio), Steve Reich and the Velvet Underground (kinship with the band’s arty and non-musical background).
A few other lessons: