Neil Campbell is a very inspired, original contemporary avant garde musician. According the influent magazine The Wire, with Richard Young and John Bower, he "provided the map co-ordinates for much of what passed for a post-punk UK underground during most of the 80s and 90s". A quite necessary, fresh breath full of ideas and amazing sonic surprises in this often oppressed popular music world. His recent public admission of his appreciation of the Third Ear Band music persuaded me to ask him some questions. Here's the interesting short interview that came out...
"I don't think I've heard any of their reunion records in any depth, but the quartet of Alchemy, The Elements, Macbeth and Abelard & Eloise just sounds better every year to me. There are so many ideas in there too, especially on Macbeth, that I can't see the appeal of them wearing out for me. I love how they sound totally out their on their own, strangely more "punk" than "hippy"."
3. Which elements of the TEB music are ended in your compositions?
"Not at all, or at least not consciously. I think I was well on the path I'm on by the time I heard TEB, so they probably just validated what we were already doing. I always liked recording things live, with minimal polish, and most of their records feel like they were done that way."
4. What do you think about the evidence TEB is still inspiring many underground avant-garde contemporary groups/musicians? Do you think their experience is still exclusive for the fate of contemporary music? And why?
"There was something about the ricketty boldness of TEB that really resonated with me and many of my friends involved in maybe pushing the boundaries a little in underground music. It seemed like a tonic to the harsh certainties of some of the noise/industrial music we'd grown up with as teenagers, in that it had both a fragility and a solid sense of just doing its own thing, regardless of fashion or convention. Sturdy music, human music.
5. What are you doing now? which are your next steps?
"Constantly recording and experimenting at home, playing regularly with Vibracathedral Orchestra (mainly at home, for our own amusement, but occasionally we play in public), and playing more sporadically with bands like Early Hominids (hand-built electronic anti-music), UK Muzzlers (rough punk/tape collage confusion) and Stygian Manor (conceptual goth). In the past week I've been hard at work on an duo release with my Vibracathedral comrade Julian Bradley, which has just gone up on Bandcamp (https://julianbradleyandneilcampbell.bandcamp.com/album/for-lila-o). So, constantly busy, mind full of new ideas. There are never enough hours in the day!"
Neil Campbell references