In unregelmäßigen Abständen
werden in dieser Rubrik Beiträge, Interviews, Photos oder sonstiges Material
erscheinen, die das Bild der Musik komplettieren und darüber hinaus den
Zeitgeist dieser spannenden Epoche skizzenhaft andeuten sollen.
(also known as 'Spoon Fazer')
A few days ago I checked
all new guest book entries and I noticed one signed by someone called "Spoon
Fazer". And what a surprise - it was Simon Patterson himself - the artist
that released two - now very rare - records in the early 80s under the name
Spoon Fazer! He allowed me to offer some soundfiles here (check those at the
end of the interview) and to ask him a few questions.
How did you find the "Fantasies for an Electric Funeral"-site?
I used Google to search for "Spoon Fazer" and it found your site! The wonders of modern technology!
So you were searching the web for your name?
Yes, old friends from those days still call me 'Spoon'! I wrote and recorded the "The Ballad of Insectman" almost 25 years ago in 1980. I'm a great fan of Google so I thought I'd have a look and found that "Insectman" was featured on the Wants List of "Fantasies for an Electric Funeral". I also found my other earlier record Music 2 Live 2 = Music 4 Life on eBay for $75!
$75 is a lot of money! It seems that your music has left a permanent impression. Are you surprised that after all these years people are still interested in your music and records?
I think it is flattering and very exciting! Of course when I made those records I wanted to be famous and appreciated as an artist, so the fact that people still appreciate what I did when I was 20 is brilliant! I'm really happy!
You mentioned your friends called you "Spoon".
Some friends and I had formed an avant-garde punk band in Devon in 1976 called Slammer's Knobb. In '77 we changed our name to 'The Whippets from Nowhere' (a la The Spiders from Mars) - see pic! We made up names for each other while driving down the Motorway in the middle of the night after Knebworth where we saw Frank Zappa, The Tubes, Peter Gabriel, and the Boomtown Rats. It was September 9th 1978 that Spoon Fazer was officially born! They called me Spoon Fazer! I thought it was brilliant and realised that in fact I had always been and would always be Spoon Fazer!
In 1979 we moved to London and changed our name again to the 39 Steppes. We split up within 6 months of being in London. I then decided to go Solo and so The Project -as I called it - naturally was called 'Spoon Fazer'. It was also natural that I should play my Electronic drums with spoons - one red, one green (see pic!)! My first gig was at the Totnes Civic Hall (see pic!) organised by Promoter Bryan Harris.
You played your drums with spoons? Totally mad! Now tell us something about the circumstances of the recording sessions for your two records. Did you record them alone? What instruments did you use?
Music 2 Live 2 = Music 4 Life (see cover scan!) was recorded at the Lodge Studio in May 1980. It turned out that it was owned and run by a band called the Enid, lead by Robert Godfrey. I rented it for one day, it was all I could afford! There were 3 of us Tom Langton-Lockton (later of Ecologist), Cressida Bowyer (later of Disco 2000) and myself (we had all previously been together in the 'Whippets from Nowhere' ) plus guys from the Enid including Robert Godfrey who was like chief engineer. First we recorded 'Electronic Drumming' - I had been the drummer in The Whippets and had bought the worlds first Synth drums from Dave Symmonds the guy who had invented them. At the time they were totally wicked! In my first solo gig I just played them! Then we recorded 'Do Different Dances' a sort of post-Punk Electro dance track I wrote, inspired by the Clash's 'London Calling'! For those 2 tracks Tom played Guitar and Bass (something I could never really do) , Cressida on Vocals, and I played Drums, Electronic Drums and Lead Vocals. Then at about midnight I recorded 'Music 4 Travelling', we were all totally out of it by then! I sang to a heart beat and then, with the help of Robert Godfrey, added on the sounds. I don't recall the make and model of the synth, but it was totally state of the art!
The Sunset EP (see cover scan!) is a more complex story because it was recorded over the space of 2 years, during which time I was gigging around London. The oldest and most 'Classic' track is 'The Ballad of Insectman'. This was recorded sometime in late 1980 at a underground studio run by a lady called 'Anji' . She did all the engineering, everything. I had got bored with Synth drums and had bought an early drum machine and a Wasp. Wasps were brilliant, a bit like a large Stylophone. I had also weirded-out and written Insectman. At the time I was sharing a house with a guy called Rob Jeans who played Saxophone and Panpipes and I also hung around with Jimmy Cauty (later of KLF). Jimmy is a brilliant Artist and was already successful with his famous hand-drawn 'Lord of the Rings' Athena Poster. He played Bass and Wasp and co-Produced . Funnily enough it is his first ever published recording so if you are a KLF fan its a great bit of history! He also designed and drew the cover of 'Music 2 Live 2 = Music 4 Life '! I sang and played Temple blocks.
'Fly on the Wall' was recorded a year later at the same studio. By that time I had a new band called 'The In- Sect' (see pic!). John Primrose played Guitar. Megan Evans played Wasp. I sang and played Wasp. 'Fly on the Wall' was inspired by Adam and the Ants! John's guitar was brilliant! 'Fly on the Wall' was also featured on a compilation Album called 'East of Croydon' which featured the top bands in South London at that time (1981).
'Sunset' and 'Flying Bodies' were both recorded at Francis Monkman's studio in Hampstead, North London in 1982. Francis had been in a famous group called 'Sky'. When I met him he had gone solo and had just released an Album called 'Dweller on the Threshold'. He had a Synclaviar. It cost £15,000 in 1982. It was incredible. Tom L-L played guitar on one of the tracks otherwise it was all the Synclaviar. Playing that machine in 1982 was incredible. It was one of the first and one of the best Digital synths. Amazing!
How do you feel about your music today? Musicians are said to feel amused or even embarrassed about their own creation by the years. Do you still listen to your music?
To be honest I couldn't listen to it for years but I am now actually quite proud of that stuff. Particularly The Ballad of Insectman and Music 4 Travelling. Music 4 Travelling was inspired by Kraftwerk's 'Autobahn'. It is a sort of musical painting about a Train journey I took at night between Devon (where I was born) and London. It was actually No. 2 in the Melody Maker 'Obscurist Chart' on 21st November 1981 (see pic!)! I love 'Insectman'! I have recorded several versions since but I guess the original is the definitive version! I used to perform it live using costumes (see pic!) and backing tapes at such venues as Cabaret Futura in Soho, The Festival of Mind, Body and Spirit at Olympia in London , The Blitz Club in Covent Garden, Battersea Arts Centre..etc (see pic!).
The cover-art of the "Sunset" 12" EP calls the Japanese flag to mind, also regarding the photos showing you in Kabuki make-up, an appeal to Japanese aesthetics seems obvious.
That's another huge subject for me! I can't remember exactly when I became obsessed with Japan. I've thought about that many times. I'm a great Ziggy Stardust fan and the line '...screw down hairdo, like some cat from Japan', or my oldest friend Richard continually miming the guitar solo's on Deep Purple's 1972 album 'Made in Japan' when we were 16! I don't know. I was drawn to it. I also really liked the band 'Japan's last album Tin Drum (1981) which was heavily influenced by images of China. I guess it was all an early version of world music fusion like the stuff on Buddha Bar albums. Maybe it was John Lennon marrying Yoko Ono! I'm not sure. In fact my wife is Japanese! We met at a Halloween Party in 1981. In January we will have been married 20 years! She thinks I'm mad of course! After the Sunset EP I recorded an album called "Bam- Boo" which was totally Japanese influenced. That was an Audio Cassette Album and is even rarer.
Japanese art in gerneral is rather sketchy, minimalist with everything only merely suggested and thus appears to be very fragile - just like e.g. "Ballad Of Insectman". The Song being simply structured and sparsely instrumented it has nevertheless a heavy impact. It is this effective simplicity which in my opinion make the song a timeless tune.
You mentioned that this song - together with "Music 4 Travelling" is your favorite.
I have many influences as I've mentioned. I also really like Koyaanisqatsi and Powaqqatsi by Philip Glass, Discreet Music by Brian Eno, all the Instrumental stuff he and Bowie did on Low and Heroes...also I was a drummer, I appreciate simplicity and repetition - as a drummer you have to! In drumming a 'groove' is achieved with a simple steady rhythm. A lot of folk/world music is the same. Why over complicate things! Insectman is my favourite song. It is about the difference between human beings and insects. They used to say that if there was a nuclear war the only thing that would survive would be Insects. The word 'Sect' is used in English to mean a religion. So it was a play on words. Man - in - Sect (i.e. Human beings split by religious beliefs and fighting about them, in particular Christians, Muslims and Jews. Insectman on the other hand is a Super hero Archetype who survives the nuclear war! Heavy stuff! In 1980 when I wrote it the media convinced us that the Soviets were about to Nuke us! I like Music 4 Travelling because its like nothing else I have ever heard!
You also said that you always wanted to be "Spoon Fazer". So, on the one hand there is Simon Patterson - the man, on the other hand the weird character of "Spoon Fazer" who performed in costume and kabuki make up and played electronic drums using spoons - being provocactive what is wrong with you?
You mean was Spoon Fazer my Ziggy Stardust or am I just mad?! Well the answer is both! Spoon was a mask I wore! But I have now come to terms with the fact that actually I am Spoon Fazer!
Ok, so you are "Spoon Fazer" now. But what happened to Simon Patterson - the man? Is he still there or was he replaced by "Spoon Fazer"? You know, it reminds me of Fad Gadget who also created a notional character in the beginning but slowly putting down this mask. So in the end he was Frank Tovey. It seems that it's the other way round with you.
At the end of the day Spoon Fazer is my stage name. I don't feel the need to try to be one or the other. It was when I believed that I was really Insectman that there was a problem!!
Ha! I've already guessed so but was afraid to ask! Anyway allow a final question: what have you done after the release of those 2 records? Do you still make music?
Actually I have continued to make music ever since. So a full discography would be really quite long! The most recent project is an Album called 'Apartment 4a, Silk Road' remixing music from the Silk Road including Tibet, Iran, Azerbaijan, Afghanistan, Morocco and so on. The best track I think is the one that features a Kazak woman called Zhanar Aijanova (see pic!), which we called 'Horseback'. I went to Almaty, capital of Kazakstan in '96 and '97. I bought Zhanar's audio cassette in the main Bazaar. She has an amazing voice. We mixed it all on my Korg Triton.
Now i'm thinking I should start a 'Spoon Fazer' Website with all these photos and tracks. What do you think?
That would be fantastic and I am sure we all will enjoy it. So let me know when your site is online.
Do send an email to me if you want at Spoon.Fazer@btopenworld.com
Whippets From Nowhere
"Whippets From Nowhere" (wma/ 2,2 MB) click here!
"Gotta Help Me" (wma/ 2,5 MB) click here!
both were taken from the LP "Devon Born, Devon Bred, Strong In The Arm And Thick In The Head" /1977
"Do Different Dances" (mp3/ 3,2 MB) click here!
"Music 4 Travelling" (wma/ 3,4 MB) click here!
both were taken from the Single "Music 2 Live 2 = Music 4 Life" /1980
"Ballad Of Insectman" (mp3/ 9,2 MB) click here!
taken from the 12inch "Sunset E.P." /1982
"Kyoto" (wma/ 2,8 MB) click here!
taken from the audio cassette album "Bam - Boo" /1984
"Phoning God" (wma/ 3,4 MB) click here!
taken from the album "Communion" /1997
"Horseback" /featuring Zhanar Aijanova (wma/ 3,2 MB) (now) click here!
- - - - All soundfiles and photos are used by permission of Spoon Fazer. We say thank you! Enjoy! - - - -