James Ray's arrival on Heartland sparked a great deal of interest and conversation surrounding the man, his work and his affiliations with our glorious leader, Herr Eldritch.
In a fit of goodwill he declared open season on interview questions, allowing Heartland members to put their own questions to him one a one-by-one basis, which he then very kindly answered in a combined post.
Below is a summary of the questions and answers from this "interview".
Q) Do demos or unreleased tracks exist for Gift, or the single version of Giving Ground?
A) There is a Norman Cook (pre-Fat Boy Slim) mix of Egypt/Finland (I think it's that one). As far as I am aware the only version of Giving Ground is the finished version we presented to Andrew on completion.
Q) Why were several lyrics from the single version cut out in the album version?
A) Because they were crap.
Q) Did you have any other input in the songs other than singing?
A) If I remember correctly I advised Andrew on how Lucas Fox should approach his vocals and that was quite enough for me.
Q) What was Eldritch like to work with as a producer?
A) Having never worked with a producer before he presented a good disguise as one. He was learning how to produce at the time and I was grateful for the time & money he spent doing so. He wasn't very au fait with sequencers/samplers et al at the time and I wasn't too clued up on how to use a 24 track studio. I think he learnt a lot.
Q) Will he ever play Gangwar/Perfomance material live again?
A) Perhaps, I couldn't really say. Times change and situations present themselves.
Q) what does he recommend for the uninitiated?
A) Performance - Edie. Gangwar - Rev Rev Lowrider.
Q) Umm... What's in his soul? What would he sell / has he sold it for? And can I have something for my fanzine?
A) My soul is full of compassion, love and...
Q) Chocolate or vanilla?
Q) Top nite out or cosy nite in?
A) Depends who with. With the right person I would prefer a long night in.
Q) Cats or dogs?
Q) Tea or coffee?
A) Tea mostly
Q) Blonde or br... oh no, we already know the answer to that one...
A) Oh do you? I'm not so shallow as to make my judgements on hair colour - hair-dye is cheap.
Q) Boxers, y-fronts, or commando? Cotton/silk /man-made fibres?
Q).re. "Colours" - what did you think of the Floodland version compared to the Gift version?
A) I prefer the Bunnymen's Colours.
Q) Were you narked that Von re-recorded the vocal or pleased when it wasn't as good as the original?
A) It's of no interest to me as I didn't do the vocals on the original
Q) As the Doktor provided the Sisterhood drums, what role did Lucas Fox perform?
A) Another yes-man.
Q) Are you going to be in Leeds October the 9th - would you cameo on Giving Ground for the Smurphs if asked?
A) I believe I am going to be there. No I wouldn't - it's a terrible track.
Q. Mr. Ray How does listening to The Sisters Of Mercy make you feel with regard to your emotions?
A) Neither here no there.
Q) Are you the kind of person that when listening to their music idly stands by?
A) Of course, I'm not conceited enough to do anything else.
Q) Are you that person allowing your soul to take over and throwing it all out there?
A) In the privacy of my home I do whatever my mood tells me.
Q. Mr. Ray Why, in your opinion, would you suggest all the controversy, the fact that *Von* is the leader of Sisters and that no know knowledge of the dear man's life with regard to his personal background is not public knowledge?
A) I don't quite understand the question, but I don't see what his personal background has to do with anyone, or mine for that matter.
Q. Mr. Ray Is it not indeed genuine jealously that The Sisters Of Mercy are the most adored 80's band (no matter who was in the band when) that has captured the hearts of so many young and old and a legend that still lives?
A) This is obviously a personal opinion you hold which doesn't match mine.
Q. Mr. Ray My soul has indeed been THERE and my belief after reading the *Trading section* got me intrigued by your offer. Here is mine... a. Considering your statement about drinking "South African" wine and my choice is the red kind, and you claimed to drink gallons of it, me too and the ironic twist to this is that I am South African currently living in The Netherlands. An invitation to join me in having that drink whenever it suits you.
A) I don't see the irony but if I am ever in the Nether-regions I will give you a call. What's your number?
Q) Lyrics are what in my opinion are past, current, and future events in the artists lives or thoughts regarding an emotion that gives insight into the bands' soul with regard to many issues be it political, religious, phases in people's lives. In your opinion how far do artists go to bring their message across with help of the lyrics? And more personally how far do you go?
A) Artists don't express the true content of their soul in a song; songs are merely a hint to what lies within, sometimes even a disguise. In my opinion art is an expression of the soul that cannot be quantified in words. ( see www.4080peru.co.uk )
Q) Is he married?
A) I am not.
From JAMES BLAST
Q) 4080 Peru sound rather like a little know Belgian combo called For Greater Good, which is not a bad thing to these ears.
A) Good plug, but not to my ears.
From QUIFF BOY
Q) How did he come into contact with Eldritch?
A) He came in contact with me, he heard a 4 track demo and called me, followed by a postcard, followed by another call. I guessed by then he was quite keen.
Q) What made him sign to MR?
A) Convincing Promises.
Q) Where there any other labels interested? Or did the material come about after the Sisterhood stuff (i.e.: did that inspire him to start his own recording career)
A) There were 2 other interested labels but none with the same kudos at the time. The sisterhood project arose during the recording of Mexico Sundown Blues.
Q) How did Von pitch the Sisterhood collaboration to him?
A) He waited until the Single Malt was gone then asked me if I would make a record with him - he had the money.
Q) Does he have any idea how much of the Floodland material was originally written with the Sisterhood in mind? Or were songs that he demo'd like "This Corrosion" always going to be Sisters Of Mercy tracks?
A) This Corrosion was going to be the Sisterhood's 2nd single.
Q) Why did he leave MR? Anything to do with the lack of publicity and PR Gangwar & The Performance received?
From NICK THE STRIPPER
Q) Is Von really the hard to work with c**t he's made out to be, or is he in fact a nice chap who created a persona? And why the lack of product?
A) He is far, far from being a c**t. We are what we are and sometimes that gets mixed up with what we are perceived to be. Lack of product? I would have thought you have enough.
From DEAD JOE
Q) If you had a choice of people to work with in the music industry, who would it be and why?
A) Brian Eno. He has had the greatest influence on my music above anyone. My admiration for him knows no bounds.
The original thread can be found here: James Ray reminisces....
Other links of interest:
4080 Peru - Official website - www.4080peru.co.uk
James Ray's Gangwar / James Ray & The Performance - Free downloads - www.thejamesray.co.uk
Post your reviews of Sisters-related material or interviews with Sisters-related musicians here. And don't believe the hype: 1985 most definitely is a fashion statement.
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