Gary Numan exclusive interview

talks to eFestivals ahead of GuilFest, Bloc, and Bestival

published: Mon 2nd Jul 2012

Gary Numan

Friday 13th to Sunday 15th July 2012
Stoke Park, Guildford, Surrey., England MAP
£115 adult weekend, or £130 with camping
daily capacity: 25000
last updated: Fri 3rd Jan 2014

Last week eFestivals spoke to Gary Numan who will be making an appearance at this year's GuilFest headlining The Good Time Guide Stage on Saturday 14th July.

Gary Numan
Are you looking forward to playing GuilFest?
Yes I am its a good one to do actually it's a good festival. I didn't quite awhile ago now. A lot of the family festivals these days seem to be going for a very eclectic line-up which is interesting. I am looking forward to it, I love festivals in general to be honest. I think the whole festival vibe is just nice to be involved in.

You played the event last time in 2006 what are your memories of the last time you were there?
Well we had a new guitarist that day, that was the first thing and he was a bit daunted by the whole thing because he'd not done it before. We played in a really good slot actually, I remember as we were finishing the sun was coming down, and I can remember looking out and there were huge amount of people there. It was really exciting and the sun is coming out behind them and it was just such an amazing thing to be doing. I remember one or two songs before the end it was really going well, and everyone was getting off on it. The band were playing really well and it was just a really good time the sun was coming down, it was just amazing and it was an amazing thing to do and I remember thinking "what a cool thing this is to be doing" and it was just a really cool thing to be part of.

When you go there this time will you have time to look around or will you just be in, perform, and out?
I'm not sure actually it depends what other things we're doing around that time. I would hope so it's always good when we do festivals to try and catch as many of the other bands as possible and some of the ones that you think are legendary, and also the up-and-coming people because festivals are often also about them it's always good to get out and about and hear what's on. I'm also bringing my kids so which is always a bit of an added strain to the whole thing, as they want to go off and do their own thing. Playing in the kids area and stuff like that and it's a bit of a working dad's day out really. I have got three little girls aged 8, 6, and 5.

You are going to be kept busy, have you taken them to festivals before?
Yes, they have been before. I took the oldest one to Sonisphere once when Nine Inch Nails did their last gig there and Metallica were headlining. They have been to see me at Lovebox, Ben and Jerry's, they have been to see me a few times. I think the oldest one might have been at GuilFest last time but I'm not sure if she was there or not. I do take them I do think you've got to be a little bit careful with what festivals take little children to but generally thing speaking they are pretty cool things to take kids to and they do Love them. Even if you're walking around with them stuck on your shoulder all the time they are having pretty good time.

And of course GuilFest has a good kids area, so they should love it there.

So you're not one of those people that tends to spend their time backstage rather than getting out and about?
I don't usually have any set plans, when I get there I have a look about and depending on what the kids want to do a lot of the time it depends what we do. Some festivals I have been to i have just spent time round the back and then we have had to go because we were going somewhere else because it was part of the tour.

Other ones I get more time, like Wickerman up in Scotland I took the kids to that a few years ago, and that was great. We got there really early in the morning and had time to look around and had a great day out of the front watching the bands and just milling around all the different stalls and having fun.

Some of them are pretty big really and it can get a little difficult around the front, once people start stopping you and it can become a little bit silly, and you just get stuck under a mountain of people. It always makes sense to have a little bit of look around or people watching the main stages. It depends what time you get there, the earlier you get there the easier it is to have a look around before it gets busy.

When was the last time you did the whole camping thing under canvas?
I've never done camping I've only ever done festivals in tour buses, we live in the bus while we are there.

So, you've never done the camping experience at all then?
No not at no festivals no, I can't see a whole lot about it that makes it seem that appealing.

How do you find playing festivals because the crowd haven't necessarily come to see you, do you find it more difficult or more of a challenge?
Well, I don't think it is a challenge really. I think you just get on stage and do what you do and in that respect I don't think it's any more difficult than any of the other gigs you do. It's a bit of a leap into the unknown really because as you say only a few of the people there have come to see you play. I think that's their appeal really because I think it's important to play in front of people that are not your fans. I think it's a good way of reaching out to people.

I think somebody in my position that doesn't get a lot of radio play and my music has not been for a long time pop music so I struggle to get on the radio and things like that and I am not playlisted because my music is too heavy or too dark. So I have a problem really reaching out to people beyond the the faithful and the converted and festivals are a good way of doing that.

I think to be seen, by people who do not know your stuff or who are not particularly aware of who you, in a live environment, its probably the best way to be seen because it's the most genuine and most honest view people are going to get of you. There's no studio trickery, no hype or high cost video trickery, or any of that shit going on it's just you on stage singing your songs which is a really cool way to be seen I think.

For me it's really important because you get to reach out to thousands of people and that's a very important thing to be doing and those that go may talk about it to those friends and it's probably the only way of building a new audience if you're not on the radio and reaching large numbers of new people.

And apart from that they're also really big events with lots of bands on, lots of people and they are big events and it's good to be a part of them anyway. Then, if things really go well then the feeling of being on stage and having won over a large crowd of people that are not particularly your fans is incredibly satisfying and I get a lot of confidence from that. It's something that I've enjoyed a lot over the years and it's more rewarding than anything else you could do.

Have you got any new material that you'll be presenting at GuilFest or will it be a greatest hits set?
We had an album that came out towards the end of last year so we're doing a few things from that and brand-new songs that I'm finishing now that will be out as an album either later this year or early next and I'll definitely be doing one from that or maybe two, and possible two or three songs from the old days that people might remember.

Will those old songs be presented as slightly reworked versions? Which I remember you did the last time I saw you.
Yes well you rework them periodically really for your own interest to be honest with you because if you're doing the same song for 30 fucking years you get sick to death of it. So you want to do a new version of it not just to keep the fans interest, because it does, but also for your own interest really and also I think to help keep it sounding current and sounding like it belongs in the set that you're doing. If you're doing a set that is mainly where you are now, current stuff and a bit of new stuff and you drop in some old songs in the middle of it... I don't do a nostalgia set or anything like that.

So when you do those old songs you want to keep them fairly true in terms of arrangement and melody and song, because that's what people recognise, you want to make the sound of them sit alongside what you are doing now or they stand out like an old ageing sore thumb and you don't want that. I think it's important to rework them periodically anyway. I think we'll be playing around 12 songs in total, because all my songs a quite long anyway.

You have other festivals lined up over the summer.
Yes we are doing Bloc, the Hop Farm festival this weekend and toward the end of the year we have got Bestival, we were doing Sonisphere but it got cancelled, unfortunately, real bummer and we had one in Belgium called Shadowplay, but again that also got cancelled.

It's strange really because some festivals seem to be doing really well and other major festivals have got cancelled and have struggled. You find it difficult to get a feel for what is happening on the festival scene at the moment.

The ones that are doing well are the ones that seem to have these seriously eclectic line-ups like Hop Farm that has Bob Dylan, me, Primal Scream, and Bruce Forsyth! It looks all over the place, it's kind of cool but the extremities of where it leads to seem to be getting more and more extreme. I'm not sure if that's the winning formula but the ones that are like that seem to be doing alright. It's the ones that are specialised that seem to be suffering.

What has been your favourite festival performance over the years?
Funnily enough, I think GuilFest was one of the best ones, I really loved that one. But, I think my ultimate favourite would be Sonisphere which was two years ago back and that was brilliant. We went on before Alice Cooper and that was just great I got real kick out of doing 'Cars' in front of a rock audience. When that song came out I think every rocker in the world hated the ground I walked on because it wasn't real music and I found it funny doing 'Cars' and everyone going mental. I remember thinking, "30 years ago they would have hung me up and chopped my arms off to doing this, and here we are." So that was good fun.

As we are talking festivals if you were to run a stall at a festival what would you sell?
Do you know what that's a brilliant question, I've never been asked that before. Is it raining? (probably - laughs) then I'd sell waders with all your different favourite bands all over them. Merchandised waders.

There could be a market in that.
There could be, especially after these last few weeks (laughs).

You've been to quite a few festivals over the years what advice would you give to a band who has never been to one before?
I wouldn't worry about what time you go on it. In my opinion the best slot is the when it is changing, where it's going from daylight to dark, that's a brilliant slot if you can get it, get that one. Try and get it because that is cool. You start off in daylight and then as it progresses it starts to get dark, the lights are coming on and there's this huge atmosphere lift that has nothing to do with you really, and that massive atmosphere lift as the lights start to kick in means you can feel the whole thing start to come alive and it goes to a different level. If you can get that slot it's really cool.

But generally speaking I wouldn't get too hung up on where you are on the bill. Some people really seem to get bothered about where they are on a bill. I personally don't give a fuck whether it's one o'clock in the afternoon or five, six or eleven o'clock it doesn't matter to me, but that transition time is a really good one if you get it. But you have to be pretty good to get offered it.

Apart from that just love it. If you like being in a band and being on stage, doing what you do and that's the most important thing to you, then I don't think there are any better places to play than festivals. By and large they are brilliant places, a brilliant thing to do with great atmosphere, great to hang around with other bands which you don't really get to do when you are doing your own tours. Great to be seen by thousands of people whether they want to see you or not. Your chance to prove yourself. It's a perfect showcase for bands that have got something to offer.

Who is the best band you've got to hang out with at a festival?
Nine Inch Nails are pretty cool. We know Trent pretty well I did about five shows with them, their last four shows in Los Angeles, and were their guests on their O2 show when they did London. The last London show they did, that was a pretty cool thing to be a part of. Love the music, and love them as people.

Thanks for your time an enjoy GuilFest.
Thank you.

....and if the career doesn't work out there's always your waders shop to fall back on.
(laughs) yeah true.

The award winning, family friendly, 3 day camping festival GuilFest takes place in Stoke Park, Guildford from Friday 13th to Sunday 15th July 2012.

Unlike some other festivals, you can immediately feel that this festival with a capacity of 25,000 is being run to give everyone a great time, rather than to get rich quick!

The line-up includes Olly Murs, Bryan Ferry, Jools Holland & His Rhythm and Blues Orchestra feat. Roland Gift, Tulisa, Jimmy Cliff, Republica, Candi Staton, Cher Lloyd, Tim Minchin, Chic feat. Nile Rodgers, The Straits, The Wonder Stuff, Postman Pat and Jess, Zingzillas, Levi Roots, ahab, Elvis and Friends, Black Spiders, Goldblade, Buzzcocks, The Undertones, Nouvelle Vague, Skindred, Beth Hart, Young Guns, The Wurzels, Ash, ABC, The South, Heaven 17, The Beat, Andy C, Benga, Sub Focus (DJ set), Kids In Glass Houses, StooShe, The Skints, TV Smith, DragSTER, Bjorn Again, Dodgy, Alvin Stardust, Bastille, Rolo Tomassi, Glitterband, Feed The Rhino, Lost Alone, TRC, Dismantle, Millions Like Us, The Priscillas, Chords, Take Fat, The Ramonas, Tyrannosaurus Alan, Yashin, New Town Kings, The Sex Pistols Experience, Stone Foundation, Rubber Bandits, Mr B The Gentleman Rhymer, John Spillane, Friction, Subscape, Sigma, Brookes Brothers, Pyramid, Polar, Ben Montague, Devil Sold His Soul, Invaders, Charley Farley Sunday Four, Nell Bryden, Pint Shot Riot, Street 13, Rock Choir, and Crowns.

For the line-up details, day and stage splits, as available please click here.

The line-up is always quality, so there's more enjoyment to be got from the bands than you might expect and there's also late night entertainment.

An adult weekend camping ticket is priced at £130, adult weekend tickets without camping are priced at £115, child (aged 12-15 years old) weekend with camping £80 and child weekend tickets without camping are priced at £65. A campervan ticket is priced at £60.

People aged 16 years and over at the time of the festival will have to buy an adult ticket. Anyone under 16 years old must be accompanied by an adult aged 18 years or over. Children aged 12-15 years old at the time of the festival will need to purchase a child's ticket. Children aged 11 years or younger at the time of the festival are admitted free accompanied by an adult with a valid ticket.

To buy tickets from Seetickets, click here.

To buy tickets from Ticketline, click here.

There's live music over seven stages, comedy in the eFestivals Cosmic Comedy tent, The Man In The Moon Theatre Tent, Farmer Giles' barn dance, children's entertainment, street theatre, art and crafts, and delicious food from around the world. There will also be a late licensed 150 foot beer tent bar which means nobody has to wait very long for refreshment, cocktail bars, and lots of clean toilets throughout the site and camping areas.

The extensive Kidzone features fun, games, theatre and activities, with circus performances, face painting, and fun rides. On the Sunday it's over to the children for the annual Kids Parade, where the children get to show the rest of the festival what they have made over their weekend.

Facilities adjacent to Stoke Park include The Guildford Lido which is only 2 minutes walk and The Spectrum Leisure Centre, great for hot showers, a sauna or a swim. The historic town is itself only 10 minutes walk away and has shops, cafes restaurants, bars and pubs galore; Guildford even has its own castle!

eFestivals is again proud to be a sponsor of GuilFest in 2012, as part of our commitment to put 10% of our turnover back into festivals.

Gary Numan
interview by: Scott Williams

Friday 13th to Sunday 15th July 2012
Stoke Park, Guildford, Surrey., England MAP
£115 adult weekend, or £130 with camping
daily capacity: 25000
last updated: Fri 3rd Jan 2014

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