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Bruce Gilbert: shivering man

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  • Ahead of this Sunday's live show with Mika Vainio, the Wire man discusses his groundbreaking 80s solo work
  • published
    10 May 2011
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How were the albums promoted, marketed and positioned by Mute at the time?

“Mute did their best given the nature of the material.”

How did you first encounter Angela Conway and come to work with her? It seems your association with her yielded some amazing stuff – the AC Marias album, ‘Eline Cout II’, etc…

“Angela Conway and I were partners. I was obviouslly aware of her artistic qualities and her unique vocal approach but didn’t know how to bring it into ‘the open’ until there was some down-time on a Wire studio session and we were able to develop an idea which became the the first Dome release – a 45 single by AC Marias, ‘Drop’/'So ‘, which I’m told is worth many pounds now.

“We were lucky enough to be given (again by the sainted Daniel Miller) the opportunity to make several records and Angela was given the chance to make several excellent videos. Angela is today a practicing fine artist and has worked on various community art projects.”

“The idea of an overlap between the arts is not new but Michael Clark brought it bang up to date with a vengeance.”


How did you fall into the orbit of Michael Clark? Was dance something you were personally interested in? Did it feel like there was a lot of potential in the overlap between different arts at the time?

“I met Michael Clark when I was staring at some guitar effects pedals in a shop on Charing Cross Road and an amazingly beautiful young man tapped me on the shoulder and said, ‘Are you [Wire drummer] Robert Gotobed? I want to use some Wire music for a ballet piece, do you mind?’. We became friends and later he asked me to make sound for a number of danceworks. The idea of an overlap between the arts is not new but Michael brought it bang up to date with a vengeance.”

Both The Shivering Man and This Way were remastered by Russell Haswell for Editions Mego’s recent reissues. Am I right in thinking that you and Russell go way back? Did you feed into the re-mastering process, or did you just let him do his thing?

“Russell Haswell was a fine art student with an unhealthy interest in Death Metal and noise in general when I first met him. He was the first ‘techno boy’ I had encountered who had fine art sensibilities. He was an enormous help to me and very generous with his time computer editing some of my projects. I would trust him with my life, never mind re-mastering.”

How did you come to release your work through Mego?

[Mego boss] Peter Rehberg and I have been friends for many years from the time he was a DJ in a bar. He was a very significant factor in promoting electronic music in Vienna and is an artist in his own right so when he created Mego it seemed perfectly natural for us to work together. It’s thanks to his enthusiasm and determination that This Way and The Shivering Man have been re-released 25 years after their first appearance. The relationship will, I hope, continue with plans to re-release old work and put out new items.”

” I would trust Russell Haswell with my life, never mind re-mastering.”


How, if at all, does Oblivio Agitatum relate to This Way and The Shivering Man?

Oblivio was made entirely at home with a modest amount of modern technology. The process was very  similar to previous work done in a studio but without without the sheen brought to it by an expert engineer and the constrictions of time (having said that there was a lot thinking and pacing about but because I am fairly impatient much of the work is the result of ‘live’ performance).

What you’re working on at the moment? Any recorded releases planned for the near future?

A 45 vinyl ,’Re-exit’, is being released by Touch very soon. I’m collaborating with Beaconsfield Gallery/Art Centre on a live installation, and I have started some new work.”


Kiran Sande




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