Dead Can Dance was formed in 1981 made up of Brendan Perry and Lisa Gerrard bringing other world ambient music to their dedicated fan base for three decades. Now with his new solo album Ark, Perry returns to the scene after an eleven year recording break. Aside from writing all the lyrics on Ark, Perry plays every instrument to mesh with his distinct voice. Glide recently caught up to him on the road to discuss his latest endeavor.
So you are calling from the bus. I heard the song “Icarus” last night and some new songs. What are working on?
The subject matter is very different than on Ark. The songs are reflections on love really. They are love songs. I have a working title and a general vibe I can work from. It is about all aspects of love, material, human, nature, life, essence, and spirit.
Is “Icarus” based on the old tale?
Kind of, yeah. It is really about the notion of people who just stay in one place all the time. It is fear of going to the outside world and exploring the world in which they live. I used the metaphor of someone who has to spread their wings in order for them to reach for the stars. Even though the tale of Icarus is more a folly about not heeding advice, I have given it my twist. It’s about man’s constant struggle to want to improve and go beyond in their learning. People can go out and escape their towns or small villages.
I thought Astrid Williamson was amazing on the keyboards at your show. Have you worked with her a long time?
For the past year, we have done about 50 concerts together. She has a new album coming out in August. It is called Pulse. I would look out for it. It is really special.
How did you hook up with Robin Guthrie from the Cocteau Twins on this tour?
I have known Robin for years and it just so transpired that he married a woman from Breton and I did too. It is a British area in France. He moved over and we have been playing together since I went over there one year for Christmas visiting my wife’s family. We just started where we left off all of those years ago. I suggest that he come on the American tour while I promote Ark. A double bill was a no-brainer. We complement each other really well.
How do you take care of your voice? Beside that whiskey tea you were drinking last night…
(laughs) The whiskey flavored tea oh yes… I guess not talking too much, although it kind of adds to the gravel of it. It gives it a nice texture. It is hard work. With air conditioning it really dries out the throat. Basically just drinking lots of liquids and fluids is the key.
There is an old story where the air conditioning was on and Aretha Franklin flipped out.
Oh yeah, it does effect it.
Your concert made me think of the 4AD label and all of the amazing artists from it. It is over correct?
Well, there is a resurgence of form. They went through a real dip or slide in terms of quality after Ivo Watts-Russell, the guiding light of the company left. Recently they got back into it and there are some really good groups like one of my favorites Blonde Redhead. They are doing well as a company now. It was even suggested to me that I should resign to them for the Dead Can Dance album we are doing this winter. I think I would like to move on to an independent record label. The more of the way I see things transpiring with big record companies becoming less and less of a need. You can do it yourself now especially if you have history and little bit of production money behind it. This is a more hands on approach now.
You have a website?
Yes, along with FaceBook, Myspace and build up my mailing lists of people so I can get in touch with them directly. It is a slow process but it is the way to do it these days. It is quite exciting to have that direct relationship with your audience.
The audience last night had girls crying from hearing your voice.
Oh, were they?
Very emotional for people so keep doing what you are doing.
They were a fantastic audience I have to say. I like vocal audiences. Ones that vocalize their appreciation, they don’t just clap and then there is silence.
They were yelling out things last night.
That’s fine. I don’t mind. It is really a compliment. This concert works better in a stand up venue where people can move and feel less inhibited. I like that party atmosphere.