NEW Combo BLUWAVS CD and FLAC FILE
EXCLUSIVE! Level 42’s Mark King speaks toabout his classic solo album Influences, released by Polydor in July 1984.
MP: Can you just briefly summarize the story behind Influences? Was it your idea or did Polydor come to you?
MK: I was signed to Polydor Records via Level 42 and had a young, heavily-pregnant wife and needed to buy somewhere to live. This was back in 1981 I hasten to add, so Influences showing up in 1984 was really down to my tardiness in addressing the fact that I had taken the advance (£5,000) and, apart from delivering a single ‘Freedom‘, had somehow neglected to fulfil my contractual obligations! Polydor were actually very sweet about it and just before the agreement was due to expire gently reminded me that I needed to deliver an album.
You’ve talked about having loads of ideas in the tank for the album but how did you piece them all together on ‘The Essential’? Did you have to demo all the different sections before recording?
I may have exaggerated the ‘loads of ideas in the tank’ bit, but when push came to shove I booked a few days at Chipping Norton Studio and dived in. The opening piece ‘The Essential’ began on the studio Hammond B3 which
Mike Vernon informed me had been used on the Focus album Moving Waves. I’m no keyboard player, but I fired her up and just hit the notes. Next I programmed the drum machine with a pattern so I could lay down some bass and guitar, and the riff and melodies just wrote themselves really. I was jamming with myself I guess, ha! Anyway, that’s how all the sections came to be, and in the twinkling of an eye I was 20 minutes into the album.
What was it like getting back into drumming again for the album? ‘There Is A Dog’ is an amazing tour-de-force.
Ta. I never stopped drumming, that’s what I love to do!