Marillion man tunes in to a techno generation

Steve Hogarth
Steve Hogarth
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MARILLION front man Steve Hogarth this week released his most unusual sounding collaboration – using guitar FX pedals on his voice – in his first album to be ‘created via email’.

Hogath has teamed up with pal Richard Barbieri, who is best known for creating the synthesizer sound of the group Japan – which influenced bands such as The Human League and Duran Duran.

Music fans listening to Not The Weapon But The Hand can expect to hear singing in one ear and spoken words in the other. “It is almost like vocal theatre, but that is quite misleading because it sounds a bit pretentious,” explains Hogarth.

“It is this idea of having more than one character in it, which you don’t have much in music, certainly outside of theatre music. This album is different vocally. I have also been processing my voice through guitar FX pedals, for example, and using my voice as an instrument. I have been working in a completely different way.”

In addition to the 12 albums Hogarth has released with Marillion since 1989, the 53 year old, who lives near Silverstone, has also recorded and toured as a solo artist under the name h.

The singer says that after initial discussions with Barbieri, he would be emailed mp3 instrumental compositions to listen to.

“I always knew that if he was given space, away from the influence of other artists, he would create something special,” says Hogarth “He would send me a variety of mp3s, which were all different but had his unmistakable sound. I would sit down trying to write lyrics to them in my studio with a microphone making vocal experiments.”

Before the album was released, an online discussion between Marillion fans showed that only one person out of 200 did not like it. A delighted Hogarth said: “Marillion’s own fan base seems to like this, even though it sounds nothing like Marillion. So far it has a good response.”

The Aylesbury-based band are known for their affection for the town’s Market Square – through records such as Market Square Heroes and Kayliegh. In 2007 the original line-up performed at the Hobble On The Cobbles festival, which ran into difficulty (after it was cancelled last year and again this year under the guise of Hobble At The Waterside).

Hogarth said that the group would like to see the festival continue and would consider performing if the dates worked out.

Marillion are currently recording a new album, due out later this year.

For more about Hogarth’s latest release, visit www.nottheweaponbutthehand.com