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Interview with

Paul Kendall / Recoil

Paul Kendall also known as PK or Piquet is a sound engineer, producer, mixer and composer. Meeting Daniel Miller of Mute Records in the 1984 got him into contact with such bands as NITZER EBB, DEPECHE MODE and eventually RECOIL. During his 11 years at Mute's Worldwide Studios, he worked with most of the artists on the label and out-of-house acts such as NIN, PRIMAL SCREAM or and THE JESUS AND MARY CHAIN, amongst others. RECOIL, the solo project of ex-DEPECHE MODE member Alan Wilder, is set to release an album in the spring of 2010 entitled 'Selected'.

The double CD will feature a second disc which will include many new remixes and alternative versions, again chosen and edited together by Alan and Paul Kendall. In support of the album, there will be a RECOIL Events tour which will take place across Europe and in the US between March and May. After we already interviewed Alan Wilder, not it is time for his partner in crime, Paul Kendall.

Reflections of Darkness (RoD): Hello Paul! This will be the first time that you’ll make a live appearance in Budapest (Hungary). What is your knowledge of our country?
Paul Kendall (PK): Sadly not much apart from the humiliation the England football team suffered in the 50's at the feet of Ferenc Puskas.

RoD: Now, you’re on tour with Alan Wilder to promote the first ever “best of” RECOIL release, called ‘Selected’. Have you ever been on a tour or is it quite a new experience for you to create / make music outside the studio?
PK: I have never been on tour before as the studio was my preferred place of work. I've done a few concerts in the past with Wire and recently with Olivia Louvel. But I have enjoyed the last few weeks and look forward to the remaining concerts.

RoD: You played several concerts from Barcelona to Bucharest from mid March to early April. Which one was the most interesting gig for you?
PK: All the concerts were interesting in one way or another. For me the sound is the most important aspect and generally we have made a good noise. It was a little difficult in Hamburg as the concert was in a church, a stunningly beautiful environment but not built for electronic music. Our audiences have been very supportive and a pleasure to talk to after the shows. I guess the most frustrating thing for me has been that it is difficult to see very much of the cities in which we play, hotel room and concert hall is the norm.

RoD: How did you compile the RECOIL tracks with Alan for these special live events?
PK: We had some DJ mix versions of RECOIL with some loops from remixes and then Alan had ideas for which songs he wanted to include. We then created new versions of old songs by editing, reducing and processing existing material to construct completely new versions. We took a long time working on the order and watching the video used to accompany the sound.

RoD: Which one is your personal favourite from the entire RECOIL back-catalogue?
PK: Absolutely impossible to answer this question, but perhaps the first time we worked together was the most challenging, ‘Poison Dub’. [PK mixed this version of ‘Drifting’. (Catalogue-Number: CDMute209) - Author’s Note]

RoD: You are a long-time associate of Mute Records and you worked as a re-mixer with a lot of artists on the label, like DEPECHE MODE, ERASURE or NITZER EBB just to mention a few. Which remix is in your opinion the best done?
PK: I would say that the most important was the 'Pool Mix' for NITZER EBB’s ‘Getting Closer’. They seem to hate guitars at the time so my remix was full of guitars. However the best remix from my personal pleasure was also a NITZER EBB tune, ‘I Thought’, I did something called the ‘Final Sin Mix’. It was the first time I'd done a mix using pro-tools to so much effect.

RoD: Your first wife was a member of FAD GADGET, who was the first artist signed by Mute Records. Then you did the mixing / engineering for Frank Tovey’s LP’s. What are your best memories of him?
PK: Frank was a lovely man and his premature death came as a huge shock. I heard the news in Paris, where I was living at the time, from Joni Sackett who had Barbara Frost (Frank's ex-wife) staying with her in New York. I had many interesting times with Frank and his various band members but perhaps my fondest memory was the recording for 'Grand Union' [album by Frank Tovey, released in 1991 - Author’s Note] which took place in the wilds of Cornwall at a beautiful secluded studio called 'Sawmills'.

RoD: In 2003 you released the experimental CD ‘Capture’ under the name Digital Intervention. For this release you joined forces with the French female singer Olivia Louvel and the track ‘Coma Idyllique’ features additional production by Alan Wilder. Are there any plans to continue the ‘Parallel Series’ works?
PK: The ‘Parallel Series’ was an ambitious concept that probably will not happen again. Olivia is now producing her own work (I just mix the songs). We did a concert as the 'Digital Intervention' a few months ago on a boat on the canals of Strasbourg which was good fun and there is always the possibility that we may record some more things together.

RoD: Someone described you and Alan as “Siamese twins” because of your long-time partnership and because you feel each other’s needs and desires when you make music together. Is it a correct description of you?
PK: We fulfil different functions, Alan is very much the musician and arranger and I spatialise the sound and work with particular attention to the voice. I am very happy in this role as I love manipulating existing sound and don't get too concerned for the harmonic / melodic areas.

RoD: And finally, what are your next plans after finishing the RECOIL tour?
PK: Moving to a new flat near the seaside in Sussex, finishing my new little studio and hopefully spending the summer watching cricket and the world cup from South Africa. Simple pleasures are the most satisfying.

Upcoming RECOIL - Selected Dates:
2010-04-09 I Milan Magazzini Generali
2010-04-10 I Rome Circolo degli Artisti
2010-04-11 GR Athens Fuzz Club
2010-04-16 HU Budapest Diesel Club Tickets: /
2010-04-17 CZ Prague KC Vltavska
2010-04-20 PL Lodz Klub Wytwornia
2010-04-23 F Paris Le Bus Palladium
2010-04-25 UK London Islington Academy
2010-04-28 S Gothenburg Storan
2010-04-30 RU Moscow Discoteque
2010-05-01 RU Yekaterinburg Tele-Club
2010-05-02 RU St. Petersburg Club Jagger

Douglas McCarthy will join Alan and PK again for the ‘Selected Event’ in Budapest!
16.04.2010: Budapest - Diesel Club


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