Title: Raiders of the twentieth century
Author: Stuart Husband
Source: No. 1
Publish date: Feb 23 1985
ART OF NOISE RAIDERS OF THE TWENTIETH CENTURY
Hey hey they’re the Art Of Noise. People say they donkey around. But they’re too busy Talking to Stuart Husband…
Art Of Noise are coming out of the shadows.
Anne Dudley, Gary Langan, J.J. Jeczalik, plus ‘floating members’ ZTT producer Trevor Horn and publicist Paul Morley, have a top 10 single in ‘Close (To The Edit)’ and have decided it’s time to be a “proper group”.
Art Of Noise have been baffling people for nearly two years. Their first record was also the first release on Zang Tumb Tuum. ‘Into Battle With The Art Of Noise’ was an explosive collection of sounds that caused a stir and provoked the question: who are these people?
ZTT weren’t telling. Photos of spanners, cliffs, statues and masks were sent out with the record.
Now, the Noise-makers are revealed.
Gary Langan, “who goes to Australia quite a lot” , J.J. Jeczalik, “who’s interested in cricket”, Trevor Horn, “who goes boating in Bournemouth”, Paul Morley, “who reads a lot of slightly suspect books”. And Anne Dudley: “I’m not at all interested in the clarinet.”
It’s Anne who’s filling in the Art Of Noise blanks.
“They’re the Noise and I’m the Art,” she explains. Like the other Noise-makers, she’s “a fairly busy all-round kind of person.” All renowned session musicians, producers and arrangers.
“There aren’t many people we haven’t worked with between us.” To prove the point, she rattles off a list of people she’s worked with recently — Blancmange, George Michael, Paul McCartney, Limahl, Lloyd Cole, ABC…
Art Of Noise were born after J.J. and Gary had finished a “particularly boring” recording session with Yes. While messing around, they discovered a drum sound which they called ‘tack-boom-boom’. Anne added some music to it and Trevor fiddled with it. The first Art Of Noise ‘song’ was created.
“If Paul was here, he’d say something profound Like ‘Art Of Noise has always been there’,” reckons Anne. “He got the name from an Italian Futurist Manifesto. We were inspired by the Futurists (a group of radical artists who were scratching records as far back as the 1920s) as well as working on ‘Duck Rock’ with Malcolm McLaren.
“He was outrageous — he showed us that anything is possible.”
WHO’S AFRAID OF THE US CHARTS
From their slightly obscure beginnings, the Art Of Noise have grown. They topped the American dance chart with their next single ‘Beatbox’.
“The American success meant that people were talking about an Art Of Noise sound,” says Anne.
“We’d never thought of it before, but then we began to hear records with sounds that people had obviously copied off what we were doing. So we decided we should take the group a little more seriously.”
Art Of Noise released an LP ‘(Who’s Afraid Of) The Art Of Noise’, and watched “their most loved piece” ‘Close (To The Edit)’ bubble under the charts for months. When it finally started to climb, the group were faced with a choice.
“We could either stay in the shadows or come out and be a group,” reckons Anne.
“If you’re going to go out there to play the game with Strawberry Switch blade and The Colour Field and all these other groups, eventually you’re going to have to show yourself and do what groups do — have videos, go on Top Of The Pops.”
Would Art Of Noise consider the ultimate rockist step — that of playing live?
“We’d really love to. The ZTT concept for Art Of Noise is to be the Pink Floyd of the ‘80s. A group that’s innovative and interesting, that starts off quite… underground, I suppose, and eventually comes out and does a couple of interesting LPs, hopefully a couple of classic LPs.”
Anne describes what Art Of Noise do as “raiding the twentieth century”.
“In other words, everything is available to us. We’re influenced by anything. J.J. has a passion for Mahler. I have a passion for Stravinsky and Holst. And Nat King Cole.
“People are so narrow-mined. Pop in the 30s and 40s had a richness, a freshness, which I think we’ve lost. Bands nowadays are very conventional and get tied up in studios.
“There’s a kind of roughness in our records. We just think, ‘Oh, this’ll be fun, let’s stick this in — that’s why they’re such a mishmash!”
This very month, Art Of Noise have been accorded an exceptional accolade. They were voted Second Best Group (black music section) in the American magazine Billboard. Rockwell came top.
“They’ve obviously not seen what we look like,” laughs Anne.
Would Art Of Noise have happened without ZTT or Trevor Horn?
“No. No other company would have conceived of supporting a group of this nature.
Trevor’s an integral part of Art Of Noise. He’s the person I rate the highest out of anyone I’ve ever worked with. He’s got such good ears and an intuitive sense of what’s wrong and right. His contributions are invaluable.”
I’M DREAMING OF A NOISY CHRISTMAS
Art Of Noise are preparing a new single, which might or might not be ‘Moments In Love’. A cassette ‘telling the story’ of ‘Close (To The Edit)’ titled ‘That Was Close’, has just been released. And Anne wants to do “an Art Of Noise Christmas album.
“But apparently you’ve got to have it finished by June if you want it out in time.”
Art Of Noise are heading for greatness…