Complicated Sounds- Edward Ka-Spel


Edward Ka-Spel :

Edward Ka-Spel, born 23 January 1954 in London, is an English singer/songwriter and musician residing in the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. Edward Ka-Spel is best known as the lead singer, keyboard and electronics player, songwriter and co-founder of the band The Legendary Pink Dots, in which he was initially known as D’Archangel, Prophet Q’Sepel and other pseudonyms. He has also released numerous solo albums (initially featuring other members of the Legendary Pink Dots) and has worked in various different projects besides The Legendary Pink Dots, including The Tear Garden (with cEvin Key of Skinny Puppy), and Mimir (with Phil Knight, Christoph Heemann, Jim O’Rourke and others). Ka-Spel’s solo albums range from abstract electronic noise to more traditional pop songs, incorporating diverse elements of psychedelia, industrial, avant-garde, experimental electronic, art pop, classical music, folk (nursery songs), sampling, noise, collage, music concrete, etc. His lyrics have been described as intensely mystical, incorporating recurrent themes from his own personal mythos. Ka-Spel’s songwriting has been compared (usually favourably) to that of Syd Barrett and early Pink Floyd, though the artist describes the comparison as being a coincidence, not a direct influence. Ka-Spel often appears on stage barefoot, wearing a long scarf and either pink or black optic glasses.

The Interview : 

Complicated Sounds had the opportunity to do a interview with Edward Ka-Spel. One of the most interesting and exciting interviews i have ever done. Hope you enjoy reading it as much as i did doing it….


[Complicated Sounds] : Could you tell a little about how you got started making music. Did you have any training or are you self taught?
[Edward Ka-Spel] : It was a serious dream from childhood. When I was small I listened intently to the radio and in my imagination songs I heard became larger, somehow more fantastic, otherworldly.  I simply wanted to contribute and expand that universe but I’m training at all.


[Complicated Sounds] : How did you got started as The Legendary Pink Dots, more than 30 years ago?
[Edward Ka-Spel] : Meeting up with Phil again after a few years of not seeing him. A few of us went to the Stonehenge Free Festival in 1980 and the 3 original LPDs (Phil, April and myself) witnessed a brilliant space rock band in a field in the middle of the night.  No-one else was watching. It was the seed of that 30+ year adventure.


[Complicated Sounds] : How and why did you come up with the name The Legendary Pink Dots?
[Edward Ka-Spel] : We used an old stand-up piano which had blobs of pink nail varnish on a few of the keys…referred to as “those Legendary Pink Dots”.  Somehow the name stuck.


[Complicated Sounds] : If a new listener was about to buy his/hers first recording from The Legendary Pink Dots or any of your other projects. Which one(s) would you recommend as the best introduction to your music?
[Edward Ka-Spel] : Maybe one of the better compilations such as “Canta Mientras Puedas” or the “All the King’s Horses/Men” pair of cds which give a broad view of what we do.


[Complicated Sounds] : Could you try and describe your own music, is there a concept or a specific idea with the way you make your sounds and where do you get your inspiration from?
[Edward Ka-Spel] : It’s personal and there to please ourselves with a hope that someone out there also likes it. But no compromises, it’s a law unto itself.



[Complicated Sounds] : Could you mention 5-10 records, that have meant something to you and the way you listen to music and tell us why?
[Edward Ka-Spel] : King Crimson/The Court of the Crimson King….started my thirst for that elusive other dimension. Pink Floyd/Ummagumma- Heard it at school.  Changed my world. Can/Tago Mago—One astonishing world of its own which I still enter frequently. Aphrodites Child/666- One of the most psychedelic albums ever conceived.  Miles Davis- Big Fun- My glorious introduction to jazz and it’s secrets.  Ilitch-10 Suicides….An atmosphere so vivid, the smoke stayed in your lungs


[Complicated Sounds] : There are so many different records to listen to, from The Legendary Pink Dots but also from your other side projects. Could you tell us a little about some of those side projects?
[Edward Ka-Spel] : The solo records are like the laboratory. Tear garden is a long standing project with Cevin Key who is a friend for 28 years now..Mimir is for the joy of seeing creations I’m involved with being put in the hands of Christoph Heemann,who is fearless in his search for that other place.


[Complicated Sounds] : What can we expect in the future from The Legendary Pink Dots and your many different projects?
[Edward Ka-Spel] : 3 albums in the pipeline for this year.  “The Gethsemane Option” due in June; “A Rainy Day That’s Yet To Come” (vinyl release on a Swiss label); and a vinyl picture disc,”The Curse of Marie-Antoinette”.  Tour plans for USA too.  I’m also really enjoying the “Remaster” series on Bandcamp as some albums (especially Shadow Weaver, Golden Age for example have sprung to life with the new masters)- but sadly these will probably remain download only.


[Complicated Sounds] : You have an on-going series of releases called Chemical Playschool. I have been looking around for some info about volume 5, 6, 7 and 14 but can not find anything. Seems like those volumes are not released yet, so my question is if they ever will be?
[Edward Ka-Spel] : CP14 is in fact “Synesthesia”.  CP5/6 was made but never released (most of it can be found on “Stained glass Soma Fountains”).  There is no CP7.


[Complicated Sounds] : Your newest release is Chemical Playschool 15 out on Rustblade. Could you tell us about this releases and the ongoing series of releases in this series?
[Edward Ka-Spel] : Volume 16 slowly gathers momentum, but it needs at least another year.  The CP series is about tampering with test-tubes and taking the silliest risks just to see what happens next.


[Complicated Sounds] : Do you have any plans of touring in the near future?
[Edward Ka-Spel] : America/Canada in the Fall.
[Complicated Sounds] : I heard from a friend that you are superstitous of the number 14, Is this true? As many people are superstitious of the number 13, thus the reason why many buildings have no 13th floor, but what is it specifically about the number 14 and are there any other numbers that you are superstitous of?
[Edward Ka-Spel] : The superstition concerns the number 7 in fact, and more so 17. Used to live at house 17 and don’t have such fond memories of the place. So yes, 7s, derivatives of 7s , I tend to avoid. 13 tends to be good news.



[Complicated Sounds] : Over the years you have released your music on many various labels, including Soleilmoon, Beta-lactam ring, ROIR and Rustblade just to name a few. Your latest music (Taos Hum and Fire Island) has been released as self produced CD-R’s. Is this how you will be releasing music in the future or do you still plan to release music through record labels?
[Edward Ka-Spel] : Next main LPD album is for Metropolis Records while more plans in the pipeline for BLRR, Soleilmoon, and Rustblade (Curse of Marie Antoinette), but CDRs will also continue as we take great pride in them.


[Complicated Sounds] : You release music both in groups (Tear Garden, Legendary Pink Dots, Ulkomaalaiset) and as a solo artist. How do you keep this seperated from each other and what is the difference between them?
[Edward Ka-Spel] : Well, different people involved…musically my voice is the common denominator. Ulkomaalaiset was a one-off project with Alena and a friend in Finland.


[Complicated Sounds] : Are there any plans on releasing music again as Tear garden?
[Edward Ka-Spel] : Yes, it’s very much an ongoing project.


[Complicated Sounds] : Is it possible for you to live off your music or do you have a “normal” job on the side?
[Edward Ka-Spel] : I live from it, but it’s a knife-edge most of the time.

[Complicated Sounds] : Some of your music is both available as cd, vinyl and download. Which media do you prefer?
[Edward Ka-Spel] : Vinyl every time…


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