Marc Almond has just released his new album, Shadows And Reflections – a lavish collection of orchestral arrangements of iconic 60’s torch songs originally sung by artists such as Burt Bacharach, The Yardbirds, Bobby Darin and Julie Driscoll.
When signing with BMG, the brief was to do two albums, the first of which an orchestral cover versions album, produced with a full orchestra.
“I wanted to do something different,” says Marc. “I still wanted it to be a pop album, so I got producer Mike Stevens, who is a great arranger. He’s worked with artists like Annie Lennox and Take That.”
Marc begins a UK tour on 3rd October at London’s Royal Festival Hall. Across 18 dates, he will perform with a full orchestra playing songs from Shadows And Reflections, as well as other known and lesser known songs from the period.
London has been at the centre of many Marc Almond stories, both in solo and Soft Cell songs, but it’s a place that feels very different for the songwriter, compared to the sleazy city that was written about for Soft Cell’s 1981 debut album, Non-Stop Erotic Cabaret.
“I don’t feel a connection with it anymore,” says Marc. “Everybody through the decades has said they have grown up going to Soho when they come to London. They all have different experiences. I know there are many campaigns to save Soho, but it’s a really difficult thing to do because throughout the years it has always changed.”
“My first flat in London was on Brewer Street in Soho. It was quite a rough place back then. It was the place for the strip clubs and the hardcore cinemas. It was dangerous and exciting. Now it’s become, like most things in London, quite corporate.”
During his career, Marc has worked with Gene Pitney, Bronski Beat, Kelli Ali, Nico and Jarvis Cocker. Back in March 1999, Almond released his tenth solo studio album, Open All Night. The Fantastic Star follow-up featured a collaboration with The Creatures: Siouxsie Sioux and Budgie’s occasional side project.
“Soft Cell were really influenced by Siouxsie,” says Marc. “When I was at art college it was during the time of punk. I was into a lot of the punk bands but I liked Siouxsie best of all. You can even hear that I’m trying to sing like her on some of those early Soft Cell songs. I didn’t want to sing properly, I wanted to sing in a punk way.
Marc’s admiration of Siouxsie during the 70’s eventually paved the way for a future friendship, although he is still fazed by the reality to this day.
“I’m kind of terrified of her to be quite honest,” laughs Marc. “She was a huge influence and became a good friend of mine later on, which is quite weird. Even though I know her, I still can’t help thinking of her as Siouxsie Sioux, and I feel a bit in awe.”
Marc’s late 90’s collaboration with The Creatures was ‘Threat Of Love’, but he has mixed feelings about the track.
“I didn’t think it was entirely successful,” says Marc. “I loved the song but I think I was too conscious of who I was working with. I was trying to write a song that was very Siouxsie, when instead I should have written a song that had brought something different to it. I really like it now but at the time I thought it might have been a bit ‘Siouxsie-by-numbers’. But it was great working with the pair of them, and we performed it on stage, which was fantastic. It’s one of my favourite duet moments that I have done.”
● Marc Almond begins his UK tour on 3 Oct at London’s Royal Albert Hall. Check his official website for full tour dates.