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Soft Cell’s Marc Almond brings his tainted love of dark London to the Barbican

PUBLISHED: 12:14 28 February 2014 | UPDATED: 12:14 28 February 2014

Marc Almond and John Harle Photo Shoot Oct 2013
For The Tyburn Tree Album
©NOBBY CLARK
+44(0)7941-515770
+44(0)20-7924-0302
nobby@nobbyclark.co.uk

Marc Almond and John Harle Photo Shoot Oct 2013 For The Tyburn Tree Album ©NOBBY CLARK +44(0)7941-515770 +44(0)20-7924-0302 nobby@nobbyclark.co.uk

©Nobby Clark nobby@nobbyclark.co.uk

He rose to fame with Soft Cell and the pop classic Tainted Love, and has since gone on to establish himself as one of Britain’s most eclectic solo artists.

This Sunday, Marc Almond is coming to the Barbican to turn his ear to London’s dark history. Here, he looks forward to the event and reflects on his dauntingly diverse career.

Tell about your new project, The Tyburn Tree

It is is my collaboration with composer, musician, producer John Harle. It is a musical song cycle about dark London and its myths and folklore. The Tyburn Tree was the name for the Hanging Gallows at Marble Arch.

What was it that drew you to the subject matter of London?

London’s colourful and dark history has always held a deep fascination for me and I’ve collected and read many books on it. My favourite periods of London history are Georgian and Victorian and even though the city is undergoing a lot of new building work, sometimes sadly losing some of its history, you can still see many places of historical note and link them with the stories of things that happened there.

Something which you mention in one or two interviews is the idea that suffering can be a spur to creativity. Is that something you’ve felt in your own life?

They say that happiness is the enemy of work and creativity. Certainly some of my best songs and performances have come from bad times. When I’m writing songs and I’m feeling happy I just think back to bad times and tell myself the happiness won’t last. It rarely does.

The Soft Cell song Frustration dealt with the perils of being ordinary. Is it any consolation that, despite everything you’ve been through, you’ve at least managed to evade ordinariness?

I’ve had a very interesting life so far and it keeps being interesting with projects like The Tyburn Tree for example, which I find challenging. My saying is ‘it’s not about the future or about the past, it’s all about the ride’ and so far the ride has been quite exciting.

Now with more than 30 years to look back with a fresh perspective, how do you feel about Tainted Love?

I have a great fondness for Tainted Love and I’ll always be happy to sing it. It gets such a great reaction. When I tour with Jools Holland and his band – which I’m doing all this year – we do a big band version with brass which works so well. I couldn’t exactly pinpoint its continuous success, it’s very infectious and its timeless simple mix of synthesizer and vocal still gives it a modern sound. It’s been sampled by so many artists that it’s in people’s DNA now and is part of their treasured memories.

The Tyburn Tree comes to the Barbican this Sunday. Tickets from £15. Visit tyburntree.com.


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