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Andy Mackay of Roxy Music talks about the new album ‘AM PM’

Andy Mackay of Roxy Music chatted about his new album “AM PM” with his bandmate Phil Manzanera.

Phil Manzanera and Andy Mackay of Roxy Music
Phil Manzanera and Andy Mackay of Roxy Music. Photo Credit: Matthew Becker
Phil Manzanera and Andy Mackay of Roxy Music. Photo Credit: Matthew Becker

Andy Mackay of Roxy Music chatted about his new album “AM PM” with his bandmate Phil Manzanera. It will be released on October 13 via BFD/The Orchard.

“It was one of those lockdown projects really,” he said. “We couldn’t see each other for many months and some years so we were sending the tracks across virtually to work on them. Phil Manzanera organized it and we got Paul Thompson to come along and do some more drums.”

“We went into the studio and did some extra bits and pieces. It sounded really great; I was really pleased with how it came together. It really sounded like the music that we were doing a long time ago,” he added.

Favorite song on the album

Mackay listed “Blue Skies” as his personal favorite tune on the album. “The opening track is great,” he admitted. “It sounds a bit like what Roxy Music would do in the studio, it is very exciting.”

“This album came out of a time when we really all were quite reflective,” he said. “I don’t know how lockdown worked in the United States. I live in central London, but I was actually living down on the coast in Brighton, which is about 50 miles from London at the time, and I got stuck there for most of 2020. Phil was stuck in his house not too far away, but we weren’t allowed to travel or mix.”

“For six months or more, we didn’t see anyone. We just spoke to people on the phone or via Zoom. It was a strange time and it made us very reflective. There was a fear of death during that time especially with the older people,” he elaborated.

“There was an atmosphere around that time, and I think the music is quite relative and reflective, and quite spontaneous too,” he added.

The digital age

On being an artist in the digital age, now with streaming, technology, and social media being so prevalent, he said, “There is an upside and a downside to it. The interesting thing is that it is easier than it has ever been to actually make music. We couldn’t have done it at all in time more than 10 years ago because the ability to send music around and in decent quality is relatively new.”

“On the other hand, it is very hard to make money out of music, these days,” he said. “Back then, the process was much more formal, but you got paid more when you sold a unit of music. What you get paid these days is so small that is almost negligible.”

“These days, we make music because we can, and we’ve got the equipment to do it. We can release it and people can listen to it. If we make a little bit of money out of it, that’s an incidental bonus now, which is great for somebody like me who has been fortunate to have had a career that has supported me. It is terrible now for people who are starting a career in music now,” he said.

“What is great about it is that we can share what we do pretty easily, and I wish everyone could afford to do that and live as well. We are lucky and we should be aware of that,” he added.

Resurgence of vinyl

“Vinyl has definitely been outselling CDs,” he said. “Even a CD is a nice format compared to a stream. The 12 inch square format of vinyl is very attractive. It is bulky but not so bulky to the point where you can’t handle it or carry it around with you.”

“Also, back in the day, you needed to save up your money to buy a record every few weeks so when you got it, you would value it and handle it very carefully. All of that was great because it increased your respect for what musicians were doing,” he said.

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction

Mackay was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2019 as a member of Roxy Music. “That was a huge honor and kind of unexpected, to be honest,” he admitted. “I didn’t even know that we were nominated until quite close to when the results came out. It was a big surprise to me. It was great. Every year, there are a lot of nominees and all of them are deserving.”

“It was a great honor, and it was very exciting,” he exclaimed. “For us, and Roxy Music, it was kind of interesting because we hadn’t worked together since 2010 or 2011. That was an opportunity for us to perform four numbers in public. That kind of kicked off the opportunity for the tour that we did last year.”

“The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is great. The people are lovely… they really value and respect artists and music,” he added.

Favorite Roxy Music songs

“I like the first album and the last album the best,” he said about his favorite songs with Roxy Music.

“I tend to not have favorites, but I like the general mood of ‘Avalon.’ It is strange hearing ‘Avalon’ now, it certainly sounds good. I am very fond of ‘Virginia Plain,’ which was the track that kicked off our career to some extent. ‘Love is the Drug’ is a track that has always been very good for us,” he acknowledged.

Success

On his definition of the word success, he said, “Success means sold-out concerts and playing nice venues. I still like that live connection. It is one thing to say that you sold a lot of units but it’s another to stand in front of an audience that enjoys it, that’s the showbiz thing and that’s what keeps you going.”

Closing thoughts on the new album

Mackay remarked about the new CD “AM PM,” “I would like people to listen to it and enjoy it. It’s almost like a mirror, there are a lot of different moods that you can reflect off it.”

“This album leaves a lot to the imagination, and it can mean something different to everyone. It’s more unusual than a Roxy Music album where every song has a theme. It leaves space for people to think,” he concluded.

Markos Papadatos
Written By

Markos Papadatos is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for Music News. Papadatos is a Greek-American journalist and educator that has authored over 21,000 original articles over the past 18 years. He has interviewed some of the biggest names in music, entertainment, lifestyle, magic, and sports. He is a 16-time "Best of Long Island" winner, where for three consecutive years (2020, 2021, and 2022), he was honored as the "Best Long Island Personality" in Arts & Entertainment, an honor that has gone to Billy Joel six times.

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