Vogue Italia JUNE 2009 - by Federico Chiara & Elisa Pervinca Bellini


Electronic gospel? Transcendental concerts? They're presided over by the minister of musical cults, David Byrne, who "rediscovers" Brian Eno.

The file labelled "David Byrne/Brian Eno" was closed in 1982, after having generated the New Wave sound of Talking Heads and the sampling contained on the seminal album, My Life In The Bush Of Ghosts. Today, to demonstrate that music, like fashion, is an eternal recurrence, the file reopens. "It's no big deal," explains Byrne, speaking on the phone after a concert in Seattle. "In 2006 I met up with Brian to discuss the remastered edition of My Life In The Bush Of Ghosts, twenty-five years after its initial release. So that's how we resumed contact."

Legend tells that over a few drinks during a New York dinner, the world's most famous producer confided to the eclectic composer/artist that he had a cassette with a lot of unfinished instrumental tracks - and that Byrne, his curiosity sparked, proposed to write some lyrics. It was supposed to be two tracks, but a whole album developed out of it instead: the catchy Everything That Happens Will Happen Today. Eleven melodic songs that, together with some previous collaborations with Brian Eno, the ex-Talking Head will tour in Italy this month.

"I like playing live very much. I'm at a point in my career where I don't have to tour if I don't want to. But I think concerts will increase in importance in future. They make people come out of the solitary state in which they find themselves", declares Byrne.

Until a few years ago, he was so antisocial that he considered himself to be affected by a certain type of autism - Asperger syndrome. "In the company of others I felt so uncomfortable, so nude, that I had to figure out another way of communicating." Now Byrne confesses to having a lot more self-confidence, as a musician and as a performer, and to having become more "social".

This is reflected in the spiritual optimism of the album that Brian Eno has defined as electronic gospel, culminating in the song, One Fine Day. "People move forward, they resist and live their dreams despite horrible conditions and circumstances," Byrne explains. "If there's a message to give during an apparently hopeless crisis, then this is it. But I don't want it to seem like a Disney version of life."

When we speak about art, the conversation becomes even more astringent. "Artistic originality will always exist. Maybe it will have great difficulties in finding a market. But this is an economic problem, not a creative one, because this is a spiritual exigency. And our times are crossed by that need for ancestral spirituality and instinctive transcendence that I've directed into this recording."

Can art, such as music, manage to channel all of that? "Certainly. Looking back I've often discovered that some of my songs were a type of premonition of what ended up happening to me. Art, in all its forms, offers the opportunity to express that which perhaps is alive on an irrational and unconscious level, but which is not yet present." We're sure that Brian Eno agrees.