Wang Chung’s Jack Hues Interview!
aaamusic | On 22, Jul 2010
Luke Cirillo talks to Jack Hues of the legendary Wang Chung!
AAAmusic: What has been the driving force that led to the reunion?
Jack Hues: Partly business: we did a new publishing deal recently and that had us looking at re-recording some of the old hits. Partly the fact that Nick and I actually had the time to devote to a new Wang Chung project, (or should I say Project Wang Chung?) and most importantly we both wanted to look at what Wang Chung would be like in the 21st Century. The new recordings sound great and we are now really enjoying being out on the road.
AAAmusic: You have been icons of the 80s, with “Dance Hall Days” leaving an idelible mark. Do you think that this great success has influences your artistic decisions?
JH: Success inevitably influences artistic decisions. At this distance from our 80’s success however I think we are fully independent and make our artistic decisions on our own terms. Having said that Wang Chung is a brand, if you like, and there some things that would not be appropriate for Wang Chung – I guess that’s why I have my jazz project, The-Quartet.
AAAmusic: What differences, if any, do you find in the way music is “lived” nowadays compared to the way it was in the 80s?
JH: Music is far more of a consumer product now, part of a supermarket of styles and options. In the 70’s & 80’s music was part of your identity in a fundamental way and was genuinely connected to counter-culture movements. There’s an upside to that in terms of one’s passionate commitment to a band, but there’s a downside too – a narrowness of focus that meant you missed out on all sorts of wonderful things. Sadly, music is more marginalized now – I feel very privileged to have lived through and been a part of this era in which music dominated the consciousness of youth culture. I think maybe we are coming to the end of that time and that consciousness is changing, a retrograde step in my opinion.
AAAmusic: I think the idea of splitting the new album in two, between old classics and new material, is great. What is the conenction point of your music?
JH: The Wang Chung-ness is the connection. We are a band with a strong musical identity. You can put on a Wang Chung record, old or new and within a couple of bars you know it’s us – you may not like it, but you know it’s us!! I think in the past our tendency to genre-hop from album to album, even track to track was confusing for record labels – not necessarily for audiences – but these days that eclectic thing is a plus. Growing up listening to Beatles records meant Nick and I took it for granted that a band’s identity would transcend the genre of a particular track – in fact I’ve never acknowledged “genre” as a valid way of catagorizing music. It’s fine if you want to find something online or in a record store but it’s not a helpful way to think about music, about what music essentially is.
AAAmusic: You are about to embark in a long tour to promote the album. Will the tour be focused on the event of the reunion only, or will it be a new starting point for Wang Chung?
JH: We are nearly at the end of the tour now – 2 gigs to go. From here it feels that this has far surpassed being merely a reunion. Every review has been positive and has pointed out that we were not just re-hashing the hits but genuinely reinvigorating them. Most importantly reviewers and fans alike have loved the new material seeing it as a seamless blend with the classic songs. So definitely a new starting point.
AAAmusic: Which current artists do you find interesting?
JH: Nick loves Lady Gaga – she is very talented. I like Radiohead, John Hopkins’ latest album “Insides” is fab, a Canterbury band called Syd Arthur, and more jazz oriented artists – Brad Mehldau, The Bad Plus, Polar Bear.
AAAmusic: How do you think the new technology has impacted the industry? Has it helped evolving for the better or the worse?
JH: The upside: Everything is accessible and anybody can do it.
The downside: Everything is accessible and anybody can do it.