Chain D.L.K. presents an interview with One Two
When the dominating female vocals of Propaganda aka Claudia Brücken (“Dr. Mabuse”, “P-Machinery”) unites with the pioneering synthesizer work of Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark (OMD) aka Paul Humphreys ( …do I really have to name the best known titles of them???) … It results in Onetwo and both individuals have to tell us quite a lot interesting stories of the golden past.
Chain D.L.K.: Hello Claudia and Paul, I think the first question is obviously. How has your cooperation happened? I’ve read some content of your website, www.theremusic.com which mentioned a mutual American tour as being the point to start Onetwo. So how was it?
One Two: (PH) Yes, the tour was the catalyst for the beginning of Onetwo although our writing collaboration started in the mid nineties. Claudia was working on her second solo album (never released) and I was approached by a label as a possible co-writer for some songs for it so we started working on ideas in the late nineties. The project was halted because Claudia decided to have an attempt at an original member Propaganda reunion and gave it several years of her time. Some of Claudia’s and my work was carried through into Propaganda and then withdrawn when that was abandoned in 2002. We decided to form Onetwo in 2004 with the release of the 5 track EP ‘Item’ initially released on eBay only. The US tour did make us realize that we worked very well on stage together and at that time, we did flirt with the idea that we could actually form a new band.
Chain D.L.K.: Once again and for all people interested in this. Paul, your split with Andrew McClusky was later on also the end for that whole project, also Andy has released after “The Pacific Age” and the “Best of OMD” compilation only one more full-length studio album “Sugar Tax”. Please give us some insight and tell us the reasons why this successfull and pioneering project has ended. Isn’t it not frustrating for you to see what has happened after your split with Andy? How is your relation to him today?
One Two: (PH) Yes, I finally split with Andy officially in 1990. We had played together, written together, done everything together since being at school and was really a 14 year professional relationship which had became exhausted. We were also both physically exhausted by the time we reached the end of the eighties. I wanted initially to have a break from OMD for a few years, do other things, have a rest and then come back fresh and reinvent OMD.
Chain D.L.K.: The things for Propaganda also started well with “Dr. Mabuse” and the full-length “A Secret Wish”. But afterwards the success didn’t continue and also Propaganda called its split, as far what I know in some bad terms. So I would also like to ask you, Claudia, to give us some background of the sudden end of Propaganda, as far as this is allowed to ask for …
One Two: (CB) The bone of contention was always the fact that we were on a very bad deal with ZTT but I do remember there was willingness for negotiation on ZTT’s side. Unfortunately we had incompetent management which did nothing to nurture a feeling of solidarity within the band. It was always like hey you should get rid of her (meaning me) you don’t need her and the other way around, hey you don’t need them, why don’t you get rid of them. Evidently that’s not good management. Sadly the rest of the band thought it more of a threat that I was married to label director Paul Morley and they thought we wanted to be in control, which we really weren’t. Paul always loved and cared for the bands he signed and would always support the artist he signed wholeheartedly, him being more of an artist himself rather than a company boss. The rest of the band decided they wanted to part with ZTT and seek better fortune elsewhere but I really wanted to stay with ZTT knowing I wanted to be around this creative energy that I had been immersed in for the last 18 month. We had such a great team of people, working with Lippo was such a treat and getting Trevor’s expertise was something I knew that wouldn’t be easily found anywhere else. So we parted and I decided to stay with ZTT.
Chain D.L.K.: Your mutual time with OMD happened to end in 1990. Where have you been and what have you done through the years, Paul?
One Two: (PH) Well by the time the lawyers had untangled the legal issues left over from the demise of my time with OMD and Virgin Records it was 1992 , I was living in Los Angeles and my wife at the time had given birth to my daughter so I basically took a few years off to be a full time father. I had become somewhat disillusioned with being an artist too by this time but in 1994 I decided to go back to work again but this time on the other side of the business and formed an independent record label based in Liverpool with my former OMD colleagues Mal Holmes and Martin Cooper. We launched the label Telegraph Records with an album full of songs I had written over a period of years with Malcolm and Martin under the name The Listening Pool. We released the album ,not to start a new band but really to use the release to attract attention to the label and hopefully other artists. Continue »
Chain D.L.K.: Nearly the same question for you, Claudia, although you have done here and there some vocal contributions (Act, also later with Andy Bell on his solo album …) and a solo album. What else has happened for you personally?
One Two: (CB) After I finished Propaganda I stayed on ZTT and formed Act with Thomas Leer. We co-wrote the album “Laughter Tears and Rage” together and in 1991 I released my solo album “Love and a million other things” on Island Records. Since then I’ve collaborated with many writers from all sorts of genre including The Startled Insects, Barry Adamson, Nicki Chinn, Blank and Jones, Spiritfeel and Chromeseduction. I also after the release of my solo album dedicated my years to my daughter who was born 1992
Chain D.L.K.: Some words to Theremusic, which seems to be your own label and home base. Are you nowadays really independent working and alone responsible for your decisions?
One Two: (PH) Yes we talked with some of the major labels with our Onetwo idea, but ultimately decided that being independent was the way forward. The corporate music industry has been imploding for several years now and we are returning back to the way the industry was in the late 70’s / early eighties when all the good things were happening with new independents i.e. Factory/ Mute etc. So, as I bring some experience from running Telegraph in the nineties, we decided to start our new label There(there)
Chain D.L.K.: Please describe us your earlier release “Item” and the its conceptual idea. Was it a kind of promotional release to catch attention by a few labels?
One Two: (CB) “Item” was an experiment. It’s called “Item” because it was originally intended as an eBay only release and “Item” is what all products are called in that environment. It sold thousands through eBay and attracted the attention of many 3rd party distributors so it ended up being sold in some shops and was actually exported around the world by Mute Records.
Chain D.L.K.: The track “Cloud 9" got co-composed by Martin L. Gore of Depeche Mode. How did you get in contact with him and how did you “persuade” him to help out? Is it thinkable that this track will be accompanying the album “Instead” as a Single-CD release? Any video stuff you¹re working on to satisfy the MTV/VIVA youth generation?
One Two: (CB) Well, being as solo artist for so long, I’ve always sought to work and collaborate with other musicians. I think I am a very creative person and I always have ideas for new songs going around in my head. On this occasions I started to write a little chord sequence on guitar and I pretty much had the lyrics plus the verse melodies sorted out but as my knowledge of chords on guitars are limited I simply thought, hmm, who could I ask to help me with this song and seriously, Martin who lived closed by, came into my mind. I never thought of Martin the guy from Depeche but just of Martin who’s a great singer songwriter guitarist and because we were mates and he was around and he lived close by I just rang him up and told him that I wanted to play him a bit of my song. We met up and he listened and I said please help me finish writing it and he said no way I can’t do that I’ve never written with ANYONE BEFORE, SO I replied well don’t worry, why don’t you give it a go and if it doesn’t work than just throw it in the rubbish, and then I left. After a couple of days Martin called me up and said, hey I’ve done it …it was a doodle …and that was the way “Cloud 9" was written. He’s such a sweetheart!Continue »
Chain D.L.K.: Of what I could read at your diary on your website, you seem to be very active by doing concerts or any other promotional meetings. Does your project Onetwo already pay all your bills, or do you have to share a daily job?
One Two: (PH) We play concerts because we love to get up on stage and play our music to people, performing is a really important part of being an artist. Money comes into it though and Onetwo is making money however because we have our own label we are constantly reinvesting the profits into the record label at the moment. One thing I have to say regarding this (the daily job comment) is that I do feel incredibly lucky that I’ve never had to take a job outside of the music business since I left school and signed to Virgin Records when I was still a teenager. I’m also fortunate that I managed to make many OMD albums that still sell. There is a saying in the business that when you’re a songwriter, your songs are your babies, you nurture them and if they are good one day they grow up and go out to work for your family business, luckily this has happened to me!
Chain D.L.K.: What else do you expect from the future, musically and for your private life? Any new releases in the works which you can already confirm here?
One Two: (PH) I’ve always tried not to look too far ahead in life, as long as I have a plan for the near future that’s enough for me. At the moment we’ve got the Onetwo releases coming up, the promotion for that, some Onetwo gig’s, followed by a few OMD gigs, some summer festivals then …. I’ll sit back and evaluate how all that went and see what we do next. I’m personally very proud of “Instead” and I want to get it to as many people as possible so I want to keep promoting it well into next year.
Chain D.L.K.: Any plans for a bigger tour when “Instead” will be out? What can the audience expect from you acting on stage?
One Two: (CB) Yes, we are about to announce some Onetwo live dates in UK and in Germany, new of these will appear on www.theremusic.com very soon. Live we will be playing as a five-piece band, but with no live drummer. We will play mainly Onetwo songs but we visit our pasts during the show so you can expect a couple of OMD songs and a couple of Propaganda songs and maybe one or two other surprises!
By the way, who of you is One and who’s Two?
One Two: (PH) Well, ladies first, Claudia would have to be one and I would have to be two!
Any final words for our readers to conclude this interview?
One Two: Not really as we’ve said quite a lot here already, we’d only really like to finally say to your readers that if you purchase the Onetwo album, you will get a record that was made with much passion and commitment and we really, really hope that you get as much enjoyment out of listening to it as we had making it!!
Visit One Two on the web at:
Thank you for reading this page!
the Chain D.L.K. team
Tuesday, January 30th 2007