In 2017, Kevin Godley, ex of 10cc and Godley & Creme, and a director behind among the most interesting movies ever made, was planning a brand new album, Muscle Reminiscence. That 12 months, he spoke to Traditional Pop about that work in addition to his then near-50 12 months profession in music…
“I’m a drummer,” Kevin Godley factors out from his dwelling in County Wicklow, Eire, the place he’s lived since 2008. “It’s not the perfect instrument to jot down songs with! I suppose what I do once I write is that, when any person’s enjoying guitar or keyboards, I react to what’s being performed, after which I digest issues.”
Collaboration’s all the time been on the coronary heart of Godley’s work, one thing underlined by the truth that maybe his most well-known musical incarnation takes its identify from a partnership.
Godley & Creme – with whom he launched seven albums, 4 of that are included in November’s Physique of Work 1978-1988 boxset – was shaped with Lol Creme, whom he first met as a teen whereas casting the function of Igor The Hunchback for an 8mm movie of Frankenstein.
“He lived down the highway,” Godley recollects, “so we turned quick buddies. He had a guitar and a piano in his home, and he was into making music.”
Inseparable for years, they labored beneath quite a lot of uncommon names – amongst them Hotlegs, with whom they loved an uncommon hit in 1970 with Neanderthal Man, and the short-lived Frabjoy and Runcible Spoon – earlier than serving to kind 10cc within the early-70s.
They bailed in 1976, nevertheless, to kind their extra prosaically named duo, and, in addition to delivering evergreen hits like Cry and Underneath Your Thumb, additionally they reinvented themselves as administrators, capturing movies for a unprecedented forged of artists – together with Duran Duran and Frankie Goes To Hollywood – till the partnership broke up in 1988.
Let’s work collectively
It’s Godley’s newest endeavour, although, that takes his fondness for teamwork to its logical conclusion. Muscle Reminiscence, which he plans to launch subsequent 12 months, finds him inviting musicians from the world over, by way of a PledgeMusic marketing campaign, to submit instrumental tracks which he’ll then rework into songs.
Anybody can apply, and Godley will select those with which he can greatest work his magic. The title, he says, refers to “me hoping I can keep in mind how to do that, that my physique remembers how to do that, and my interior being remembers what’s required to tug it off”.
The idea was impressed by an sudden request Godley acquired from somebody whom, to at the present time, he’s by no means met.
“A man referred to as Luke Mornay – a French EDM producer, artist, DJ, entrepreneur, man of all trades, and a tremendous musician – was placing an album collectively,” Godley explains, “and needed to work with completely different individuals whom he actually admired.
“I used to be a kind of individuals! He requested if I’d wish to carry out a tune over a chunk of music he was going to ship. I assumed, ‘OK. Let’s have a pay attention and see what occurs.’
“I pulled it into Garageband,” he continues, “arrange a microphone, and simply began warbling and making notes, going again and enhancing issues. It turned out rather well.
“What was fascinating was the aspect of shock concerned. I don’t know what I’m going to get, and since it’s been recorded, it’s like, ‘Woah! I wasn’t prepared for that!’
“The identical factor occurred with one other individual from America who despatched me a monitor,” he provides excitedly. “Possibly there was one thing within the air. I didn’t suppose I’d be capable to accomplish something with that one, however once more I did, unusually sufficient.
“So there’s one thing fascinating happening, and it simply appeared like a novel method to do an album. I would like collaboration anyway, however it is a new type of collaboration.”
All about chemistry
Given his historical past of alliances, that’s fairly a declare. Creme, in spite of everything, was solely one in all Godley’s many sparring companions over time.
One other was Graham Gouldman, whom Godley obtained to know at a younger age earlier than they performed collectively in R&B act The Whirlwinds.
Godley and Creme’s first songs had been recorded at Gouldman’s dad and mom’ home, and by the late-60s the three had been working alongside Eric Stewart, one other key ally who’d used cash made as a part of Manchester beat group The Mindbenders to arrange Stockport’s Strawberry Studios.
By means of Gouldman – with whom Godley stays buddies because of their shared “quiet and reserved” qualities, in addition to a rapport “rooted in Indian meals” – Stewart invited the 2 buddies to check the studio’s tools.
Earlier than lengthy the 4 of them had develop into the studio’s home band, recording one-off singles beneath unlikely names, together with Loopy Elephant and Fighter Squadron, and even – Milli Vanilli type – offering Ohio Specific with their 1969 American hit Sausalito.
It was, nevertheless, their largely unheard work on Ramases’ cult 1971 album, House Hymns, which proved pivotal to the 4 musicians’ bond.
“He believed he was the reincarnation of Ramases The Second,” Godley laughs, “however he was actually a central heating salesman from Sheffield.
“He had a unprecedented voice and had written some very weird songs. We related with the man, and turned his thoughts right into a report.
“However we had entry to one of many first Moog synthesizers within the UK, and it was an actual alternative to experiment and see what we might do with this device referred to as a studio. It introduced us to realisations that, as a foursome, we made nice producers.”
An ideal partnership
This tightly knit unit would quickly get pleasure from numerous hits as 10cc, amongst them Donna, Rubber Bullets, The Wall Road Shuffle and, most notably, the outstanding I’m Not In Love.
“We had been so completely different,” Godley admits, “however we had been all, in our personal method, seeking to do one thing superb.
“I suppose it was the chemistry, and the willingness to discover. We had comparable sensibilities, not essentially by way of musical style, however in figuring out when one thing labored or when it didn’t. There was a singular sense of ‘Wow! What we’re doing is extraordinary!’”
Muscle Reminiscence, too, might end up equally extraordinary: intriguingly, Godley has no plans to restrict himself stylistically.
“I’m getting fairly quite a lot of stuff,” he says. “Lots of electronica, in all probability as a result of that’s the simplest stuff to make, however I’m getting somewhat rock, some oddball ambient issues, and a few issues in unusual time signatures.
“I haven’t had any grime, dubstep, nation and western or blues, however there’s no restrictions on temper, tone or style in any respect.”
Godley additionally stays open to the concept of working extra carefully with members, ought to he deem it obligatory. “The extent of interplay will rely on what I can do,” he says.
“If it’s a simple factor, I’ll simply go forward and do it. But when I would like anybody to vary something I’ll ask them to vary it, I suppose. The principles are appropriate to start out with, however they’ll in all probability change as we transfer by way of the method.”
Quite sweetly, anybody who decides to place ahead their music might want to bear one necessary factor in thoughts: they haven’t any hope of eclipsing the individual Godley names as his most important collaborator. “My spouse, Susanne, is extremely useful,” he concludes.
“She’s as necessary as all people else, if no more so. She is aware of what I’m attempting to do and helps me do it in lots of, some ways. She’s very good at understanding the core of what I’m attempting to do, any person who, once in a while, makes me go, ‘Why wasn’t that apparent to me?’
“However that’s the character of collaboration. Collaborators are there to make issues occur when you’ll be able to’t…”