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Gary Flanagan Official Website



On this page I will address questions that I frequently receive.  Many of these questions are in reference to my two new albums "Europe" and "Damariscotta".

Where did you ever come up with the title "Damariscotta"?
Easy.  Damariscotta is the name of the town in Maine where my musical idol Vince Clarke lives.  I was quite shocked to find out that he was now living so close to me!  Many of the songs on this disc were heavily inspired by Clarke's sound, so it seemed like a fitting title.
Why did you decide to release two albums at the same time?
Basically, I was going for a "comedy and tragedy" theme.  One album would be mostly upbeat, frothy, twee bubblegum pop.  The other would be much darker and edgy.  "Damariscotta" is mostly dancy and catchy, whereas "Europe" is a lot more experimental and neurotic.
What is the song "Red and Blue" about?  Are you making a political commentary?  Is it a statement about the recent US election?
I'm really not sure what it's about.  The lyrics just fit.  I'm not making any deliberate statements in the song.  It's open to any interpretation you see fit.
Why did you name that instrumental song "Fancy Dress"?
It doesn't really have anything to do with a dress.  In England, when they refer to a "fancy dress" party, that is the equivalent to us saying "costume party".  I've always been fascinated by British slang.
Who is the woman on the cover of "Europe"?
That is Gypsy Rose Lee.  She was a famous actress in the 30s.
How and where did you record these albums?
They were recorded in my home studio, on a digital 8 track.  My main instruments were my Poly 800, the Roland JV 1010 and my Boss DR 550 Mark Two drum machine.  All the interludes on "Europe" were recorded on an ancient 3M/Wollensak mono reel to reel deck.  There was also no overdubs at all in the interludes, they were all recorded live direct to tape.  On the song "Schauspieler", I am using a cheap microphone that I bought at a Dollar Store.  I thought the ultra tinny sound of the mic fitted the song perfectly.
Speaking of the interludes, why do you have interludes numbered 1, 3 and 4, but there is no "Interlude 2"?
There actually is an Interlude 2, but it didn't make the final cut onto the album.  I just wasn't happy with it.  There were actually a few songs that were recorded during the sessions that produced the other songs on "Europe", but for one reason or another, a few of them just weren't strong enough in my opinion to make it onto the album.  Maybe someday I will make the unreleased tracks available for people to hear.
What keyboards and synthesizers do you use?
On "Damariscotta", the two main instruments are my Korg Poly 800 and the Roland JV 1010 sound module.  That's pretty much it.  In fact some songs were made with only Poly 800 sounds from beginning to end.  But on "Europe", it's a whole other story.  I am using a real assortment of synths on that one.  The Poly 800 is also used extensively on "Europe", but I am also using the JV 1010, as well as the first keyboard I ever owned, the Casio CT-360.  In fact, the song "I'm Afraid of Everybody" was done entirely on the CT-360.  I also use a Yamaha PS-55 on "Nervous".  And the moaning samples that you hear at the beginning of "Fog" were done with the classic Casio SK-1.  The Yamaha DX 100 also pops up in one of the songs on "Europe", but I won't tell you'll just have to find it yourself!  :)
What does "Schauspieler" mean?
It is the german word for actor.  To translate a few of the lines from the song, I am saying "I am the actor, no one knows my name.  Your words are empty!  I have no time!".
In the notes for "Europe", there is a little section written in French.  What are you saying?
Basically I'm just saying a sincere thank you to my old friend Franck, who is a DJ and music enthusiast from France.  He has introduced me to many obscure and rare recordings over the years, and many of those songs directly inspired what I did on "Europe".  He is an authority on the whole "minimal synth" movement.
I hear a Bowie influence on "Europe".  Especially his German phase.  Was this intentional?
Not really, no.  I am very familiar with that phase, and I love Bowie, but I was not directly influenced by this phase.  I'm sure there may have been a very roundabout influence, but not directly.
Why are there toy soldiers on the cover of "Damariscotta"?
If you listen to the lyrics of the songs, there is a recurring military motif.  Especially on songs like "Real Men" and "The Stroke of 12".  Again, this was probably related to the fact that Depeche Mode seemed to have a distinct military nod in many of their early songs.  I have been known to wear combat boots and berets during some of my live's just a motif that I like.  Plus, you may notice that one of the soldiers on the cover is pointed in the opposite direction from the other soldiers.  You can interpret that any way you wish....
Who is that singing female vocals on "Damariscotta"?
That's my wonderful wife Janelle.  She is a great singer!!!
What does "Toujours La Meme" mean?
It means "always the same".  I'm talking about the banality and repetitiveness of life in that song.  In the chorus, I am saying "the people in the scene, always the same, people live with fear, always the same".
What are you saying in the backward message at the end of the album?
You'll just have to figure that out yourself.  I want to maintain some mystery.  ;)
Is Gary Flanagan your real name?
I can't believe how often I get this question.  Yes, it's my real name!  Does it really sound like a fictional name to you?
Has your music ever appeared on vinyl?
Yes.  One of my tracks was released on a double record collection that was put out by the German label Kernkrach in 2007.  This collection featured electronic acts from all over the globe.  I was the only Canadian to appear.  It was a real rush hearing one of my songs on vinyl for the first time!  There will also soon be a split 7" single being released between my alter ego Reclusive Mute and the excellent Halifax band ECT.  That should be released very soon (sometime around late Winter/early Spring 2009).
When's your next live show?  When are you coming to my town?
In general I don't enjoy playing live as much as I did a few years back.  I used to really go out of my way to get gigs, but now I find they tend to be more trouble than they're worth.  At this point I am content to play maybe 3-4 shows a year.  That's plenty for me.  I very rarely perform outside of the Maritime provinces, nor do I have any intention to any time soon, but who knows, if it was the right situation with the right people, I just may accept the right invitation.  It has also been my dream for many years to do a European tour, but I can't see this happening any time in the immediate future.
Who were the main influences for these albums?
"Damariscotta":  Vince Clarke (huge influence), Human League, OMD, Kraftwerk, Eurythmics, etc.
"Europe":  early Gary Numan, Talking Heads, early Cabaret Voltaire, Vice Versa, Visage, Martin Dupont, Thomas Leer, Robert Rental, John Foxx, Rational Youth, minimal lo-fi euro synth music.
Where can I buy your new albums?
The best way is through Paypal...the links can be found on the home page of this website, or on my MySpace page.  Or, if you don't trust Paypal, please contact me directly and we can work something out.  I accept money orders, cash, whatever.  I think it's extremely important to support independent musicians.  Many of them don't have much money and are struggling to get their stuff out there.  So if you like what you hear, please buy it!
I also have a "pay me later" policy that fans can take advantage of.  If you want one of my discs, but you currently can't afford it, send me your address anyway and I will send you the disc.  You can pay me later when you do have the money.  I trust my fans.  :)