Gary Numan is headlining this Sunday's third and final day of the Ink-N-Iron Kustom Kulture Festival, taking place at the Queen Mary Events Park. Numan burst onto the music scene in the late 70s, playing an important role in defining the nascent New Wave music form.
His 1979 album, The Pleasure Principle, included the song Cars, which became a smash hit in the United States and Europe. It even earned a coveted spot in popular Lasarium shows of the day.
His follow-up album, Telekon, featured songs that furthered the dystopian narrative he favored, and explored science fiction themes in songs such as, I Dream of Wires, and The Joy Circuit.
Numan has continued, somewhat relentlessly, to reinvent himself, including elements of jazz, hard rock, metal, and goth into his music. He's released more than 20 albums, penned hundreds of songs, and has been cited as a significant influence by many artists, including Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails and The Magnetic Fields.
Numan, a father to three young children, works intensively when they're at school.
"The songwriting pattern tends to be a five day cycle," Numan said. "I build the basic melody and arrangement on the piano on Monday. Tuesday, it's extra melodies and build the rhythm track; Wednesday start to add the production, add flesh to the bare bones so to speak; Thursday rough vocals, without lyrics, to try out ideas and make sure the melodies actually work with a voice; Friday it's lyrics and sing the vocal."
His 2013 release, Splinter (Songs from a Broken Mind) was a critical and popular success. Not surprisingly, Numan admits to an almost fanatical desire to keep moving forward, musically.
"I have little to no interest in what I did yesterday, and a huge amount of interest in what may come tomorrow," he said. "I hate nostalgia, I have no respect for bands or artists that live solely on past glories. I think that attitude helps to keep the music fresh."
Numan has embraced modern computer-based music production techniques, and finds working to be faster and more exciting.
"You can have an idea and try it out very quickly," he said. "I do have a few of the latest generation hardware synths, but they are far more expensive to buy than software, take up a lot of room in a small studio like mine and, for my taste, just don't have the vast variety of sounds that the soft synths have."
He also finds software-based music synthesizers easier to use when it comes to manipulating sounds and reshaping things.
"Computer-based recording and software instruments, without doubt, have revolutionized the way albums are made," he said. "Some love it, some don't. I do, for what it's worth."
Numan admitted in his autobiography to having been diagnosed with a mild form of Asperger syndrome (AS), which can make it difficult for people to connect with others.
"On stage, I lose myself in the moment," he said. "I'm almost singing to myself and reliving whatever the song is about. Smaller venues put you up close, obviously, and so you are very aware of individuals and their reactions. They can be great fun."
Numan said the "overwhelming sense of occasion" at big venues is difficult to top. "With a big venue you also have room for decent stage sets and light shows," he said. "Smaller venues can often be very restrictive for space and room to move around and perform the way you would like. I would always choose bigger if I could."
Gary Numan will take the main stage at 7:00PM, followed by Peter Murphy at 8:30PM. Murphy is best known as the front-man for Bauhaus, whose hit, Bela Lugosi's Dead, was featured in The Hunger, a film starring David Bowie and Catherine Deneuve.
For tickets and additional information about the festival, visit longbeach.ink- n-iron.com.
To learn more about Gary Numan, visit GaryNuman.com.