Pseudo Echo pioneered the 80s with their stylised look and electro sound, establishing themselves as one of the most iconic and influential bands in the country. The band produced several Top 10 hits including Listening, A Beat for You, Don’t Go, Love An Adventure and Living in a Dream, as well as Gold/Platinum albums Autumnal Park, Love An Adventure and Race, culminating with their worldwide smash-hit Funky Town! The band went on to release several albums including Teleporter, Ultraviolet and Live at the Viper Room, recorded at the legendary Viper Room in LA. Brian Canham speaks to Hi Fi Way about the upcoming tour including this Friday night at The Gov.
Is the idea of going back on tour again just as exciting now as it was right in the beginning?
Absolutely, probably more so. I look forward to it so much each time with the band playing new material and trying out new idea which is always fun.
Do you think Pseudo Echo is going through a resurgence particularly after a successful tour with Human League?
Definitely, when started back touring twenty years ago now we purposely took some of these festival style gigs for that reason as it will get us back out there playing to bigger numbers. There is always that thing too, when you are playing part of a gig, so it is nice to be able to do a show again as a headline with a full set.
Have you noticed much of a generational shift in the fan base now?
Yeah, over the last few years it has been changing and we noticed there is a younger audience coming along as well. It is amazing for us to see a new generation of fans and it is growing rapidly.
Over the journey you would have had some awesome tour memories what stands out most from your shows in Adelaide?
Well, there’s always the Glenelg riots! I don’t know if you know about that from back in the day but it is worth reading up on. I shouldn’t say funny but it was bad at the time, there was a big riot at an outdoor concert and part of the cause of the riot had something to do with Pseudo Echo. We had done our show and we were leaving the festival and this was at the peak of our game. When we were in our van and we were trying to get through as the crowd was spilling out around the back of the stage some young girls were going hysterical when they realised we were in the band. They all swamped on the van and started rocking it so therefore security dived on the van and started pulling people off and then a fight broke out turning in to a big riot.
Playing all the hits do you get nostalgic?
Oh yeah, I love playing these songs. There is always a certain amount of songs we have to do such as all the singles and we want to do them, we’ll never drop them out. They are always a big part of the show and they are the ones that if people aren’t fans or ever heard of the band before will usually know those songs and identify with them. We rotate some of the old favs and do our best to keep it rotating but we can’t play them all as there is so much material. There will be a few covers, a few tributes in honour for a cause, so there are some songs we’ll throw in like that.
Will there be a Paul Gray tribute in there?
We have done a Wa Wa Nee, the hard thing is that Paul’s songs are extremely hard to play and sing because his vocal range is incredible plus he wasn’t a guitarist. I have to play the guitar and sing them which is incredibly challenging.
Did his passing hit you hard? I still remember Paul Gray joining you at Thebarton Theatre supporting Human League.
What a great thing having Paul along, it really was beautiful and he played a few songs with us over the years. He was always our guy on the bench if we couldn’t get our other guy. Paul always knew the stuff and was ready to jump in at any timeand happy to help. It did really hit me really hard because I was quite close to Paul even though we didn’t see each other much as being muso’s we’d be touring at opposite ends of the country. We really connected with Paul so well and it was really hard, it was an eye opener that you learn from and an evolution in our lives.
Is it hard contemplating new music when people are expecting Funky Town Part II?
Exactly, that’s a lot of the reason why we play a cover because the new music thing is a challenge these days because new music needs to be fed on to the audience and they need to be conditioned to it and grow up with and know it. To just throw new material on to a new audience is hard, there’s nothing to relate to or sing-a-long to. There are people who are open minded to new music but most prefer to hear stuff they know and relate to. Doing all new music doesn’t make sense and without having a major label deal to saturate the market on radio it is a hard battle. We might do some new material sometimes and we did a new album back in 2014 when we did Ultra Violet, we’ll endeavour to keep doing new music as well as transforming songs that we like.
Interview By Rob Lyon