Clear your calendar for this November because 80s Mania is coming to your city and its going to be radical! When you think of the 80s you automatically think everything big. The band A Flock of Seagulls were the quintessential 80s big hair, big hits band and believe it or not it will be their first time touring Australia. Along with Go West, Wang Chung, Cutting Crew and Pseudo Echo they are bringing all their big hits and more for the ultimate night of the decade of decadence and indulgence. It’s going to be a big dance party and you don’t want to miss it.
Mike Score lead singer of A Flock of Seagulls chatted to the Hi-Fi Way about all things 80s and how that hairstyle, yes the most famous hairstyle of the 80s became larger than life!
You’re coming to Australia for 80s Mania. Are you excited to come to Australia?
Yes! I’m really looking forward to it. I’ve never been there before so for me it’s going to be a whole new adventure in music.
I’m surprised you’ve never been here before.
We’ve have been scheduled to tour there and every time we have something else has come up. In the early 80s when we were supposed to tour there because of our big hit other things came up in America so already having a number one in Australia the record company were basically saying “Stay in America. We’ve still got to crack America.” So, we never ever got to get to Australia.
What are you looking forward to the most since its your first time?
I don’t know. It’s going to have a certain atmosphere isn’t it? You know Australian people seem very friendly and outgoing. I really don’t know what to expect but I’m expecting to have a lot of fun and Australia has its own vibe so I’m looking forward to feeling that.
Will you have time so see any iconic sights?
I hope so but I’m not really sure because we will have a guide to take us around and tell us how long we have to get to spend at places. I don’t know but I hope we will have at least a couple of days to see some things and then if we like it maybe it will be better to come for a holiday for a couple of weeks and see things. Just to be there and to feel the atmosphere of Australia is gonna be great!
Are you looking forward to touring with the other 80s artists?
Yeah well, I know most of them already. I’ve toured with them with the tour that I’m on now in America. You know Wang Chung are on that and a couple of the guys from Cutting Crew and I’ve played before with some of the other guys like Go West in some festivals. It’s all friends so that’s gonna be really easy. We just get along and we play our stuff and have a good time! I’m really looking forward to “me” having a good time and the crowd having a good time!
I’m sure they will. The 80s crowds are always full of energy and fun!
Right! And they know every song so they gonna be singing along and you know that’s what its about.
Are you surprised how your hit I Ran is such an iconic 80s song that’s still popular as ever and gets played today?
Yeah it wasn’t my favourite song from the band. I mean I prefer Space Age Love Song and Wishing but the record company they knew I Ran was gonna be the one and made sure it was so I’m not surprised that people still like it because in the end it was a great song. It still is a great song. It has a lot of energy, its catchy, its hooky and its not an emotional song really, it’s a story. In a way I am glad that its iconic even though sometimes I think we’ve got other songs that are better than it. That’s not really the point. The point is in the 80s people loved it and they still continue to. I mean I liked Dark Side of the Moon when I was a kid and I still love it now so why not my songs to last that long.
You mentioned that Space Age Love Song was your favourite. Why is that song more your favourite to your other songs?
I Ran is a story. A little story about me taking a little space girl and falling in love and she takes you away on her space ship. But Space Age Love Song is more down to earth and more realistic. I realised when I was writing the lyrics that I wanted to say something as simply as possible. And the simple thing when you fall in love with someone is that it happens instantly. Eye to eye, you know across the room whatever and I wanted to capture that in a few words. Also, I liked the arrangement.
The fact that Space Age Love Song doesn’t have a chorus. It just has a guitar line and I think that means it was a completely new type of arrangement for a song. I’d never heard anything like it and when I wrote it, I was like “this is where I would love to be all the time” in this kind of inventive stage.
The A Flock of Seagulls look is so iconic (especially your hairstyle) and has been portrayed in plenty of movies over the decades representing the look of the 80s. How do you feel about that and is it something that surprises you how iconic it has become and how it has a life of its own?
It does have a life of its own. I mean to tell you the truth I only did it for about a year maybe 18 months and then I changed it. But it did what it was designed to do and that is it was designed to give us a look. I always wanted to be a space boy and to wear a space suit and you could say be like Ziggy (Stardust) and have that kind of impact. It was kind of weird that it had a huge impact but it also had a big backlash because people started saying “oh you look stupid” and I’m like “Yeah but I look stupid with a number 1 record!” You know? (laughs)
Then I thought when I look back at it now, I think it was an absolute work of genius because it did the job. It was me and I didn’t actually sit down and think “I’m going to do this hairdo.” It came along kind of by accident but it was an accident you were moving towards anyway and then it happened. It exactly fitted what we wanted to look like.
Well it’s still remembered today so it made a bigger impact than you thought!
It’s funny that it does today still catch peoples eye you know because I’ve never seen anything quite like it since. It’s still copied a few times but you can’t beat the original yeah?
Why do so many artists of the 80s have such a large following, still touring and writing new music still to this day compared to other artists of other decades?
I think because the 80s was a specific period in time. That atmosphere of the 80s produced a set of bands that were the last bands that seemed to have individuality. You can almost tell an 80s band from the moment they start playing. Like “that’s Simple Minds, that’s U2, that’s A Flock of Seagulls, that’s Duran Duran.” Since then it seems to me that a lot of bands, they all just sound like each other and that means there not really bands they’re just a product like washing powder or something. To me the 80s bands were last bands that had any individuality. It’s probably not their fault (the new bands) they probably to get a deal have to sound a certain way because of corporations. Its hard to quantify but that how I see it.
I’ve spoken to many new bands of this generation and quite a few have been telling me that the 80s era has had a lot of influence on their music and some of them were born many years after that decade. What is it about the 80s that everyone seems to like?
I think there was just a lot of fun going on (laughs). It wasn’t a depressed era like the 90s, the people seemed very depressed but in the 80s it was like “Man we’re gonna go out this weekend and we’re gonna party! We’re gonna have a good time!” They wanted their bands to be good time bands. For me looking back on the 80s even though I was in a band, going out at all was just to have a great time. It wasn’t like “Lets go see a dark band and get mopey in the corner and complain about things.” Everybody just said, “Hey! I have $5 and I’m going to spend it and I’m going to have a good time!”
What are your thoughts of the state of music in today’s world where it’s all about streaming and EPs and release of singles rather than albums?
I think there are underground bands that are creating a scene of their own. In the 80s there were hit bands and there were underground bands. Now there are like 60 thousand genres of bands like Electronic, Ambience, Pop, Girl Bands, Boy Bands, there’s Heavy Metal and I think it takes away from “Hey just write a good song.” Their trying to fit into these niches and to me that is not how you build a band. You build a band by just writing from the heart and if its good it’s good and if it’s crap just write another one.
Do you like the idea of these streaming services because obviously you came from a different time and place where things were done differently in the 80s?
The thing is in those days you would release something like I Ran and they would put promotion behind it. They would put radio behind it. I don’t think bands these days, (pauses) I don’t think there is a structure like that. They have to pay for everything themselves. For instance, maybe to promote I Ran you could’ve bought a house with that money so if you get the choice between promoting your single and taking a chance or buying a house what are you gonna do? It’s a big big investment to have a hit band. Especially if you’ve made the record yourselves and done all that work yourselves and now you have to promote it and get it all together yourselves, it’s a completely different era. I think it’s much more difficult now although its easier to make records yourself it’s much harder for them to have a hit record and they also get crushed by corporations. I’m glad I was of the 80s and not today.
Yeah it just seems like its harder. In the 80s there were a lot more “bigger” artists.
Yeah and I think it was a different feel of how people in bands they wanted to make it and to make it you had to get a record deal, you had to be good as well as be good live and you had to look different but these days you make a record in your bedroom, you don’t care whether it’s any good or not, you throw it out on the internet and if your super lucky you get picked up and then your career starts. Even so I would not like to try do it again from scratch today.
Do you continue to write new music even today?
Yeah, I do it all the time. My favourite part of music is writing songs. Actually, before I come to Australia, I’m spending a month in the studio recording a few new songs which will probably get released in 2020. I’m in the lucky position that I don’t have to worry if it doesn’t sell a million. I release it for the fans of the 80s, the fans of the band and any fans that might like my solo stuff. So, I’m a lucky sod! (laughs)
I guess its more liberating too and you can just write music the way you want, release it and whatever happens happens!
Yeah, I don’t have to worry about it being a hit or sell a certain amount. I’m not basically looking for a new album to send my career through the roof. As long I keep touring and enjoying myself, I will stick with it. It’s great!
What can fans look forward to with your live shows when you come to Australia?
Obviously they will see my fabulous self (laughs) and everything all the bands are going to do is going to be the hits isn’t it? So, it’s going to be a sing along and enjoyable night and I’m sure the Australian audiences will be really friendly, and they will enjoy it. I’m looking forward to it myself so I can’t see it not being fun. I really do want to play in Australia and have a great time!
Interview by Anastasia Lambis
Catch A Flock Of Seagulls on the 80s Mania tour on the following dates, tickets through Abstract Entertainment…
80s Mania Tour Dates
Thu 14 Nov – Southern Cross Club – Canberra
Fri 15 Nov – Palais Theatre – Melbourne
Sat 16 Nov – Enmore Theatre – Sydney
Sun 17 Nov – WIN Entertainment Centre -Wollongong
Wed 20 Nov – Wests – New Lambton
Thu 21 Nov – C.ex – Coffs Harbour
Fri 22 Nov – Eatons Hill Hotel – Brisbane
Sat 23 Nov – Twin Towns Services Club – Gold Coast
Wed 27 Nov – Thebarton Theatre – Adelaide
Fri 29 Nov – Evan Theatre – Panthers Penrith
Sat 30 Nov – Astor Theatre – Perth