Bryan Ferry on Roxy Music: “We were all hungry to learn”

In the current issue of Uncut, Brian Ferry written exclusively for us on Roxy Musicof his eight studio albums – from their self-titled debut in 1972 to Avalon, a decade later. To whet your appetite for Ferry’s wry and insightful observations, here it is on the band’s debut in the genre…

“I started putting the band together in 1970 when I started working with Graham Simpsonwho had played in my college band, The gas board. Later that year, I met Andy Maccay and he joined us with his synthesizer and oboe, and later saxophone. At this point, I was writing the songs on the piano and at the same time trying to get the band together to play them. We didn’t have a tape recorder, so Andy suggested his friend Brian Eno could come and check us in. Eno brought his massive reel-to-reel Ferrograph machine, and ended up staying and being part of the band, using at Andy’s VCS3 synthesizer to create sounds and process the instruments we were playing. We hit it off and by the time we started recording the album, we had the full band.

I liked a lot of genres of music, so stylistically I wanted the songs to be varied and not follow one particular channel. I was lucky with this band because we had so many different sounds to play with and it was a great opportunity for me to write some interesting stuff. Therefore, the first album was an exploration of many styles and so diverse that it pointed to many different futures the band might follow. The first one Roxy The album is an unusual collage of musical elements, and the songs themselves, if you break them down, are just simple experiments in different genres.

It was the first album either of us did. We were all eager to learn and new to the experience of being in a recording studio. It was a dream come true to be able to do that.

EG Management signed us with Island Records, and they brought in Pete Sinfield of King Crimson to produce us. He seemed to be ideal, very enthusiastic and cheerful. The whole process was a delight. The recording was made in a rather bizarre place called Command Studios on Piccadilly, a former cinema hall. How fitting…”

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