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Manoeuvring back on scene.


OMD synthpop legend Andy McCluskey talks about still being successful, America's wake-up to synth music and feeling paternal for his former protegees, Atomic Kitten.

While most 80s bands only have the nostalgia circuit, your album English Electric went to number 12. How did you keep your credibility? We avoided doing nostalgia packages for as many years as we could until we felt we'd established ourselves as a standalone act. We did Rewind in Henley last year to expand our audience.

People who have seen us come again because, without being egotistical, we are very good. But those that haven't can't get their heads around that they are going to like it - until they see us. I think there's a preconception about people who play synthesisers that they must be boring.

That's certainly not the case with OMD live. Fans love your distinctive dancing, which Stuart Maconie called the Trainee Teacher Dance. Are you still doing it? I find that it becomes part of the show. It's got to a point where I am now in a shamanistic shaking ritual. I just get physically involved.

It seems America has finally caught up with synths 30 years after the UK with the new EDM genre. What do you make of all the fuss? I'm quite amused. What the Americans have failed to realise is that dance music has, almost exclusively, been electronic for at least 30 years. They have only just woken up to it now.

There are a number of big musical acts that claim they're influenced by OMD, including The Killers, The xx, Hurts, LCD Soundsystem and Glasvegas. You must be pleased.

There are other bands who have name-checked us as influencing them, so it's not just people being influenced by their parents' musical taste. It's people who like a band who then hear them talking about OMD and YouTubing us. Now I'm told Lady Gaga is interested in doing some work with us. We'll see.

OMD's debut single, released in 1979, was Electricity and you had songs including Messages, Telegraph and Genetic Engineering. What do you make of the new digital age? It's changed the music industry for better and for worse. Access has never been easier. People wouldn't go into a shop and steal a CD, but on the internet it's just a file that can be copied.

OMD would never get a deal nowadays on a major label. When we got signed, electronic pop music was not the next big thing. Within two years everyone and their dog was saying electronic music was the new pop.

You had two songs about Joan Of Arc and your latest album has a song called Helen Of Troy. What about a tune about another female leader - Maggie Thatcher? No, you're not going to hear a song about Maggie. I like using distant historical characters because they are so shrouded in mystery. I did want to be an archaeologist as a child. I'm a failed archaeologist, accidental pop star.

You created Atomic Kitten, who have reunited and are going on a nostalgia tour, yet you are back in the charts with OMD's English Electric. Isn't that a strange turnaround? It's quite bizarre and shows how telescoped the time frame is. I really hope they are enjoying themselves and making some money.

I love those girls. I still feel a sense of paternal obligation to them. It all started and ended rather too quickly for them, which is often the case with manufactured pop groups. The guy who I put in charge of management at the label I signed them to effectively tore up my contract, so for four years I was unable to talk to them.

English Electric is out now. The band, which includes Andy and fellow founding member Paul Humphreys, play Glasgow Royal Concert Hall tonight and headline Rewind festival at Scone Palace on July 28.,


LEGENDS... Paul Humphreys and Andy McCluskey, right, of OMD
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Sunday Mail (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:May 12, 2013
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