Hello Richard :) it’s such a pleasure to be given the opportunity to interview the man behind the voice which we all know from Above & Beyond hits and specifically "Sun And Moon". Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to do this interview for us…
To ease you into the interview I’ll start with three easy questions he he. How are you doing today, what are you currently doing and what was your last meal?
Hi guys, I’m doing really well, currently in the studio working on some piano melodies for a new song of mine. My last meal was a piece of French onion quiche with a rocket salad.
Before we start, can you tell us a little more about yourself, on a non-musical front? Where did you grow up and where do you currently reside?
I grew up in the North of England on the fringes of the Yorkshire Dales between the cities of Leeds and Manchester in a town called Hebden Bridge. It’s a small but interesting little place, lots of creative minds, poets, performers, artists and musicians here. I’ve moved around a little over the years, moved away to go to University etc. but found myself back here 5 or 6 years ago.
It’s uncommon to hear of males singing on EDM tracks. At what stage in your life did you know this is what you wanted to do as a career, that trance was the path for you? And what was the turning point in your life?
I’ve always had a love of emotional songs in an electronic setting, bands like Depeche Mode, Massive Attack, New Order etc. But it’s kind of strange how it worked out for me really. I was singing and writing with a band, to give you an idea of our sound, we were probably best described in a review that called us "widescreen rock with a hint of Bends era Radiohead". Anyway, we were recording our debut album, as things often happen when 5 people are trying to realise a united vision things didn’t quite work out and I ended up taking time out from singing for about 2 years. During that time an old friend of mine, Dan Myles was working at Anjunabeats and he sent me fairly regular emails and texts telling me to send over a demo for Above & Beyond, in the end I borrowed a friends 8 track portastudio, recorded a rough demo of an old song of mine which was strangely called "When Stars Collide" sent it to the boys and a week or so later I was recording "Alone Tonight".
I think this is a question most people are dying to know. Can you please give us the entire story behind the smash hit "Alone Tonight" (from writing the lyrics to producing and hearing it live for the first time)?
Well, the writing part I will leave to Tony as "Alone Tonight" was I believe entirely his creation from a lyrical point of view. I will say though that it was not hard to connect with the song as a singer. I think Tony caught the moment when a relationship has dissolved and you find yourself in the unfamiliar position of being on your own very succinctly. On the production side, the 1st version they sent over sounded very different to the finished product, I remember going back down to their studio in London a few weeks after recording and being quite nicely shocked and excited by how it was sounding. The first time I heard it live was at Turnmills in London, it was quite an emotional moment; I guess I was hooked into the scene from then on.
I’ve heard "Sun And Moon" about 10 times live and every time all I heard was the crowd singing along. How does this make you feel to know your music has reached so many people and a diverse audience?
It feels humbling, other worldly and life affirming. I experienced a little of it this year doing a few dates around the globe, I did one show in Pune, India, it wasn’t a big show by any means but the whole crowd were singing along with such passion that I could hardly hear myself sing. It felt quite special yet surreal, to be so far from home and yet connected to people who were, without the music, complete strangers. Group Therapy indeed :)
A lot of people know you just as the voice on Above & Beyond tracks. However many of them don’t know that you write lyrics for other producers as well. What’s the typical process of writting lyrics for you?
It varies, mostly I tend to visualise a senario, something which would connect, rather like a scene from a movie, the song becomes the script for the film in my head. I do find it enjoyable hearing other people sing my songs actually, which I guess is strange for a singer! I recently wrote a track for Mike Shiver featuring a singer called Bo Bruce which is due for release later this year and to hear Bo deliver such a delicate, intimate female take on a song that had been sat on my PC for a while with a rough demo vocal from myself, it felt like the song finally found its voice.
This is a question which has been playing on my mind for a while so maybe you can shed some light on it. Why do you think there are so few male vocalists in the EDM scene? Why does it appear to be limited to females?
It seems to be growing, we have some amazing male singers now people like Christian Burns, Jan Burton, Jonathan Mendelsohn etc. so I think it is more accepted by the scene than it was when I sang "Alone Tonight" for example. I think female vocals in dance music just became the accepted norm rather in the male vocals did in rock music but there is a place for both, they hit the heart strings in a different but equally powerful ways.
If you could pick a female vocalist to do a duet with who would it be and why? Also who would you chose to produce the track and how would it sound?
That’s a really tough question actually, I’ve always been in love with Zoe’s voice, working with her on the Beirut live show with the Above & Beyond boys was a wonderful experience. Ashley Tomberlin’s vocal has a lovely intimate sensuality to it and Elleah has touches of both. Regarding producers, well, the A&B boys are hard to beat, I love Andrew Bayer, his ear and sense of drama really excite me and outside of the scene… maybe UNKLE, I’ve always been a bit of a fan. Not narrowed that down much have I!!
I know many people do some crazy things before their gigs. Is there any ritual you follow before performing?
Not really if I am honest, I tend to like a moment or 2 to run things through in my head, I don’t like to over indulge in food or drink before a show, I like to learn enough of the language to say hi and thank you etc. but nothing too rock and roll!
Can you share with us your most embarassing stage moment while performing?
I’ve probably got a few, one that made me smile was in Malta last year. Before I went on stage I got in a slight panic and was quietly but desperately trying to work out where the 2nd verse went in "Sun & Moon" and had a complete mental block and couldn’t picture where it was in the song until, just as I walked on stage I remembered we had cut it from the single!!! :)
Lastly, can you tell us what lies in store for Richard Bedford lovers and what can we look forward to in terms of new tracks, gigs, maybe an artist album etc.? Also Don’t leave out the details on what your plans are for the next year and where you are heading or hoping to head?
Well, I am currently working on my own material, the sound is still taking shape but much of the writing is now done, just a little fine tuning on that but I am really excited as to where it might go! I have a show in Beirut later this month, 24th I think and I am really looking forward to going back there after the show I did with A&B in 2009. Other than that, I’m hoping to get myself over to Miami for the WMC as "Sun & Moon" has been nominated at the IDMA’s which is a huge honour, I have a few special collabs in the pipeline, I know the boys are playing out a mix of "On My Way To Heaven" in their sets which is sounding pretty epic right now and I’m just looking forward to touring a little more and connecting with people like yourselves at the shows!
To end off, I know you’re British and I know British boys love wearing make up. So please share if you use "guyliner" as well and if you practice singing in front of the mirror? :P
Haha!! I’ve had my guyliner moments but I think I burnt all the evidence!! Long may they be forgotten! :)
It has been an absolute pleasure to interview you, we at Trance Hub would like to wish you all the best with your upcoming adventures and we hope to catch you around the globe sometime soon :) Do you have any last message for your fans?
Thank you so much for your unbelievable support, love and kindness, it really does make all the hard work worthwhile!! Xx