Being in an art-rock band in London brought its fair share of turmoils and struggles, but it also brought some surreal and wonderful moments too.
In my case, such a moment occurred on my way to a recording session at Waterloo one summer, lugging with me the digital recorder in a large box.
At Notting Hill Gate tube station I walked along the Central line platform and passed a man sitting on one of the wooden seats. I casually glanced at him, felt my brain stutter and implode, and then I calmly walked on.
A few moments later I wandered back down the platform until I stood beside him and tentatively spoke up:
“Sorry.. you’re… Brian Eno.”
He laughed and said simply “Yes I am.”
I blurted out I that was a fan and that I played in a band. I then remembered I had our free CD in my bag so I gave him that, which he had a good look at. I said a few words about our music and that it was a pleasure to meet him. I didn’t want to pester him, so I walked away up the platform with my box and waited, feeling pretty thrilled.
As the train came in he walked up the platform to me, pointed at the box and asked:
“Is that an accordion?“
Shocked to now be chatting with Brian Eno I explained it was actually a digital recorder and that I was heading to the studio (late). He then got on the train with me and we stood in the middle of the busy carriage. At this point it would be fair to say I was a little stupefied, and thrilled.. It was amazing.
He asked me a bit about my band, Idioverse, the 3D virtual gallery I was making at the time, and we talked about virtual reality (as you do). I asked him about his current work, he told me he was on his way to give a talk in town alongside Richard Dawkins, I believe.
He was exceptionally friendly, open and down-to-earth. I vaguely remember what he was saying, talking about translating live performances into MIDI.. I think.
Honestly it’s a bit of a blur. I was mostly thinking “Do I get off at Bond Street for this important recording session that we’ve planned for weeks, or.. do I stay on the train talking with Brian Eno?“
I didn’t know how far he was travelling but in my mind we would voyage on for hours chatting about computers, sound, the future of electronic music, and of course, virtual reality 😉
Four stops later I said goodbye; he said it was nice to meet me, and that he would listen to the CD, and that was that.
I don’t regret getting off then, as my brain may have seized up, leaving a more lunatic impression on him.
I arrived at the studio half an hour late, telling everyone:
“Hey, sorry guys, I’ve been chatting with Brian Eno.”
I felt this was an acceptable excuse amongst musicians.
‘Liminal’, a collection of my more ambient tracks is available below: