January 18, 2018 Interview – Mike Score of A Flock of Seagulls
During the 1980s, the New Wave movement was in full force as a list of unique artists emerged from all corners of the Earth. A movement which was extremely strong in England, one of the most distinctive and successful bands to rise to fame were Liverpool’s own A Flock of Seagulls. Unifying a sound of Synthpop with Rock-n-Roll, A Flock of Seagulls would go on to attain huge hits with songs such as “Space Age Love Song,” “Wishing (If I Had a Photograph of You),” and the decade defining “I Ran (So Far Away).”
Now over three decades removed from the scene’s peak popularity, Band Leader Mik Score continues to keep the music and legacy of A Flock of Seagulls alive. Creating on his own terms, Score continues to produce music as well as tour regularly, and with a renewed interest in the sounds of Synthrock, A Flock of Seagulls are soaring high. Recently we caught up with Score to talk their emergence in the 1980s, life and times on the scene, his latest solo material, plans for 2018, plus much more.
CrypticRock.com – You have been involved in music most of your life and founded A Flock of Seagulls nearly four decades ago. Going on to great success during the 1980s, you have since continued to perform live and write music as a solo artist. First tell us, what has your incredible journey as a musician been like?
Mike Score – Being in a band that has been in the past very successful is like being given the key to the door of heaven. In the beginning it was a labor of love – we rehearsed non-stop just for our own amusement and we lived in a Seagulls cocoon, if you like, writing our own songs in our own way. We knew we were not like any other band we had seen, we were “better,” well, different at least.
Over the years I have just been able to play shows and write my own songs. I write just for me and always managed to enjoy. Band life, it hasn’t always been perfect, but it survives. I’m not really what I would call a musician, I’m more of a songwriter ideas kind of guy. I don’t even think I’m an artist. As I tell people, I just enjoy playing about with synths and guitars, etc. I don’t practice and I don’t think about it too much. I do it when I feel like doing it. I’ve seen the last few years there has been a renewed interest in ’80s music, which is great for all of us from that era – bigger, better shows. I think it shows that the ’80s was a real musical era, not just hair and glitter. It was fun and people want fun back in their life.
CrypticRock.com – It is very interesting to hear how you approach music at this point. Also, agreed, it is wonderful that there is a renewed interest in the ’80s era of music! As alluded to, A Flock of Seagulls were an intricate part of the New Wave/Synthpop scene during the 1980s. With a list of memorable tracks, including of course “I Ran (So Far Away),” the band would celebrate top selling albums and even a Grammy Award in 1983! In hindsight, what were those years like for A Flock of Seagulls?
Mike Score – During the ’80s, the band life was pretty hectic. Touring was real fun, but really exhausting – flying, driving, interviews, meeting people, etc, etc. Writing new songs all in a big blur. In short, it was brilliant!
CrypticRock.com – It sounds like it was a great time all around with plenty of fun memories. The more casual listener will often pigeonhole A Flock of Seagulls into a corner, but the band’s sound is quite diverse. Marrying synthesizers with ambient electric guitar work, you really did create a unique sound all your own. In your opinion, how would you describe the sound of A Flock of Seagulls?
Mike Score – In my opinion, the sound of the band is like flying. We wanted to be very “sonic” with great highs and lows, be rocky, yet robotic. We wanted to be diverse like The Beatles, but recognizable as our own band. We had loads of ideas a lot that didn’t work out, but paved the way for other songs and some songs just wrote themselves. We certainly didn’t want to sound like other bands, yet we took influences from them.
CrypticRock.com – There is no question those who know A Flock of Seagulls are keen to the diversity the band offers. The band’s final studio record came back in 1995 with The Light at the End of the World, yet you have continued touring and released a solo record in 2014, entitled Zeebratta. A delightful mix of Alternative Rock, was Zeebratta a culmination of years of song ideas?
Mike Score – Zeebratta was my solo CD. It was kinda not really made to be released, but as it progressed it was obvious I should release it. It could have been a Seagulls CD. In fact, lots of people said release it as A Flock of Seagulls, but I wanted it to be solo, so it was. It was a gathering of songs I’d written over the years, but really, I just woke up one day and said to myself, ‘Pick 20 songs and go record an album.’ So I did.
CrypticRock.com – It worked out well. It is really a strong album. Now four years removed from Zeebratta, can fans expect a new album? If so, what direction will you go in?
Mike Score – I am always working on new songs and ideas. Each song has its own direction. So, direction is not even a consideration. I’m not writing songs to be a part of what’s going on now, but rather how I feel about life and my own experiences. Of course UFO’s, etc.
CrypticRock.com – Well it is great to hear you still have so much inspiration to write and create. Touring throughout the years both with A Flock of Seagulls as well as solo, can we expect some show announcements in 2018?
Mike Score – A Flock of Seagulls will tour as long as I can stand up I think. A solo tour would be great, but we will see if I release a second solo album, then I may go do some solo shows. I’m not sure yet.
CrypticRock.com – Excellent! There is also Lost 80’s Live Tour coming up in August, which has a great lineup. The rise of the synthesizer during the late 1970s into the 1980s truly revolutionized popular music. Come the 1990s, the instrument was all but shunned, but we have really seen its resurrection in recent years in popular music. Are you surprised to see so many younger artists clearly finding influence in the sounds of the ’80s? That said, what are your thoughts on the new brand of Synthpop in 2018?
Mike Score – Only fools shun new ideas. The synth was such a release from guitar Rock-n-Roll for many young muso’s at the time. It was experimental and exciting. I think the guitar bands were afraid that synths were the devil. Although, they eventually just recognized it was just a great instrument, and then we got Pink Floyd, etc. In those days, synths were simple. Today, they are studios, but simple synths are returning.
It is great now kids can enjoy just messing without expense or having to be a genius to work them out. As far as new bands, I think their time is yet to come. New things are in the works. I don’t hear that much that makes me go ‘wow!’ It will come, and I think it’s a tough road these days for new bands. They have to stick with it, play lots of small gigs. Practice room is the hub of all band related things. Stop thinking stardom and start thinking fun and playing with your mates.
CrypticRock.com – That is some great advice for young bands. Clearly a diverse musician, what were some of your music influences growing up, and what do you find yourself listening to nowadays?
Mike Score – My listening these days includes E.L.O., The Beatles, Roxy Music, Paul McCartney, Kraftwerk, Traffic, Hendrix, Thin Lizzy, and Carly Simon. Sorry, no new stuff at all really though.
CrypticRock.com – That is a great mix of artists! Very diverse, and also some classics as well. Last question. We also cover Horror and Sci-Fi films on CrypticRock. If you are a fan of either or both genres, what are some of your favorites and why?
Mike Score – I love the Predator and Alien movies. Alien: Covenant (2017) is a great movie. Although, Spectral (2016) is my favorite Sci-Fi movie for a while now. I’ve always been into Sci-Fi since I saw The Daleks on Doctor Who when I was a kid. Not Horror too much, but I can watch Ancient Aliens for hours.
1-27-2018 80’s Weekend # 5 Microsoft Theater Los Angeles, CA
8-3-2018 Ford Amphitheatre at Coney Island Boardwalk Coney Island, NY
8-4-2018 Tilles Center for the Performing Arts LIU Post Brookville, NY
8-12-2018 Fiddler’s Green Amphitheatre Englewood, CO
8-24-2018 Verizon Theatre Grand Prairie, TX
8-31-2018 Humphreys Concerts by the Bay San Diego, CA
9-1-2018 The Mountain Winery Saratoga, CA
9-2-2018 Thunder Valley Casino Resort Lincoln, CA
9-6-2018 LA County Fair Pomona, CA
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