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Notebook on Cities and Culture S4E28: Partially Inside, Partially Outside with Jack Hues

Colin Marshall sits down in Canterbury, England with Jack Hues, founding member of the rock band Wang Chung and jazz band The Quartet. Wang Chung’s latest album Tazer Up came out in 2012, and The Quartet’s next album Collaborations Volumes 1 & 2 comes out this fall. They discuss what makes the “Canterbury sound”; the differences between Wang Chung’s “English” and “American” albums; what recording in another city or country, and drawing in its “vibe,” gives a project; music as a language, and how different styles of music feed into each other as do different languages; the “librarian mentality” that has many of his students talking initially about musical genres rather than about musicians; what growing up with the Beatles made possible; his Haruki Murakami reference in Wang Chung’s “City of Light”, and how he works into songs other things simply happened upon in life; his formation of The Quartet after 9/11; how he gets to balance teaching, The Quartet, and Wang Chung now that the latter doesn’t demand an all-consuming lifestyle; how only his American students ask about Wang Chung, and how nearly all of them have internalized the form of the “pop song” unconsciously; critics’ misguided fixation on lyrics; Wang Chung’s use of unusual chords, and what makes some music generally more interesting than other music; whether the world of 1980s pop music could accommodate the darker side; art’s emergence from constraints, and how he goes about imposing them on The Quartet; the experience of revisiting “Dance Hall Days” for a remix; whether Wang Chung would play “Rising in the East” if someone shouted it out; the musical place where Wang Chung and The Quartet meet; how to enjoy feeling like an outsider yet use roots as an artist; and the reaction drawn at a recent Wang Chung show: “Wow, you guys are real musicians!”

Download the interview here as an MP3 or on iTunes.

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