Q&A With Christopher Beecham & Glen Wisbey Of



Q. When/Where did Modovar begin?
CHRIS : We first met when Glen responded to an advert that I placed online in May 2010.  I was looking for a producer to work with and Glen’s was the only response I got!  Fortunately fate played a great hand on that day as I found my perfect musical partner.  Like any relationship, a musical one has to have the right chemistry and something clicked that day.


Q. Where does the name come from?
CHRIS : We wanted a name that people couldn’t attach a direct meaning or association to.  We played about with various options but nothing felt right to both of us until I suggested Modovar.  One of my favourite film directors is Pedro Almodovar (Bad Education, All About My Mother, The Skin I Live In etc) and so the bands’ name is partly in homage to him.  I love the tragi-comic, slightly absurd, deeply psychological aspects to his films.  Although they are slightly melodramatic there is always something deeply human about his work which always resonates with me.  For me, any art whether it’s film or music should have an emotional context and so I hope that our work has that in common with Almodovar.  Modovar is also apparently derived from Arabic and is ‘Of Uncertain Origin’ which also appealed to us as it linked to the name with no direct meaning.


Q. Your debut album from last year 'The Sea Of Unspoken Words' was one minute dramatic ballads and then dance floor blasters the next. Let's say Highs & Lows,  Was that the purpose of the album?
CHRIS: Lyrically, it’s the story of a life up to that point.  As we all know, every life no matter how blessed has its’ highs and lows.  Every song is to some degree auto-biographical.  I had 20+ years of relationship material to mine from and so writing it was very cathartic.  There is love, heartbreak, betrayal, death and even violence!  Some of the facts and characters have been changed for artistic purposes as the saying goes but I’d say it’s 95% truth.  When I do write, although the lyrics are personal, I try to write universally so that hopefully they resonate emotionally with someone else’s own story.  That to me is the most important thing.  We all have a story to tell.


Q.  The Sea of Unspoken Words was released later than planned, Is this the case with the new album?
CHRIS : The Sea Of Unspoken Words was released almost 3 years after we first met.  There were various reasons for the delays.  We were just forming our writing partnership and the way this album was written was very different to the way the new one has been written.  Glen would send me instrumentals and I would write to these, trying to fit my melodies around his backing.  This worked for us at the time but slowed things up somewhat as the files would go back and forth between us.  We also relied on a lot of goodwill in the mixing of the album.  We were really fortunate to have Gary Clark mix the album for us and so we had to fit this around Gary’s schedule.  But it was worth the wait as it allowed the songs to evolve over time.  For me, there are elements of imperfection about our debut album and things I’d possibly change but it was really important that it was also a document of that period and was an honest reflection of that time.  I’m very proud of it for being that.  I think the new album shows a real progression in our sound.  Our writing relationship has certainly developed and is now much more intuitive.  We’ve written a lot more material for the new album (entitled ‘Of Uncertain Origin’) – around 18 new songs.  Some written almost 2 years ago and so based on our previous history, we’re still on track!  

Q. 'COLD' Is the new single from the album. Sounds brilliant! What differentiates the new material from the previous album?
GLEN : Thanks, we are really pleased with COLD. I think the differences musically with the second album is that we set out with a bit of a plan to include some more up tempo tracks and to incorporate more use of analog keyboards, also with this album a lot of the songs have been written in the studio together rather than me producing music that Chris would put the lyrics too. This has resulted in some great songs for album 2.
CHRIS :  Most of the new material has been written together in the studio ‘in the moment’ and so feels much more ‘alive’ to me.  Whereas The Sea Of Unspoken Words was about looking back to events that happened in the past, the new album is much more ‘present’ as it was written about events happening at the time.  ‘Cold’ was written in the studio in about 30 minutes and the vocal that you hear on the release is the very first vocal that went down as we were writing the song.  We tried re-recording it but couldn’t better the original when obviously, emotions were running high! ‘Cold’ is again autobiographical and is about someone emotionally inconsistent, who would ‘blow hot and cold’ and so I never knew where I stood with them.  They’re long gone but we have a great song so I can thank them for that - laughs!


Q. What track from the new album are you both excited about?
GLEN : For me this has changed a few times as new songs have been written each with something interesting, but I guess the one that has stuck has to be a song called SHADOW, for me it has a great chorus which is very catchy.
CHRIS : We’ve written so many strong songs for the new album.  We felt very strongly that ‘Cold’ should be the first single but our favourites have changed throughout the writing process  . I really like ‘Another Heart’ which is Modovar at Studio 54!  Actually. ‘Cold’, ‘Shadow’ and ‘Another Heart’ were all written about the same doomed relationship so at least something good came out of it!


Q. I heard in the grapevine that there might be an EP release before the album comes out?
GLEN : We have been playing around with different ideas for the next batch of releases and an EP was discussed but we are now going ahead with producing the full album which should be out mid 2015, but there will definitely be a new single preceding it.


Q. Everyone who knows Modovar will connect you to Yazoo, Erasure etc.. Does that annoy you or do you use it to your advantage?
CHRIS : Yazoo were my idols when I was growing up and Alison Moyet is one of my main vocal influences and so no, it doesn’t annoy me.  If people connect us to Yazoo then I take it as a great compliment.  It’s always been a great privilege to sing these songs as we have done at BAS for the past 4 years and we’re back once again for BAS2015!  We only ever sing these songs live in Basildon which is where they were created and we have only actually performed four Vince Clarke shows ever. But the BAS connection has definitely raised our profile which is why people may connect us to Yazoo or Erasure.  We love working with the team as BAS and they set the bar higher and higher each year.  


Q.  Do you sometimes find the tribute set lists go down better than your own material or are the audience as generous on both counts?
GLEN : I think they are generous on both,  the tribute sets at BAS are one off special shows and we concentrate on our own material at our own gigs.  Both go down well.
CHRIS : The great thing about cover versions is that they bring the audience closer to you.  We’ve only ever actually done four cover shows but it brings our name and our own music to a much wider audience.   We take great pride in creating our own backing tracks to these songs and make sure that although they are true to the originals there is always a Modovar twist.  There are certain factions that can get snobby about original acts doing cover versions but we do it extremely well and with our own style. 


Q.  It seems when gigs are put together, Modovar are the first act to be named. You must be very pleased with that?
CHRIS : We’ve both been doing this for a long time in some shape or form and Modovar have been together for 4 years.  So, no overnight success!  We’re both grateful that people respond to what we love doing and certainly don’t take anything for granted.


Q.  If I'm not wrong you're playing an Oxjam gig next?
CHRIS : Yes, Oxjam at The Edge on 8th November.  We’ll be playing songs from the new album and a few old favourites (when in Basildon...).  It’s great to be able to support such a great cause.  Tickets are just £5 and all proceeds will go directly to Oxfam.  The ticket entry price has also been deliberately kept low so that people can dig deep and donate on the night.  The organiser Clare Whatley has done a great job in bringing everything and everyone together.  We’re really looking forward to it and it should be a great night.
GLEN : Yes Oxjam @ The Edge, we are really looking forward to that. We have a bit of a mixed set for the night, so hopefully we’ll  get everyone in a good mood for the evening


Q. Will any of the new tracks from the album get their first live airing?
CHRIS : We’ve played them live previously but we’ll be playing ‘One Life’, ‘Love For The Sake Of Love’, ‘Cold’, ‘Fire’, and ‘Another Heart’ from the new album.


Q. Would you like to be releasing, gigging more but other plans take centre stage?
GLEN : I think it’s a mixture of both, with more emphasis on releasing the new material. We’ve become increasingly selective with the gigging and so it has to be the right event and venue to play.
CHRIS : We’ll hopefully be a lot more active in 2015.  We’re in talks with a producer and so we hope that with their help we’ll be able to speed along the release of the new album by mid 2015.  We’d like to do more gigs but as Glen says, it has to be the right event.


Q. You have shared the stage with some great artists but who gives you a buzz when you stand back and watch them?
CHRIS :  I think anyone that has real passion for what they do is inspiring. The music industry has changed significantly over the past 10 years and the rewards aren’t always high. I admire anyone that keeps on doing what they love doing despite of  what it may or may not bring and artists that have made long careers out of music and still retain their integrity.  My obvious answer in that category would have to be Alison Moyet who is still at the top of her game live.
GLEN : I saw MUSE on their last tour and was totally blown away by them they know how to put on a show.


Q. Plans for 2015? or are you going to take one step at a time and throw the timescale planner out of the window? ;-)
 GLEN : We are putting together a plan for 2015, our priority is the new album and another single and possibly an EP to precede it.  We’ve also just confirmed  BAS2015 in June 2015 and will also be looking to promote the album around about that time.
CHRIS : Everything will hopefully go to the schedule that we have in our heads but the best laid plans..! .  We’d also like to work more with DJs and remixers so please get in touch if you’re out there and you’re interested!


Finally, Thank You both for taking time out to do the Q&A. I wish you the best of luck with 'Cold' and the new album.
 Is there anything further you would like to add
Thanks Andy and thanks for your continued support on Revival Synth!  And thanks to everyone out there who continue to support Modovar!