Home Forums Robert Wyatt Shipbuilding Wyatt on collaboration

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    Richie Unterberger interviewed Robert Wyatt on November 18, 1996 ; here are excerpts about the collaborative process:

    Q: ‘You’ve collaborated with a really wide assortment of musicians. Are there certain kinds of collaborations that you seek out?’

    W: ‘Absolutely not, actually. To be honest, nearly everything I’ve been on, I’ve been asked to be on. And I’m quite surprised at them. I mean, they do surprise me on the whole. I would say that the ones that have perhaps meant most to me have been the most recent ones, Mike Mantler. And things I’ve done with him before. But no, I wouldn’t have dreamt of asking these people. I don’t ask people. When I’m recording, I’m very shy of asking people, in case they don’t want to do it, or in case they don’t get the idea that I had in my head, and I’m too embarrassed to not use it. Also, it’s expensive. If you’re going to use other people, you have to pay them. People don’t (get paid), a lot of the time…

    Things I do myself, I often imagine friends on things, and there are people I would like to work with. It’s a bit harder, because I live out in the sticks anyway, and plus being in a wheelchair means that I can’t really circulate. So I tend to stick to my own thing. I’m not, by nature, a collaborator. I think, there again, going back to the fact that my biggest influences were people like painters and poets. These are solitary workers. It’s been very good for me to have been asked on various things, but in the end it surprises me. I just try and do the things that people ask me to do. It’s nice, in a way. I don’t have the responsibility for the final thing. I’m quite limited in what I can do, so sometimes I just have to say no, not because I don’t like it, but because I just don’t think I can do justice to the idea of the song.’

    Max Gate

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