11 May 2012 by Tim Willis

Pink Floyd’s David Gilmour in conversation

In an exclusive interview, Pink Floyd's leader gives high50 editor Tim Willis an insight into his approach to recording, particularly Dark Side of The Moon

David Gilmour_Munich 2006_620 Corbis 42-27664002

Happy now? Gilmour welcomes our way of listening to his music. Photo from Corbis

I am fortunate enough to be a friend of Pink Floyd’s de facto leader, David Gilmour, who – apart from being a supreme musician and your uber-alpha male – is a kind, gentle and self-effacing human being. He doesn’t particularly relish giving interviews, and I don’t really like asking famous friends to sacrifice their time and privacy to bolster my career.

But for high50, to accompany our second album listening club at Babington House, I was at least willing to suggest that he might gild our gingerbread by talking exclusively about Dark Side of the Moon: its conception and recording, and the experience of listening to it as a complete work on vinyl.

“If the idea doesn’t appeal,” I emailed, “let’s never mention it again.” I imagined that would be the end of the matter. So I was beyond delighted to get this reply:

“I’m happy to chat about DSOM any time you like. Whatever it takes to get people to sit in a nice room with a great recording and a couple of jars and listen to the whole thing all the way through the way it was intended to be heard is cool with me. The other day, Polly [the writer Polly Samson, David’s wife and the lyricist on most of his recent work] and I listened to On An Island [his latest solo album] like that, for the first time in about three years, and we thought it was brilliant. We’re so modest…”

So at 8.30 on a March morning, he and I convened at their Sussex farmhouse; him alert, collected and considered, me a bit groggy, and recorded this conversation (you will need to sign up to high50 or log in to listen).

We hope you enjoy it, and that it gives you a greater understanding of one of the all-time greatest ‘rock’ records from one of its key creators. And you might be amused to know that, before he gave us the green light to release it, David personally edited out the ‘ums’, ‘ers’, false starts and longueurs (all mine) that occur in these situations.

That attention to detail informs all his work. It’s one of the reasons DSOM is the near-perfect piece that it is. So we hope this interview and our report on the record listening club will prompt you to listen quietly to the album again, in its entirety – and maybe enter our competition for free collectors’ editions.

In the meantime, though, we’ll see you on the dark side.

Now listen to the audio recording. (If you’re not a high50 member, you will need to sign up; if you are, you’ll need to log in.)

Tim is a journalist, author and former editor-in-chief of high50.com. He has edited the Sunday Times Style section, the Evening Standard’s ES magazine, and Scotland on Sunday Magazine.

Comments

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Added 12 May 2012 - 11:01 am

Goodmorning,
Interesting interview with David Gilmour this time more aiming at the technical backgrounds of dotm. Thanks for that. The Floyd fans will appreciate it.
Kind regards,
Harry de Vries
The Netherlands

david
Added 16 June 2012 - 4:05 pm

hay tim as a great fan of pink floyd here in akron ohio just listen to your chat with david and had dark side of the moon on in the backround. you did a great job keep up the great work