RON SPEAKS … (First Part)
Thanks to Ron & France Geesin for their patience …
Before « Atom Heart Mother »
RPF: « Nick Mason has stated in his book that Roger Waters was clearly inspired by your work to compose Several Species … Are you aware of it ? What do you think of this title ? is this a track you could write? »
Ron Geesin: « I am aware of the title, but not of the content. I was not aware of Mason's statement, but would say that Waters would have heard me on the BBC Radio, before we met, which may have triggered the Scottish voice references: our mothers both had some Scottish ancestry. I was certainly exploring 'mini sound dramas' (with not much obvious musical content) at that time ».
Music from the Body
RPF: « The recording of « Music from the Body » is a grey zone. There are not much details about the dates. Could you
confirm these facts: You’re recorded your parts at your home studio between February and march 1970. Roger has
recorded his parts between January and March 1970 at his home studio New north Road, Islington.
So, the re-recording process begin in July 1970 at your home studio and Roger begin re-recorded his things at island
studios around august, 17th. Is it right ? »
Ron Geesin: « The music for the film « The Body » was recorded separately by Roger and me through those months
January to March 1970. Through May to June I was writing all brass, choir and solo cello for what became Atom Heart
Mother. Then Roger and I began to construct the EMI album « Music From The Body ». We made two new pieces Our Song
(all my sound editing and piano, with some armpit-squeaks and teeth-grinding by Roger) and Body Transport (certainly a
'mini sound drama' by us equally), neither piece having anything to do with the film.
All my other pieces were from the film. Roger decided to re-record all his songs, since the film versions were done roughly
and quickly in his own home studio.
RPF: « You stated the rest of the band came in studio to record the new version of Give Birth of a smile. But, when we
listen the movie version, we notice the band yet as can hear it here (I sent to Ron the original audio track):
Ron Geesin: « So, i’m little confused … I can't remember if the rest of the band went to Roger's very small studio or
whether they added the session quickly on to one of theirs at EMI Abbey Road
RPF: « Do you remember if Roger Waters has worked on the title if during these sessions ? »
Ron Geesin: « No, but probably! »
RPF: « Is there any outtakes of your own from this soundtrack ? »
Ron Geesin: « Very probably, but I have no time to look right now! »
RPF: « Are you’re interested by a live rendition of this piece (with eventually a screen projection) ? »
Ron Geesin: « No - anyway, it would be too complicated to replicate all my multi-tracking »
On Atom Heart Mother
RPF: « When we read your book, we understand the track was composed by David, you, and (for a minor part) by Rick.
What was the contribution of Roger on this track except for the bass part ? Hasn't bring some ideas ? »
Ron Geesin: « I can only imagine he would have contributed ideas: they all did at that time. Certainly he would have had
some input to the two effects sequences »
RPF: « Have you heard other symphonic-rock albums as Spooky Tooth (« MassElectronica »), Deep Purple or even
The Nice ? »
Ron Geesin: « No, I don't listen to that area of music ».
RPF: « How were your relations with the rest of the band when you have finished recording ? Did you think you could
work with them again? Is The Floyd talking about further projects with you ? »
Ron Geesin: « Relations were happy, but I and my family moved from London to East Sussex in May 1971 and I and the
individual members of the group naturally went our separate ways: I got very busy with film soundtrack work and they
became very popular in their world. Yes, creatively I could have worked with them again, but we went into separate worlds:
no other projects were considered ».
RPF: « Seems you were present for some live renditions of the band. What do you think about that the live version ? »
Ron Geesin: « As you know, I left Hyde Park in tears. I was not present at any other live concerts of Atom Heart Mother.
From what I've heard, they were poorly performed and generally awkward ».
RPF: « The rumor said the Floyd refused Kubrick use the title for « A Clockwork Orange », Have you been consulted by
the band ? »
Ron Geesin: « No ».
RPF: « Did Nick Mason ask you some help to set up Alan Psychedelic Breakfast ? »
Ron Geesin: « No ».
On your soundtracks and beyond …
RPF: « One of the great mysteries for me, having read many things about this, remain your work with Roger Waters and Adrian Maben on the documentary « L’art et la Machine ». I’m very keen to have some details about the context and the recording of this soundtrack … Could you help me ? »
Ron Geesin: « Without getting the original tape out - and I don't know exactly where it is - I have forgotten everything about this work »
RPF: « It is very difficult to find some of your works, for instance the wonderful soundtrack you wrote for « The Daily Round » movie. Have you some plans to release your archives ? »
Ron Geesin: « No plans, but there is a lot of material - if there was enough interest in the world! »
RPF: « What do you think of the latest work of Roger and David (« Roger Waters - The Wall » movie, « Rattle that Lock » or « The Endless River ») ? »
Ron Geesin: « I have no idea ».
RPF: « More generally, what do you think of the term avant-garde used in the 60s and 70s ? »
Ron Geesin: « One of my aphorisms of the period was « The easiest place to hide is in the Avant-Garde » The great French composer Edgard Varèse (lived in New York) said, « Artists are never ahead of their time, but most people are far behind theirs » !!! »
RPF: « Victor Hugo said « music is a noise who thinks ». Do you see a concrete difference between noise and music ? »
Ron Geesin: « Another version of this is by John Cage (I think) who defined Music as Organised Noise. I say that structure is everything, whatever the source sounds »
Ron Geesin photographied in 2012 by Alex Horn