Giugno 13, 2024

“RICHARD REALLY WAS JUST AN INCREDIBLY KIND” – EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH DOM BEKEN

While waiting to see them again in Italy, we interviewed Dom Beken, keyboard player of the legendary Saucerful Of Secrets, Nick Mason’s super band.

FC: During the christmas days you made a great gift to Italian fans announcing a new tour date for the next summer. Nick Mason loves our country so much, even because of his passion for Ferrari, and I want to ask you how was for you to play in the beautiful scenario of Pompei, “sacred” place for Pink Floyd’s fans.

DB: Well… Pompei was definitely a special show. The atmosphere was amazing – not just because of the incredible place and its history but also people seemed to have come from every corner of the planet to be there. Most of this sunk in after we’d left as the reality of touring can sometimes be quite hectic! We pulled into Pompeii on an incredibly hot day and due to the heat we couldn’t really get our equipment up and running early, so our experience was very much a quick dash to the stage, play the gig then jump on the bus straight afterwards to drive overnight to Brescia! It was all a bit of a surreal dream which I almost only know was real because I have the photos to prove it!

FC: I have noticed that in the tour poster is disappeared the writing “The Echoes Tour”. What does it mean? Can we expect a new set list of songs for a new live album?

DB: To be honest, at this stage we’re not entirely sure! Hopefully once we have the full schedule for 2024 we’ll start thinking about production.

FC: Going back in the past, precisely in 2006: please, tell me what was it like working for Richard Wright.

DB: Richard really was just an incredibly kind and gentle person to work with and I don’t need to tell you about his talent. He had an incredible sense and knowledge of harmony and without it Pink Floyd would have been a very different sounding band.

FC: How do you feel about having ‘replaced’ him?

DB: I haven’t “replaced him” in any way whatsoever! In fact it what one of the key things about the way we approached this band – the spirit of Floyd Pre-Dark Side was very much about improvisation and experimentation, so our first aim was to embrace that. Although we of course play recognisable versions of the songs, having Nick in the band (and also Guy, who’s been in Nick’s rhythm section longer than anyone else) gave us the freedom to interpret the songs in our own way rather than slavishly copying this or that recording or previous performance. There’s no shortage of tribute bands who do that very well anyway! But it also freed me from having to try and copy Richard’s style of playing and put a bit of myself into the performances. Of course, I loved his playing, so I don’t doubt there’s some of his influence in the way I approach keyboards, but I wasn’t going to be making any claims to be replacing him.

FC: Last year we could hear a new remix of “Wet Dream”, a great surprise. Since you have worked with him and listened to his unreleased material by him, do you think there is a possibility of releasing a new Rick album in the future?

DB: This is entirely in the hands of his family and estate, and they taking looking after Richard’s legacy very seriously. I’m delighted with what Steven Wilson has achieved with “Wet Dream” and it’s given the album a new lease of life. Perhaps “Broken China” might even get the same treatment, but these were albums that had been finished and the family know Richard was ready to share them. As for anything else there may or may not be, it really isn’t my decision.

FC: In your career you took care about a lot of things: films, tv shows, video games, other collaborations with ORB, HFB etc… Have you planned something else beyond the “Saucerful”?

DB: Well, Nick hasn’t mentioned anything about retiring but in between tours I do still have a decent amount of time. At least two video games with music I’ve composed should be released this year. Alex Paterson and I still work together so hopefully we’ll get round to finishing some of that work soon too. I’m also working with a few other people on ideas so hopefully 2024 will be productive! One highlight coming up is playing with KillerStar. The band was started by Rob Flemming and James Sedge but has ended up including many members of David Bowie’s band. I’m really delighted to be invited to join them on keys and we’re launching the new album at London’s 100 Club on 16th March.

Interview by Francesco Madonia. Translation edited by Matteo Gherardi. Photos by Marco Bozzato.

INTERVISTA ESCLUSIVA A DOM BEKEN by Francesco Madonia is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 4.0