After "Misplaced Childhood", Marillion's 1994 opus "Brave" is now also being re-released: as a luxurious boxed set filled to the brim with Steven Wilson remixes, a concert recording and a new documentary. eclipsed spoke exclusively with Steve Hogarth, Steve Rothery, Mark Kelly and Ian Mosley about the creation of a dark masterpiece that has lost none of its fascination even after twenty-four years.
"Holidays In Eden" hadn't really satisfied anyone. The band had bowed to the pressure of the record company and recorded a catchy record with the pop-oriented producer Chris Neil, which was not only ambivalently recorded by the Marillion fans. She also simply did not let the newly formed group grow together. Drummer Ian Mosley remembers: "We had 'Season's End' with material that was mostly already there, so when it went to 'Holidays In Eden' we had an empty canvas in front of us that we didn't know how to paint. We got a lot of bullshit about that, too. Originally Chris Kimsey was supposed to produce, but he had a job at the Rolling Stones. With Chris Neil it just wasn't what we had hoped for, so we were at a crossroads afterwards."
With Nick Mander, EMI had a new A&R man on the band, and he had clear guidelines: It should be as inexpensive and fast as possible. We talked about a rough album with corners, edges and above all short songs to swim along on the grunge wave. "Mander couldn't do anything with us," says keyboarder Mark Kelly. "He just worked with the rave band EMF, that was more his music. I guess he planned to steer us in a similar direction."
Welcome to the team, Dave Meegan
Mander suggested Dave Meegan to the band as producer. He already knew Marillion, as he had worked as a young sound technician on the recordings of "Fugazi". Since then he had made a name for himself with Trevor Horn's pop label ZTT - which is why Mander wrongly regarded him as a pop producer. It was a lucky coincidence for the band: Meegan proved to be the driving force behind the complex Progwerk as the "Brave" crystallized during the sessions. "It was Miller's biggest mistake to hire Dave Meegan," laughs Mosley, "because he was the one who wanted to carry out this project consistently, without paying attention to the budget or the time elapsing."
At the end of 1992 the band rented themselves in the Château de Marouatte in a sparsely populated area in the southwest of France. The fourteenth century castle was owned by Miles Copeland, head of Marillions US label I.R.S. and brother of Police drummer Stewart Copeland. The musicians hoped that their stay there would provide them with the necessary peace and quiet for the recordings. "You have to imagine it this way," guitarist Steve Rothery says, "it didn't just look like a castle from a horror novel, it actually had a pretty bloody story. The most bizarre thing, though, was that Copeland sent people all over Europe to buy him old relics, pretty scary stuff he used to equip the rooms with."
The band had decided not to pay the advance for a studio visit and preferred to buy digital equipment, the basis of their own studio, the "Racket Club", which was just being built. This they then towed completely to France. "There was nothing there," says Kelly. "It was just an old building with empty rooms. On the other hand, we hadn't set up the equipment at home yet and couldn't record there either."