Geneva in July 2015: It is the hottest day of the year and Philip David Charles Collins sits sweating in his hotel suite. The air conditioner has resigned and the drinks are lukewarm. The 64-year-old flew in fresh from Miami just to cut himself from fatigue while shaving. A nasty wound gapes on his upper right cheek. And he doesn't exactly radiate the glamour of a man who has sold 250 million albums: Collins wears an unpretentious striped shirt with pleated trousers, slippers, a bald skull and thick glass bricks, but at the same time proves to be a humorous conversation partner who likes to chat about the new edition of "Face Value" and "Both Sides". The release of these successful albums marks the start of the retrospective of Phil Collins' solo work entitled "Take A Look At Me Now".
eclipsed: The Stones, the Doors, Led Zeppelin or Queen have re-released their music countless times. What took you so long?
Phil Collins: My record company is going to kill me, but for me this remastering thing is pure wheeling and dealing and I don't want anything to do with it. That's why I've refused so far. What has moved me to rethink is a development that is currently taking place: my things are being rediscovered by many young people. Which has to do with the fact that celebrities like Adele, Pharrell [Williams], Lorde or Beyoncé call me the main influence for their sound. A wonderful compliment!
eclipsed: So the reissues are a reaction to this renaissance?
Collins: Exactly. And originally the label wanted to use the usual B-sides and demos as bonus material. Only most of my demos have already appeared as B-sides of singles. Which is why I wanted to use some good live recordings. No material from any DVDs, but unreleased recordings showing what a great band I had. We also re-recorded all the covers - with the same motif as then, but with my current face. This shows that I have certainly thought about this project.
eclipsed: The Beatles Remasters were so successful because they revealed moments that could not be heard before. Did you follow a similar approach and also bring out the original master tapes?
Collins: No, they were just remastered, not remixed. I left this to Nick Davis and Miles Showell at Abbey Road. Because I myself don't have any equipment anymore with which I could listen to music. I only hear in the car or on the computer. That's why I rely on the opinions of others, who all say how great the new versions sound. Among them is a demo Eric Clapton and I recorded for Face Value. But then the idiot in me who wants everything to be perfect prevailed and I asked Joe Partridge to re-record the part. I should have left it as it was with Eric. Fortunately, I still had it on an old analog cassette, which was now being reworked. And I'm not sure what those things sound like. On the computer, they're okay. Only someone who hears them on an expensive system might disagree.