Andy Tillison is the mastermind behind The Tangent. Even though the British singer and keyboardist always emphasizes that without his fellow musicians Jonas Reingold (bass), Theo Travis (saxophone and flute), Luke Machin (guitar) and Steve Roberts (drums) the sound of the band would sound completely different. But the fact is that 61-year-old Tillison works out all the compositions at home. In the studio they are then given the finishing touches as a collective. This also happened with the current 11th studio album "Auto Reconnaissance". The focus is on music between opulence and fragility. The lyrics, however, also deserve attention, oscillating between inner and outer world, between self and social criticism. "The private Andy is impossible to have or grasp without the political one," jokes a well-prepared Tillison right at the beginning of the interview.
eclipsed: "Auto Reconnaissance" means "self-exploration". So was the writing of the album a trip into your own inner self? Or why else this title?
Andy Tillison: When I compose - and this time it was even more so than usual - I try to look at the world from the outside. And when I've finished my "field research", I develop musical and textual "characters". Afterwards I learn a lot of new things about myself and my personality.
eclipsed: You like to regularly remind people to be flattered when they call you a "progger." What do you associate with this?
Tillison: The term has many different meanings for many different people. For me personally it means that I can orientate myself in pretty much all musical directions. To put it poetically: I can fly from one flower to another like a bee and hopefully pick up as much creative honey as I can on that journey. And then always sell the result as "Prog"! (laughs) For me, ABBA or Steely Dan are as progressive as Yes or ELP. The "cinematographic" aspect is crucial.
eclipsed: And the art of storytelling, right?
Tillison: That's right! I came to this music in the 70s because it took me into adventurous realms, both in terms of sound and content. The longer I deal with this phenomenon, the more surprised I am about "Prog". As soon as you have opened up one horizon, the next one is already waiting to be discovered.
eclipsed: Under which circumstances did the new songs come into being?
Tillison: Among pretty idyllic ones, I'd say. About a year ago, my family and I moved to the country in England, "right in the middle of nowhere". What sounds terribly boring is actually balm for the soul. And as if I had foreseen the Corona virus, for health reasons nothing better could happen to me than to have as few neighbours as possible around me, but instead a lot of fresh air. We are very happy here. And I communicate with my musical comrades-in-arms via the internet, we exchange our ideas there. It works great!