Interview series with T, part 1 of 7: Naive (1999)

T live?! After 21 years of renowned studio nerdism, t was persuaded to go live in the context of Eclipsed's anniversary festival to which he was elected as the All-star band frontman. The Night Of The Prog festival then booked him, and the rest is history.

To prepare us for his first ever tour (and, according to t himself, maybe also his last, for a long time), Thomas Thielen, the one man behind all this music, looks back with DPRP on his eight albums so far, spanning 21 years of a career that made him "one of the most important musicians of the decade" (Eclipsed Magazine).

On November 9th 2019, Thomas Thielen (t) will play Alphen's Parkvilla with a full band. DPRP is delighted to be sponsoring this show, and to give you a short reminder of his career, we have invited Thomas to provide his memories of each album.

In this mini-series, compiled by Andy Read, t takes a rear-view-mirror approach to his back catalogue. Today, Thomas talks about the making of:

Naive (1999 - 2001)

When I recorded Naive, I was, well, exactly that. Actually, the whole album was recorded in a small student's flat, right above Trier's center. I had rather bad headphones, a rather mediocre microphone and a few synths and guitars and basses; and no experience whatsoever, apart from having recorded with Scythe a few years earlier (which was, soundwise, rather a disaster).

This time it was all supposed to be different. I'd go there big time. Well, little did I know. But the songs? When I went back to plan this tour, I stumbled across a few pearls in the oyster that I had completely forgotten about.

She Said, the opener, has a melody that still haunts me; so much that I played the guitar solo automatically, after 20 years, note by note. My fingers just knew what to do.

Also, About Us moved me to tears, like flicking through a photo album of a time that you had almost forgotten about. The intensity of these young, rough years was incredible.

My equipment back then was so bad that I had to cheat a bit. The day that I wanted to record Tuesday Night Blues, I went to a hi-fi shop in Trier and "bought" a very expensive tape machine. I then recorded the song and took it back the next day, for reasons of, cough, incompatability with my equipment. Apologies folks, but that was the only way!

Also, the last song I recorded, Nothing More, is something I shall never forget. The vocals were supposed to have a certain atmosphere, which proved very hard to reach for young t. I ended updoing take after take, recording in a frenzy from 10am to 9pm. I had locked myself in, and when I was finished, I wanted to relax and switched on the tv. There was some coverage about a plane crash, which I was not fond of, and I selected a different channel. Same coverage. When I repeated the move, it dawned on me that something extremely bad must have happened. It was September 11th, 2001.

Naive was my way into a world of self-dependency, and although I stumbled through much of it, I am immensely proud that I reached, at least, some goal. I like many songs on the album, not least the first I ever recorded, She Is Dead, for which I recorded the typewriter sample myself; the first thing I ever sampled! I hope you like it and I hope you'll like it live in Alphen!

Promo photo. Copyright by, and by courtesy of t and Katia Tangian

Click here for the official t website

Read the original DPRP review of Naive here.