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HAL/Gillian Anderson "Extremis" Press Conference
May 29, 1997

GILLIAN ANDERSON
DUNCAN LOMAX
PAUL GALLAGHER
PASCAL DERYCKE

Introduction (Steve Lee) Feel free to raise hands or start asking the questions.

QUESTION: What brought you to this project? Who had the idea of this collaboration and who put it together?

PAUL: I think it all started last summer. Gillian was a presenter on a series called Future Fantastic produced by the BBC and, quite fortunately, we were lucky enough to put the title music forward. I think, when they were making the series, Gillian kept hearing our music. And, something in her life at that time made her think that sheíd want to maybe get involved with music. And, that was the catalyst, really. She got in touch with us, through Tomorrowís World and through the BBC, and we conceived the project from there.

GILLIAN: I heard. ( laughs )

PAUL: Youíre very shy.

GILLIAN: I know. David McNabb, whoís the producer of Future Fantastic -- I just called him. We were talking on the phone one day and I brought up the particular music that was used on the show because there was something about it that spoke to me in a very particular way. It was a lot of ambient, some techno, some very dark and mysterious stuff. And, I kept commenting on how much I liked the music. So, he asked if I would be interested in getting involved in some way and I said well you guys will have to put together a compilation of some kind. So, he made some calls and some people got interested and we kind of started from there.

QUESTION: Are you happy with the results?

GILLIAN: Who asked that ? Yes, yes I am. I mean, itís been a lot of fun, you know...

DUNCAN: Itís been nine months. ( laughs )

GILLIAN: Its been a long time. ( laughs )

DUNCAN: Yeah the baby was born yesterday -- on Tuesday.

GILLIAN: Its been a lot of fun and that initially was what this was about. It was about getting together with a bunch of people that I respected and enjoyed working with and doing something else other than future fantastic and we had a laugh. We had a great time in the studio and had a great time shooting the video and Iíve had a lot of fun being involved in choosing bands for the compilation and cover art and stuff like that. Itís just been fun.

QUESTION: Does that mean that you enjoyed it so much youíd be doing more of this sort of thing?

GILLIAN: I doubt it. Something tells me that if I were to push it, it wouldnít be fun anymore.

PAUL: I think youíve got to look at this project. This wasnít Virgin Records coming to us and saying we want you to do a single with Gillian Anderson. This was a song that already existed by Hal. We had already done that song. That song became the theme tune for future fantastic, and thatís how Gillian heard it. And, it grew from there. So, from the start, it was never a project that was conceived by any marketing people or anything else --it went the other way.

DUNCAN: Yeah, it was very organic -- it existed, and blossomed into something else.

GILLIAN: Yeah, that is something that must be understood -- that initially it was their song and something that was important to them in a particular way, and I came along and completely changed it. ( laughs )

DUNCAN: No, the tune itself, the melody, exists in the final version thatís released now, and the same CD that was put out about three years ago on an underground German label called PDCD. If you listen to that song that was released three years ago you can see the essence of ďExtremisĒ thatís there, itís just itself. Itís evolved organically and become so many different things over time -- it was the theme tune to Future Fantastic in a very ambient kind of techno way and now its a kind of very ethereal piece.

GILLIAN: And, initially, I wasnít planning to be involved with it to the degree I have been. I was planning on being involved on it, in the production end of it, but not in terms of how much I was actually in the song -- my voice was in the song -- and how much I was in the video. Itís kind of expanded into what it is right now, which is fine.

PAUL: I think what it is, in the studio, once Gillian.......

GILLIAN: Nobody has asked a question ....( laughs )

PAUL: Once Gillian had proved herself the quintessential right nineties vocalist it was all over.

QUESTION: Will you tell me something about the band name and what you took from the English movie 2001?

PAUL: Yeah, the name Hal -- there are three of us, two thirds of us think that it came from 2001, but the French guy in the corner says something different so...

PASCAL: So, Hal has two origins -- one is from the Stanley Kubrick film, and the other one is something from Ireland. In Ireland, there is a traditional folk music which is named Hal, so youíve got the organic side of Hal which is folk music and ethnic music, and the other side of Hal which is technology. We use technology to compose our music but with ethnic samples.

QUESTION: Obviously you are French, how did you get together?

PASCAL: Do you have the internet?

PAUL: Yeah it goes back a long way really, I think in about 1991, 92 maybe, myself and Duncan (aka Savage) were messing about with computers and samplers and so on and we sent a tape to Pascalís label at PDCD, and he liked it so much that, thankfully, he gave us an offer to release a CD. That came out in 92, 93 maybe I canít remember, but weíve done two or three since then. But, as we got to know Pascal better and to understand his... (interrupted)

QUESTION: Just a silly question, today is the thirteenth right, do you believe in spirit things?

DUNCAN: But itís not Friday the thirteenth is it?

GILLIAN: Yeah.

DUNCAN: Next question.

QUESTION: What are youíre influences?

GILLIAN: My influences? In what way?

QUESTION: In music.

GILLIAN: What I listen to? I listen to lots of different kinds of music, is that what you mean? Just donít ask me who influenced me vocally on the single because Iím not going to answer that question. What Iíve been listening to, lately, is Cake and the Frames, the American version of the Frames, and Tori Amos and Brian Eno and a lot of eclectic foreign stuff like Tibetan monk stuff and things like soundtracks, soundtracks like Trainspotting, Gross Point-Blank, stuff like that.

QUESTION: Gillian you chose to recite poetry over this rather than sing, can you in fact sing?

GILLIAN: That is the question.

PAUL: Once she arrived in the studio in Vancouver she said Iíve been practising my scales, boys, how about this? And, she was in the vocal booth for about less than 30 seconds I think and we kicked her out and said no you cant do it, its all over weíre off, lets go. No, we decided from the outset that there was no point trying to sing because....

GILLIAN: No, no, shut up! I can sing. Itís not that I canít sing. I can sing. Itís just not what I do, I can but...

PAUL: The mood of the piece lends itself better to the spoken word anyway.

DUNCAN: There was never any intention for Gillian to sing on it.

GILLIAN:> Exactly, I said Iím not going to sing -- Iíll speak something if you want me to be involved.

DUNCAN: Right from the start there was never any intention for Gillian to sing on it because the track started off as an instrumental track. It existed already, and when Gillian got involved, she offered to put a voice over on it, not a vocal, and that fits in better with the music anyway. Itís a...you know Gillian is not putting herself up as a singer.

QUESTION: How do you think itís going to do in the charts?

DUNCAN: Who cares? The British charts at the moment are... do you mean the British charts or generally?

QUESTION: Across Europe?

DUNCAN: Well the British charts are a farce anyway, so, who cares? Across Europe, if people enjoy it, then..

PAUL: Weíve got so much interest across Europe, I think, obviously, because of the popularity of the X files, but the feedback weíre getting from Germany, Italy, Spain, and Greece and places like that is really cool. And Britain, who knows? Anything can make number one these days, so, whatever, we donít expect to make number one period, but, weíve been releasing singles in Germany for the past 5 years. So, to release something in Britain which weíve never done before...

QUESTION: Itís interesting for you to say that, because if you think anything can make number one why canít you make number one?

DUNCAN: Because of one simple fact -- we havenít had Radio One playlist play, and thatís what makes number ones these days, unfortunately. Which is why I say the British charts are a farce -- because Radio One playlist makes number ones.

PAUL: And we donít sound like Oasis either so weíve got no chance of being played on radio.

DUNCAN: Were not a brit pop band so weíre not going to get a radio one playlist but weíre not asked about that. Who cares? We didnít set out to do a number one single or anything. Like I said, the track existed already and it just grew a bit and developed. I mean, weíve been going for years doing 2000 copies of CDs and not even worrying whether they sell or not. Now, 3 years later, letís see if weíve got any left in the cupboard and...

QUESTION: But you stand a better chance now youíve got Gillian.

DUNCAN: Of course, weíre not stupid, but itís not important.

PAUL: But, if you listen to the song itself, itís not compromised in any way. And, I think one of the reasons why radio one said they wouldnít play it, is because they said it was a bit weird. I think that says something about us -- that we refuse to compromise and put any kind of Whigfield 4x4 cheese in it.

DUNCAN: The reason itís weird is because it hasnít got a single on chorus that they want. So, thatís their loss.

QUESTION: Did you have any music experience before hand?

GILLIAN: In music? No. I think I sang in the choir when I was 5, but that was about it.

QUESTION: Do you want to play in a rock n roll band?

GILLIAN: No, I Ďm not really interested in that. Iím very influenced by music in my life, and I listen to a lot of different kinds of music, and the prospect of choosing soundtracks for films interests me, but that would be the extent of my involvement, I think, in music.

QUESTION: Did you ever sing in a band in your punk days?

GILLIAN: No, I didnít, contrary to popular belief. No, I didnít.

QUESTION: Did you sing in the choir at Colderidge junior school in Crouch End?

GILLIAN: I might have. I remember standing somewhere with a bunch of girls singing off tune, but I canít remember where it was. But, it might have been at Colderidge.

QUESTION: I think a lot of Londoners are surprised to know that you were brought up in Crouch End. Do you have good memories of that?

GILLIAN: Whatís this got to do with Crouch End? Yeah, I mean, to a certain degree, all childhood memories are magical in some way. So, there certainly is an element of that in my memories of Crouch End and all of that.

QUESTION: So what is your biggest memory of Crouch End?

GILLIAN: The Clock Tower is my biggest memory.

DUNCAN: Its obviously not that big, whatever it is.

GILLIAN: No, I remember walking to school in the morning. I used to go to play school around the corner and there was a sweet shop two blocks away, and that was a very important part of my life.

QUESTION: Have you been back since?

GILLIAN: Yes. Iíve just been back, a couple of days ago, no yesterday, just to check it out and check out the old place where I used to live.

QUESTION: Has it changed?

GILLIAN: Yeah, fortunately for the residents, its gotten a bit nicer.

DUNCAN: Is this press conference about music? Heís from the Crouch End reporter.

QUESTION: Are you upset itís not ( the single ) been playlisted?

GILLIAN: No.

QUESTION: Can I ask you about the video -- how much of a hand did you have in that, itís a great video and itís getting massive play.

GILLIAN: Good question. My initial idea for the video was very different from how it ended up. I was involved in making choices about the editing process in stuff that I wanted to be changed and stuff that I wanted to be added to make it more of what I had originally thought it should be.

PAUL: Thereís quite an interesting story to the video, actually. When we originally conceived the track, Gillian I think you wanted to do it like you were a small child walking through a city.

GILLIAN: No, I think that was more Davidís idea.

PAUL: Oh was it? Oh well, we were going to have a small child walking through the city and kind of remembering back to her childhood..

DUNCAN: In Crouch End.

PAUL: But, when we started to do the track in Vancouver, Gillianís vocals were so sensual, there was such an earthy feel we thought we need something more sensual visually to go with that.

GILLIAN: It was also, having a discussion with the director at the time, inappropriate to bring the...because of how the album ended up...you have to understand, the album ended up this way because there werenít any big preconceptions of how it was going to be. It was just us kind of muddling together and doing -- taking something from the past and something new and throwing it up in the air and seeing where it landed. And, because of how it ended up -- the concept of having a child involved with this sensual aspect of the video -- was a bit inappropriate. So, we had to change courses.

QUESTION: So, was it more or less erotic than you wanted it to be?

GILLIAN: Quite a bit more than I originally wanted, thought, expected it to be.

QUESTION: Did they not say you were going to be seduced by a robot?

GILLIAN: In my initial discussion, we were talking about voyeurism in some way. David McNabb, whoís the producer and director of the video, started having discussions, tried to have discussions over the phone in different timezones over a period of time. He had an idea of me watching robots dancing, because we were dealing a little bit with Future Fantastic and the concept behind that. And, when he said that, I suddenly got this image of this dark, kind of dingy bar and me sitting in a chair. But, it was almost like a dream -- off to the side and wearing this Chinese dress, and just kind of watching and sitting up in almost like a gynaecological chair. Itís different from that, but the basis is there. The voyeurism stuck, and it just kind of expanded in different areas -- ideas and concepts and just kind of throwing them together.

QUESTION: Are you happy with it?

GILLIAN: Yeah.

PAUL: Yeah, the video has been through quite a few lives really, and I think now the final version weíre seeing we are all pleased with.

QUESTION: You must of had an offer to further the singing side of things?

GILLIAN: Yeah, from too many people. I have other focuses right now that are more important to me.

QUESTION: I know there is a compilation coming out. What was your goal in putting that together?

GILLIAN: Well, first of all, it was putting together a selection from the series Future Fantastic and coming up with singles that were on that show and deciding which of those were appropriate or we could use or would be good for a couple of Cds. And, then, it was adding stuff from around, from other bands on Virgin -- stuff like that. So, theyíd send me CDs and tapes of all these bands and Iíd go through them and say which ones I thought would be good.

QUESTION: So it was you that selected them?

GILLIAN: Yeah, but donít be mad with me about that. ( laughs )

PAUL: Yeah, but the stock, the choice came from the music that was used on Future Fantastic. I mean, there were nine episodes of about half an hour each, all of which featured different kinds of stuff. So, it was to choose from those really.

QUESTION: Are you proud of your voice?

GILLIAN: You mean my voice on the single? Yes and no. I mean, I hear it sometimes and I think, "yeah!" and sometimes I think, "yeah?"

PAUL: It functions. Itís cool. It sounds good acoustically. It fits in with the music and sounds great.

QUESTION: Gillian which do you prefer, working in television or music?

GILLIAN: You donít understand. You see, I donít do this. This is something I did in an afternoon. Iíve had like ten years of experience in one and two days experience in the other. My love and my life is about my work as an actress, and will be for the rest of my life. This will be just something that was fun for a couple of days and there is no comparison. I mean, this fed me in a particular creative way that you feel when you are coming up with ideas and putting together concepts with people that you enjoy working with, whereas my work as an actress is everything -- itís my work.

PAUL: For perspective purposes, logistically, we prepared the music and the words, went to Vancouver for 5 days and we spent 2 days in the studio, maybe 3, I donít remember, before Gillian even arrived actually getting stuff down on tape and getting it all mixed, and so on. Gillian came in and we sat with her for 2 hours or so with the words and worked out where best they would fit, and so on. We spent the rest of the day putting them down to tape, and the next day we did all the mixing, and Gillian came in later to go through what we had done. And, that was it really, because it is only one song -- itís not an album or anything.

QUESTION: Were Hal aware of the X files?

PAUL: I wasnít until the project was initiated.

GILLIAN: He had to figure out who the hell I was.

PAUL: We thought it was Pamela Anderson at first.

DUNCAN: We were so disappointed when we found out.

PAUL: I started to watch it then and I kind of got into it slowly, that was the third series.

DUNCAN: Iíve never watched an episode of the X-files, ( laughs ) but I think thatís a healthy thing because we went to Vancouver to record with Gillian, and there are people absolutely in awe of her and we werenít. If sheíd come in and made a complete mess of what she was doing, we wouldnít have carried on, because Gillian, sheís one of the lads, and thatís how we see it. There are four of us here, and I know you lot see this as Gillian Anderson, and by the way thereís this little band called Hal in the background, but thatís not how it actually started.

QUESTION: Did you socialise together between your working hours? Did you go down the Pub in Vancouver?

GILLIAN: Well, the night we recorded, we went out to dinner, and then they went out to get drunk, and I went home to bed, but that was it.

QUESTION: Can I ask you how much life do you think there is in the X files, because here the rival series Dark Skies is not going to be made into another series.

GILLIAN: Thatís a very good question. I donít know. We are definitely doing one more season which is next year, and I donít know after that. I hope that Fox, which is the network, has enough foresight to let it go when itís dying, when they can see it canít go on anymore, because itís either run out of ideas or people are getting bored, or whatever.

QUESTION: Do you think its getting to a point where you think it may be running out of ideas?

GILLIAN: Actually, no. Do you ? Surprisingly, I think some of the episodes at the end of the fourth season are some of the best weíve ever had, and because of that, Iím encouraged to think that we can continue in that direction.

QUESTION: Will it continue in film? Like Star Trek, or whatever, will you do a number of films?

GILLIAN: Yeah, but not consecutively. I think we do one every four years, or something.

QUESTION: When are you going to shoot the new film exactly?

GILLIAN: It looks like we will start shooting mid-June.

QUESTION: How do you think the transition from TV to big screen will be? It hasnít always happened painlessly.

GILLIAN: You mean for the series itself? Well, thatís one of the big questions and one that will only be proven in the final product and the response to the product. Itís something that Chris Carter has been focusing on -- how to transfer it from television to film, and the dilemma is not only adhering to the audience that watches it, and knows it, but making a film that speaks to audience members that will only watch it as a film and donít watch the series. But, without losing too much exposition which can bore everybody. So, itís a fine line that heís been asked to draw, and, honestly, if anyone can do that, he can.

QUESTION:> Can you tell me about your involvement with the Sharon Stone film?

GILLIAN: The Sharon Stone film was actually a Peter Chelson film. Peter is the director, a British director, he also directed Funny Bones and Hear My Song which are two wonderful movies. And, itís a small film that Miramax are doing with Gena Rowlins and Harry Dean Stanton. It was based on a childrenís book called Freak The Mighty, and its a wonderful story about the relationship between two young boys who are disadvantaged in life, and how they relate to each other and the world because of their relationship. I play a small role in the film

QUESTION: Is feature film something you would like to pursue further?

GILLIAN: Absolutely.

QUESTION: Have you got any other projects lined up?

GILLIAN: The X-files feature at this point. After that, I have been in discussion about a few things.

QUESTION: Would you accept a guest spot in the upcoming Spice Girls movie?

PAUL: We would.

QUESTION: How do you see the internet as a new development in multimedia?

PAUL: The guy at the end -- Pascal -- heís the internet king.

PASCAL: On the internet you can do everything. With Hal, we use it to produce some creative product on the web, music image, and also make the way so people can interact with the artist and create an evolving composition for music. So, in the future, we will try to put out on the web the possibility for people to send us samples, so we can create music that will evolve with time. With the collaboration of other people, we would like to collaborate, so, I think, itís a powerful medium and also a very interesting job for me, as I work as a web designer in France.

QUESTION: Gillian, when you were choosing the track listing for the album was that following a theme or was it more your own personal taste?

GILLIAN: It was most of my own personal taste.

QUESTION: Is Girl Power something you advocate?

GILLIAN: Yeah, I think its great. You know, itís fun. Itís a living for them, and they may have a different perspective of it. Itís great, as much as it goes out, the better, I guess.

QUESTION: You said in an interview that the perfect ending for the X-files would probably be Mulder and Scully ending up in bed together. Was that reported correctly?

GILLIAN: I recall that was some off the cuff, off record comment.

PAUL: That was before she met us.

QUESTION: Can you see that happening? Would you consider doing that sort of storyline?

GILLIAN: Thereís been a couple of things. One was if we were to get together it would be funny if we found ourselves in bed together, realizing that we had lost nine minutes not knowing what had took place. Nine minutes being what you would lose if you were abducted by aliens. But, obviously, that wouldnít be very funny would it? And, the other thing I said, which was like we could end the series with us in bed together.

PAUL: On the internet if you ever go to a web site, some web sites say thereís been so many hits on this page, and weíve known Gillian for some nine months now, and the number of times that questions been asked is incredible -- why is that such a focus?

QUESTION: Have you played David Duchovny a copy of ďExtremisĒ and, if so, what was his response?

PAUL: He wanted to do a country version and sing on it.

GILLIAN: No, I have not.

QUESTION: Are you interested in playing it to him?

GILLIAN: No.

QUESTION: Is it his kind of music, do you think?

GILLIAN: Iíve no idea.

QUESTION: Everyone seems to be moving to London at the moment, with Stallone and Madonna coming over, can you see a time you might come back?

GILLIAN: Iíve actually thought about it. Some friends of the family sold a place they had in Crouch End, actually closer to Haringey, and it was beautiful. I always loved it when we were growing up. It was a very sweet flat and I told them some time ago if they were ever going to sell it they should call me. And, they called me a couple of years ago, but it was like three days after I had bought the house that I own right now, and I couldnít do that. And, I was actually quite disappointed because I Ďd love to. Besides, my parents have always wanted to come back and live here again at some point, so it would kind of be more for them and not for me. But, I can definitely see that happening.

QUESTION: Do you think it will, once the X-files has run its course?

GILLIAN: No, I mean, I think Iíll be living in Los Angeles for a while and eventually it might be nice to make some roots here.

QUESTION: Will it be in Crouch End?

GILLIAN: Iíve no idea.

QUESTION: Anything more you can say about Crouch End?

DUNCAN: Are you taking the piss here or what?

GILLIAN: Thereís a great card shop. I donít know what street thatís on, I bought a handbag and some cards.

QUESTION: Can I ask you, this label thatís attached to you -- the worlds sexiest woman voted in thousands of polls around the world -- in the long run, is that a help or a hindrance?

GILLIAN: It could be. It seems to be something thatís singular to Britain and the way it would concern me is that if it was something that was that strongly in the States as well, as thatís ultimately where Iím likely to be hired in the future and the perception of me is a little different over there and my concern would be that with that label goes... that a respected actress cannot have the label the most sexiest woman in the world and my concern is that it would influence that impression or that judgement or that feeling about me in some way, and, fortunately, it hasnít in the states, because it doesnít mean anything to me. Iím here to work and do good work.

QUESTION: Apart from this one, have you ever had a real life paranormal experience?

GILLIAN: No.

STEVE: We will be winding up the questions, so if there are any further questions...

QUESTION: Has the huge success of the X-files influenced the kind of offers you get for films?

GILLIAN: Fortunately, not at all. And, most of the things that have come my way that are similar to Scully, or the show, I wont even look at. And, most of the stuff I get is a huge range, so Iím really grateful for that. And, the two little films I have done so far are different from each other and completely different from Scully, and thatís a good thing.

STEVE: Last question.

QUESTION: What do you particularly like or dislike about London?

GILLIAN: I havenít particularly appreciated the rain over the past couple of years because I live and work in Vancouver and it rains just as much over there. I love London. I remember, I guess, about two and a half years ago it seemed like there was an underlying angst, anger that I was feeling on the streets and I donít know whether I was projecting it or if it was taking place, but it seemed like everybody, men in business suits, boys with mohawks, whatever, were on the verge of killing you, killing me, anybody. There was just this underlying feeling of unrest and that made me a little uncomfortable, but seeing how things have shifted in London over the last couple of years, from what I understand, is that a huge creative resurgence has taken place. In many aspects, I wonder if that is what I sensed was the beginnings of that, the beginning rumblings of people needing to break out in someway, because I feel much safer and appreciative of London at this point.

STEVE: Thank you everybody, Gillian, Hal.

For more information regarding the single "Extremis" and the Double CD Future - A Journey Through the Electronic Underground, please contact Virgin Records.

Steve Lee +44 181 964 6180


Transcript appears courtesy of Virgin Records and HAL.



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