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Fabulous Flip Sides of A Flock of Seagulls with Mike Score

A Flock of Seagulls’ co-founder, vocalist, and songwriter Mike Score discusses the group’s second orchestrated album on August Day Recordings, “String Theory”
Flock main

GOLDMINE: Congratulations on your second orchestrated album with August Day Recordings String Theory. The first one included new versions of the three songs we heard on Top 40 radio in the U.S., “I Ran (So Far Away),” “Space Age Love Song,” and “Wishing (If I Had a Photograph of You).” This sequel introduces us to more of your music which we missed on the radio here, and I wish we would have heard them in the 1980s, as there are so many great songs on this album.

MIKE SCORE: Thank you. Basically, that is why, when August Day Recordings asked me, I decided that we could go ahead with it, because these are some of the lesser known songs and they do lend themselves to the orchestration process. “Say You Love Me,” for example, I think has turned out brilliant.

GM: The video that goes along with it, with the loving couple, is also very nice.

MS: I had something to do with the music, but basically nothing to do with the video. The pandemic was raging at that time, so we did a lot of the recording at my home studio in Liverpool and August Day took it to finish it in private, without getting too many people involved, but it turned out great. I really like the video.

Mike Score, “Say You Love Me” video, 2021, aflockofseagulls.org

Mike Score, “Say You Love Me” video, 2021, aflockofseagulls.org

GM: “Say You Love Me” is beautifully melodic. “Never Again (The Dancer)” is very catchy.

MS: When I wrote that song, I was quite a romantically minded boy. I imagined if you had no one and went to a dance club and basically you dance on your own and go into a dream state. At the end of the night, you would walk off and think, never again will I be in love again, but at least I’m a good dancer, ha ha.

GM: The flip side of the original single is “Living in Heaven,” which might be my favorite song on the new album. The drums and orchestra together are powerful, and the guitar reminds me of the “I Ran” sound we first embraced with your music.

MS: The message on that song is to tell people to stop complaining, you are already living in heaven. If you are alive and feeling stuff, you are truly living in heaven. You can also equate the song to being in heaven, getting there and being with people that you knew. Heaven to me would be everyone that I knew, everything that I knew, and everything that is good, living in heaven. Songs seem to write themselves once I get the basic idea. I wander around, think about it, and things seem to develop. If a song is good, it will write itself for you, which is certainly true with the rhythm of this one.

FLock flip

A Flock of Seagulls

Flip side: Living in Heaven

A side: Never Again (The Dancer)

UK Debut: September 1984

Jive 78

GM: I mentioned that “Never Again (The Dancer)” is catchy. So is “Hearts on Fire,” where you sing, “I testify, I’m going to lay down and die for your love.” That is powerful.

MS: What else can you say when you are in love. Like I said, I have a romantic side to me. I know when I have been in love, I would give anything to keep it. That is the whole idea that I would lay down and die for it, if I had to. Of course, when you are writing songs, you overimagine.

GM: Speaking of love, are you and Ceena here in Florida now or in England?

MS: We try to split it, but because of the pandemic, my wife and I are from Liverpool and decided that this would be the place where we would feel most comfortable, but normally we spend half the year in Florida. We love America but it is also good to go back to your roots and remember when you were a kid.

A Flock of Seagulls, 1983, Mike Score 3rd in photo taken by Fryderyk Gabowicz, Getty Images

A Flock of Seagulls, 1983, Mike Score 3rd in photo taken by Fryderyk Gabowicz, Getty Images

GM: When you and I were both teenagers in the 1970s, I watched ELO’s popularity grow, and I was thrilled when they finally reached the Top 10 in the U.S. with “Can’t Get It Out of My Head.” When I listen to the new orchestrated version of “What You Said, What You Meant,” I was brought back to the ELO “Can’t Get It Out of My Head” sound.

MS: Oh, cool. Before our band took off in the early 1980s, ELO was my favorite band. Then we got too busy with our music to listen to many other bands. I began listening to ELO again about five years ago and thought this stuff is just incredible. No wonder Jeff Lynne ended up working with members of The Beatles, because obviously he is a genius.

GM: In the era when A Flock of Seagulls was doing very well in America, so were Duran Duran. “Remember David,” to me, reminds me of a touch of Duran Duran. It is intense and the orchestra captures some of what I have heard with The Moody Blues.

MS: I was a Moody Blues fan as well. The orchestra can change the mood of things sometimes. The story behind “Remember David” is that I had a friend who committed suicide. His name wasn’t David. I wanted to keep his name private but create a reminder of him. The song is based on the things that he said and what I remember about him.

GM: Last year I reviewed a pair of August Day orchestrated releases by Cutting Crew and Berlin. I hear the same type of intensity that Terri Nunn wanted from the orchestra on some of the Berlin songs when I listen to “Messages.”

MS: I think the orchestra can create a certain kind of tension. An orchestra generally is smooth but powerful. “Messages” is pretty raw. I think the orchestration can give it a completely different feel, but still maintain that edge. With Berlin, I think “The Metro,” was one of their best songs. I have toured with them.

GM: The finale, “Rainfall,” is filled with orchestral beauty. The keyboards remind me a bit of Corey Hart’s “Sunglasses at Night” on this steady ballad. After the album ends, this gentle ending stays in your head long afterward.

MS: That’s good. “Rainfall” was a latecomer. I think if I had written that song in the early 1980s it would have been a huge hit, but because I didn’t write it until toward the end of the decade, it came late to the party, as styles were changing. The synthesizer parts in the original recording were a bit orchestral, but none of these songs were written with an orchestra in mind. Hearing these songs now with an orchestra almost sounds like someone else has written them. I hear parts and think that I wouldn’t have expected that, but it works so well with an extra melody or a lush nuance. I have listened to it in pieces, but soon I will have to sit down, put the headphones on, listen from start to finish, and not be too critical of what an orchestra has done to my work.

GM: I think you will be pleased, and it gets better and better with repeated play. Just like Cutting Crew and Berlin’s orchestrated albums reaching my Top 10 last year, your orchestrated album is in my Top 10 for this year.

MS: Wow! When we started, we never expected that forty years later we would be doing interviews with Goldmine and others about our music. We thought it would be a couple of singles and an album or two. This is quite a shock to be making albums still, at my age and this stage in life, forty years later. Thank you so much for liking this new album. It is so nice to talk with you.

First in the pair of new orchestrated albums, 2018

First in the pair of new orchestrated albums, 2018

Related links:

aflockofseagulls.org

augustday.net