Electronic music is a far more diverse category than the term suggests. Anyone uncertain of this fact need only dip their toes into Tom Bailey's impressive catalog.
Bailey has been composing electronic music across several genres since the late-'70s. From the dance hall whimsy and New Wave pop of his most well-known project the Thompson Twins, to the downtempo sophistication of Babble, through a handful of other projects and arriving now at the first album he's ever called a solo effort.
Bailey's latest album, Science Fiction, finds him returning to the world of pop after nearly three decades of blazing more obscure trails on the keys of his synthesizers. While the new heap of songs is more commercially viable than some of his other post-Thompson Twins work, its no less elegant.
The singer and composer tells Q104.3's Out of the Box with Jonathan Clarke that returning to the confines of pop after all this time was an exhilarating challenge.
"In a way it's more exciting...because I'm encountering something very magical and alchemical that I used to do," Bailey says. "That was my old day job, right? And now I'm back into it and I find it fascinating. 'Cause pop music's a weird thing. There are real, kind of, specialist skills in making good pop music."
While you can do almost anything in pop, for it to be truly viable there are certain conventions of "economy and directness," Bailey says. The singer hadn't worried about those things for years. Whether he was trying to prove anything or not with the new album, Bailey confirms he's got no problem with the nostalgia the Science Fiction project stirred up.
"I think every artist reaches a point where they want to kind of have a retrospective view," he explains. "They think, 'Okay, what were we doing so many years ago, and how does that relate to what I'm doing now.' So that's all fine. And then there's the whole nostalgia thing, which is an emotional contact with your old audience. People come back for more because they're ready for it. In a strange way, I find there's more emotional content now than there ever was."
Bailey has marveled at how his audience has grown with him over the years. He says he's happy to perform those beloved older songs again.
Get Tom Bailey's tour dates here.
Check out Tom Bailey's new song, "Science Fiction":