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Neil beats hate of travel to bring Blancmange to Sheffield

Neil Arthur is Blancmange.
Neil Arthur is Blancmange.

Electronic stars Blancmange – or these days star – bring their UK tour to Sheffield tonight performing favourites from their latest release Unfurnished Rooms – as well as epic synth-pop hits from across their career.

The synth-pop twosome of singer Neil Arthur and keyboard player Stephen Luscombe enjoyed success in the early 1980s with tracks such as Living on The Ceiling, Blind Vision and Don’t Tell Me – all top 10 hits back in the day.

They split in 1986, but reformed in 2011 and released the album Blanc Burn.

However, Stephen left following the release and since then Neil has continued to perform and release under the Blancmange name, including a re-recording of the band’s debut album, titled Happy Families Too.

And now he is back on the road and heading for Sheffield.

“I am looking forward to it,” says the Lancastrian, who celebrates his 60th birthday later this year.

Blancmange is just one of many projects which keep Neil busy these days.

Fader, a project between Neil and Benge, released their debut studio album, First Light, last summer, while Near Future, another side project involving Neil and Gazelle Twin’s Jez Bernholz, will release their debut studio album Ideal Home in May.

But, he says, it is not difficult to write for the different acts.

“The important factor in the other projects are the other people,” he says.

“I am hard at it, but the important factor is I am writing with other people.

I really enjoy the collaborative process, while with Blancmange for a number of years, I’ve written on my own.

“I don’t get bored at least.

“I’m 60 this year and I’ve not been bored since I was six or seven.”

And, despite his long history of song-writing, he is not worried about running out of lyrics.

“We live in difficult times,” he says, “so I have got plenty to say.

“I am also a different person from when I started, I’m a lot older and more mature.”

Age, however, has not tempered his dislike for touring – or at least the travel side of it.

“I enjoy the gigs, I enjoy meeting the fans and I enjoy being with my mates in the band,” he says.

“But I absolutely hate the travelling. I don’t like it at all. That’s one of the reasons we packed it in.”

For now, though, all thoughts are on the current tour, which includes a show at Sheffield’s O2 Academy tonight, Thursday, March 22.

“They’ll be songs from the new album and the favourites from the 80s and a couple of surprises – and even may a new song.”