Q&A with David Cross: YES (Peter Banks) and KING CRIMSON (David Cross) members Collaborate on the new album "Crossover"

"Music is part of culture and both reflects and has an impact on society, sometimes it leads trends and at other times it follows on from events. I just hope that my music is strong enough to be part of that process."

David Cross & Peter Banks: Crossover

David Cross was a member of King Crimson during the 1970s and the late Peter Banks was the original guitarist in YES. The guitar and violin parts for this NEW STUDIO ALBUM "CROSSOVER" (2019) were recorded on the 10th August 2010 in an afternoon of improvisation. Of the release David Cross said “The response from the guest musicians was truly wonderful in the way that they gave their time and talent to this project and I would like to thank them on behalf of Pete and myself. They were asked to ‘interpret the music as freely and creatively as you wish’ and they have turned in incredibly skilled and inspiring performances which were not easy given the improvised nature of the starting material and the spontaneity of the structures.”

The resultant album was produced by Tony Lowe and David Cross and the guest appearances were recorded during 2018 and 2019. David Cross added: “When I recall the original recording session with Pete I remember his fresh almost naïve approach, his positive energy and his constant and restless search for something new. It was a joy to know Pete Banks and an honour and a privilege to play with him: I think he would be pleased with the way our album turned out.” This is the last new album of material from the late Peter Banks, who passed away in 2013, and had wanted to see this material released.

Interview by Michael Limnios

How has the Prog Rock and Jazz music influenced your views of the world and the journeys you’ve taken?

I found the musical theory underlying jazz a useful addition to Western classical theory and it gave me some good insights into harmony, melody and rhythm. ‘Prog Rock’ is more like a family which embraces a wide range of misfits. It brought Peter Banks and me together to create ‘Crossover’.

Where does "Crossover" creative drive come from? Are there any memories from studio which you’d like to share?

The creativity came from the Peter and I finding ways to make music together - it’s a bit like a chemistry experiment with no clear target in mind. My strongest memory from the recordings was having a lot of fun and sometimes struggling to catch up with Peter’s leaps of imagination!

What do you miss most nowadays from the music of the past? What are your hopes and fears for the future of?

I miss some of the people that I have played with (like Peter Banks) but I don’t miss any of the music because it is still around and available if I want to listen to it.

What is the impact of music on the socio-cultural implications? How do you want it to affect people? 

Music is part of culture and both reflects and has an impact on society, sometimes it leads trends and at other times it follows on from events. I just hope that my music is strong enough to be part of that process.

What were the reasons that made the UK in 1970s to be the center of Progressive and Avant-garde experiments?

Political and social change was on the agenda and so our minds were open to new things.

"The creativity came from the Peter and I finding ways to make music together - it’s a bit like a chemistry experiment with no clear target in mind. My strongest memory from the recordings was having a lot of fun and sometimes struggling to catch up with Peter’s leaps of imagination!"

What are some of the most important lessons you have learned from your experience in music paths?

I’m interested in new ideas and so I’ve tried to explore progressive music from various styles and music that draws on different styles. For me there also has to be emotional content in the music - I don’t enjoy music if I can’t feel some kind of meaning or emotional power in it. I am also increasingly convinced that, in today’s world, it is the composer’s or creator’s responsibility to provide access to their music within the music itself - something recognizable and engaging. I don’t think you should have to read about why a piece is good in order to facilitate the initial engagement.

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