Archives - The Keyboard Room
An article from the February 1997 issue of the Japanese "Keyboard Magazine"
Translated by Shigemasa Fujimoto with help from Cindy Lou Marie Fujimoto
Stack 'm up
"My system, with just an old sequencer and analogue tape,
is quite primitive but is a challenge for me"

Since he joined them in 1979 as a guitarist and keyboard player, Dave Gregory has spiced up the sound of XTC. In his home to the west of London, he uses one of the rooms as a studio and has adopted ideas that come out of it to many of his sessions.

In 1994 he visited Japan where he toured with Martin Newell and demonstrated his virtuosity. With XTC, who have been silent for a while, he will soon start making a new album. Dave Gregory lovingly makes full use of the simple and basic set-up of his equipment.

Keyboard Magazine: Please tell us your studio's name, if there is one.
Dave Gregory: There isn't one in particular. It's just a small room in my house, just 8 feet by 8 feet (laughs). I'm basically a guitarist and I keep my guitars in a larger room, but the keyboards and recording equipment are all squeezed in to this small room.
KM: Please tell us where your house is located.
DG: It's in Swindon, 80 miles west of London. I've lived in this house for about three years now. It's the town where the members of XTC grew up and still live.

Mellotron control panel
Mellotron control panel

KM: Now then, can you tell us about your keyboards and modules?
DG: Okay. Let's start from the bottom then. First of all, this is a Mellotron 400S from the mid-'70s. It's not very big, and it's nice that you can put things on top of it! I have two racks of tapes: cello/strings/flute and choir sounds/strings.

After English Settlement, XTC's fifth album (1982), we decided we needed more keyboard sounds and bought this while we were recording Mummer in late '82. We used it on the Dukes of Stratosphear albums, of course.

I found it in Melody Maker's classified ads. Everybody was interested in synthesisers back then, so we got our Mellotron for only 300 pounds. But I was amazed when I looked at the mechanism inside. It has a very complex structure and must have been very costly to make it. It's no wonder the manufacturer went bankrupt.