The story so far…
Alien Skin has been likened by reviewers to red-letter UK artists like Black Celebration era Depeche Mode, The Legendary Pink Dots, John Foxx, OMD, David Bowie, Marc Almond, David Sylvian…post-punk electronic, evocative, atmospheric and melodic…you get the general idea.
George Pappas, performing as Alien Skin, is a former member of Real Life. The Australian synthesizer band topped the early 80s charts with million seller, Send Me An Angel.
“Unlike most music performers, I grew up with no interest in music while a pre-teen. But this turned on a dime upon reaching adolescence, especially my fascination with songs and songwriters.” Pubescent excitement generated by 1960s pop was further reinforced by a wave of boundary pushing music in the 1970s. “I developed a fascination and obsession with David Bowie. In particular his Berlin Trilogy electronic albums with Brian Eno. For me, this dovetailed with Kraftwerk’s mechanical minimalism and the post punk synths of bands like Sheffield’s original Human League, Cabaret Voltaire, John Foxx, Gary Numan, Fad Gadget and OMD.”
“As a teenager I sang and played guitar in rock bands, I fancied myself as Jimi Hendrix, without the chops or the Afro:)”. Synthesizers & drum machines were, as for many of his generation, liberating, provocative and fresh. “My switch to all things electronic was complete by the early 80s. The biggest shot in the arm for me was the Alan Wilder epoch Depeche Mode. Martin’s Gore’s songwriting and the electronic methods used and pushed to the limit by the band were exactly what I wished to achieve as well”.
Before joining leading-edge synthesizer band REAL LIFE in the 1990s, Pappas had led various electro driven acts in Melbourne. Real Life had already achieved chart success in the 80s re emerging with George as replacement keyboardist and co-writer. With their hiatus over, the band recorded 3 more albums with George and toured extensively before winding down in 2005.
“My years in Real Life were amongst my most exhilarating. Playing to enthusiastic fans in countries I’d never visited before was always a great reward not to mention sharing a stage with the likes of OMD and others”.
“Real Life (left to right) George Pappas, David Sterry, Allan Johnson, Danny Simcic.
With the release of Don’t Open Till Doomsday in 2008 the concept of Alien Skin was born. Signed to A Different Drum, Real Life’s US label, the album’s success with fans, especially in eastern Europe, validated the continuation of Alien Skin as a musical entity.
Asked how he sees Alien Skin within the general electronic genre framework he replied, “I’m forever asking people, asking myself even, where does Alien Skin fit in? I really don’t know. At times what I do connects with the Depeche crowd, other times the underground dance crowd, the electronic singer-songwriter crowd ala David Sylvian, the late 70s post-punkers, the Numanites, the new romantics, the grim goth lovers – Grave Concerns magazine referred to my Alien Skin album, The Unquiet Grave, as ‘goth with the rock bled out of it’. I’ve even been tagged experimental.”
“I don’t wish to confuse people, to me it’s simple…I write electropop music with recognizable song structures, melody and brooding, sometimes gothic, dark atmosphere; it’s what first attracted me to the genre as the 70s crossed into the 80s. That glorious UK electronic, post punk era. After so many years, decades in fact working at it, I’m still making it up as I go!”