Interview with The System

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The System Mic Murphy and David Frank "We try not to be analytical", say David Frank and Mic Murphy, better known as The System. "We reckon all things must be equal and, when our time comes, we'll drink the wine".

I felt like a gatecrasher at a private party. David Frank and Mic Murphy ? a.k.a. The System ? could be seen at the desk in the studio throwing the odd glance in my direction as they were made aware of my presence for a pre-arranged interview.

Eventually, late, the two men dragged themselves away from their chores to chat with me for a while, apologising politely for the delay but making no secret of the fact that this interviewing business was seriously curtailing their job in hand.

Fair do's, say I, because after all their business is the business of making music ... but I thought they might have been a little more attentive during our quarter of an hour or so together. Short of tapping their watches every thirty seconds, they couldn't have been more pre-occupied.

Still, they may not be great diplomats but they are certainly nice, ordinary fellas who have not yet been sucked into the air-conditioned oppulance that 'name' producers can nowadays command. This was not a cavernous temple of the state-of-the-art somewhere in L.A. we were talking in, it was a 'homely' studio indoors from a  street market in Victoria. And this was no mega-star's career they were trying to save/maintain, it was some dreadful bunch of young rock musicians called The Chiefs Of Relief they were working on!

But we all know where their heart is in The System ? "stylistically, still a combination of R&B and pop" says Dave ? and they have not allowed their integrity to waft away in a sea of big buck contracts.

"We have our self-respect intact", continues Dave, the technician of the team. "We haven't scurried in, scurried out and opened a butchers shop. We've passed on a couple of things ? 'write a song for Whitney, would you boys?', and stuff like that.

"And we don't lose sleep over the stuff we didn't do", adds Mic, anticipating my next question, "simply because we keep too busy anyhow. We | don't regret it".

Projects like this current foray  into the world of thrashing guitars and sneers is justified  by Dave when he says "we reach for stuff that is not like us. We feel to go for obvious stuff is wrong so we go against the grain". So, swiftly, we moved on to what Mic describes as "us at our purest" ? The System, the band.
"We are at our most thoughtful when working for ourselves, because with  someone else you have to be as aware of the type of artist they are", continued Mic. "As The System, the music is the only concern."

They are currently nearing the end of their first album for Warner Brothers, a project Dave tells me "we have just spent February to October working on ? and I reckon we've given it our best shot.

'It's pretty much as you'd expect us to be, but we hope we've taken a next step in all departments".
The System are an outfit who, with their own music and outside writing and production work, have been knocking on all the right doors for a few years now. As Dave puts it, "We're as conscious as anybody else that we are on the verge of really making it" but whether or not The Chiefs Of Relief or the new The System album (parts of which I've heard are strong) promote them into the premier league or leaves them near the top of the first does not appear to be having too adverse an affect on the gents.

"We try not to be analytical", says Mic. "We reckon all things must be equal and, when our time comes, we'll drink the wine." And, maybe, if that happens, they'll have more time to share a glass ... and a chat. (MW B&S 1987)

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