Like the finest wine, Dead Can Dance founder Brendan Perry believes that he’s aging really well.
He’ll turn 52 this month, but — after taking a decade off to spend quality time with his wife and daughter, who is now 14 — he’s feeling so re-energized that he can’t wait to tour behind “Ark,” a new sophomore solo album he whipped up in his converted-church studio in Britain.
“Since I turned 50, I found the only noticeable difference was having to take power naps and siestas, which I never needed before,” he says. “I’ve also been pursuing other passions, like my photography, archery, sailing — I’ve bought a few boats. But now I want to get back to music again.”
It was a wise decision. On “Ark” socio-political commentaries such as “Babylon,” “Utopia” and “The Bogus Man” — which he’ll premiere in San Francisco this weekend — the man’s medieval-madrigal vocal style is as rich and resonant as ever.
“Yes, and I’ve made a field-archery course out of land and forest, with full-sized rubber deer and pigs,” Perry says. “So it’s more like a round of golf — you go to a set tee, you have your target to shoot at, it’s a 22-target course, and whoever has the highest score at the end is the winner. My daughter’s even got her own bow — she’s a regular little Diana the Huntress!”
How did Perry choose this arcane sport? It all started years ago, when he got into zen Buddhism.
“But because I’m really active, I was really interested in the martial-arts aspects of it — training the mind through action meditation,” he says. “But there was no dojo for kyudo, the Japanese zen form of archery, so I just took up archery myself.” Minus the high-tech weaponry, however.
“I’m into instinctive archery, and the history of it, so I’ve got a lot of really ancient bows,” he says.
Perry has realigned his music sights, too. After eight discs with his Dead Can Dance cohort Lisa Gerrard, he’s in his studio, alone, from Monday through Friday, even sleeping over.
“I’m a bit of a night owl, so I don’t go to bed until about 3 a.m.,” he says. “So I can suddenly have an idea at 1 o’clock and then crank up the sound system and go with the inspiration.”
But the archer wants it known: No arrows in his quiver have ever injured a living creature. “Well, I might’ve killed a few insects that happened to be passing,” he says. “But that’s not the aim — it’s the meditation. Archery is just a nice, calming, rewarding experience, and I love it.”