On why it took 20 years for him to release a new solo single, “New Horizons”, earlier this year:
Brian: “I was busy. I’ve been doing a lot of stuff… I did a lot of production. There’s a lot of QUEEN stuff. I did a lot of stuff with Kerry Ellis — we’ve toured and we made albums, and hopefully we will again. Just a lot of stuff. None of it seems like work to me, but there is a lot of it. I feel fortunate to be doing any of it.”
On the involvement of late physicist Stephen Hawking:
Brian: “I was able to put a little clip [of him]. He was such an inspiration and became a great friend to us all who were in this kind of community. [He’s] sadly missed, but on there, which is nice, because he actually gave his endorsement to that project. That’s what you’re hearing — he’s saying, ‘We will discover things about the way we were born [and] why the human race is here. That’s what this mission is about.’ That’s what my song was about.”
On releasing the single via NASA:
Brian: “New Horizons is the mission that went to Pluto. When we were kids, Pluto was just a white dot, and nobody had any idea what it was like. This mission went all the way there — three billion miles — and photographed it at close quarters. I was in the control room, because I’d got to know these guys. It’s a long story, but I know a lot of these NASA teams, and I communicate with them on various levels… Occasionally, I make music for them.
“The New Horizons mission photographed Pluto, and then it sped past at many thousands of miles per hour, and eventually rendezvoused with a Kuiper belt object four billion miles away. I was able to be there on New Year’s Day this year when that happened. You feel like you’re in the capsule — you feel like you’re in the rocket, being there and seeing what they’re seeing. What they saw was extraordinary. No one’s ever seen a Kuiper belt object close-up. These guys are so incredibly precise, and also very artistically inspired.
“I think astronomy and music go together very well. You have to be precise; you have to be good at math; but you also have to have some kind of inspiration to ask the right questions and to put the right things in place… I guess it’s a dream for me, because when I was a kid, I kind of wanted to be an astronaut, and I went in the other direction. My other dream was to be a musician, and I figured that I was no good at astronomy, but I was kind of okay as a musician. That’s what happened… 30 years later, I got my Ph.D., and in a way, that opens the door to going back into astronomy. I love these guys — they’re all full of life and interesting ideas.”
On his book “Mission Moon 3-D”:
Brian: “It’s a labor of love, and I do love this stuff. To make this book, we went back into the Apollo mission archives in NASA, and we were able to find a few images which had never been seen before in 3-D. It takes a little bit of work, because you need two different viewpoints, and then normally, there’s a bit of distortion and stuff, and you have to work on them [and] polish them up. But the reward is, when you look through your viewer, you see these things in 3-D, which is so much more evocative than seeing them flat.”
On the success of the award-winning QUEEN biopic “Bohemian Rhapsody”:
Brian: “It was a long labor of love — about 12 years in development, I guess. We thought it would do well in the end and we felt good about it, but we didn’t realize it would do that well. It’s incredible around the world — it’s, like, a billion-dollar movie.
“I had to laugh the other day, because there’s a thing in the paper saying that we were getting rich off this movie. If they only knew. We had an accountant in the other day, and we still haven’t earned a penny from it. How successful does a movie have to be before you make money?
“There’s so many people that people don’t realize will take pieces off the top, but the feeling of it is so great — the fact that it’s out there, and I think Freddie [Mercury] comes out it with his dignity, but without having been whitewashed in any way. It’s very real… I think people are astounded how close to Freddie [Oscar-winning actor] Rami [Malek] got. It’s phenomenal the way he got inside Freddie‘s body somehow — inside his skin.”