Fresh from his recent relocation to Los Angeles, the iconic musician will return to the UK next week for a brand new tour and EP release, in what is his 33rd year in the business since topping the singles and albums charts on several occasions.
Ahead of the Dead Moon Falling project, Digital Spy's very own Numanoid got the chance to speak to the synth giant about collaborating with Trent Reznor, working on film soundtracks, receiving praise from Lady GaGa and a possible reality TV project to rival The Osbournes.
Your tour diary remains as prolific as ever, with your upcoming dates being your third tour in just 12 months. What can fans expect for the latest 'Dead Moon Falling' jaunt?
"There's a magazine called Artrocker. They are doing a Gary Numan special, and they have commissioned people to do a load of remixes from the Dead Sun Rising album. We then decided to make a bit more of that, and make it into the 'Dead Moon Falling' EP, which would have some extra tracks and things people haven't heard before. So we decided to do the tour, to promote that CD.
"And it also coincided with a collaboration with a band called Officers [on the track 'Petals'], who supported me on the last tour. I've actually finished a new album called Splinter, and I've got the last of the songwriting to do for that. Those ten songs are being finished and produced, we're pretty close to that, so we'd like to bring in a few of those songs and give people an idea of what's coming. Some of it will be old stuff that people will expect, as well as a lot of things from the remix album, including a new song with Andy Gray."
Could fans expect a 2013 release for Splinter?
"Yes definitely, I hope to have the bulk of the writing done by Christmas. Because of all the grief we've had [moving to Los Angeles] and trying to get everything sorted out [it has been delayed]. Our studio equipment only recently arrived, so most of that is stuck in packing crates. So it is a little bit delayed, but as soon as we get back from the tour [the studio] will be ready.
"We hope to have the whole thing finished by late March, it's just a case of picking the ideal time to release it, which may be the end of summer. I'm guessing slightly, but we're thinking late summer, maybe September."
The video for the Officers collaboration 'Petals' is traditionally dark - what was it like filming such a claustrophobic piece?
"For me, it was a piece of piss actually, I just had to lie on a table! You know those tables for autopsies? They had a real one of them, so that was a bit creepy. You wonder how many dead people have been on them. But I got over that, laid down on it, on the cold metal. All I really had to do was sing the song with my eyes closed, so from a performance point of view, it was not actually that demanding.
"But I thought it was a really good video, and I'm really pleased with how it's turned out. But it's entirely their idea, the song is theirs, I just sang the vocal. I really am just a guest coming in with them pointing me in the right direction. I think it's brilliant, it's the best collaboration I've ever worked on, ever. I'm totally happy with it, and I love the band. I'm very proud to be involved in it."
Since you made a surprise appearance at Nine Inch Nails' farewell tour, a lot of fans have been hoping that you have secretly been working with Trent Reznor on an album project. Could that materialise in the future?
"Yeah I hope so, we've talked about it a lot. We're almost neighbours now which will obviously make it a lot easier. Before, when I lived in the UK, it was difficult. Plus, he never stops working. I've never known anyone like him.
"He's always doing something. I'm going to see him again in the next week, so hopefully we'll get a moment. He's just finished the new How To Destroy Angels thing, and he's up to his neck in work. It's just about trying to catch him when he's got a quiet few weeks, really. I hope so, it would be great, I'm a real fan."
A while back you spoke of an interest in possibly moving into film soundtracks - has this idea moved forward since then? Would there be any genre in particular that you'd prefer to work on, or would you listen to any offers?
"A little bit, yep. We're having meetings to let people know that I'm here now, and that I am interested. It's not something that I'm really pushing. We've had an animation film, which is really good. I'm looking forward to that, so that's going to be a good introduction. I'm learning a lot about the various techniques required and the terminology.
"I'm hoping to do that at the same time as Splinter. I would be rubbish at comedy and rom-coms. I think it would have to be something dark and heavy."
The charts celebrated 60 years in existence the other week. As a multiple number one artist, are you ever bothered about them anymore as much as you may have been in the past? Or would you still love to score hits in the albums or singles?
"It's not something that I write for. In the mid-1980s to the early 1990s I was writing songs not because I particularly liked what I was doing, but because I was desperately trying to get back into the charts. I really didn't enjoy it. I didn't like the music I was making, I wasn't proud of it, like I have been before or since. I obviously wasn't very good at it because I didn't actually get back into the charts anyway.
"In 1992, I did a really s**t album [Machine + Soul], and that stopped me in my tracks. I had a rethink about why I was writing music, and the reasons I was in the music business. I realized it actually doesn't matter. You spend most of your day being a musician and writing songs, you want to be writing stuff that you're proud of. And I realized I hadn't been like that for a long time. I had a change of heart and a change of direction and I went back to doing it because I loved it.
"It's a lot heavier, it's completely radio unfriendly, so I understand that. Every time I write a song now, I make a conscious decision. I know it's not going to be on the radio, so I know the chances of getting a hit single are nil to minimal.
"I can honestly say that I'm not looking to get back into the charts, but I would also love it. If by some freaky miracle one of my songs got in the charts and did really well I'd be happy, nothing would please me more. But I'm not writing songs for that reason."
You've received high praise from a host of different artists in recent years. What was your reaction when Lady GaGa named you as an influence on her music?
"That was a weird one. It's all lovely, it really is. Any time anyone says anything nice about me, whether it's Lady GaGa or your neighbor, it's a nice feeling, I'm very grateful for it. It's very helpful for your career. Every time someone says something complimentary it introduces you to their audience. It gives you credibility. It doesn't really have a bad side to it. All of these things help.
"The thing with my career, is that [the praise] coincided with when I changed direction in 1994 when the first of my heavier albums came out [Sacrifice]. That's when a lot of this talk started, and people started doing cover versions. I think it's been very useful that not only is it a nice thing to hear, but there's a good chance that a large chunk of their audience will listen.
"If that happened two years earlier, they would have listened to a s**t album. I would have thought, 'What the f**k is GaGa talking about?' It wouldn't have done me any good at all, but luckily, the majority happened when my songwriting improved and I started getting darker."
You've done anniversary tours of your iconic albums up until Telekon. Would there ever be a chance of you perhaps doing one tour of the 'middle years'? Perhaps your personal highlights from 1981 to 1992?
"It's possible but unlikely. You never know. The whole 'classic albums' thing is never on the top of my list of things I want to do, ever. I only do them very rarely. They really are done as an acknowledgement to my older fans. I don't want to dilute my normal touring for too much of my old stuff, as I'm very passionate about what I'm doing now and what I'm doing next, that's what I get excited by.
"I want to carry on in that vein, but I do understand that a lot of the fans have been there for a long time, from the beginning, and they would like to hear my older stuff. So every once in a while I do these tours, that's my way of keeping [everybody happy]. They're not horrible things to do, I'm not saying that, I don't hate it, but it's nowhere near as much fun as the new stuff."
I can't believe it's been six years since Sky1's The Race. I'm guessing this will likely be your only foray into reality television?
"We actually had something lined up when we came here. They wanted to do a fly-on-the-wall documentary about us moving to America and all the stresses and trials and everything to do with that.
"It didn't come together unfortunately, but now an American company have [taken over the project]. But it's all relatively American, who artificially create situations. There's a world of difference between somebody following you around throughout the day, and having scripted situations that you have to act out.
"There are some things about it which are actually quite appealing. But there are an awful lot of things about it that aren't. But we haven't said no to it. But we don't want to act. I doubt very much that any of it is going to happen. I don't think we've got the positive can-do attitude that they would want."
Throughout your whole career, is there a particular song that may not be that well known outside of Numan fans that you're most proud of or enjoy performing the most?
"Yeah, a song called 'A Prayer for the Unborn'. I love that. I like what it's about, it's very important to me. I love doing it live, it gets bigger and bigger and it's quite anthemic and epic. It works really well live as well, it kicks in big halfway through. It's probably one of my favorite top three songs I've ever written."
Gary Numan begins his 'Dead Moon Falling' tour at the Southampton Guildhall on December 2. The tour will run until December 8 at Nottingham's Rock City. Tickets can be purchased via his website.
The Dead Moon Falling album will be available at the tour dates through Mortal Records.