HOWARD Jones admits that his new album Transform was produced very much with his fans in mind.

Now the synth pioneer is preparing to come to Manchester next week and give them the chance to enjoy the new songs live.

“I’m very excited about it,” he said. “The album really turned out well in my view. It’s what the fans wanted me to do next. They wanted a full-on synth record.”

Transform is Howard’s most complete album in a decade and will delight those who helped him have 15 top 40 hits singles between 1982 and 1993.

“When I started out I realised I was part of a pop movement that was going on,” said Howard. “Now I’m not. I just do my thing and do what I do best and I’m really comfortable with that.

“I can’t compete with what’s on Radio One but that’s not me. I’m just going to do what I want to do.

“After all you can only be a pioneer at one time in your life then you stick with it.”

Concertgoers will be able to see the connection between Howard’s early material and his new songs as he will also be marking the 35th anniversary of the release of his debut album Human’s Lib in his live shows. The album included the hits What is Love? and New Song.

“Thirty-five years, where did that go?” he laughed. “I love those old songs but I will keep upgrading them and giving them a new set of clothing and making them more in line with the new record.

“I will be playing pretty much all of the new album in the show but not all at once - that would be cruel. I’ll be playing plenty from Human’s Lib and some other stuff as well.

“One of things I used to do in early days was play a couple of songs at the piano and I’m going to do that in this show. It’s a chance to leave the electronic stuff behind for a bit and go acoustic and then go back to it.”

Howard was always at the forefront of technology when he burst on to the scene and he’s still keeping up with the latest developments.

“It’s a combination of using the best qualities of the old gear which I still have a lot of plus with powerful software you can manipulate the sound to the nth degree,” he said. “You can do so much more sculpting the sound than you could back in the day.

“Of course, that can be a problem as you’ve got so much choice and so many things available to you that you can get bogged down in it. You have to be disciplined and not get carried away spending days on one little thing.”

Technology has moved at such a pace that most people’s home computers are far more sophisticated than the equipment Howard first started out with.

“Loads of people have access to this gear on their laptop,” he said. “If we are making records we have to be several steps ahead so we are prepared to put some time in to make sure that what we are doing is special and exciting for them.”

But for all the technology, Howard remains a songwriter at heart.

“Lyrics are the most important thing to me even though I love music,” he said. “You have to think about what people think about it when they hear it.

“When I’m writing a song, I’m not just writing it for myself. I’m thinking how will they feel about it; are the lyrics I’m writing relevant to their lives?

“If I haven’t got anything to say, then there’s no point in it.”

Transform has been praised for its positive outlook.

“Everyone has difficulties and problems and things going off in their lives,” he said. “For me it is really important to say ‘we can get through this’ and overcome this and become stronger human beings.

“That’s my thing really. I want my songs to be useful, particularly when times get tough. I feel that’s my role.”

The Manchester show will feature some specially-designed visuals to accompany the songs.

“We’ve been preparing for the live shows ever since we finished the record,” said Howard. “I tour a lot and love going out live.”

Howard Jones, Bridgewater Hall, Manchester, Thursday, May 30. Details from 0161 907 9000 or