Cloudbusting -- Kate
Bush In Her Own Words
- This is about people... well, about the modern situation, where more
and more people are having less contact with human beings. We spend all day
with machines; all night with machines. You know, all day, you're on the phone,
all night you're watching telly. Press a button, this happens. You can get your
shopping from the Ceefax! It's like
this long chain of machines that actually stop you going out into the world.
It's like more and more humans are becoming isolated and contained in their
homes. And this is the idea of someone who spends all their time with their
computer and, like a lot of people, they spend an obsessive amount of time with
their computer. People really build up heavy relationships with their
computers! And this person sees an ad in a magazine for a new program: a
special program that's for lonely people, lost people. So this buff sends off
for it, gets it, puts it in their computer and then like , it turns into this
big voice that's saying to them, ``Look, I know that you're not very happy, and
I can offer you love: I'm her to love you. I love you!'' And it's the idea of a
divine energy coming through the least expected thing. For me, when I think of
computers, it's such a cold contact and yet, at the same time, I really believe
that computers could be a tremendous way for us to look at ourselves in a very
spiritual way because I think computers could teach us more about ourselves
than we've been able to look at, so far. I think there's a large part of us
that is like a computer. I think in some ways, there's a lot of natural
processes that are like programs... do you know what I mean? And I think that,
more and more, the more we get into computers and science like that, the more
we're going to open up our spirituality. And it was the idea of this that
this... the last place you would expect to find love, you know, real love, is
from a computer and, you know, this is almost like the voice of angels speaking
to this person, saying they've come to save them: ``Look, we're here, we love
you, we're here to love you!'' And it's just too much, really, because this is
just a mere human being and they're being sucked into the machine and they have
to be rescued from it. And all they want is that, because this is ``real''
contact. (1989, Roger
Both emotionally and sonically, the trio fits deftly into bush's
multi-tracked choral vocals. On
``deeper understanding'' they are the spiritual countervoice in a
song about emotional disconnection, where the protagonist finds love in a
- Yes, it is emotional disconnection, but then it's very much
connection, but in a way that you would never expect. And that
kind of emotion should really come from
the human instinctive force, and in this particular case it's coming from a
computer. I really liked the idea of playing with the whole imagery of
computers being so cold, so unfeeling. Actually what is happening in the song
is that this person conjures up this program that is almost like a visitation
of angels. They are suddenly given so much love by this computer - it's like,
you know, just love.
- There was no other choice. Who else could embody the visitation of
angels but the Trio Bulgarka? SHE LAUGHS. (1990, Musician)
- I suppose it's looking at society where more and more people are
being shut away in their homes with televisions and computers, and in a way
being encouraged not to come out. You know, there's so many people who live in
London in high-rise flats - they don't know their neighbors, they don't know
anyone else in the building. People are getting very isolated. It was the idea
of this person who had less and less human contact, and more and more contact
with their computer, where they were working on it all day and all night. They
see an advert in a magazine for a program for people who are lonely and lost,
so they write off for it. When they get it back in the mail and put it into the
computer, it's the idea - a bit like an old sci-fi
film, really - where it would just come to
life and suddenly there's this kind of incredible being there, like a great
spiritual visitation. This computer is offering this person love, and the idea
that they've had such little human warmth, they're getting this tremendous
affection and deep love from their computer. But it's so intense it's too much
for them to take, and they actually have to be rescued from just being killed
with love, I suppose. (1989, KFNX)
- This computer buff sends away for a programme that says: ``Are you
lonely? Are you lost?'' He plugs it in and out come voices of angels. In our
city times we do have less and less affection for each other and become more
and more isolated. Here is something real and meaningful - deep
love coming out of a bloody computer!
How do you feel about the character who's so desperately,
pathetically lonely, (s)he's formed an addictive relationship with a computer?
- Well, wherever you live, chances are you won't know your neighbours,
you won't even know the person who lives next to you. But I see this song set
in America, just because it's so much
more extreme out there: people don't go out of their houses, they watch the
television, they can shop from the television, they speak to people on the
phone. If they want, they needn't have any form of human communication of a
real kind at all, and I think that's being encouraged.
- You know, a couple of years ago there was a lot of news about how
women were divorcing their husbands because they were spending all their time
with their computers - they were in there all night. I suppose it's still
happening. And this song is about this very intense relationship that
developed, where this person spends all their time with computers. They talk to
the computer and the computer talks back.
- I suppose I really liked the idea of deep, spiritual communication -
deep love which should come from humans -
coming from the last place you'd expect it to, the coldest piece of machinery.
And yet I do feel there is a link. I do feel that, in some ways, computers
could take us into a level of looking at ourselves that we've never seen
before, because they could come in from outside all this...I'm not really sure
what I'm saying...
She laughs and takes a sip of tea.
- I think a lot of things in
Nature are almost programme-based, and a lot of things that we do are very
mechanical, so maybe somehow going right through a computer, almost so that you
come out the other side - going through all that science - will take us to
something very spiritual but very earthy.
- I was very inspired by Stephen Hawking. Have you heard about this
guy? I think he was an Oxford scientist. [Actually cambridge.] He's very
ill and, basically, he's coming up with how everything is created...or not
created, as he sees it.
- I saw him on television,
and it was so moving: this guy who's so close to the answer of it all, in a
body that was desperately...it was going, and quickly. And he was fighting
against the time he had left, and yet...Here was this guy who was probably the
closest to knowing it all, and he was speaking through this voice-processor. It
was almost, for me, like hearing the voice of God.
- What he was saying was so spiritual, it was not like a scientist. It
was someone saying, ``Well, look: it wasn't ever created and it won't end, it
just is.'' You know, this wonderful conceptualism is almost beyond
words, because he's gone so far through the process. Words can't explain what
I find that a bit scary. I wonder if we want the
- Well, I wonder if we'd understand it! Even if we knew
the answer, we probably wouldn't understand it.
But if we ever found out, definitely, whether there's a god or not,
it would be like definitely finding out there are aliens from outer space: The
human race couldn't handle it, couldn't cope with not being the centre of the
universe. And what if we found out there definitely isn't a god, what then? The
truth would be too much to bear. The idea of death being an inconceivable nothing would
drive us mad with the contemplation of extinction.
- We seem to be very much in the era of reason, and I think science is
the ultimate example of that. The other side is the instinctive, which is not
logical on any level. Perhaps it's the putting together of the two. You know,
like what you were just saying there about aliens? Most people's response would
be that it's just not possible because their reason says so, but then an
instinctive person might feel, 'Yes, this is so's because it just feels right.
- Maybe we've lost touch with our instincts, so it's become very
important for us to work out logical explanations for things all the time,
which I think is a bit of a shame, really. (1989, Melody Maker)
- It's like today, a lot of people relate to machines, not to human
beings, like they hear telephone [Makes ringing noise] and think ``Is
that for me?'' I guess it playing with the idea of how people get more and more
isolated from humans and spend a lot more time with machines. I suppose
America's a really good example where
there are some people who never go out, they watch television all day, they're
surrounded by machines, they shop through television, they speak to people on
the phone; it's just distant contact. The idea of the computer buffs who end up
going through divorce cases because their wives can't cope with the attention
the computer gets. They have an obsessive effect on people, and this track's
about one of those types.
- "But I was lonely, I was lost/Without my little black box/I pick up
the phone and go Execute. . . . I turn to my computer like a friend/I need
- I was playing with the juxtaposition of high tech and spirituality.
I suppose one inspiration was a program I saw last year about a scientist
called Stephen Hawking who for years had been studying the universe, and his
concepts are like the closest we've ever come to understanding the answer. But
unfortunately he has a wasting-away disease, and the only way he can talk is
through voice process. It was one of the most moving things I've ever heard. He
was so close to the answers to everything, and yet his body was going on him -
in some ways it was the closest I'd ever come to hearing God speak! The things
he was saying were so spiritual, it was like he'd gone straight through science
and come out the other end. It was like he'd gone beyond words, and I do think
that there is this possibility with computers that we really could learn about
ourselves on levels that could take us into much deeper areas. With my music, I
like to combine both the old and the new, the high tech and the compassion from
the human element, the combination of synths and acoustic instruments. (1989,
- It's about someone being trapped in the city, in isolation at work,
where they just spend all the time with this computer, actually really
developing a relationship with it. Which a lot of people seem to do - they talk
to it. So the idea is in sending off this programme for the lonely lost; they
put it in and this sci-fi being comes out and says ``I know you're lost, but
I'm here to help you, we love you.'' This
person doesn't have human contact any more, he's just kind of addicted to the
machine. I suppose in subject matter terms I really do see it visually.
- So I had this thing and started to write it on the Yamaha piano at
home - one of the old CP90s, which is still great. I asked Del for a rhythm,
and he put down this very mechanical rhythm on Fairlight. I put DX7 over the
top, John Giblin did the most beautiful
bass - though it took a while. It always does when I work with John - the
main problem is that he just makes me laugh so much.
"Deeper understanding'' is also the first track to
feature the trio bulgarka.
- That song was sort of finished when I got involved with the
Bulgarian singers. I just thought of all the people to represent a being that
exudes divine love, it had to be the
Bulgarian singers. The idea was to put them in the chorus where the computer
was singing, so that they'd have this ethereal sound. (1989, International Musician)
There's a song on the album that is finally a
love song for lonely computer hackers
[Kate laughs]. They have their own song now. ``deeper
- That's right.
People are of course gonna think that you are a whiz on computers
now because you've done a song about them, but what's the real truth ?
- It's kind of what you said, its about these lonely people in this
modern world who more and more we're being encouraged to stay in our houses and
watch television and not go out and
not meet people but do it through computers all the time. And this song is
about someone who spends all their time with their computer. They have a very
steady relationship and they see very few people, have not much contact. And
its the idea of them seeing an ad in a magazine for a program for people who
are lonely and lost. And they send off for the program and when they put it
into their computer it comes alive and its like, its like a visitation and what
the computer is offering them is real love and basically this human being just
can't take it [Laughs]. Its too much for them, its like trying to be
killed by love. I suppose in a way this song is saying that this world is
getting colder and getting more and more isolated. To experience love and
affection is getting more difficult in the world we live in and its the idea of
this person actually getting that kind of love from the coldest form of machine
we have, which is the computer.
But it's still love.
- Yeah, I think actually that computers could hold a tremendous amount
for us in the future. I think they could teach us an awful lot about ourselves.
I have a lot of faith in the potential for computers and our spirituality.
- I think,
more and more, we're becoming isolated. We don't have healthy human contact, we
spend the entire day with machines, all of us. And I do think human beings are
getting lonely. There's a lot of unhappy people in our modern world.
- You must know these people, who spend all night in this crazy
relationship they have with their computers. Their wives want to divorce them
because they're in there all night with the computer. And it was an idea born
out of something so cold, so inhuman, so unfeeling as this computer buff
sending off for a programme he sees in a magazine. He puts it in - and suddenly
this programme almost becomes a being, like the voices of angels, a visitation.
And it's the idea that this could actually happen through a computer, that
someone can get the most real love they've
ever experienced from the most unexpected source.
- I suppose in some ways one of the inspirations for that... have you
ever heard of Stephen Hawking? I recently saw an interview with him on
television; it was so beautiful,
that's the impression I was left with. It was this really moving notion of a
guy whose body is really deteriorating, but his mind and soul are so alive.
Hearing him speak through his voice-processor, for me it was the closest thing
I've heard to God speaking. Because some of the things he was saying were pure
science, but it was as if he'd gone right through science and onto the
- I don't have a ``downer'' on computers at all. I think they're
really good and very important. And I also feel there's this really strong
spiritual age that's going to hit us soon and it will be very much due to
computers, because of the pure way they can break things down. Also I think
they can teach us a lot about ourselves; we've never been in the position of
having something else through which to look back at ourselves. But they are
encouraging humans not to have as much contact as they should have, not to be
as affectionate as they should be. We should really try to develop our
priorities as people. (1989, RAW)
I must confess one comic note on ``deeper
understanding'' I have a telephone that has the exact same sound
[Kate laughs] and the first eight or nine times through the album I was
continually running up to get the phone and no one was there [Kate laughs
again]. Two minutes later I'd do it again and I finally we wait a minute
that's on the record.
It was running at such a volume that...
- That's great. The time you wanna worry is when you pick up the phone
an there's a voice at the end going Hello George !!! (1990, KDGE)
About ``deeper understanding": On the way here, the
driver kept leaping because he though his vodaphone was going.
- It's very interesting that you should say that because so many
people have. If they'd have that track on, people would be talking away and
then they hear the computer sound, they're completely distracted. And I think
it reinforces in a way what the whole song is about, which is rather nice. It's
almost like people respond more to a machine talking to them than to a human.
It's like we're all keyed into mechanical information.
Do you like all of that? Having a studio? Do you get excited about
- Yes. I suppose it always wears off a bit...It's just fantastic. I
really can't believe that we got such a good studio that I can work in and make
records in. Because I couldn't do it in a commercial studio now. I think it
would be impossible for me, and I'd get so nervous - I'd feel completely out of
my depth. I've got so used to having the privacy, and I can just pop in and have a
cup of tea. (1989, Greater
- That seems to be something we're encouraged to do, in that, more and
more, it's almost easier for us to stay in our rooms, watch the
television, shop from our computers.
To become such isolated beings. (1990, Los Angeles Times)
Cloudbusting / Music /