KT Cloudbusting -- Kate Bush In Her Own Words

Running Up That Hill

The first track on the first side is ``Running Up That Hill,'' and I'm sure you will have all heard this by now. I am very excited about how it's been received by people! It's so rewarding after working for a long time to see that your work is being received with open arms. This song is very much about two people who are in love, and how the power of love is almost too big for them. It leaves them very insecure and in fear of losing each other. It's also perhaps talking about some fundamental differences between men and women. (1985, KBC 18)


It's a bit of a cliche at the moment, with so many songs called this, but it is very much about the power of love [Kate is referring to two then-recent pop singles, ``the power of love'' by huey lewis and the news, and ``the power of love'' by jennifer rush, both of which were big hits in england in 1985 - ied], and the strength that is created between two people when they're very much in love, but the strength can also be, um...uh...threatening, violent, dangerous as well as gentle, soothing, loving. And it's saying that if these two people could swap places - if the man could become the woman and the woman the man, that perhaps they could understand the feelings of that other person in a truer way, understanding them from that gender's point of view, and that perhaps there are very subtle differences between the sexes that can cause problems in a relationship, especially when people really do care about each other. (1985, Homeground)


You have this so called ``running up that hill'' in which you want to make a deal with god. What exactly is the deal you want to make?

It's the two people in the song, a man and a woman, that what to make a deal with God in order to swap places with each other. That if the man could be the woman, and vice-versa, they would understand what it's like from that other person's point of view and that perhaps there'd be less problems in the relationship. (1985, Late November, The New Music)


*Your music contains a lot of very strong emotions. For example, the hit ``running up that hill (a deal with god)'' is intense in that manner. Can you explain the emotions behind this song.

It's very much about two people who are in love, a man and a woman, and the idea of it is they could swap places... The man being the woman and vice versa and they'd understand each other better. In some ways talking about the fundamental differences between men and women, I suppose trying to remove those obstacles, being in someone else's place; understanding how they see it, and; hoping that would remove problems in the relationship. (1986, Island-Ear)


A man and a woman love each other enormously, so much so that the power of their love is the source of their problems. Briefly, if they could make a pact with God to exchange their roles, the man becoming the woman and the woman the man, they would understand each other better and would resolve their differences.

From a first listening, one gets the idea that it's with god that you want to switch roles...

There are several people who have heard something of that sort. That's a good reason for doing this interview, if one needed one. Tell them that I would never dare imagine such an exchange. (1985, Guitares et Claviers)


Is the single about the notion it might better to be dead - ``doing a deal with god, get him to swap places", ``running up the hill'' to heaven, to be where he is?

That's a nice interpretation. It's very much about love, really: trying to keep it alive. I don't know that perfect love exists in any human being, but I don't think it can be encouraged enough. (Blitz, 1985)

Well, it's about a relationship between a man and a woman. They love each other very much, and the power of the relationship is something that gets in the way. It creates insecurities. It's saying if the man could be the woman and the woman the man, if they could make a deal with God, to change places, that they'd understand what it's like to be the other person and perhaps it would clear up misunderstandings. You know, all the little problems; there would be no problem.

A perfect world, then.

Yes. Idealistic. But then I think a lot of art is that. It's not necessarily real always. (1985, Picture Disk)


"Running Up That Hill'' was one of the first songs that I wrote for the album. It was very nice for me that it was the first single released, I'd always hoped that would be the way. It's very much about a relationship between a man and a woman who are deeply in love and they're so concerned that things could go wrong - they have great insecurity, great fear of the relationship itself. It's really saying if there's a possibility of being able to swap places with each other that they'd understand how the other one felt, that when they were saying things that weren't meant to hurt, that they weren't meant sincerely, that they were just misunderstood. In some ways, I suppose the basic difference between men and women, where if we could swap places in a relationship, we'd understand each other better, but this, of course, is all theoretical anyway. (1985, Open Interview)


*It seems that the more you get to know a person, the greater the scope there is for misunderstanding. Sometimes you can hurt somebody purely accidentally or be afraid to tell them something because you think they might be hurt when really they'll understand. So what that song is about is making a deal with God to let two people swap place so they'll be able to see things from one another's perspective. (1985, The Times)


*I was trying to say that, really, a man and a woman, can't understand each other because we are a man and a woman. And if we could actually swap each others roles, if we could actually be in each others place for a while, I think we'd both be very surprised! [Laughs] And I think it would be lead to a greater understanding. And really the only way I could think it could be done was either... you know, I thought a deal with the devil, you know. And I thought, ``well, no, why not a deal with God!'' You know, because in a way it's so much more powerful the whole idea of asking God to make a deal with you. You see, for me it is still called ``Deal With God", that was it's title. But we were told that if we kept this title that it wouldn't be played in any of the religious countries, Italy wouldn't play it, France wouldn't play it, and Australia wouldn't play it! Ireland wouldn't play it, and that generally we might get it blacked purely because it had ``God'' in the title. Now, I couldn't believe this, this seemed completely ridiculous to me and the title was such a part of the song's entity. I just couldn't understand it. But none the less, although I was very unhappy about it, I felt unless I compromised that I was going to be cutting my own throat, you know, I'd just spent two, three years making an album and we weren't gonna get this record played on the radio, if I was stubborn. So I felt I had to be grown up about this, so we changed it to ``Running Up That Hill'' But it's always something I've regretted doing, I must say. And normally I always regret any compromises that I make. (1991, Classic Albums)


On delivering hounds of love she found emi slightly changed in personnel and much better pleased with her, but there was an old familiar debate to engage in. The a r department had picked `` cloudbusting'' as the first single, while kate said it had to be ``deal with god.'' good grace revived, emi gave way. But then they said she couldn't call it ``deal with god." for me, that is the title, but I was told that if I insisted, the radio stations in at least ten countries would refuse to play it because it had ``god'' in the title - spain, italy, america, lots of them. I thought it was ridiculous. Still, especially after the dreaming, I decided to weigh up the priorities. Not compromise creatively, but not be so obsessive that... I had to give the album a chance. (1989, Q)


*That song is going to puzzle a lot of people. I think perhaps the word God conjures up a sense of religion but it's quite often used symbolically.... (GOD IS THE) only person who can make the true bond of love possible. [Laughs] Hopefully there are enough people who listen to the music and see that it's actually not that religious. (1985, Pulse)


The first new track for almost three years and it was a very rewarding feeling when it was received so well. (C.1986, AVD)

*I had an idea of what I wanted to say in the song and I actually asked Del to write me a drum pattern, and he wrote this great pattern in the drum machine. So I just put the Fairlight on top of it and that was the basis of the song, with the drone, which played quite an important part. (1991, Classic Albums)


*Regarding the types of sounds you get, how did you get that little part on ``running up that hill'' that comes in first at the start of the song, after the drums and before the vocals?

That's the Fairlight and that was actually what I wrote the song with. That was what the song was written around.

And what about the altered voice at the end of the song, where you're singing, ``if only I could, keep [She actually says ``be"] running up that hill'' How was that done?

That's just a heavy effect.

What effect is on there? Do you remember?

I guess I'll put ``I won't say.''

You won't say?

No. It was just a combination of the engineer and myself. I think it's part of the thing of recording and there are so many limitations to what we do, to discover something interesting that perhaps people aren't really using... It's so quickly that people imitate things. You've got to hand onto them, I suppose. If you want to use them again. (1986, Island-Ear)


You, of course, had the big hit single ``running up that hill'' taken from the hounds of love album. What inspired that song?

That was the first song I wrote when we moved to the country. I think it was, perhaps, an expression of freedom from the things I'd felt before. It's very much about love and the power of love. And the frustration of misunderstanding within relationships. If a man could become a woman and the woman a man, within their relationship, that perhaps they'd understand a bit more about each other.

And that's the deal with god?


There's some very complicated dance routines in the video. Must have taken a long time to work those out?

That was a lot of fun. I was working there with Diane Grey, a choreographer, who I met a couple of years ago. It's very exciting working with other people. I think it's especially so when you spend such a lot of time, say, in the studio where you're only working with a set group, say two other people. And it was very inspiring working with the choreographer, who's also such a good dancer and we got on well together. We had lots of fun. (1985, Profile 6)


During the gap between the last and this album, I'd seen quite a few videos on television, that other people had been doing. And I felt that dance, something that we'd been working in, particulary in the earlier videos in quite a foreway, was being used quite trivially, it was being exploited: haphazard images, busy, lots of dances, without really the serious expression, and wonderful expression, that dance can give. So we felt how interesting it would be to make a very simple routine between two people, almost classic, and very simply filmed. So that's what we tried, really, to do a serious piece of dance. [Laughs] (1985, Good Rockin Tonight)


*Kate bush... [???] ...akido, kendo.

Yes, that's interesting. Maybe you're thinking of Kendo because of the clothes that we're wearing. We're wearing Hakama, which are the Japanese trousers. It was really fun working on that video, I've been working with Dyane Grey, a dance teacher who I found at the top of '83. And while I'd been making the album, I hadn't really had any time to carry on the dance at all, for me it's one thing at a time. And when we had to make that video, I basically went into full training again from a year of having done nothing. And we worked together, with Diane choreographing, and it was fantastic, it was just such a such good experience. And I think what we were trying to do was, we felt that all the videos that are around that there's a lot of dance appearing in them, but it's not really serious dance. And no-one has yet tried to film just a nice serious piece of dance, properly, and that's what we were trying to achieve... (1985, Rockline)


How come there are two ``running up that hill'' clips. Well you should probably tell us what they are. But why is that? Did you actually make them both and authorize them both?

No, I think what's happened here is you're seeing a TV performance that we did in England to promote the single. And I don't do very many TV performances. It concerns me that.. to try and do everything you can and put as much effort into it. And sometimes it's very difficult to make things look good in TV situations. But that was a live TV [Performance] and we presented it that way for the British audience. It wasn't my intention that that clip would be shown anywhere else at all, apart from that one live performance in England. And it was something that the record company wanted to use here, and that's why you're seeing that. From my point of view, the expression visually that goes with that song is the film that we made that is the dance video. And the other one is really for me just a one-off TV.

Well who are you dancing with in the dance version and who directed that one?

The director of that was a guy called David Garfath and the dancer was a guy called Michael Hervieu, who we auditioned. We wanted to do a piece, a serious piece of dance. Over the last couple of years, all the videos I've seen, dance has become a very exploited thing and hasn't really been treated seriously. It's been used to sort of be accessories [Makes broad motion with hands] around the person who's starring in the film. And we thought it would be nice to do almost a classical piece of dance, filmed as well as possible, because it's very rarely filmed well now. In fact, the only well-filmed piece of dance I think I've ever seen was Twyla Tharp's ``Catherine Wheel'' and I think that's because she was so involved in it that it was so good. So that's what we wanted to do, a nice serious piece of dance, simple, well-filmed and give dance a chance in a real way in this pop world.

I like the masks, I liked the scenes with the masks. How did you think those up?

Well that was very much a coincidence, where the director was talking about these masks and I had a film on video that we'd taped that had a section where people were wearing these photographic masks. And we just felt that it was a really interesting idea, this crowd that would suddenly sort of rush in through the dance sequence. And the idea of the crowd being the force of either the man or the woman and so the faces change from the man to the woman. And then the idea of drowning in yourself. Just sort of those kind of plays on things. (1985, MTV)


*How did the sleeve for the ``running up that hill'' come to be archery themed and the idea of lyrics on kate's back?

Paddy: The archery... Archery is something that we have been interested in for many years. It symbolizes the very basic learning processes, archery. You aim an arrow at a target and you let it go and it flies towards the target, it misses the middle and it moves a little bit to the left and a little bit low, then you know that the next arrow you're going to shoot has to be a little bit to the right and a bit higher. And [??? Inaudible] where you find another learning process [??? Inaudible] spending all the english summer walking up and down the hundred yards between the target and the [??? Inaudible]. And [??? Inaudible] a few summers ago kate was very active, very good actually, too. Very good [??? Inaudible] skills. Excellent [??? Inaudible] and it just [??? Inaudible].

Jay: I think there's some levels of archery which now... In terms of a simple fact, you can see archery as... With the left hand holding the bow, as the future, and the right hand is pulling this way, it's going backwards, as the past. And you're the present. You could see it as the left hand as the passive thing, the female, and the right hand as the male. And it's obviously [??? Inaudible]. And there are a lot of esoteric levels, but I'm sure they're not very interesting. Perhaps they threatened to get into the [??? Single fan].

And the idea of the lyrics written on Kate's back was... we'd been working on a series for about the last eighteen months and a photograph... because I never found a photograph and a poem written on the page opposite - it never seems to work. You look at the poem and you're having to read the words and that's more concentrated thing, particularly these days, because less of us are used to it. And then you look at the photograph and you get a much more immediate reaction. So trying to balance all that's going on. And I though the only way to do it was actually to write the poem in the photograph. And writing it on the person, that meant you could take a portion of the person, you could write your poem. You take a photograph too and get a much more complete thing. So I'd done a few of those and Kate saw them and liked the idea, so we tried... initially we were going to try them for the album cover, but that didn't work out, it was much too busy. But it worked well I think for the single back. (1985, Kate Bush Con. Paddy and Jay Interview)


Who's the band in tv performance. Like who are the members of it? Is that the band you perform with? Are those people on the album?

When you say the TV performance, you mean of ``Running Up That Hill?"

"Running up that hill."

A lot of them are musicians that were on the album and others were people that we had to call in because, for instance, the Fairlight part I played on the record, but visually it just looked better if I was singing. So we had someone on the keyboards. And a few of them were in the band when we toured in '79.

Alright. I like that part with the bow and arrow at the end by the way.

Do you?

It's really striking. Something you thought of at the moment?

It's a kind of thread that's been running through that song. The cover of the single is using a bow and arrow. In the video at the end there's a section where there's an invisible bow. [Imitates end of video and laughs] So it was just the kind of thing that kept occurring and I thought it would be fun to... live television with an audience just taking out a bow and arrow, makes people go [Makes 'whoa!' movement] for a minute and maybe that's a good thing. (1985, MTV)


...They [Mtv] show the live performance.

Do they?

They show it a lot.

Hmm. That's interesting.

It's been shown a lot.

Hmmm. So would you say that the dance one has ever been shown?

I don't know. [Kate laughs] I don't know. [Kate laughs again] I don't know if it's ever been shown.

[Laughs more] great. That's really interesting. (1985, MTV)


*Paddy: As far as ``running up that hill'' goes, it's this great technical problem. Mtv weren't particularly interested in broadcasting videos that didn't have synchronized lip movements in them. They liked the idea of people singing songs.

But I've seen lots of other videos on mtv where they have lots of parts where they aren't any syncronizations of...

Jay: Yes, but I think... Yeah, I see what you mean but I think that what they've done is they decided to typecast her very early on [??? Inaudible] - it didn't actually work and they're still trying to get out of that habit. And when they saw the video, it wasn't at the time in which the record had taken off the way it did in the states. So they were probably trying to be fairly cautious. And that's why they [??? Inaudible] vocal track.

They didn't approach you saying make another video where she's lip synching did they?

Jay: No.

Paddy: Not exactly. [Laughter]

Jay: No. Well if they paid for it, maybe...

Paddy: Yeah, but there just wasn't the time available. So [??? Inaudible] was it re-instated?

Jay: Well, the original one is being shown now [???? And it's the only version that I love]. I think maybe its an educating process. [??? People] have to get used to it.

They did actually show the original video in los angeles on a spanish salsa station. [Laughter]

And in most of the clubs they showed the original one, too.

Jay: Yeah, but that was... The big reaction to that [??? Video in] the dance clubs really surprised everybody, cause it's certainly the first time kate's had a dance [??? Inaudible]

Paddy: [??? Inaudible]. Yes. (1985, kate bush con. Paddy and jay interview)


Gaffaweb / Cloudbusting / Music / Running Up That Hill