KT Cloudbusting -- Kate Bush In Her Own Words


Sat In Your Lap (Album Re-Mix)

"Sat in your lap'' is very much a search for knowledge. And about the kind of people who really want to have knowledge but can't be bothered to do the things that they should in order to get it. So they're sitting there saying how nice it would be to have this or to do that without really desiring to do the things it takes you to get it. And also the more you learn the more ignorant you realize you are and that you get over one wall to find an even bigger one. [Laughs] (1985, MTV)


Shows the direction I began to go in at the time. It was my first solo production and we had a chance to really start experimenting with new areas. (C.1986, AVD)


Um, well I think that's one of the fun videos that we did, where the song is about the search for knowledge. And um, I suppose we just wanted to have a bit of fun in this video and try to express that [Makes funny voice] ``we're looking for that thing", yeah. [Laughs] (1985, MuchMusic)


Sometimes all these different images almost look surreal. I'm thinking of the roller skaters in the white gowns and the dunce caps. Was that just a neat combination of things, or does it add up to some point?

I think very much with that one it was the combination. It was a kind of silly video really, which...We wanted it to be slightly comical and it was playing with several different images of knowledge, really the lack of knowledge, i.e. people like dunces and jesters. It was a real romp [??? - Words unclear], where there were just loads of people involved, they're very much just images put together, to try and make it fun more than anything. (1987, MuchMusic)


Is that on ice, the video, or what?

No, it's roller skates. That was a lot of fun. I don't think we felt it was a serious video, you know, it's meant to fun. We thought the roller skates needed an airing. [Laughs] (1985, MTV)


I already had the piano patterns, but they didn't turn into a song until the night after I'd been to see a Stevie Wonder gig. Inspired by the feeling of his music, I set a rhythm on the Roland and worked in the piano riff to the high-hat and snare. I now had a verse and a tune to go over it but only a few lyrics like

"I see the people working,"

"I want to be a lawyer,'' and

"I want to be a scholar,'' so the rest of the lyrics became ``na-na-na'' or words that happened to come into my head. I had some chords for the chorus with the idea of a vocal being ad-libbed later. The rhythm box and piano were put down, and then we recorded the backing vocals ``Some say that knowledge is...'' Next we put down the lead vocal in the verses and spent a few minutes getting some lines worked out before recording the chorus voice. I saw this vocal being sung from high on a hill on a windy day. The fool on the hill, the king of the castle... ``I must admit, just when I think I'm king."

The idea of the demos was to try and put everything down as quickly as possible. Next came the brass. The CS80 is still my favourite synthesizer next to the Fairlight, and as it was all that was available at the time, I started to find a brass sound. In minutes I found a brass section starting to happen, and I worked out an arrangement. We put the brass down andwe were ready to mix the demo.

I was never to get that CS80 brass to sound the same again - it's always the way. At The Townhouse the same approach was taken to record the master of the track. We put down a track of the rhythm box to be replaced by drums, recording the piano at the same time.

As I was producing, I would ask the engineer to put the piano sound on tape so I could refer to that for required changes.

This was the quickest of all the tracks to be completed, and was also one of the few songs to remain contained on one twenty-four track tape instead of two! (1982, KBC 12)


We weren't going to put it on initially, because we thought it had been a single such a long time ago, but a lot of people used to ask me if we were putting ``Sat In Your Lap'' on the album and I'd say no, and they would say ``Oh why not?'' and they'd be quite disappointed. So, as the album's completion date got nearer and nearer, I eventually relented. I re-mixed the track and we put it on. I'm so glad I did now, because it says so much about side one, with its up-tempo beat and heavy drum rhythms - it's perfect for the opening track. (1982, Popix)


The single mix is different from the album. We very much wanted to do another mix. The album has a definite flavour that was confirmed by the mixes, so we wanted ``Sat In Your Lap'' to be a part of that. The voice was also deliberately lifted, because we had quite a lot of feedback about the lead voice being a little quiet on the single version. (1984, KBC 16)


I was really frightened about the single for a while, I mixed the song and played it to people, and there was complete silence afterwards, or else people would say they liked it to me and perhaps go away and say what they really thought.

Of course it's really worrying, because there's an assumption that if you're one of us, an artist, you don't need feedback at all, when in fact you need it as much as ever, if not more. I really appreciate feedback, and I'm lucky that the people closest to me, my friends and family, are used to me and realise that I've got my own ``bowl of feedback'' to rely on.

And that's more important than the public reaction, or do you worry?

There will always be some who are irritated by me. I seem to irritate a lot of people, SHE SMILES, and in a way that's quite a good thing. (1981, Record Mirror)


[The single] was a bit of a stopgap.

Yeah. In fact, it got to number eleven, and most people forget about that, you see, they just forget that that ever happened, so I've been completely out of the public's eye for two years.

Well, it's funny, actually, you should say ``sat in your lap,'' because when that came out, and all those drums, I, thought aha! She's trying to cash in on the old adam ant tribal drum sound.

Yeah. You see, again, that was very annoying, because when I'd actually started getting that together, Adam Ant wasn't really happening. (1982, Bootleg CD)


*Time seems to have changed your thirst for knowledge. While in ``rolling the ball'' [Sic - `` them heavy people"] you were overbrimming with the joys of gathering wisdom, on a track like ``sat in your lap'' you appear a lot more impatient - ``I want to be a lawyer. I want to be a scholar./but I really can't be bothered, ooh just/gimme it quick..."

I think it's also about the way you try to work for something and you end up finding you've been working away from it rather than towards it. It's really about the whole frustration of having to wait for things - the fact that you can't do what you want to do now, you have to work toward it and maybe, only maybe, in five years you'll get what you're after.

For me there are so many things I do which I don't want to - the mechanics of the industry - but I hope that through them I can get what I really want. You have to realise that, say, you can't just be an artist and not promote. If you're not a salesman for your work the likelihood is that people won't realise that it's there and eventually you'll stop yourself from being able to make something else. There's no doubt about it that every album I make is really dependant on the money I made from the last one. (1982, Melody Maker)


Piecing the album together is becoming like a big musical jigsaw, and we're only halfway through. One particular phase at Abbey Road became bizarre, as recording plus video met at the same point in time, and at the same place. We'd been working on two tracks in the studio, just taking the odd day and evening out for rehearsals; and with getting in early for meetings, it was a very busy time for everybody. [One of these tracks is ``sat in your lap,'' for which the video was taped at abbey road. The first single for the new album, it had not yet been released when kate wrote this part of her article, although it had come out by the time the newsletter reached fans. The other track kate refers to is ``night of the swallow'' (see below). - ied] Some days became very unreal, as, while going for a cup of tea you would swear you heard the sound of tinkling bells as the tip of the brightly coloured jester's hat disappeared around the corner. And once when I ran out into the corridor, what should whizz by but a dunce on roller-skates chased by four bulls who were being followed by a flying book and an unbelieving door attendant.

The video was filmed over two days, one part at a video studio, the other at the audio studios. The former provided the quick, easy technical sides to be performed, the latter provided the space and presence. The large parquet floor was to be a feature, and Abbey Road's past, full of dancing and singing spirits, was to be conjured up in the present day by tapping feet to the sound of jungle drums - only to be turned into past again through the wonder of video-tape. The shots were sorted into a logical order: all long shots were audio studio, all others were video studio. A storyboard was drawn up and was very closely worked to, being hung on the wall on days of shootings. The editing was a long, difficult job, as it was comprised of many sections which had to be edited together (just like the big musical one). The editor worked all day and into the next morning with great skill and patience, and only when someone told us did we find out it had been his birthday and he'd worked it all away.

One of the exciting things about making the video was the ``accessories'' we used, such as the lovely costumes and props. The jerk-jacket which we used in `` Army Dreamers'' was used again for a short sequence, and although there's a silver wire, it feels like flying. Out of the harness and into the light of a timeless tunnel, as a little magician's box springs to life and the room is filled with laser and skaters. (1980, KBC 10)


*You brought some costumes along with you today, I hope.

Yes I have. Well the video we're doing at the moment, they're some character featuring at the background, so that's one. [Put's dunce cap on a child's head] That one's a dunce. The songs all about the search for knowledge, so...

This is your new... Your new song?

Yes, it is.

The search for knowledge.

[Takes out ``joker'' and hands to another child] it seemed like a good idea to have some figures that epitomized looking for knowledge. And also this is a bull... A bull is this one. What pamy [??? Spelling] did here, this was originally a cow's mask, and it was a very pretty cow that was pink and had big eyelashes and everything. And she managed to cut it down and completely changed it, she put these horns on on top of what was there and turned it into a bull.

We'll give that to maureen, can we?


What about your costume for this video, kate?

[Pulls out costume] well, we tried to base it on a sorta ballerina's costume because obviously I've got a lot of interest in dance, still. But also the flavor of the song, everyone kept commented on how spanish it was, and this was in fact one of the reasons for the bull imagery, everyone thought it was very spanish and bullringy so we tried to keep this looking like a ballet tutu, but at the same time making the skirt slightly spanish so that I'd be able to pick it up and wave it around. And pamy based this on a ballet tutu. (1981, Razzmatazz)


*In ``sat in your lap'' cover it's written ``well done j.b.'' and he [Fan] wants to who j.b. Is.

J.b. Is a guy called john barrot who certainly deserves to be congratulated 'cause he did something very clever. [Laughs]

Very clever, you're not going to tell us anything further. No?

Nope! (1982, Dreaming debut)


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