Cloudbusting -- Kate
Bush In Her Own Words
The Dreaming Album
- Released 13 September 1982
Made No. 3 Gold
- I think the last album [The Dreaming] was very dark and
about pain and negativity and the way people treat each other badly. It was a
sort of cry really. And I think perhaps the biggest influence on the last album
was the fact that I was producing it
and so I could actually do what I really wanted to for the first time. And
there were a lot of things that we wanted to experiment with, and I
particularly to play around with my voices because there are a lot of different
backing vocals and things like that. So the different textures were important
to me. I wanted to try and create pictures with the sounds by using effects.
(1985, March 15, The New
The album the dreaming was quite a radical departure
from your previous records.
- Yes, I think it is different, but I don't know if it's that
different. It's very different from the first two albums, but the third album
is where I think we started to get there. I think it was a progression, really.
But perhaps not such an obvious one.
- But it is quite...dark, I suppose, without meaning to be negative. I
think it is saying...nearly all those songs are saying that people are great,
but they really hurt each other, and you know, look at the things we do to each
other. Why do we do this...you know, questioning. I think albums
are like that, they're...they are little diaries. You know, you sort of sit
there and write - not autobiographical things - but what you feel at the time,
things that move you. I think it does say a lot about you at the time. (1985,
- After the last album, Never For Ever, I started
writing some new songs. They were very different from anything I'd ever written
before - they were much more rhythmic, and in a way, a completely new side to
my music. I was using different instruments, and everything was changing; and I
felt that really the best thing to do would be to make this album a real
departure - make it completely different. And the only way to achieve this was
to sever all the links I had had with the older stuff. The main link was
engineer Jon Kelly. Everytime I was in the studio Jon was there helping me, so
I felt that in order to make the stuff different enough I would have to stop
working with Jon. He really wanted to keep working with me, but we discussed it
and realised that it was for the best. (1982, Popix)
- I think the last album [The Dreaming] is about trying
to cope...to get through all the shit. I think it was positive:
showing how certain people approach all these negative things - war, crime,
etc. I don't think I'm actually an aggressive person, but I can
be. But I release that energy in work. I think it's wrong to get angry. If
people get angry, it kind of freaks everybody out and they can't concentrate on
what they're doing. (1982, NME)
You mentioned earlier that you wanted the album to be different, to
be a change. Is that aspect of change particularly refreshing to you? Is it
important for you to keep changing?
- Yes, it's very important for me to change. In fact, as soon as the
songs began to be written, I knew that the album was going to be quite
different. I'd hate it, especially now, if my albums became similar, because so
much happens to me between each album - my views change quite drastically.
What's nice about this album is that it's what I've always wanted to do. For
instance, the Australian thing: well, I wanted to do that on the last album,
but there was no time. There are quite a few ideas and things that I've had
whizzing around in my head that just haven't been put down. I've always wanted
to use more traditional influences and instruments, especially the Irish ones.
I suppose subconsciously I've wanted to do all this for quite some time, but
I've never really had the time until now. (1982, Popix)
- Well, I
think when I was writing for it, I wasn't thinking of myself as being the
producer. The way that the actual demo tapes turned out, I just felt I could
handle it. It was very demanding and I enjoyed it.
Was it your most difficult album?
Would you say it was your favorite?
- Yes, I would. Although, I think in a way, some of my favorite bits
are a couple of tracks from
Never For Ever, but I would say that The Dreaming, I'm
pleased with that altogether.
Are any of the songs from the dreaming about you?
- No, I only put little pieces of myself in them. And I think what
exactly you find in a story or a situation, that I find I've been moved or in
case I should like something, I then apply my own limited experience of that
situation. Besides I occasionally try to imagine what it would be like. I think
that's where I come into the song, but no more than that. (1983, Wireless)
album took over a year to record, is this due to the fact that you have been
involved one a hundred percent in it's production?
- Yes, I think that's certainly contributed to the fact that it's
taken a long time. But there are alot of other things as well. The songs
themselves were very demanding, especially emotionally. And they seemed to be
requiring more special sounds, new treatment, that sort of thing. So it was
harder to find sounds that were right and it took longer to get ideas
manifested. And also, I was having to work between three or four studios in
order to be able to get the time to make sure that the impetuous was carried on
and the album was finished. Because I was making an album at the same time a
lot of other people were and obviously everybody wanted to use the same top
studios in London, so I was having to move around alot, which was hard.
I would have thought if you're going to take that long over an
album, recording things, that it must
be hard to keep the interest up in some tracks, 'cause you may record or write
a song - you think ``that sounds terrific'' and then sort of the whole thing
kinda rescinds over the few weeks and you think, ``well maybe that wasn't a
[Laughs] that really was my biggest problem. I mean they're
all kinds of problems like lack of confidence and worrying about things, but
the real problem was that I was starting to lose interest in the songs and I
was starting to worry about the songs, wondering, as you were just saying, if
they were still as good as I thought they were when I actually wrote them. And
you just have to be working with really good people who keep saying ``it's
great, don't worry it sounds great."
- And you just keep doing it and maybe a few days later you think
``yeah, it's not so bad but I don't know about this one.'' [Laughs]
(1982, Unknown BBC interview)
- I spent
most of my time having other people direct my energies, and I didn't like some
of the things that were happening. I was too easily influenced by the people I
work with. That's why I decided to produce my own album. (1983, Music Express)
studio effort took almost two years to complete as she needed to work with
specific technical directors who, unfortunately, weren't always available for
her. Today she works with only one. I was looking for a certain imagination in
an engineer and I ended up going with quite a few and working in many different
studios. That's not what I would've wanted to do. (1984, Pulse!)
imageries that come across in the dreaming are due, she points
out, to the painstaking time we took to get every effect perfect.
- I was trying, in The Dreaming, to get myself up to the
point I knew I was capable of, KATE SAYS OF THE SEARCH FOR POWER. The
Dreaming was my emotional image
and I am thankful that I had good people to help with the dynamics. (1984,
album of yours, the dreaming, I've read bits about it in
the press and it seems to be the most
important album in your life.
- Yes, it is for me. I've spent a long time on it and in a way I've
been working towards this with all the other albums that I've recorded. So it's
really important, for me.
I know you've produced this album yourself and obviously you feel
that's a good idea. Is that a general idea or yours or did you feel that at one
time in your career you have to produce the whole thing yourself?
- It's something that, again, started happening gradually, really,
because I never thought of producing
my first album but by the third album I was co-producing and it just seemed, in
a way, like a natural step just to try it myself on this one. (1982, BBC Dreaming interview)
you're your own producer, I think, aren't you? You produce it all yourself, the
- Yes, I've only just managed to get there though. I mean this album
is the first one that I'm producing.
And it's incredible, I mean there really is so much you have to do, and it is
Hard work, is it?
- Yes, especially also when you're the artist that you're doing the
album of. I mean sometimes I keep thinking, ``who's album is this,'' you know.
And then I think it's mine and I think ``well,'' you know, ``I've got to keep
working.'' I think I wouldn't be able to if I didn't feel that the songs need
to be presented to people. (1981, Friday Night And Saturday
tracks on the album have a thematic theme, theme link, or are they different in
theme or treatment?
- Yes, I think they are quite individual really. They're all about
different subject matter, so they're isn't really a theme, no. (1982, Unknown BBC interview)
Did you do
any special vocal training for this album, or have you done recently [Kate
laughs]. Because you do a lot of acrobatics with your voice on this album,
more than I think I remember.
- Yeah, I think there's a lot more experimentation on this album. I
didn't do any special vocal training, but they were a lot of different ideas
when I wrote the songs and put the demos down. And really most the ideas were
in the demos to start with. (1982, Unknown BBC
Rolf harris and percy
harris appear on the new single. Planxty and one of the chieftains contribute
to another track. Are there any other guest artists on the album?
- Um, yes there are. There's a wonderful fretless
bass player from Germany called Eberhard
Weber who I think I've mentioned to you before....
- ...because I'm a very big fan of his. And he played on the track
``Houdini'' which was
wonderful. And Dave Gilmour came in as well and did some vocals on one of the
What was it like working with the irish folk band planxty, 'cause
I'm a bit of a fan of their's. I know the regular listener will know... Like
``what do you mean you're a fan, you never play their music.'' [Kate
laughs] it doesn't seem somehow to be in context with what I'm doing. Maybe
I should but...
- I would be lovely if you did.
I was listening to a lot of their stuff when I was in northern
ireland recently. But, how did you get
involved with planxty?
- Well, I've been a fan of theirs as well. Really, my brother Jay
played me some albums of theirs and ever since I've been hooked. I wrote the
song and it just seemed perfect for them to work on. So I rang a guy called
Bill Whelan, who's the keyboard player, and he was really interested in it and
said he'd get the guys together, but over in Ireland. So I had to fly over there for the
day and we put them on tape. And Bill wrote this fantastic arrangement, which
he originally played to me there on the phone, it was fantastic! He was with
them at the Piper [???] and he said ``hang on a minute,'' put the phone
down, and I heard them play the arrangement to me their on the phone. It was
beautiful. (1982, Unknown BBC
seem to be taking ever more control of the range of your career. You always had
the prime input, but on your current album you are the writer, the vocalist,
the keyboard player, the producer, and the arranger.
Now this is very much a personal vision, are you afraid that by not
bouncing off to many other people you might lose touch with the album?
- Yes, I think that does scare me but it doesn't worry me at the
moment because, although I'm taking control of a lot of things, I'm still
working with other people. You always depend on the other people in the team
that are very much a part of what you're doing. And I think, hopefully if you
work with people who are honest enough, you can rely on still on their feedback
and let their ideas in and out and hopefully not suffer from too much
indulgence. But of course it's a problem, yeah. (1982, Pebble Mill At One)
did a radio program for christmas for
radio 1 about your favorite records, I'm sure that many people were surprised
to hear how few conventional pop tunes were in there. You had a lot of irish
folk melodies, african songs, songs with unusual instruments. And I therefore
thought that when you really did take full control of your career that there
would be a lot of various surprises for people which they might find actually
commercial, and I think that's what happened on the latest single, ``the
dreaming", isn't it?
- Yes, absolutely, I mean it's not really a commercial song at all.
And I think that's rather lovely that you could see from that program that we
did perhaps the direction that I was going in. And from my point of view that
program was fantastic, to get, you know, all those songs played.
I recall you had some whaling songs so I'm waiting for your number
about orca - killer whale.
[Laughs] yeah, yeah, sea shanties be great. But I think
that's the problem to because the direction I'm going in with my art is the
direction I want to go because, for me, it's a little bit deeper, it's got more
meaning, it's not so poppy, I suppose. But of course, maybe that won't be so
widely accepted, especially in the singles chart where it seems that things do
have to be obviously, really, to stand a good chance of getting places. (1982,
Pebble Mill at One)
- The single,
``The Dreaming", raised interest but didn't do well, and the
second single from the album did nothing at all in the UK, although the album
itself got into the charts at number
Not that that disillusioned kate bush in any way.
- There's nothing you can do about what the public thinks, the main
thing is to be happy and proud of what you've done. I felt I did a good job.
- I've always felt I had to be creative. It worries me only if I don't
feel my creative output is as much as it was two years ago. (1983, Australian Women's Weekly)
a very different sign for kate bush, what else have you done on the album that
makes it different?
- Well, what's nice really, because each song is slightly different,
I've been able to use lots of different people to do their thing on the track.
And it was nice, because the last single had a very Australian flavor, so we
used a lot of Australian sounding instruments...
Not the dijeridu!?
- Yes, indeed.
Oh, my goodness. [Kate laughs] what,
- Yes, indeed!
- In person! [Laughs]
And who else have you used?
- Well I've been using some different string arrangers, which is nice.
I used a man called Dave Lawson and what's nice about him is he's worked alot
in film music and so he's very sort of
visually inspired. And it's nice to work with someone that's used to working
with visuals as apposed to just audials. And I used a choirboy on one track,
that was very nice. I've never worked with children, before, really. And he was
beautiful, he was really perfect.
And this is the first time you've produced an album.
Again, was this at your instigation, I mean that you wanted to see
the whole thing through from beginning to end and that everything would be you?
- Well when I wrote the songs for this album, they felt very different
from any of the songs I've written before and it just felt write that I should
go the whole way this time. I don't know if I've ever really felt like that
before and I don't know if I will in the future, but I really felt that way
with these songs, that it was important that I did follow it through with this
Do you ever worry about taking such a long time away from
recording and chart signs and being
in touch with the public as such, that the public will get a bit fickle and,
not exactly forget, but certainly, you know, that that instant thing might not
- Hmmm. Yes I think it worries me alot. Especially as there seem to be
more projects that I do that do take up a lot of time, like maybe a year at a
time. But I have to really sit and think, you know, what is the most important
thing to me, to stay in the public's eye or to make sure that the work I do is
more interesting and that it gets better. And really the only way to make sure
that the work gets better is to concentrate on it. So that's definitely my
priority. (1982, Dreaming
Music weeklies also gave bush a round thrashing for her latest and most
experimental album, the dreaming.
- I think it surprised me that everyone felt The Dreaming
was not such a good sounding album, because I'm really quite pleased with it. I
feel whenever I sit down to write an album, that it's quite different from the
one before. Since I've gotten the last one out of my system, I don't really
feel like delving in those same areas again. (1984, L.A. Times)
album you've put together is up to date your favorite, I'll assume and...
- Yes, I would say so. Yes. (1982, BBC
- I like an
album to have a consistency in quality. I find it annoying when I buy an album
on the strength of a single I've heard, and then don't like the rest of it.
(1983, Australian Women's Weekly)
The song style on the dreaming appears to be more
rhythmic in nature than your earlier,
more melodic material. Is this a deliberate change in musical direction?
- Since drum machines entered my life on the third album, it's never
been the same. (1984, KBC
As many of the press and
album reviewers considered the dreaming to be ``weird'' and
``over-produced", etc., do you mind if the press label the new album ``even
- I don't mind ``even weirder", but I don't like ``over-produced''
(1984, KBC 17)
The new album has a stronger voice feel to it, and plenty of
variety in the percussion.
- There has always been plenty of vocal activity at heart before, it's
just that it's never actually manifested itself as such. As for drums, it's
basically a drum kit, and for a couple of songs other things like Chinese
drums, military bass drum and African
drums are used. The other interesting instrument used on The
Dreaming is the dijeridu, played by Rolf Harris. He is such a good
player, and a real honour to work with.
I like the use of silence and space in your music.
- I've begun to value silence much more because...I think even from
the start I realized silence is as important as the notes. But actually getting
your songs to realize that is so much harder, and also knowing where to put the
silence. Again, this album is probably the first one that has actually let
silence into it. The bass lines are kept
fairly 'dry', which helps, too. And my piano playing is never over-busy. It
probably couldn't be, though, my technique holds me back quite a lot there! I
use the synthesizer for things that I definitely want to hear, so I will
specifically ask for that. But again in a lot of cases, maybe I've asked them
to do something, and while they're mucking around I'll pick [Up???] on
another sound that's so good we'll go with that.
- The LP for me has been quite fulfilling. I feel I have made a step
forward, which is always great for one artistically, obviously. And I suppose
one of the things that I do feel pleased about is perhaps that I feel we've got
a sense of the emotional value from each song to have come across in some way.
It was very emotionally demanding, especially some of the tracks, because of
the subject matter. It's taken a year to put together, with a lot of studio
time taken up. It was actually finished in May, but we felt it was better to
release it in the autumn - but it's really such a long time to wait. (1982,
Electronics Music Maker)
- I couldn't go on forever as the little girl with the
``hee-hee'' squeaky voice.
Even so, it must have been a gamble to release the
dreaming, which isn't exactly instantaneous to many ears.
- I think it needs two or three listenings. What I wanted to do
throughout the album was almost to bury things.
- I wanted it to be a very human, emotional album. I think we've come
so far in making music sophisticated that we're almost in danger of losing the
roots. That's why I think there's been a return to tribal influences. After
all, that's where rock-'n'-roll came from in the first place. It's a very
ethnic album, as well, in many respects. (1982, Robin Smith)
I wondered if she was occasionally being deliberately obscure.
- No, not at all, because although there's a lot going on in some of
the tracks, to me they're kept on a simple basic level within themselves - all
the ideas are aiming towards the same picture.
- Like, some people have said it's ``over-produced", but I don't think
it is, because I know what I was trying to get at. I think of over-produced
albums as the ones that have strings, brass, choirs, that sort of thing.
What about the lyrics, though? As I sat struggling with them, I
felt that you had made them consciously oblique in places.
- I don't intend them to be that way. It's just the way they come out.
The thing is, when I have subject-matter, the best way I could explain it would
be across ten pages of foolscap, but as I've got to get [It all ???] in
a song, I have to precis everything.
- Maybe the album is more difficult for people than I meant it to be.
It isn't intended to be complicated, but it obviously is, for some. A lot of it
is to do with the fact that the songs are very involved - there's lots of
- Hopefully the next one will be simpler, but each time it gets
harder, because _I'm_ getting more involved. I'm trying to do something better
all the time.
Do you worry about losing fans?
- Yeah, I do, because obviously from a purely financial point of view
I depend on money to make albums, and if
they're not successful it's quite likely I won't have the scope to do what I
want on the next one.
- But, I'd rather go artistically the way I want to than hang onto an
audience, because you have to keep doing what you feel. It's just luck if you
can hang onto the people, as well.
The time and cost of the dreaming has already been
fairly well documented - did you intend to spend that long
- No, not at all. But I find that a lot of things I do now take so
much longer than I thought they would.
What is it that takes the time? Translating your ideas onto record?
- Yeah, that's what's really hard. In so many cases you need to be in
the studio to get the sounds, and it can maybe take a couple of days just to
get one idea across. Sometimes you wonder if you should just leave them. (1982,
- People can react as seriously as they want to. I'd like them to sit
there with the lyrics in front of them and the record turned up really loud
giving themselves to it. A lot of people will listen to it, and a certain
percentage will take time and effort to get into it. (1982, NME)
- Primitive? I'm not sure about that word...Perhaps. There are
traditional roots in it. Basic forms of music.
I think it's extremely sophisticated.
- Do you? Sophisticated? Well, I'd rather you say that than turdlike.
- The Dreaming is very different from my first two
records. Each time I do an LP it feels like the last one was years and years
before. The essence of what I'm playing has been there from the start; it's
just that the expression has been changing. What I'm doing now is what I was
trying to do four years ago. If I do a show, it will only be music from the
last two albums. (1982, NME)
- I think
it's the album I'm most happy with that I've completed. I went through all the
problems and depression during the album and then ended up feeling quite
pleased with it. In the past it's worked the other way around. (1982, Melody Maker)
How do you feel about your early records now?
- I don't really like them. A lot of the stuff on the first two albums
I wasn't at all happy with. I think I'm still fond of a lot of the songs, but I
was unhappy about the way they came across on record.
- Also, until this album I'd never really enjoyed the sound of my own
voice. It's always been very difficult for me, because I've wanted to hear the
songs in a different way.
Why didn't you like it?
- I think a lot of people don't like the sound of their own voices.
It's like you have to keep working towards something you eventually
do like. It was very satisfying for me on this album, because for
the first time I can sit and listen to the
vocals and think, ``Yeah, that's actually quite good."
Were you pushing it more to create different sounds?
- In a way. But I probably used to push it more in other ways. I went
through a phase of trying to leap up and down a lot when I was writing songs. I
used to try to push it almost acrobatically. Now I'm trying more to get the
song across, and I have more control. When I'm trying to think up the character
is when it needs a bit of push.
Do you always try to put yourself in the role of a character, then?
- Yeah, normally, because the song is always about
something, and always from a particular viewpoint. There's normally a
personality that runs along with it.
- Sometimes I really have to work at it to get in the right frame of
mind, because it's maybe the opposite of how I'm feeling, but other times it
feels almost like an extension of me, which it is, in some ways.
You have been accused in the past of living in some kind of fantasy
world. Would you say you refuse to face up to reality?
- Now. [No.???] I think I do, actually, although there are
certain parts of me that definitely don't want to look at reality. Generally
speaking, though, I'm quite realistic, but perhaps the songs on the first two
albums created some kind of fantasy image,
so people presumed that I lived in that kind of world.
Where do you get the ideas for songs from?
- Anywhere, really. There're two or three tracks that I had the ideas
for on the last album but never got together. Others come from films,
books or stories from people I know. That
kind of thing. (1982, Kerrang!)
- I used to
write all the time but now I seem to dissipate my energy doing other things.
I'm really pleased with this album but I want to do better next time. Music is
priceless, really. I get such a buzz from hearing people that I admire. The
only honest reaction you get comes from an audience.
- Everyone has helped me so much and worked so hard - I've been really
lucky, on the whole. (1982, Nineteen)
- This is the first time that I actually enjoy [Sic - enjoyed]
listening to my voice, SAYS KATE MODESTLY AS WE TALK ON AN EMI SOFA. It's a big
breakthrough. Though Never
For Ever was getting there, it was really compromise all the way,
because I couldn't do any better at the time. I think it's the vocal chords as
you get older. They do something. I can actually put some balls into my voice
for the first time. It's exciting! (1982, ZigZag)
Tilts head. It's like a progression. I've never written songs as
long as these before. Before they were like three minutes. They all had quite a
different process. The idea was to go into the studio each night, put on the
rhythm box machine and write something on the spot. Every night I was getting a
song. Even if it wasn't much good, there'd be an idea I could use in another
- It was all spontaneous initially, and became very thought out
afterwards. Before, it probably worked the other way. We'd spend ages writing
songs, and get it all down quick in the studio.
Hence the greater emphasis on rhythm throughout.
- Yeah. The rhythm box did that. It took me a while to get used to it.
I kept moving with it instead of in and out of it, which was restricting me.
Now it seems so natural.
It seems to have made your writing more aggressive.
- Mm! I like that, too. It's hard for me to really get power coming
across. It's the first time I've had to get that much power, because the songs
were demanding it. It was hard.
So how do you think your public are going to react? You might
finally be doing what you want to, but it's gonna shock the comfy listeners and
maybe lose a few fans.
- I don't know how they're going to take it. I think the people who've
understood where I've been so far are going to be into it. They're expecting
something different each time, so it's almost predictable in that respect.
- But I think a load of people won't like it. They probably won't
understand what it's about. I find the more I write the stuff, the less I worry
about this stage, and the better it is. I remember on the second and third
albums there were lots of times when I was writing a song and I kept thinking
what people were going to think of it. I'd rather not do that and lose some of
the people who are into my music, because I'm really doing what I want to do.
I'm going where I want and I'm going to keep going for it. I've no idea what's
going to happen. (1982, ZigZag)
- On the last album I felt like I was starting to get there, that
power thing, it was starting to get into a deeper area. A number of songs on
the album were still like commercial ditties. This is the first one I feel like
I've actually got somewhere. Already I'm starting to hear things that I think I
could do better. (1982, ZigZag)
- I wanted it to be a long-lasting album, because my favourite records
are the ones that grow on you - that you play lots of times because each time
you hear something different. (1982, Kerrang!)
- Quite a few people have found that it's grown on them after a while.
It was certainly different from the things I'd done before, and the overall
sound was more layered. There's a lot of things you pick up on gradually. I
find that an attractive quality, and on the whole, I was very pleased with the
record. (1984, Women of
How important a part did the fairlight play in the
- I think on this album it played an incredibly important part. I
didn't have one when I was writing the songs for The Dreaming, but
i had it very much in mind. As soon as I went into the studio, a couple of
weeks later, I actually bought one so that I could have more time to work with
- It's an incredible thing. For those songs it was really perfect. A
great deal of effort went into trying to create an emotional effect for the
atmosphere of the songs, and I find that the Fairlight is a very understanding
instrument in those areas.
Was producing the
dreaming a new creative outlet for you?
- Yes, and I think very much an outlet that had been in motion before,
but I hadn't had complete control. It was very exciting for me and also very
worrisome, because it was something new and something that held a great deal of
- I really did enjoy doing it. But it was also much more demanding and
intense than I had expected. The songs actually started to change once I got in
the studio, and it became a very emotional thing. It became very tiring
emotionally, but very satisfying.
- I think when you put that amount of effort into something, you feel
a great deal of satisfaction when it starts working out the way you want it to.
I would never consider going into the studio without a very good engineer,
though. I think that is such an important part of an album - someone who can
get you a really good sound and personality.
- It's also very important to have someone to get feedback from. You
need that. And you obviously get very close with someone who's working on the
same project with you, so you want them to like it. It's good if you're all
enjoying it and there's a nice relationship among the people you're working
with. That really helps a lot.
In the title track of the dreaming, it is virtually
impossible to be aware of all the sounds and voices at the same time. This
seems to hold true for much of the album.
- I think, especially with that track and `` Get Out of My House,''
that was - well, hopefully - what we wanted to happen. It was very much working
- The idea was that the third or fourth time a person listened to the
record, they would start hearing things they hadn't heard before. I think
that's really my favourite kind of music. The best examples are some of
the Beatles records. I still listen
to them, and am still amazed at the quality of the songwriting. It still stands
up today. I mean, Sgt.Pepper'sLonely Hearts Club Band
and Magical Mystery Tour - there just isn't a bad track on them,
every one is brilliant, and there are so many ideas in each song. Maybe each
time you listen you pick up on a different area of what is going on. And I
really wanted to create something a bit like that, so that, as people listened
to it more, it would somehow grow.
- What I suppose worries me, are the people who aren't prepared for
music you really have to listen to. Perhaps they find it a bit confusing
because it's not all there on the surface. It's something that you do have to
give time to, a bit like a book. But if it's actually getting through to some
people, which it obviously has from the feedback, then that's fantastic. (1983,
You're dealing with quite a few sorta unusual themes at the moment.
I mean, on the album, there's some fairly violent kind of imagery. You know
like `` pull out the
pin'' presumably refers to hand grenade.
- Yeah, yeah that's right.
What, what sorta bringed you onto that.
- Well, I think I've always been into that sort of imagery, really. I
think it's just that perhaps because of the ... surface suggestions of what the
music is about, people don't realize that they're actually about what they're
about, presumably. And I think even though the songs on this album are much
more obvious of what they really are [About], I think on a lot of the
other albums there've been very similar themes, such as those being much less
obvious... about... (1982, Bootleg
And like sergeant pepper, along with the timeless
brilliance, come some dated ideas and effects that connect it to a certain
moment in history. The dating came from some of the fairlight's sampling
capabilities, in particular the sounds of smashing glass and the infamous orch.
5, the orchestral hit that was heard on every rap and techno-pop record of the
early 1980s. [Yes, but after kate had discovered them!
- That was terribly unfortunate, NODS BUSH. Something I try to do
whenever we are working with sounds is to try and make stuff original. I mean,
when we were using Orch. 5, that was back in 1980, you know, and we had no idea
that people were going to be using Fairlights or that sound the way they did in
the times to come. So that was just unfortunate. We happened to pick a sound
that is now very recognizable and dated. (1990, Musician)
- The Dreaming: Again I'm very fond of this, because it's
my latest, and because it represents total control, owing to the
fact that I produced it by myself. It's the hardest thing I've ever done - it
was even harder than touring! The whole
experience was very worrying, very frightening, but at the same time very
- It took a long time to do, but I think there are some very intense
songs, and the ones I like best of all are `` Night of the Swallow,''
`` Houdini'' and ``Get Out [Of my house].'' All in all, I
was very proud of this record. (1984, Women of Rock)
There's a depth of texture and complexity to your last two records
that makes them bear up well under repeated listening. They reveal more every
time you hear them.
- That's lovely that you should say that. My favorite albums are the
ones I love more and more with each
listening. That would be absolutely dynamite if I felt that I was doing that
for other people with my albums. Two of my ultimate favourite recordings are
Magical Mystery Tour and Sgt. Pepper.
It's interesting you'd mention those particular beatles albums,
because it seems that the dreaming and never for ever harken
back to that time of the concept album and the idea of stepping into a
different world when you're listening to a record. There is a fantasy element
to your imagery.
- I always tend to resent that. I always feel that the Tolkein,
fantastical images seem to suggest that they're not based in reality, which I
can't help but feel that a lot of my stuff is. Not all of it, but a majority is
based in reality rather than fantasy. A lot of people say this, and I can't
help but feel that the first two albums set that impression. You know, the feel
of the production, the high voice, they sort of had a floating feel about them.
But few of those songs weren't based in reality. (1985, Keyboard)
What were the differences [Between this and other albums]?
- I think the main difference was connected to my involvement. The
more I get involved in the production, then the more I'm going to get exactly
what I can out of it. Therefore, it automatically becomes a more demanding and
personal project. (1985, Keyboard)
Outside of your own work, you must meet with other musicians, most
of them male, of course. Musically speaking, do they tend to take kate bush
- Yes, I think they do. In fact, a lot of the people who said how much
they like the last album, The Dreaming, were musicians. And that
really means a lot to me. (1985, Musician)
Dreaming IS AN LP THAT MUTATES AT AN ALARMING RATE. ONE MINUTE YOU'RE
PLAYING WALKABOUT IN THE OUTBACK, THE NEXT IT'S VIETNAM AND YOU'RE FIGHTING FOR
YOUR LIFE. BUT THROUGH THE IMAGES ARE DIVERSE AND AT TIMES OBLIQUE, THE SOUND -
PRINCIPALLY DRIVEN BY MENACING, POUNDING DRUMS - IS MORE CONSISTENT. IT
CERTAINLY OWES MUCH TO PETER GABRIEL'S THIRD LP WHICH HOUSED SUCH RESOUNDING
NIGHTMARES AS ``BIKO'' AND ``NO SELF CONTROL''
- I'd been trying to get some kind of tribal drum sound together for a
couple of albums, especially the last one. But really the problem was that I
was trying to work with a pop medium and get something out of it that wasn't
par of that set-up.
- Seeing Peter working in the Town House Studio, especially with the
engineers he had, it was the nearest thing I'd heard to real guts for a long
long time. I mean, I'm not into rhythm boxes - they're very useful to write
with but I don't think they're good sounds for a finished record - and that was
what was so exciting because the drums had so much power. (1982, Melody Maker)
It was peter gabriel
who gave her the lead when, in 1980, she sang backing vocals on ``games without
frontiers.'' she was intrigued to find him writing not with a melodic
instrument, but with a drum machine. She wondered whether she could do the same
as she plunged herself into the dreaming. That was a brave time
for me. I had to be brave, take control of the whole album and go
for it, see if I really could pull it together - put some balls into my voice
for the first time, too.
With the beat box, which she'd never used before, she set herself a
peculiarly disciplined task: To sit at home and write a new song every night
for as long as she could. At first the rigid beat drove her up the wall. Then
she got the hang of moving in and out of it and started to like it. She wrote
twenty songs that way before she was satisfied.
She had also begun experimenting with the recently introduced
fairlight cmi all-round miraculous synthesizer-sampler. Once she'd mastered
that, it was within her power to create every part of an arrangement on a
keyboard at home. (1989, Q)
On the dreaming you went to some pains to announce on
the sleeve that this music must be played very loudly. That amused me at the
- In the studio, you heard it really loud. For mixing, we had to turn
it down, to pay attention to details, but my desire was to be totally
overwhelmed by the flood of sound. In any case music, all music, was made to be
heard at the volume at which it was played, that is to say in this case
That album was a difficult one to accept, for the uninitiated.
- I have no doubt that those who buy singles because they like my
hits, are completely mystified upon hearing the albums. But if it comes to
that, they should listen to it loudly! If a single theme linked
The Dreaming, which is quite varied, it would be human
relationships and emotional problems. Every being responds principally to
emotions. Some people are very cool, but they are silenced by their emotions,
whatever they might be. To write a song, it's necessary that I be completely
steeped in my environment, in my subject. Sometimes the original idea is
maintained, but as it takes form, it possesses me. One of the best examples
would be this song that I wrote on ``
Houdini": I knew every one of the things that I wanted to say, and
it was necessary that I find new ways that would allow me to say them; the
hardest thing, is when you have so many things to fit into so short a space of
time. You have to be concise and at the same time not remain vague, or obscure.
The Dreaming was a decisive album for me. I hadn't recorded in a
very long time until I undertook it, and that was the first time that I'd had
such liberty. It was intoxicating and frightening at the same time. I could
fail at everything and ruin my career at one fell swoop. All this energy, my
frustrations, my fears, my wish to succeed, all that went into the record.
That's the principle of music: to liberate all the tensions that exist inside
you. I tried to give free rein to all my fantasies. Although all of the songs
do not talk about me, they represent all the facets of my personality, all my
different attitudes in relation to the world. In growing older, I see more and
more clearly that I am crippled in facing the things that really count, and
that I can do nothing about it, just as most people can do nothing. Making an
album is insignificant in comparison with that, but it's my only defense.
A lot of people complain that your music has become too complex,
- People's reactions before any kind of music reflect more their own
personality than that of the composer. As far as my lyrics are concerned, I
take a great deal of care; they are very oblique and describe situations that
are not always simple. It's not always easy, but it's necessary to make an
effort and listen actively, give of oneself. But even if nobody understands my
stories, to understand the music, once more, they must play it
As a general rule, you're not very optimistic.
- I wouldn't say that I'm not. I think I'm realistic. If you want to
accomplish things, you must accept compromises. That applies particularly to
human beings, who are so determined to get what they want that they only give
in when they've been defeated. It's necessary to know how to give in, to accept
and defer, sometimes. Situations of love,
for example, begin very simply; then, even before you can perceive it, they
become a spider's web of problems, so inextricable that they end in the most
complete chaos. I just lived through a marvelous and destructive adventure. I
believe furthermore that love and inter-personal relationships are the most
important things in existence. My family represents everything for me. And even
if, every time, failures repeat themselves, I never take them as such, but
rather as new tests on the path that I have still to run. (1985, Guitares et Claviers)
- That was my ``She's gone mad'' album, my ``She's not commercial any
more'' album.'' (1989, Q)
- ...the album was so difficult to make, just about everything that
could go wrong did during that period (1989, Pulse)
- My first production. A really difficult album to make. People
thought I'd gone mad, the album wasn't warmly received by critics. People told
me it was a commercial disaster but it reached number three so that's their
problem. (1989, Tracks)
I think the dreaming is just about as good an album as
any ever recorded, but unfortunately, it wasn't much of a commercial success
compared to your other albums. Was the dreaming financially
successful enough so that if all your records were only that successful, you'd
still be able to continue making records the way you want to?
- That's a very difficult question. I don't know. I think as long as
an album is relatively successful, then you can afford to make another one. I
think also, the thing about records is that they don't necessarily stop selling
after a year of being released. I think it's possible that The
Dreaming could continue to sell more than the others in the future -
Sure hope so! (wait...I didn't mean to say that that way.)
- - and that that might be the one that keeps me in my old age. It's
very difficult to say, and I think all I do really is put out the best I can,
and hope people like it. And if I've done the best I can, then there's nothing
more I can do. (1985, Love-Hounds)
Who is the man on the cover of the dreaming?
- Why, Houdini, of course! (1983, KBC 14)
Is the man featured on thedreaming's_ cover in the
houdini pose Del Palmer?
- That's for me to know and you to find out. (1984, KBC 16)
- The idea of
that image and the phrase on the back of
the album, ``with a kiss I'd pass the key", is very much connected to the song
`` Houdini.'' That song is taken from Mrs. Houdini's point of view because she
spent a lot of time working with him and helping with his tricks. One of the
ways she would help was to give him a parting kiss, just as he was off into his
watertank or whatever, and as she kissed him she'd pass a tiny little key which
he would then use later to unlock the padlocks.
- I thought it was both a very romantic and a very sad
image because, by passing that key, she
is keeping him alive - she's actually giving him the key back into life.
The lp differs greatly in presentation to the fairytale ghouls and
ghastlies of never for
ever. What was the starting point this time?
- The last album was very much the starting point for this one.
Perhaps the art work and some of the idea of Never For Ever were
misconstrued because although they are very fairytale; on the cover they are
meant to depict positive and negative emotions that are very much a part of
human beings - that's really what a lot of my songs are about.
Was the title track the actual cornerstone of the lp?
- No. The thing about all my album titles is that they're usually one
of the last things to be thought of because it's so difficult just to find a
few words to sum the whole thing up.
- I've got this book which is all about Aborigines and Australian art
and it's called The Dreaming. The song was originally called
``Dreamtime", but when we found out that the other word for it was ``The
Dreaming'' it was so beautiful - just by putting ``the'' in front of
``dreaming'' made something very different - and so I used that.
- It also seems to sum up a lot of the songs because one of the main
points about that time for the Aborigines was that it was very religious and
humans and animals were very closely connected. Humans were actually living in
animal's bodies and that's an idea which I particularly like playing with.
(1982, Melody Maker)
- Perhaps I could now walk you through the album, track by track,
Cloudbusting / Music /
The Dreaming Album