Cloudbusting -- Kate
Bush In Her Own Words
Many happy returns to you.
- Thank you!
I'm not going to be personal and ask how old you are 'cause that's
very cheeky, have you had a good day?
- It's been lovely, thank you.
Am I allowed to be inquisitive and ask what's the best present
you've had so far?
- Gosh! Well I haven't had very many 'cause I haven't seen any of my
- But, ah....
Is this a complaint, kate, or a statement? [Laughs]
- Oh, not it's not a complaint at all, cause I've had some lovely ones
already, it's just I've hardly had any yet.
What sort of things do you like for your birthday? I mean for
people who know kate bush they may be sat their thinking ``I wonder what kate
would like me to get her for her birthday?'' I mean what sort of things do you
appreciate, silly things?
- Well I think the thing that's most important is that the person
shows that people have actually thought about you, and I think that's the thing
that I find the most moving thing. (1982, Kate's
- It's been a very long time since I spoke to you. It was last year -
can time really keep going faster? I would like to apologise for the long gap
since the last magazine and fill you in on what's been happening. It seems that
every time I do something, it takes me longer to do. This album has taken one
year to record and I have never done anything so involved before. After all
this time, I do feel happy with the results and I just hope that you will too.
- I have had a lot of help with this album. I never could have done it
alone, and each person has contributed something very special.
- We worked between several studios, getting time where we could at
the studios with the facilities we required, eventually settling in at Advision
Studios, where we finished all the overdubs and mixed the tracks. We also
worked at The Townhouse and The Odyssey, and at Abbey Road Studios, where all
the backing tracks were recorded.
- I used several engineers, working with Hugh Padgham, Nick Launay,
Haydn Bendall and Paul Hardiman. All of them were very important and all played
major parts in how the album has ended up sounding.
- Hugh worked on `` Sat In Your Lap", `` Get Out of My House", and ``
Leave It Open.'' Hugh was a lot of fun to work with and as the first engineer
on the album, he started it off in a very productive and positive way. I met
Hugh when I had the pleasure to sing some backing vocals for Peter Gabriel, and
I was very impressed with the sounds and the creative atmosphere. Hugh has
worked with The Police, Genesis and XTC, just to mention a few.
- We felt very pleased with the backing tracks and were excited at the
results; however, Hugh was too busy to continue, and so I worked with Nick
Launay, who had been trained by Hugh. Nick worked on ``Houdini", ``All the Love",
``There Goes a Tenner", `` The Dreaming'' and `` Suspended in
Gaffa.'' The majority of the backing tracks were recorded with Nick at The
- We were working through the warm summer last year, and much
dedication was required from all to stay in the studio all day without
succumbing to the sun.
- Nick is a very young engineer and has already worked with Public
Image, Phil Collins and John Martyn. Again
there was a great working relationship and we were all sad that Nick was too
busy to continue and that the time at The Townhouse had run out.
- I moved on to Abbey Road, working with Haydn Bendall. I met him on
the last album when I was working with Jon Kelly. Haydn was co-producing Sky and I found him a very
patient and understanding engineer. Haydn also engineered Roy Harper's last
album and among many other artists, helps up and coming writers to get their
ideas securely on to tape, often securing record contracts at the same time.
Haydn worked on ``Night of the Swallow'' and `` Pull Out the Pin.'' Our
assistant engineer Danny Dawson, affectionately known as Dan-Dan, became part
of the working team on the two tracks, and it was really enjoyable. It always
is fun when you work with nice people.
- The two tracks are finished and Haydn's time runs out too, so... I
find Paul Hardiman, with a lot of help from Hugh Padgham.
- Paul has worked with a great variety of acts, from Slade to Keith
Emerson and Soft Cell. We worked at Odyssey Studios up until Christmas
, and by then Paul and I had a great working relationship. I felt
I could communicate with him very easily and he could get the sounds I needed
to hear, very quickly. We ran out of time at Odyssey and Paul suggested
Advision, studios he knew from experience. He took me around there one
afternoon on a Sunday. The studio was deserted and we went down to a small
control room that proved to have a brilliant sound. We were sitting listening
to tapes at full blast and I was falling in love with the room when the door
slowly opened and a rather anxious looking studio manager edged around the
door. He saw Paul and sighed with relief, and explained how he'd expected a
gang of thugs to be tearing up the studio while listening to tapes of their
choice - as far as he had known, the studio was empty. We asked him if there
would be any time for us to use the studio, and the three weeks we booked were
to turn into more like three months. Paul and I were very excited about
settling in to one studio, and Paul had some wonderful effects for sounds that
he'd put away for a rainy day. I'm pleased there was a lot of rain to come.
- Although all the engineers were invaluable, Paul was of special
value. He became a constant companion during the album and I would often ask he
advice, knowing I would get an honest answer. He is also a very funny man, so
he kept us all laughing -donning silly hats and pulling funny faces.
- At Advision we met Dave Taylor - he was the assistant engineer, and
he worked with us for months until the album was finished and mixed. Dave was
also the maintenance engineer, and on quite a few nights, when we went home to
bed, he would be up all night twiddling inside machines or trying to figure out
why the digital machines weren't working. Every night we ate take-away food,
watched the evening news and returned to the dingy little treasure trove to dig
- Now it's all finished, I think of the beginning. Twenty demos, ten
of which became the album. In these demos all the moods and sounds were
captured, and all the way through the album these demos were referred to. Often
the session would stop, we'd dig out the 1/4 inch tape of the track we were
working on, and with the original flavour and sounds strong in our heads, the
session would begin again. In many ways it would have been interesting to have
used the demos as masters, they were so spontaneous.
- Del Palmer engineered all
the demos and every night he would sit up in the cramped little control room,
getting different sounds for each track. He sat through hours of harmonies and
takes of lead vocals, replying ``I'm not bored'' as many times as there were
cups of tea, and nodding ``Yeah, Kate, I think it sounds great!", a phrase to
be echoed by Hugh, Haydn, Paul - Bless you all. (1982, KBC 12)
- While working on the album I can't possibly work on the dance as
well, and I've got very unfit over the last year. A few weeks ago I started
again in complete agony! But I'm not so stiff now, and we're getting the dances
done. We've not planned any concerts yet - I wanted another two albums before I
could tour them again. Now I've got that with Never For Ever and The Dreaming,
so it'll be nice to do another tour. The big problem is the dance as well as
the singing when performing, as this does put a lot of extra pressure on me
personally - but the determination alone to do the show always keeps me going.
(1982, Electronics Music
she been for so long? Was it just an extended holiday?
[Laughs] isn't that wonderful? I wish it were.
Well, you were on a little bit of a holiday, some weeks ago?
- Oh, yeah, some weeks ago. But that's not where I've been all this
time, gosh. Be nice if I had been. (1982, Unknown BBC interview)
we were taking about tony hancock having been a real perfectionist. Now you're
a real perfectionist, yourself, I know that cause you believe in putting a lot
of grind work and homework into it. For example, all the dance and mime classes
you taken, you know, for your visual side of it. And you're back at your dance
classes again, so what exactly are you doing?
- Well, for the last couple of months I've been getting back into
training because while I've been making the album there's been not time at all,
so I've been unfit for a whole year. And of course when you leave it alone for
a length of time coming back to it is even harder and it's very painful, you
know, you can't walk for days. But it's all in preparation for things that are
coming up in the future, for videos and
that sort of thing. So there are a lot of areas that I have to work on all
time, which is again why I seem to be so busy. (1982, Dreaming debut)
kate, it has taken you virtually a whole year to write it and record it and
produce it, indeed. So how often can you have the luxury of devoting a year to
- Oh, well, that is the first time. I think the thing that happens is
each time I do an album it takes me longer and with this album it was very
demanding and there were lots of things that I wanted to do so I knew it was
going to take a long time. But it is a luxury, really, to be able to spend that
amount of time in the studio.
You were also telling me though it's been a lot of hard work. I
mean a year sounds a long time but it's been hard work getting it all together.
- Yes, it has. I think it's the hardest thing I've ever done. It's
definitely the most involved thing I've ever done.
Because, again, it's your bid to come up with something really
different, is that why it's been, you know, time consuming and more difficult?
- Yes, that's definitely got something to do with it. But when you're
working on songs they very much dictate what you should do to them, so in many
ways I was just trying to make the songs as best as they could be and they were
very much demanding what should be done to them. (1982, Dreaming debut)
- Now that the album is completed, it doesn't mean that my work has
ended. There are so many things that I want to do connected with music, and I
want to do them as soon as possible. In fact, I see myself being pretty well
committed for the next couple of years. I'd like to do a show with both this
and the last album, and there are a few videos as well, but I just don't know if or
when I'll get the time.
- As for tours, well, I haven't got any planned, but I'm beginning to
think about it. The last tour was so much effort, and it cost so much
money, and we actually spent about four
months rehearsing for it, so the thought of another one is a little bit
daunting. It's such a big thing to commit yourself to - it's like a whole year
taken out of your life. It scares me a bit. (1982, Popix)
Please are you going to be up north anywhere where he can go and
see you, will you be promoting your album?
- Well I'm going to be doing some P.A.s and that's where I go to shops
and sign records for people. And I hoping to go around the country in a couple
of weeks to do some of those, but I don't know where. But I'm sure it will be
publicized somewhere. (1982, Dreaming debut)
- It was also really good to see those of you that made it to the
P.A.s again. Your feedback on the album was so positive - I really needed it
then, it had only just been released and it certainly helped to ease my anxiety
a little. (1983, KBC 13)
You came up by... We heard a curious story, kate, that you came up
by train today and you wanted to rehearse with some dancers so you got a
guard's van to do this in. Is this correct or is this just completely got up?
- It is true, yeah.
What do you do, turn up at euston station and say ``I'd like a
"One coach return to manchester in a guard's van."
- Yeah, well someone from the record company did that this morning and
they actually cleared it out first, they took all the posts out and everything
so we just had a empty carriage to work it. It was really incredible, actually.
What's it like sorta swaying from side to side...
- Very difficult, at a hundred miles an hour it's really difficult.
What were you trying to do, you were rehearsing a new video?
- That's right, yes. We were just checking the routine before we
actually make it and there's no time so we do it on the train. (1982, The Old Grey Whistle Test)
- I've just got back from Europe, and I only got back the day before
yesterday and I spent yesterday catching up on all the stuff I got behind with
when I was in Europe.
What were you doing there?
- TV's and a little bit of radio, but mainly TV's, and we did Italy
And was that for the album?
- Yes. It was indirectly for the album because out there `` The
Dreaming'' - the single - is still happening.
It has done better over there, has it?
- Well, it's only just starting to happen, so we're doing TV's to help
it, and every show we did, we did `` The Dreaming.'' So, you know, been testing
to see how it does. But it all helps the album, really, so I was into doing it
from that point of view. It's great, it's just very busy, that's all.
...Eventually did get it on tv.
Very...up to scratch, should I say, you know?
- You liked it?
- Oh, good.
It was similar to the stage set, you know - the dancers, but it had
the benefit of all the people in the background. Where was it shot?
- We shot it in [??? Unintelligible], which is a video studio
Oh, that was a studio?
- It was a very good set, wasn't it? Incredible set designers.
Where did you get the guys from?
- We actually found those set designers through the director I was
using, through their production company.
Who did direct it?
- It was Golden Dawn Productions, a guy called Paul Henry. (1982,
Do you think this one's going to be more successful than the last
- I don't know. I don't know what to think about the singles anymore.
Was it your idea for it to be a single?
- What, ``There Goes a Tenner?'' Yes. I think I was in
full agreement with them. But I think I've reached a stage where, because ``The
Dreaming'' didn't work, we all felt - especially from an airplay point of view
- that in order to get airplay, which you need for a single to work, we should
go for one that was more obvious, and there is no doubt that ``There Goes
a Tenner'' is one of the more obvious songs.
Not that there are a lot on the album that are obvious.
- No, so we're just going for this and seeing what happens.
It's quite a bold move to go in that kind of direction,
particularly when you've been out of the limelight for a year or two. How
sensible do you think it is, to make? It's easily the least commercial step
you've ever done, this album, at a time when perhaps you should have been doing
- Yes. You see, from my point of view, although I've been out of the
limelight, from the last album all I was planning to do was make another album
as quickly as I could. But as soon as I wrote the songs I realized that it was
very different, and all the time I do very much want to change my art, and I do
actually think that the direction I'm going in is away from the commercial,
well the obvious commercial. But I think from my point of view it wasn't so
much because I was out of the limelight that I had to do something more
commercial, because at that time I wasn't actually out of the limelight, I was
just starting my next album, and I thought it was only going to take me a
couple of months, but before I know it the whole thing has become much more
involved, the songs are much more involved, and I know that it's going to take
me at least six months to a year to get it the way I want. So by the time it's
finished, I've been out of the public's eye for maybe... apart from `` Sat In
Your Lap,'' of course.
Which 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)
You said that you might go on tour but what else do you plan to do
now that you've got this album made?
- Well, um... Obviously this was the most important step to get over
and really now I'm trying to catch on all the things that I've got behind with
because the album has taken so long. And I'm going to be promoting the album
and doing some work in Europe and that kind of thing and making some videos for
the singles. And then I'll be working on rehearsing for the show, which
obviously has to start a good six months up front of the show happening. (1982,
- Last year, after the album was finished, I decided to promote it as
fully as possible. When you've spent nearly a year making an album, you can't
let it go out into the world without helping it. In fact, the business has
certainly changed in the last couple of years. Everyone has to work much
harder, and with an absence of two years from the public eye, I had to show my
face again, to prove I was still alive. I did lots and lots of press - I
haven't done so much since the first album. It was refreshing to find that the
majority of journalists actually really appreciated and understood the album,
but I had to explain time and time again that the album hadn't taken two years
- I also did some TVs in England and Europe, with two dancers: Gary,
who you all know, and Dougie, a dancer I had met years ago when he was working
in Lindsay Kemp's company.
- We worked in Italy and Germany, and the response was wonderful. It
was interesting that as we worked more and more on the routine, ``The
Dreaming,'' it became tighter and tighter, and little bits were added here and
there, until it was so much better than the video that I wished we had had made
the video after the TVs.
- It was a very interesting trip - we went to Rome, and as Lindsay
Kemp was visiting at the time, we got a chance to see Lindsay, and we had a
lovely evening. He cooked us a meal, and after we were so full that we could
hardly move, he got out boxes of his old photos and we fingered each one with
magical memories: shots of Flowers from The Collegiate Theatre,
the first time I saw Lindsay perform. Lindsay dressed as Mr. Punch, leaping for
joy. I remember the theatre being full of adults rather than children, and all
of us shouting ``Look behind you!'' and ``Oh, no, you don't!'' Adults
transported to childhood in a matter of moments - but that's the craft of
- Fond memories spread across the floor - the passionate and dramatic,
Lindsay's shows in photo form. We carefully put them all back in their boxes, a
farewell dance and a big kiss goodbye.
- There is a fountain in Rome where you can make a wish and throw a
coin - a very magical place [The trevi fountains]: marble horses,
pulling themselves from marble waves, being driven by a marble Neptune. They
say the wishes come true. I've yet to see. And there's a hotel in Rome where we
stayed, and on the night we arrived, there was a diplomatic meeting on a higher
floor. The hotel was full of young soldiers - boys with guns just in case of
any trouble. It was a very sad sight.
- I had to rehearse my number in my room, and not having a European
plug, I took the old one off and began to stick the bare wires into the plug
socket, which was hidden behind the table. All the lights went out in the room,
so I ran into the hall - no lights. I was half expecting to see soldiers
cocking their rifles, having traced the source of the light failure. I went
into my room, and a few minutes later the lights came back on. Gary and Dougie
came up later, and when I told them they started laughing - apparently the
whole hotel had blacked out, and the soldiers in reception had been a little on
edge, to say the least. So I won't do that again, and I recommend calling
reception to see if they'll help you out if you ever find yourself with two
bare wires in a foreign hotel!
- We travelled to Milan, and then to a place near Venice, where they
were holding the Venice Festival. We performed `` The Dreaming.'' The festival
is held in a theatre with an audience of a few hundred, and goes out on TV at
the same time, so it was a live event, but performed to pre-recorded backing
tracks. The Italian audiences are absolutely wonderful, they adore anything to
do with art and applaud quite spontaneously if they like something. Each time
they liked a step in the routine there would be a ripple of applause, and it
was quite hard to keep going without badly needing to smile because it was such
a lovely feeling.
- The video ``The Dreaming'' had been made in between press and radio
and the trip abroad, and we were very lucky to be able to do all the shooting
in one day. It was an extremely ambitious shoot, which included live birds,
lasers, flying wires, people being buried completely under sand, not to mention
a beautiful set which was built of polystyrene rocks, dead spikey trees and a
cardboard moon and sun.
- As the hours rolled on, we were sure we would have to leave at least
one idea out, but with a crew who were just as eager as us to see the
film complete and as it should be, we
worked on into the night - past the rope made of laser light and the painted
men who walked out of trees to a mouth moving in the sand (all we can see of a
man deep under the sand; somehow it looks remarkably like Paddy, and it's the
last shot in our video).
- Within two months we had done Europe, P.A.s and two other videos. I
have never made so many videos in such a short space of time, but there was too
much to do, so no more time could be spent on them. A video of ``There
Goes a Tenner'' was made to promote a single in this country, and a
video of `` Suspended in Gaffa'' was made for the single release in the rest of
- As we all know, ``There Goes a Tenner'' bombed in this
country, with no airplay and a handful of the worst (and funniest) reviews I've
read. The video was not shown at all, but a compilation video called Kate
Bush: The Single File is due out some time soon, so keep your eyes open
for an official release date in the music papers. Perhaps then you could get a
chance to see it, along with all the others. ``There Goes a
Tenner'' was set in a derelict old room where there was a big safe.
There are five of us in the gang, and you might just recognise two of the faces
belonging to two of my favourite musicians in the band!
- Although the single in this country did not do well, it is nice to
know that in Europe, `` Suspended in Gaffa'' has been quite warmly received.
- The video of `` Suspended in Gaffa'' was to be done as simply and
quickly as possible; as always with very little time to complete it in, the
simpler the better.
- I saw it as being the return to simplicity, a light-hearted dance
routine, no extras, no complicated special effects. [In fact, however, there
are many very sophisticated and subtle technical effects in this video, and the
production design is very impressive.] As we were all so pleased with the
previous sets - put together under the supervision of a very clever man, Steve
Hopkins - we asked him to build another, this time an old barn with large gaps
in the walls where we could allow the light to streak through. We used a
combination of natural and artificial light, and everyone was thrilled with the
sense of realism that the set achieved. Steve brought in huge branches of trees
that were behind the gaps in the set, and a dedicated helper called ``Podge''
sat up on a piece of scaffolding for six hours and enthusiastically shook a
piece of tree to make the light move and dance as if motivated by a furtive
wind. The video did remain uncomplicated - just a few effects and just one
extra: but a very special. one. There is one section where a child's voice
says, ``Mother, where are the angels? I'm scared of the changes.'' And there
was only one person that could be addressed to - my mother.
- When I asked her to appear in the section, contrary to my concern
about her nerves, she was more than obliging and said, ``Yes.'' She was
definitely the star of the day, and waited patiently hour after hour as we
slowly moved through the bulk of the shooting to eventually reach her debut. I
was amazed at her grace and stamina: as all of us began to wane and wilt, my
mother continued to blossom and glow, and her only worries were getting back
home in time to get dinner and hoping she would not succumb to an attack of
giggles during the vital moments of being on screen.
- She needn't have worried, for she is a natural professional, a real
star and my favourite mum. (You can see us together in action on the back
- Besides all the promotional activities, because of the decision to
release another single, a ``b-side'' had to be written. It is always this way
for me: even if things are carefully planned, things always happen at once -
and in a big way. I've always loved the idea of singing in a foreign language,
and I thought this b-side would be a perfect excuse for doing so.
- Really the only language I know enough of to be able to work
creatively with is French, so I thought of all the odd words I know, and tried
to piece a story together. It's surprising how inspiring it can be to work from
a slightly different tangent.
- The tune came straight away, and I filled in all the lines that I
had no proper words for with pseudo-French sounds. Luckily Patrick, who worked
on Lionheart with us in Superbear [Studios, in france] was staying with
Paddy to work on some tracks, so, between him and a friend Vivienne, we worked
out the complete lyrics, and ``NeT'enfuispas'' was
put to tape.
- Just one more trip abroad, to Paris and Germany to promote
``Suspended in Gaffa,'' and that was nearly the end of the promo, and the year.
- I had a wonderful Christmas, very quiet - a nice end to a very busy
year. (1983, KBC 13)
- I'd like to take this opportunity to say a big thankyou with a hug
and a kiss for all of you who sent the beautiful Christmas presents and cards.
I'm afraid I can't thank you all personally, but they're very much appreciated.
It's incredible that so many of you should think of me when there's always so
many people to think of at Christmas. Also, thank you to all of you for the
feedback on the album. I've had so many letters saying that you really like it.
It's wonderful that you are all so open enough to try to understand it. It
means a lot to me that it's got through to the people that matter. (1983,
Cloudbusting / Story /