KT Cloudbusting -- Kate Bush In Her Own Words


We heard a lot about a film called the ninth wave. will that be your next project?

The film was something I very much wanted to try. The b-side of the album was originally written with visual ideas in mind, and I am intrigued by the combination of pictures and sound on film. I went as far as approaching a couple of people about the idea, but I found the success of the album and the rate of single releases extremely demanding, especially as each single required a video, 12", single artwork... It soon built up, and there was no time to even think about this film. The promotion for this album almost lasted a year. By the time I'd taken a break, the gap between albums was already becoming too big to consider fitting in another project. I've now had a holiday and some time to do nothing, and am in the process of thinking out some ideas to take into the studio.

Oh, I see, dear. Well, you must have been very busy. Did you have a lovely holiday?

Yes, it was... lovely. (1986, KBC 20)


...What was it like working with that lovely peter gabriel again?

I was so excited that he asked me to sing on that track - It's such a lovely, haunting song, and I love his work. But I do get nervous, especially when it's something I really like. His music is very strong, and he is a great person - I love working with him. (1986, KBC 20)


I was so thrilled he asked me to sing such a beautiful song but then I got very nervous. Recording at my home studio we don't have window contact between the studio and the control room, you know. We can't see each other, we talk to each other through the mike and headphones, that's all. It's quite isolated, the way I work, and I hadn't been to anyone else's studio for ages. And then at Real World I was terrified. I messed it up and had to come back another day to re-do it. (1989, Q)


I really enjoyed doing the Comic Relief concerts.

I was more than a little shocked that you and cliff richard of all people...

It was fantastic. I'm a big fan of so many of those comedians - they are so talented. For me, alternative comedy is the most exciting thing coming out of this country at the moment, and to be involved in something with them all was really fulfilling. I felt nervous there, too, it's been a long time since I've performed live to an audience, but they were so warm. Unfortunately the piano pedal jammed on the first night in `` Breathing'' and I sang to the most horrific combination of chords you can imagine, so the second and third nights were relatively relaxed after that!

Singing with Rowan was hilarious. He's one of those people who can make his face and body language make you laugh without him having to speak. Again, I was so pleased that they asked me to take part. I wouldn't have missed it for the world. I just wish I'd been brave enough to ask most of them for their autographs - ``Er, Ben, would you? I say, Rick, I've got this nephew... Just sign it, don't bother signing it to him...'' You know, you're meant to act nonchalant, but I found myself starstruck.

I did see gorgeous ronnie corbett and the monty python chappies - wasn't terry gilliam there?

Yes, he was...Just so much talent. British comedy is unique and the best. (1986, KBC 20)


How did you like singing with rowan atkinson?

Well, I'm sure like most of you if not all of you, I'm a big fan of the comedy that's happening in Britain today. I think we've always been a leading voice in comedy and music, and it's so good to see young people actually charging us again with comedy that's also very educational. And I was very honoured to take part in that whole Comic Relief event where Rowan Atkinson was performing. And I really believe that comedy has a lot to offer the world. It's very important. Sometimes you can say much heavier things through comedy than you could ever say seriously. So I was knocked out to sing with Rowan and just to be involved in anything that they were doing. (1990 Kate Bush Con)

I hear you sang ``brazil'' on the soundtrack to terry gilliam's film.

Yes, what a beautiful song - and I always thought it was a really bad cabaret number, but actually it is very sad and nostalgic.

Michael Kamen did the orchestral arrangements. He worked on The Ninth Wave: `` Watching You Without Me'' and `` Hello Earth.'' He is very clever. He did the music for the film, and was putting the soundtrack album together with Terry, and they played me this beautiful arrangement without a voice. I'm not sure if this piece was in the film or not, but I don't sing in the film at all. It has such a 30s/40s feel, and Michael asked if I would sing over it - My immediate reactions were fear and ``Yes'' (1986, KBC 20)


And [How did you like working with] those dear big country boys...

Yes, I like the Celtic influences in their music. They were lovely to work with - I really enjoyed it. They asked if I'd like to do some backing vocals, and I went in for an evening. They were really nice. It was fun. I like working with different people. (1986, KBC 20)


It's really frightening to me the way each album has taken longer than the one before. The writing gets harder every time. The Sensual World took about two-and-a-half years to make in all, but with a lot of gaps. I was going quickly at first, thinking, ``Nah, piece of piss!'' Then it all seemed like rubbish, and I had to stop for a while. There's tremendous self-doubt involved. You think, ``Oh, God, I'll never get it finished.'' (1989, Q)


I wanted to take time off after the Hounds of Love album. I wanted to spend some time at home, be quiet for a bit and try and think about what I wanted to say. I wrote a few songs but it didn't take me long to realise I wasn't happy with them. I went through a period where I couldn't write at all so I spent a lot of time gardening. I thought I'd lost it. I didn't have anything to say and I didn't want to go out. Nothing like that had happened to me before. I went back to it bit by bit and eventually worked it through.

Her record company knew better than to push kate bush.

I'm left alone to work on albums. If there was any outside pressure I'd completely go under and probably have to be put away in an institution somewhere. (1989, Tracks)


Why was there such a long break between hounds of love and the sensual world?

Well, we did a compilation in between: The Whole Story. But really I wanted to take a break. I'd spent a long time in the studio consistently, and promoting, and I just wanted some space for myself, so I took time at home and just saw friends and just retreated a bit. I wanted to look for something new to say on the new album. I feel always as if I have to make some distinct break between albums, so that it's just not a continuation of the one before. (1989, Reaching Out)


The problem was that she had started too soon after hounds of love, she decided. I'll come off promotion of one album, start on the next and if I'm not careful it's nothing but a continuation and I don't want that. It's important for me to create some kind of wall, shut it off. (1989, q)


What marks the sensual world is the way the electronics and synthesizers are organically integrated into bush's songs. When I started to write this album, I was in a situation where we had updated our studio we had a new desk, and generally just more equipment. The high-tech quality-level of our studio had gone right up. And I found it quite difficult to write because I felt overwhelmed by the amount of equipment around me. It was quite stifling, and I made a conscious effort to move away from that, and treat the song as a song. I wanted to write songs, and then just use the equipment to do what I wanted. Because otherwise it drags you along behind it if you're not careful. (1990, Musician)


Something that really hit me on this album a bit like a hammer, SHE SAYS, ALMOST EMBARRASSED, is that I didn't really have any hobbies, and all I did was work, and everything that had been my hobby had sort of turned into work, like dancing, even reading - in a way, because you're continually drawing from things that happen to you.

But recently, things like gardening have now entered my life, which is wonderful. I've never had a garden before, just very down-to-earth things like that. Again, it's just having a bit of contact with nature, you know, and planting things and seeing the slowness of it all. I've planted a flower bed; you have to be very patient. And it's a good thing for me to work with, 'cause making an album, you have to be very patient, and this flower bed helped me, tremendously, to watch how things have to fight for space: You have to get the weeds out, a little bit of water everyday, everyday a little something. Odd things like that, really! (1989, Pulse)


This time round, apart from dancing and running, the panacea was the garden at the house she and del moved into three years ago in eltham, southeast london (brother jay and family live next door; Her parents' home is still only half an hour away).

I sometimes think I might as well just be a brain and a big pair of ears on legs, stuck in front of a mixing desk. But when I took that break from The Sensual World I really got into gardening. I mean, it's literally a very down-to-earth thing, isn't it? Real air.. Away from the artificial light. Totally therapeutic. (1989, Q)


Kate also says she frequently has to get completely away from the studio, and even from the songs themselves. That's really because after intensive periods of work, I'd feel I couldn't go any further, I'd just be so bored by the songs that I wanted to take a break - I was so sick of listening to them and not being able to get anywhere with them.

Also, I need to take breaks to write lyrics, which I find impossible to do - so difficult. It's just a very long process of draft after draft, continually trying to tighten up the words.

There were also periods on this album when I just couldn't write. I found it very difficult to know what I wanted to say, and I kept sort of hitting this block. So I took breaks, and that was all I needed. I spent time at home, did gardening - very earthy sorts of things. Things I really needed, because you know all my work was coming through my head. (1989, Music Express)


Gaffaweb / Cloudbusting / Story / 1986