KT Cloudbusting -- Kate Bush In Her Own Words

Music (Difficulty Of)

* What really inspires you then to write your songs? I mean do you actually sit down and say ``right, I'm going to write a song now'' or does something that happens to you give you an idea?

Well even if I get the idea, I have to say ``right, I'm going to sit down and right the song now'' because you have to make that decision before you actually break through the thinking about it to doing it. Because that's the trouble with everything, you can think about it for ages but to actually do it is the leap. And it really depends on so much as to whether it comes together. (1978, TisWas)


Do you find it easier to write songs now, then when you were younger. Is the process becoming easier?

No, it's not easier. I find it's much more difficult, actually, because I'm much more critical of what I do. I mean, I used to just write loads of rubbish, and definitely lots of people think I still do, but it's a much more complicated process now, but I'm much more satisfied with the songs then I used to be. And I think that's good. (1978, Ask Aspel)


What's the most satisfying thing you do then?

The most satisfying thing? I guess when you've actually written the song. And you think about what's going to happen to it, in the future, the fact that it maybe will have strings on it and voices.

Who do you first play it to?

Well, it always used to be my father. When I lived at home, the first thing I'd do was grab him out of his chair and say ``listen to this.'' And I'd put him down and play him all this rubbish. But now I think it's probably either Jon Kelly, my engineer, or one of my brothers. And still my father, now and again. It's always got to be someone who I know there judgement is good, people I trust.

And if they said it was rubbish.

If they said it was rubbish I'd think about it, but if I didn't think it was rubbish then I'd still carry on with it. You have to believe in yourself. You can't just accept what other people say all the time, otherwise you become them and not yourself.

Do you ever worry that your confidence might go?

It goes! Yes it goes a lot and you sit there and think ``I shouldn't, you know... Oh! where's my purpose?...I'm nothing.'' And then something will happen that will make you see that you're just a tiny little thing just trying to do your best and that's all you can do, so that's cool.

Are you ambitious?

I think I must be. I don't think I want to be ambitious, but I must be to want to put up with all this, to carry on. (1979, Kate Bush On Tour)


Do you think it's a... This job takes part of your physical power?

Yeah, I think it's very mentally tiring, more than physically. I think touring is physically tiring, but I think, really most of the other things involved are much more mentally exhausting, like concentration is the main thing, really. And, like, having to do things all day and just keep up and not sorta do this [Makes exhausted motion] after three hours. But it's very good, because it teaches you to draw on energies that maybe you didn't think you had and you have to sustain it. And I think it's a very good exercise.

You always thought there's only way, the only one way is to be professional?

I think it is the only way. Especially in this business you have to be professional about everything, really. Because it's so important to keep in control and keep cool. (1980, Kate Bush In Concert)


Recovering from a brilliant start...?

Recovering is quite a good word. Since it all started for me, it hasn't stopped. I'd no idea what was going to happen. I've no regrets in starting that way, in getting through so quickly - because you have to keep fighting anyway, and it made things quicker, not easier. If I hadn't got the encouragement I did... I don't know. I might not have had so much faith, really. Less confidence in getting involved. But it gets HARDER. Each time you do something you have all the knowledge and mistakes behind you, so you know more: you have more to think about.

I have to create time to write now. I don't stop working. I haven't really stopped since I began. If this album hadn't sold well, I'd still carry on in this direction. If I made a record which I didn't much like and it sold well, I'd still want to change the direction. When you're making an expression of yourself, you have to be happy with it. To do it and keep getting better - that's so hard. (1982, NME)



Well, I don't know about other people, but I find that I've always had to work hard in order to get something good. I don't think I could just do something quickly that would be marvellous. I have to work hard at it just to make it right. But I think I am quite critical of my work, and it just takes me a long time anyway. I think things come quite slowly for me. So, I do have to work hard in order to come up with something.

I always seem to be behind myself. I should have had an album out already this year (1983), but because of how I work, I can't do it. So, I suppose, because I'm always behind...

How much time is involved in the actual writing of the songs?

I think nearly everything I do takes me a long time. I find it quite hard to get things the way I want them. And I think the only time I've ever written ten songs quickly was the last album, The Dreaming. But then we spent ages in the studio. And part way through the album, I stopped going to the studio, and just spent a couple of months working on the lyrics. That was very hard, but I think it was worth it.

For a total album, I felt more pleased with those lyrics than with any of the albums before. There have always been a couple of songs that I thought were, perhaps, a bit weak. But I worked very hard on The Dreaming. (1983, Voc'l)


*My problem is that every time I do something, every time I take on a concept - be it an album, or a show - it takes me forever to complete. The last show I did was two years ago, and since then I've been doing nothing but working really hard on The Dreaming. It takes the longest time for me to get an album together and because it's so slow in developing, I have such little time for other pursuits. It's a bit of a problem for me, very exhausting and so demanding, but I must say that I would rather have it that way and be happy with my work than rush through it and not be entirely satisfied. (1983, Music Express)


*[??? Untranslated, perhaps something like ``what are your priorities?]

I don't think that's the priority in my head, what really concerns me is that what I do has as much effort put into it that we can, that we can do the best we can within our limitations. It just tends to take me longer then most people to do something that I'm pleased with.

Kate bush, [??? Untranslated]

I don't enjoy working so [??? Long] It's actually very frustrating for me that things take so long. But again, it's the level of the work, that in a way it's something that's bigger than me. And that when I start it's... I'm never sure if I'll actually be able to finish it because I'm not sure if what I want to accomplish is possible. And so I think again thats why it does take a long time. (1985, Rockline)


Do you find your work at all frustrating?

Terribly. And I think, in many areas, as well. Obviously the writing is very frustrating. In fact, I think nearly every area of my work is frustrating [Laughs].

Do you think that is necessary and, perhaps, ultimately beneficial?

It's very hard to say, but I think it is important. I think it is a part of the chain, you are quite right. I think frustration is, perhaps, the product of so desperately trying to get a thing together, whatever it is - a lyric or a tune - and you can't. But you keep going at it, and suddenly you break through. (1983, Voc'l)


Every album that you've had out to date, since the first one - since the ``wuthering heights'' album [Sic], has been full of contrast, full of very original ideas. Does this create a problem for you, with every album that you put out, trying to create something that's totally original? Does it become a burden to you, is what I'm trying to say...

I think the whole process is a form of a burden in that it's really quite tortuous, and it does pull you through so many different feelings and problems and worries, that I just think the whole thing creates its own problems and energies that you just have to cope with in order to get what you want at the end. (1985, Homeground)


Do you ever feel that you're going to run out of creative energy?

I think if you feel that you have to take a break and I think quite often it's like a battery that needs charging up. As long as you keep the energy topped up, you should be able to keep going. (1985, Picture Disk)


I find it very difficult, nothing comes easy to me. I don't know if I'm a perfectionist, although people say that about me. I just find it harder each time to write songs. Ten songs doesn't sound many, but you want each to say something about you and who you are at this point in time; to say something new. But the more you put into something the harder it becomes.

Making an album for me is very much a psychological process; it's very painful and it gets more painful each time. I think it's hard for people to understand because it seems so silly, an album's such a trivial thing, really... I've had to accept a lot of things about myself for this album that have been hard for me. Every time I kid myself that an album will take six weeks, but once I get in there and get halfway through it's too big for me. I think, ``My God, what am I doing I doing in the middle of this?'' (1988, NME)


You had been popularly associated with a very sweet voice, and what you were doing in some places on the dreaming was making very guttural sounds - hoarse and raw. In a way what david bowie did on recently on blue jean, where he deliberately made his voice crack and tear.

Yes, I find that much more interesting. The first two albums, my voice really wasn't capable of doing that and I think my writing and my voice have continually tried to get better to be able to do something that I actually like. And it's very frustrating when you are actually writing songs and singing them and you're not actually enjoying what's coming back. So hopefully, you know, it will become more pleasurable for me, the actual process, because it is quite painful, listening to things awful, you really want them to sound good. (1985, March 15, The New Music)


You said that you anguished long over this record. Is that typical for you, recording wise?

I think so yes. I think, um, certainly since the third album it has been like that. It just seems to be a long process. You go into it to be that involved and before you know it's dragging you behind it, until it's finished. (1985, MuchMusic)


Do you have special work habits that you subscribe to? You seem like a very disciplined artist, just judging by your work. Do you have a special place you go to work, a certain environment, and certain hours? Do you do that?

I think the studio has become that disciplined place that I can go to now. It used to be my music room, wherever I had the piano. And I think it's helped me tremendously to actually have an environment where I can go to work. It just makes it that much easier for me to concentrate.

And do you set hours that you go there?

Not actually set hours, it depends how I feel. But normally I'll go there for a certain amount each day, depending on how well the ideas are coming through. So it depends. (1985, MuchMusic)


I was amazed at how the articles about you concentrate so much on your musicianship. There was one nine page article that I read [Probably the keyboard article] that I didn't even understand. You were talking about fairchild [Fairlight], and I don't even know what you were talking about. How much of your day would you say you spend in a recording studio?

When I'm making an album, it becomes my life. There's nothing else I do, except to take weekends out in order to re-organize my home. But, It's twelve hours a day, five days a week until the thing's finished. Writing is something I do in the studio now, so everything is within the studio environment. It's quite intense.

And you're fortunate enough that the studio is in your home so that you don't have to pay for studio time.

Yes, absolutely! (1985, Live At Five)


Some call kate obsessive, claiming that her work is the most important thing in her life, and that everyone around her gets dragged in with her. It's true, she smiles. I'm obsessive about most things which take my fancy. I'm like that. Once I start something, I'm committed. I just can't put it down. It's very hard for example, to stand back from an album, allow it to be finished and then let people evaluate it for what it is. It's a terrifying process for me. And consequently making the album in the first place gets harder and harder for me. This one took me over two years to make, so I had about two years ``off'' after the last one. So I come back to writing completely cold. I like, I sing, do I? Every time it's like I've never done it before. Is it enough? Is it rubbish? I've had to train myself to listen to that internal voice, the one I go to sleep with. I've had to learn to believe in myself and in my own judgement.

Most of the new songs are about relationships again. Maybe I'm saying, ``things get rough, it's OK really.'' And, it takes me two years to say that I have to sweat blood and shed real tears before I know I've put everything into it. That's why I worry that the creative process is getting harder and more painful for me every time. At what point will I find that I've used it up? That there are no more albums left inside me? THAT'S A THOUGHT. WHAT WILL SHE DO THEN?

I think I'd like to make a little film. Being a movie actress is not something I have craved, but the right thing might tempt me. If there comes a time when I can only manage one album a decade, it would be good to have something else to keep me busy. And anyway, you learn so much just by jumping in at the deep end. (1989, You)


It's been four years since you released your last album, Hounds of Love. Why did you wait so long to do the sensual world?

Each record gets harder to make. There's always a tremendous lack of love and passion when you record in a studio. It's hard to find something that feels sincere. The more electronic pop music becomes, the harder it is to say meaningful things about relationships, especially since the same things are being said so trivially in pop. Pop is a trivial art form. I want to say things clearly and somehow be compassionate with all this technology. (1989, Network)


I was saying to Del that I think my tapes wouldn't know what to do if they weren't left sitting around for years. I think they'd have a nervous breakdown - they go through a fermenting process. Like wine, or something. I don't do anything to the songs, I just sit and let the tapes mature. (1989, International Musician)


I like to use real musicians - it's so exciting. Machines are great but you can get such great feedback from people when they think they're working on something intimate. Things you'd never think of. Like Mick Karn's bass on ``HeadsWe'reDancing'' puts such a different feel to the song. I was really impressed with Mick - his energy. He's very distinctive - so many people admire him because he stays in that unorthodox area, he doesn't come into the commercial world - he just does his thing.

Not a totally different position to her own.

I suppose so, but I take an awfully long time to do it. What I admire about people like Mick is the way they travel from one environment to the other, but keep themselves intact. For me, I'm so used to being in my own studio now, that if I'm put in another one I actually get so nervous. I suppose it's finding a balance. When I did work in commercial studios all that time, I did find it very uncomfortable, because there was so much pressure, and so many distractions. I love working at home so much - though it does leave me quite vulnerable when I go outside. (1989, International Musician)


I spend a lot of my time away from everything, in the studio, and I don't know if people are going to like it not. The more time it takes to make, the more you think, ``God, they're just not going to think it's worth having spent all that time.'' (1989, Music Express)


Why is there such long gaps [Sic] between albums being released?

I think the problem is, too, that there seems to be a longer gap between each album progressively - which is a bit frightening for me, too. All I can say is that after each album is finished and the promotion is done, I can't just start an album straight away, because otherwise it's just a continuation of that last album. And the whole thing about writing an album is that you want to find something new to say, and at the same time, try to find out who you are at that point in time. You know, what you want to do. What direction you want to move in. So it's very much a self-exploratory process as well. (1989, Greater London)


Are you conscious of time going by as you're making these records, because the gap between records seems to get a year longer every time? If we go right back to your first and second albums there seems to be an extra year go in there every time. Are you conscious of it, or do you just put that out of your mind?

[Laughs] yes, I am very conscious of it. I think it would be totally impossible for me not to be aware of it, because, you know, it just gets worse and worse as time goes on. My god, I'm never going to finish this! And I think my tapes wouldn't know what to do if they didn't have to sit there fermenting - it's getting like wine now, where I just leave the tapes as I go off and do something else, and the music kind of ferments by itself, you know. [Laughs] it's terrifying, I'd love to be able to make an album in eight weeks, I'm so envious of people who can make an album that quickly, but I know I wouldn't and if I did, I just don't think I'd be happy with it unless I drastically changed and then I might be able to. But this is me, it just takes me a tremendous amount of agony, I mean, the agony I go through - it's pathetic, you know, it's just a record, it just ten songs on a record... (1989, Roger Scott)

Just to conclude, you said earlier that the making of this album and the years of work that have gone into this, that one thing that came out of it, you did learn a lot about yourself. What sort of things have you learnt about yourself over the past three or four years?

Um, well that's a very ``up front'' question there, Roger! And I suppose, I don't think I would have said after the last album ``this is just an album'' That's a very important thing for me to have learnt: I am very obsessive about my work. I spend most of my time working, and I think this is something that I've really looked at in the last few years: there's a lot more to life than just working and just making an album. It is just an album, it's just a part of my life. It's not my Life. And I think it was, you know... making albums was my life and it doesn't feel like that is any more. And that's tremendous, the sense of freedom that that gives me. It's so good and I think it's really healthy and much better for me, to try and put these things into perspective, you know. (1989, Roger Scott)


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