KT Cloudbusting -- Kate Bush In Her Own Words

Music (Inspiration Behind)

The majority of the songs on the album can be categorised as love songs. ``but you're so young dear'' Not my comment but an attitude guaranteed to make kate brittle.

I'm 19 but so what? I've had experiences too. A lot of my songs are about my own traumas. The best time for writing is when you're going through a heavy time. You have an enormous amount of energy. The best way to deal with it is not to bottle it up or take it out on someone else but to channel it into your writing

You get ideas for songs from all sorts of situations. I just start playing the piano and the chords start telling me something. Lyrics for me just seem to go with the tune, very much hand in hand. Some lyrics take a long time to come, others just come out like ... , SHE GESTURES WILDLY WITH HER HANDS, like ... diarrhoea. (1978, Record Mirror)


*Where do you get the ideas for your songs from?

Mainly from people, actually. People are just full of songs, you know? If you just sit down and talk to someone, they come out with about four novels. [Laughs] Yeah, they're full of them.

Like, `` james and the cold gun.''

Yeah, I think most of my songs have been inspired by people and things that people think about, you know? (1979, Personal Call)


*But what other interests have you, apart from singing and dancing?

Well, in many ways, before all these things started happening to me, they were my interests. Like, when I got home from school I used to want to play and piano and that sort of thing. And I'm very lucky because my interests are actually my work and in so many ways any interest that I have can become a part of my work, like a few months ago I bought a pair of skates and just fancied learning how to roller skate and we're going to have a rolling skating section in a video. I think in a way that's the wonderful thing about art, like music, dancing, that sort of thing, everything you do can become your work. You know, like if you're cleaning up one night you might suddenly realise what a great routine it would make with a broom and that. You know, it's just keep your mind open for all these thing. It's really fun, life become work. (1981, Razzmatazz)


*But when you write these songs from the perspective of others, such as the unsuccessful bank robber, do you wait for an inspiration for yourself or do you accept from others, ``hey kate, why don't you write a song about...?"

I think very rarely people have every said, you know, ``hey, why don't you write a song about...'' But all the time people are just saying things that have happened to them, or, you know, feelings, things they're worried about. And I think all the time, ones that move me, hit me, some time later come out in a song just because I think anything that moves me sufficiently or interests me sufficiently acts as inspiration. (1982, Pebble Mill At One)


*Today, she attributes her creativity in part to this early sense of alienation.

My theory is that it comes from a feeling that something is wrong with you, a feeling that you need to express yourself in another channel. I find that my greatest pleasure and satisfaction of expression is through music. (1984, L.A. Times)


*Well kate, you did dancing on stage, you're a singer, you have a lot of movements in your, in your shows. Is there still room for new ideas?

Oh, I think so. I think they're always - there's always room for them, as long as you can keep open and let them in I mean there's just inspiration everywhere, everywhere you look. (1980, Unknown German Interview)


*But overall what is your main aim when you put all those songs down?

I think the main aim is to get some kind of emotional impact across, and hopefully it's the emotional situation that goes with the subject matter of the song. [Pause and then kate laughs]

But, again, I mean in overall success terms.

Oh, I see.

Cause you must aim as well to put out an record that pleases fans or pleases you or?

Yes, obviously it's more important to me that it pleases me when I'm making it, but when it comes out it's fantastic if other people like it, I mean that's really the reward for all the hard work.

Obviously many people are interested in the ideas that you take. And... Are you never inspired by every day events, I mean topical events, newsy events?"

Yes, I think I think I am, yes. The thing about a lot of those kind of events is that people cover them again and again in songs because they are obviously very moving matters. But yes, I think the state of the world influences me a lot, I think it does every writer.

But deep down I think when it comes to your songs, you're more of a romantic, are you not?

Yes, I think I'm more concerned with the psychological side of human beings. I am a romant... romanticist as well. But I think I'm very interested in the way that people's brains work, they're very different from each other sometimes. [Laughs] (1982, Dreaming debut)


*I always find watching you sing - because you do more than listen to you, you watch very much as well when you're performing - I always find I feel like a mouse confronted with a cobra because there's something hypnotic about it, it's very strange. Can you explain it? It's some sort of curious lilt you get into your voice which is almost like an incantation. Where did it come from?

[Laughs] well ``ssssss'' is the obvious way, isn't it? I don't know, it's very strange because I think a lot of influences have been responsible for the way I am and I think that's the same with everyone, really. That you are, in many ways, the things that you like, and you try to be those things that you like. And I've always been incredibly fond of music, I've always tried to aspire to the people that I admire. And the same with dancing, I've always had a basic interest in it, I think mainly because of the expression that you can get, you know, through singing and dancing. (1981, Friday Night, Saturday Morning)


I travelled constantly for the first two years of my career. Much of it was incredibly sheltered, in that I only saw hotels, TV studios and aeroplanes. The few times that I've travelled on a social level have brought me minimal knowledge, really, about other places. I think I've learned more from the people than from the places.

When I was about six, my parents took me and my brother to Australia. [If this was correctly transcribed, it might indicate that john, the eldest child, already twenty years old when kate was six, did not travel to australia with the rest of the family. - ied] We stayed there a couple of months, and I'm sure a lot of stimulus came through. I suppose it's a very receptive age, isn't it? (1982, NME)


I was reminded by this painting in the corner here, which is sort of a satire of a pre-raphaelite painting, and I always thought those victorian painters, the pre-raphaelite's, were an influence on the texture of your songwriting.

Yes. Yes, I think it was particularly in my very early teens. I was very enchanted by the whole romance of it, yes. They found their way into songs, the imagery. I think that's what happens, something attracts you because of the imagery and you digest it and it come out in a song. I think that's how artists work, they're like magpies who are picking out little bits of gold and storing them away. (1985, March 15, The New Music)


There was a quote where you said the artist is like a magpie, pitting out little bits of gold, and storing them away to use later. What are you picking through these days?

[Laughs] I think the whole process is like that, you're continually looking for lyrical ideas, musical inspirations, people that would be good to work with, people that you want to involve in your work. I think all the time you have to keep looking and listening because it's that accumulation of things that all your ideas and your work depends on.

What are you looking at and listening to these days?

Um, well at the moment I'm caught in the middle of a big promotional trip...

Of course.

...but it's interesting for me. I'm getting a great deal of feedback from people which is incredibly rewarding. And also I suppose one positive side of it is it makes you think about areas of yourself and your music that you wouldn't do unless people were asking you these questions.

So you don't have any current obsessions in terms of... Oh film or music or art that you might pass on to us?

I think my current obsessions are perhaps films. Between the last album and this one I got very into our video machine at home and taping lots of films off the television. I think they've become very inspirational for me. And I think perhaps my video work is moving away from being theatrically and dance oriented to perhaps being more cinematically influenced. (1985, MuchMusic)


Do you think about death much?

Yes, my imagination's got a lot of negative triggers. Images are always much stronger when they're negative. (Blitz, 1985)

*But being able to turn ideas into pieces of plastic has remained her emotional high. What is wonderful is I may read a book or see a movie and get a lot of visual imagery. Except the influence won't surface in my music for maybe ten years, (she cites the book of dreams as an example).

When the ideas feel right they just come to the front and sort of go, ``Hi there.'' (1984, Pulse)


So what takes the most time for you, the ideas or the execution?

I'm sorry?

What takes the most time for you? Is it the ideas or is it the execution? Like is it making the video or coming up with what you think is a really good idea to...

It does depend on what you're doing, but I think the ideas are probably the most time consuming thing. Because if you can have as much organized before you go into shooting then it's going to be that much quicker and that much more efficient. (1985, MTV)


It's an extraordinary series of things that can act as inspiration, from something someone might say in a conversation to something you see in a film or you read in a book. I would say that they are my main forms of inspiration. Particulary films over the years, because I suppose with visual imaginary [???] -e- it's such powerful stuff, it can hang around in your head for a long time and come back. So when you come to the next album, chances are to find something interesting again, something new. You have to look that much further, you have to go OVER the hill, rather than just UP the hill this time [Smiling]. And also between albums [???] -e- if you're not careful, you just make the writing a continuation of the album before, rather than starting something new, trying to say something new on the album, which hopefully is what it's about. You know, I think most people still think of me as the `` Wuthering Heights'' weird, lots of arms and hair [Laughing]. With something like `` The Sensual World", it's very much imagery, it's a and it's dealing with quite abstract things. -e- [???] So it was quite difficult knowing what to do with this video. I ended up feeling the best thing to do was to turn it into a performance, and I worked with Peter Richardson. He was a lot of fun to work with. We wrote it together, and he gave me much more freedom in front of the camera, to be a performer working with a partner. And really I think we wanted to get across the idea of the sensuality of the world, say, the weather, the elemental energies, and keep it a straight performance but moving through these different things that the environment [...This last word sounds like ``choses", but I guess it should be ``imposes", or something like that ...] (1989, MTV EUROPE)


I suppose if I had to name the main things that are very, very good triggers for ideas, it would be books, films, and conversation. And that just about covers it really, for me. The odd walk in the park? (1989, VH-1)


Well, I think relationships are probably what continually entice me, as well as films and books. And conversations with people. They're very much inspirational things. Just ideas, and things people might have said that sparked something.

But it's interesting how most of these things originated long ago, four or five years later they're regurgitated into an idea. Like `` Cloudbusting'' - that was originally from a book I read nine years before I wrote the song! It struck me very deeply, but I took a long time to step back enough to write the song, because it was a very powerful experience for me. I think sometimes the more powerful something is, the more you're scared of it. You're a bit wrapped up in it, and it takes time to move back, to perhaps see how you could look at it differently. (1989, Music Express)


If I was trying to be hip, I wouldn't stand much of a chance. Because by the time my record came out, four or five years later, it would so passe! I'd have to leave it for 10 years, so that it would have time to around again! (1989, Music Express)


Can one single thing inspire you to write a song? A personal thing? I'm not talking about wars now, or international things, world things. But if something brilliant happens, can that have you darting off into the studio?

Yes. I think sometimes it is the littlest things that spark off some of the biggest ideas. It's the little things in life that matter. You know, the old cliche. But there's a lot in that. (1989, Greater London)


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