Interviews & Articles


"A Tightly Wound Conversation With The Rubberband Girl"
March 1994

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Date: Tue, 01 Mar 1994 05:17:13 -0700
From: Alex Gibbs <arg@kilimanjaro.opt-sci.Arizona.EDU>
Subject: short KT interview in March Details 1994

In spite of my local news server flaking out with every newsgroup, keeping weeks old posts and throwing away ones only 12 hours old, I've been trying not to miss anything in gaffa by using gopher. Hopefully this transcript is not a repeated effort. I only happened to see this issue tonight and saw Kate in the contents, after noticing Tori Amos' name on the cover (have to read that next). I found Kate's interview pretty interesting, especially in relation to some current threads.

Details, March 1994

{Brackets [...] are part of the article. My additions are in braces {...}. The article has a small picture of Kate singing in the US Rubberband Girl video. Her hair is over one eye but this close-up doesn't show the leather jacket you see in the video. This is a *low* quality photo off a TV or maybe a bad frame grab. -- Alex Gibbs}

Interview by Roger Trilling, the West Coast editor of Details.


A tightly wound conversation with the Rubberband Girl

{Details} Hi, Kate. You're in from Kent, right?

{K} Yes. That sounds like the country, but it's really southeast London.

{D} You live in the 'burbs?

{K} Yeah. I'd like to live in the country, but I need to get into London, and I don't think I'd have been able to put my film [ The Line, the Cross, the Curve ] together and work on the album if I couldn't center it at my house. I'd love to make albums quicker, but it always ends up being more involved than I initially think it will be.

{D} Because the songs change shape?

{K} Yeah, they take on their own life, and I end up being dragged along behind them. I write quickly, but then ideas for arrangements and sometimes the actual structures for the songs change. Usually I get to a point where I don't know if I'm going to be able to finish it, and then once I'm over that bump it's not so bad.

{D} How does that sit with [boyfriend and coproducer] Del?

{K} He's my partner in the whole process. Most of the time it's just him and myself, and we bring musicians in for layering. It's quite intimate; there's not many people involved, and most of them I've known for a long time so they're close friends.

{D} It seems that you love transcendent things...

{K} I have a fascination with putting together opposites.

{D} Like what?

{K} Like ancient acoustic instruments and synthesizers. Or like Irish music: It's so full of life, and yet at the same time there's this incredible tension, a poignance that also makes it very sad.

{D} You say in one of your lyrics that life and love are sad. When did you decide that?

{K} It was a line from Jospeh Campbell, and I'm not saying it's something I believe--quite often there are things said in a song that I don't believe at all, but they are beliefs of other people, and sometimes that's very relevant.

{D} Hmm. Have you found joy in romantic love?

{K} Yeah, I think so. But there's also a great deal of joy in love that isn't necessarily romantic.

{D} Can you read music?

{K} No. I learned to read when I was young--I played the violin--but my heart wasn't in it. What was fun was finding my own way, being allowed to dive off and play for hours on my father's piano.

{D} Do you still improvise?

{K} Not like I did, and there was a big attempt on this album [ The Red Shoes ] to get back to that. With the last three albums, I've been writing straight onto tape, but actually sitting and playing the piano without the technology all around me was really good. "Top of the City" was written like that.

{D} When you play the piano, do you ever go in directions other than songs?

{K} I might start off doing that, but it always ends up being a song. I think there's a great desire in me to tell stories.

{D} How important is popularity to you?

{K} It's not something I have big ambitions about.

{D} So do members of your cult scare the shit out of you?

{K} My *cult*!? What cult?

{D} You have a cult. C'mon, don't be coy.

{K} (laughs) What kind of cult? There is a figure that is adored, but I'd question very strongly that it's me. My work speaks far more eloquently than I do, and if people get anything at all out of the tracks, whether it's what I intended or not, then that's great. But I don't care if people like me or not--I am what I am, I do the best I can, and that's what matters.

{D} A friend of mine said he got the feeling from your music that you don't feel accountable to anyone else.

{K} (laughs) Well, we are slaves to ourselves, but it could be worse.

{D} Is that why you've never had kids?

{K} Huh? That's very personal.

{D} Well, would you?

{K} I would like to have kids, yeah.

{D} More so since your mum died?

{K} It's certainly loss that heightens the realization that life is short--

{D} And art is long.

{K} (laughs) Sometimes. Not always.

{D} What's the most irritating thing about other people?

{K} Maybe it's just their way of expressing themselves, but sometimes people like to make things difficult.

{D} Including you?

{K} Yeah. But obviously people ultimately only have to answer to themselves.

{D} The thing I hate most is having to please myself.

{K} Why?

{D} My self isn't worth it.

{K} Oh, but it is! Most of the creative process is just one disappointment after another, but hopefully, as you move through life, a little less so each time. It's never perfect. In fact, it's important that it's imperfect. That's why I don't listen to my old stuff; I can't remember when I heard anything before Hounds of Love. To finish something is the achievement--then let go and do something new.

{D} That sounds very idealistic.

{K} Not at all. Most of the people I know never listen to their old music. It's so unattractive, particularly the further back it goes. There's such a lot to date it....Do you have the time? I have to keep an eye on the time.


Neat ending. I thought his questions about the cult were really funny and I was surprised by his questions about kids, and even more surprised he got an answer. I was also glad to see her say "But I don't care if people like me or not--I am what I am, I do the best I can, and that's what matters.

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"The pull and the push of it all..." - Kate Bush

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Marvick - Hill
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