To the Reaching Out (Interviews) Table of Contents
From: email@example.com (ronald hill)
Date: Sun, 11 Apr 93 18:42:18 PDT
Subject: Never For Ever Interview
Never For Ever Interview Boot
[Transcribed by Ron Hill, thanks to IED for providing the tape.]
This is an interview from the Never For Ever period.
[I can't find the details on the name, etc.]
It appears to be set in a restaurant like setting, as it is frequently interrupted.
I: Hm. ..really that Sounds piece, particularly, I mean they seem to be taking you more seriously, and your lyrics more seriously, and analyzing them more seriously then perhaps frequently happens.
I: I mean is this something that you'd like to happen more?
K: It's lovely for me, it really is, yeah, because it gives me more chance to voice myself as an artist, because I don't really consider myself a personality as such and I'd much rather talk about my work and what inspires it, rather then myself, you know. So it is nice for me.
I: Yes. Do you think... Do you sort of hope... I mean is that something that disappointed you up to now perhaps that people have concentrated on you as a personality.. more then the..
K: No, it hasn't disappointed me 'cause, you know, some people say "how do I feel about the way the press has treated me?" And I think that really, in all honesty, they've been so good to me, right from the beginning. Especially the Dailies.. [Interruption] Oh, ok.
I: And do you think this LP does sort of take your lyrics and things into a sort of area...
K: ...Yeah, I think that...
I: ...perhaps that should be more seriously considered then before? Or do you think that people maybe be just noticing them more?
K: Yes, I think probably they're noticing them more, perhaps because now I'm becoming a more established artist. That with the third album, you suddenly become just that little more established. And I do hope that people are starting to take me more seriously, now that they hear that I do write the songs, which a lot of people didn't know before now, and that I'm helping in production, this sort of thing. I really think it helps people to take you more seriously. But I've never been disappointed with how the press have treated me, because I've always been so surprised at how good they've been, because it's so easy for them, you know, to say "oh, let's just not bother with this one and say something nasty." It's very easy for them to do that. And I really appreciate that they've held back.
I: What nasty things are you surprised that they haven't said?
K: Well it's not nastiness, it's an attitude of putting someone down that is becoming very popular in the press. Probably not so much the nationals as the music press. But there is always an attitude of either sensationalism or putting down or a slight distortion just so as it's more interesting for the readers, obviously. And therefore I think it does take more time for the journalist, it takes more trouble, if they are positive, because it means that they have to look for...
I: .. something good.
I: It's always easier to say something nasty about somebody then to say something good about them, I must admit...
K: Yes, it is..
I: ... I'm always [??? inaudible]
K: ...yeah right. And I really appreciate the effort that they took, it's really nice.
I: Hm. On this particular album, I mean if you... you know, if somebody hadn't really heard it as yet, which obviously they wouldn't have done if [??? inaudible] what would you sort of point to as particularly areas which you feel particularly enthused about.
K: Well, I think musically, something I'd like them to notice I suppose is that there's more space. That it's a freer sound, I hope, that there is actually more room for the song to come through in it's own entity, rather then being full of arrangements, perhaps too full, that I'd thought happened a little on the last album. So that that feeling of space makes a big difference for me. And I suppose the songs are going in a slightly different direction. I wouldn't call them so poppy, I'd call them, I don't know, a bit more emotional I suppose, a bit stronger. But I think they are quite clear for people to listen to, like the sounds are free of any heavy arrangement, and I think probably it's the first time that people will be able to understand what I'm saying more clearly.
I: Because there isn't so much music going on and what not?
K: Yes. And also because of the songs, they're in a much lower key, a lot of them. And there are words that are much easier to get across, so I think people will be able to... In fact maybe that is why there has been a sudden interest in the lyrics, that may well explain it.
I: Would it be fair to say, I don't know whether it is fair to say, but perhaps they're not so sort of wrapped up in fantasy and so forth. Would that be fair to say?
K: Yes, I'd say that, yes. I think, especially The Kick Inside was very, it had a lot of love songs on it, it was very sort of soft and friendly. And although a couple of songs on it were about quite real things, it was always enveloped in this fantasy. And I think that was happening a little on this last album, maybe not quite so much, but it was still very much there. And I think that has left a little bit. I think the mystery is really something that happens in arrangements and the mix of a song. If you don't bring things forward then it can all sound very mysterious. And I think we were going for a much more real, down to earth sound, something much warmer, which is really what I wanted, and I'm really pleased that [??? inaudible]
I: I mean, you see what I was talking about was sort of being taken more seriously if you like. I think perhaps the average man in the street might think of you as producing very nice music and all that sort of thing, but perhaps think of you as sort of a sort of pretty little singer who sings nice songs full of fantasy [Kate laughs] and all that sort of thing...
K: Yes, that's right.
I: ...without listening to the lyrics particularly to the lyrics. I mean would you agree with that at all?
K: I wouldn't blame them for doing that, because unless they read interviews, which are often lengthy, or they really do listen to the music carefully, they're bound to think that. But I think maybe people are starting to see... I mean, I'm changing too, I mean I'm starting to grow up in a lot of ways. In many ways my first album was quite, I wouldn't say it was naive because I don't think it was, I just think it was young. And I think it was exciting because it was young. But I think now it's starting to mature, and I think that's to do with the things I'm learning and the way I can feel myself starting to get a bit older and it's nice.
I: Do you mean sort of in your everyday life as well?
K: Yes, I do. I suppose what I'm really saying is that as you learn things, and that's only through time, you get more control, you understand things better, you learn the control of things more, and that's probably what I'm doing.
I: Control of what?
K: Ah, for instance, the album. Control of what goes on it, when to stop, when to.. You know, just all these things. It's all control - you can always overdo something, you can always underdo it. I think that's something you learn, it is part of growing up, you learn the control of one's self. Yeah. And it's nice, I really like it.
I: Yes. It seems like some of the subjects on the record are quite, well, I mean they're not what one would expect from a little girl singer. I mean, there's the one about kissing the child, or something, isn't there, for example?
I: That seems to go into... I mean what is that song about, would you say?
K: Well, did you ever see the film called The Innocents? I can't think who it was by, but it was not a very significant fifties English film about a governess who goes to stay and look after two children - a little boy and a little girl. And they're both possessed by the spirits of the gardener and the maid that lived in the house before. And in the film they really deal with the haunting, it's a very creepy film, fantastic photography. But it occurred to me that there is under the film this theme of the woman and the little boy, that I think probably because of the date of the film it was only sort of touched on. And I saw the film years and years ago, but it always struck me as how strange and disturbing the thought of that is, the idea of a grown man, or the spirit of the grown man inside a tiny child who hasn't had time to have any experience yet. And so the governess - in the song I'm being the governess, so that it's intimate, so that people understand what she's feeling - she's really worried, because she can't understand what's happening, because she can't understand what's happening. Because she loves the little boy maternally, and yet there's a man who comes through his eyes, you know, suggesting... [??? inaudible]
I: I mean, the song doesn't actually suggest, does it, that it's the spirit...
K: Well, no, because she doesn't know, you see...
I: You see, it could be interpreted as a straight-forward sudden, sort of...
K: Yes, this is what it isn't. Because she's totally torn between what she really feels, which is maternal love, and she's really worried that she's starting to actually fancy the little boy, but she's not, she loves him. It's this sort of male, adult energy that's coming through that is completely distorting the subject, and it's terrifying her because she's not perverted, she's very normal and she just loves the little boy for him. And I find that distortion just so fascinating, the idea of putting something that's so obvious into something that's totally out of place, because normally children are always... they're so pure, even if they do wicked things, it seems so natural and pure, you know. It isn't tarnished with things, you know, your regrets, your problems, and suddenly that's all put into this little boy, who's not had time to get them himself and who's got this really hung up man inside, and I find that very sad, really.
I: Now, would you say that there are a lot of sort of sexual themes in your songs, hanging about or not?
K: Yes, I think there probably are. And I suppose it's because it is one of the very basic natural energies. And in so many ways it's connected with music, not necessarily a sexual energy, but just the embracing, the communication of music is very like making love. You know, when you play a piano, it's so united, it's such a beautiful thing and in many ways I like to think that music and love are very similar. Like that all embracing freedom and sort of abstract energy.
I: And the sort of elation and so forth.
K: Absolutely, yeah.
I: Hm, but you mentioned the cover. With all those sort of these sort of things blowing out from underneath your skirt. I mean, how did that idea come about?
K: Well, really, it's trying to describe to people what happens to me. All of us have these good and bad things, none of us are all good or all bad, we've got both. And for me these black and white thoughts that I have - that we've depicted as swans and bats, you know the white and the black - they're what really make up my music. [Interruption] And we were trying to say that these emotions really spill out of me from no specific point and that was really why it was from the skirt, it was meant to be like...
I: Well, that is a specific point, I mean a specific area, basically.
K: Yeah, an area, but only if you follow it up, which you can't do, because there is the skirt covering the body. And really what I was trying to say is that these emotions are pouring out of me, not from the mouth, not from the ears, not from any specific point. It's just like a breeze that would brush the skirt or make the hair blow back, it's like a wind coming out. And all these emotions that come out of me I channel into my music and so on the cover they're coming out of me and going into the album. And with most people they'll channel the energies into something, it just depends what, they'll either use it on other people so they'll having rage and terrible tempers and such things, just to get rid of all these particular black emotions they're feeling. And people do it in different ways, they'll put it into art or they'll write it down or they'll sing about it, you know. And it's really just their way of expressing ourselves with all our confusion within us. But it wasn't meant to be rude and we did have problems..
I: I didn't say it was [laughs]
K: No, but they did interpret [it] that way, if you only slightly go that way. And we had to be very careful with the title because of that very thing. I mean any mention of wind would be tragic, absolutely. So we tried to make the title say as much about the transience, the whole thing of us, rather then suggesting the sort of breeze of emotion, because we though that it could easily be misinterpreted.
I: Another of the songs was one about pop stars, rock stars, that have died. Why did you want to sing about that?
K: Well, I think that's something that a lot of musicians think about, that's your soul, I suppose, and the musician's music is all they have, it's their life. And when you die as a body you wonder what happens to these things, you know, because it's nothing you can see or touch, will that die too? Because it's not physical, so therefore, should that die? And although there's been many theories about that, you know, that music never dies and people get in touch with Chopin and that he sends them new symphonies and that sort of thing. And that also all of us have a very basic fear of dying and we're terrified of it, a lot of people really just don't enjoy it like we were meant to, it's a very natural thing, we get very frightened by it. And the song is really meant to be a comfort for all the people that are afraid of dying, because there's a... I think it was in The Observer or some magazine they did a research thing where people that had had cardiac arrests, were theoretically dead, about 250 people all had the same story, which was they actually left their bodies, felt no fear, felt really lovely, very light. And there was a corridor, so they'd walk down the corridor into this room, and in the room there'd be all there dead friends, like their fathers or their brothers or friends that had been at school. And they're really happy, they come and greet you and cuddle you and then say that you have to go back. So they walk down the corridor and drop back into their bodies. And all these people say that since this experience they're not frightened of death, they're very happy, in fact they're looking forward to it. And I thought that's such a comfort, if we can think of death like that of going to a happiness, then we needn't be frightened. And at the same time, I thought it would be a lovely comfort for all of us musicians who worry about the music dying, and that when we die we're going to go along that corridor and into the room and in there there's going to be Jimi Hendrix and Buddy Holly. And you just join in.
I: There's no comment particularly on the amount of Rock Stars that seem to die at an early age or anything like that?
K: No, I didn't think that was necessary, because I think a lot of people have covered that area. But I mean it is tragic, the OD syndrome, especially the real heavy Rock and Roll people, but I think that's starting to drop off now, very few people are doing this now.
K: Yeah, especially from ODs, it's just not happening so much, which is a really positive sign. It was much more the thing of all our heroes, who we like to think are still around, and they are because their music is still alive, so it's just a big jam in the sky.
I: I mean, people just sort of put it down to the pressures of the music business and all that sort of thing [interrupted]. The film, Breaking Glass, have you heard about that?
K: I heard about it, yes.
I: As you probably know, it's about a girl who sorta gets taken into the record company and groomed for stardom.
K: In fact they called her... isn't her name Kate in the film?
I: I think it is Kate! [Both laugh] I hadn't though of that.
K: I though that was funny when I heard that.
I: I mean she sort of seems to come to a rather dreadful end, in a way. I mean she doesn't die, but she sort of has a nervous breakdown or something or the other. I mean do you sort of, have you been through that sort of negative side of the music business at all.
K: Well, I can understand why people do have nervous breakdowns, but I think again it's so much to do with the actual person, rather then actually what they're doing. You look at people like KISS, you look at people like McCartney, they're so strong and solid and they're very happy and they're going to keep going for as long as they already have because they're just solid people who are doing exactly what they want. And I think that because music is a very emotional thing, it's very unpredictable, a lot of the people that feel a great tendency towards it are perhaps very hyper-sensitive, very uptight people, and so in many ways they're much more likely to snap under the pressure. A lot of artists are temperamental, so again they're going to flair up or...
I: And you had any sort of twinges of snapping at all at any stage so far?
K: Not that bad, I mean occasionally you just wonder what's happening to you sometimes. Because you look at pictures of yourself in the press while you're sitting there in real life and sometimes it does become very unreal. And when you do just want to be accepted as one of everyone and it's just that you love your music, the pressures sometimes do get too much, there's a lot happening. Like these groups like Queen who tour and make albums every year, they must be under terrific pressure all the time, and compared to them mine is minimal, and yet I do feel it sometimes, I really do feel the pressure.
I: How does it sort of effect you?
K: It makes me wonder if it's not running away with me, that's what worries me, that I'm actually losing control.
I: But is it a sort of mental thing...
K: It is.
I: I mean does your mind actually go blank or something or I mean...
K: It's all in the mind, and all I have to do is say to myself, "okay, so leave it" and then I think "well, what would you do if you left the business?" Because my life is music just like in that song and I'm quite willing to put up with it really. See, I don't think the pressures, I mean at the moment the pressures aren't on me that much at all, it definitely happens in phases, it's not on all the time solidly. So while it's not, you recover.
I: But at that moment have you thought to yourself then, at moments, "leave it then", and then thought, "no, that would be stupid"?
K: I've never thought it seriously, I really haven't, because I know that I love it too much. And also I think I am one of those people that in a way, I do work well under pressure. I think there are a lot of people like this, that in fact, without pressure they don't do anything. And I find pressure can really help me sometimes, it gives you a big rush of adrenaline, and then you're off doing it, and then it's all done, much quicker then it would of been if you'd been very relaxed about it.
I: Was that Breaking Glass thing a dig at you, do you think?
K: I don't know. It's interesting that they should have chosen that name, I mean maybe it was sort of symbolic, at that. But I don't think I'm going to end up like that, I certainly hope not. I think it is very much to do with the character, the makeup of the character right from the beginning, whether you're the sort of person that does, like, lose your temper or you get terribly...
I: But would it be fair to say that someone like McCartney or Cliff Richard would be a kind of sort of model for you in the way that they conduct their lives...
K: Not a model, no, but I'd say "look how they've survived."
I: Yes, and "I can do that too."
K: I think I can, I hope I can. I do feel that most of the things that happened to me I feel reasonably philosophical about, and the thing that really matters to me is my music and my life, not my career, you know, my life. And so even if the career went under me [???], I've still got my life, and my music. I'll always be able to write music because it's something that you don't need qualifications for or a [??? lot for]. It's a very self-expressive thing and that means the most to me.
I: I'd like to ask you about your family a bit because it seems like, I mean, more then like anybody else I can think of that your family plays a very sort of close part in almost everything you do, at least closer then any person....
K: Yeah, I think it is starting to, I don't know whether you could say it was fashionable, but it is happening a little. I mean, I think Gary Newman... in fact from what I know his father actually, not manipulates Gary, but seems to direct him in every way. Whereas I'd like to think that in my case I am actually the director [ing force ???]. And that I'm just very lucky to have a loving family that I love and that we've always been close and that they help me with advice, because I do need advice, and there are things I don't know about - I'm not a business woman, I know a bit about business [??? I erased part of my tape here!!!!!] ...no real motivations for them to want money or anything, because if they wanted it I'd give it to them anyway, so it's really a trusting thing. And with them it's great because I could never handle all the stuff that comes in, I couldn't, it would blow my mind. That's the sort of thing that would make me have a nervous breakdown because there'd just be too much in my brain to think about writing.
I: Do you think you could have done it without that sort of support of your family, so how important is it in that sort of equation?
K: It's impossible to say, really, because, you know, it was how it happened. But when I started, right at the beginning, I don't think the family really were that involved. They've always been interested and involved mentally, but I don't think they were really involved physically, it was really something that evolved as we saw the need for it. It wasn't as if they were there right from the beginning saying "you will go and make an album... NOW!", you know.
I: Like one of these mothers in Hollywood who send there children off to commercials.
K: That's right, it wasn't at all like that. In fact, the family, the way I'd like to put it, is that they've just been behind me all the time. And that when the need came for it to be become much more involved, which it didn't need to be for that year and a half, I had no sort of management set up, which we've now got. I mean it's not management, basically just me with advice again, which is ideal for me.
[NEXT PART one of these days!]
[never appeared! --WIE]
To the Reaching Out (Interviews) Table of Contents
"The pull and the push of it all..." - Kate Bush
Marvick - Hill
Willker - Mapes
Grepel - Love-Hounds