Interviews & Articles


Never For Ever Debut
with Peter Powell
Radio 1
Oct 11, 1980

To the Reaching Out (Interviews) Table of Contents

Date: Tue, 27 Aug 1991 01:31:34 -0700
From: rhill@pnet01.cts.com (Ronald Hill)
Subject: Never For Ever Debut with Peter Powell, Radio 1, Oct 11, 1980

Never For Ever Debut

w/Peter Powell, Radio 1

Oct 11, 1980

[Transcribed by Ron Hill. Peter has an annoying habit of not actually completing sentences.]

I: So it's four thirty two, and the first thing she asked for when she came in the studios was, please, just a cup of tea, that's all. So that's what we got it started out with. Her name is Kate Bush and it's great. But she was on Round table show a while ago, so perhaps one TV [??? inaudible] on Radio 1 has had a talk. But, have you heard the new album? The answer in no, because nor have I as yet. So Never For Ever is the LP, some tracks and some words from Kate right after this.

[Violin is played]

I: Lovely, great. Violin is the track off the new LP Never For Ever. Katie, welcome to the studio.

K: Thank you, it's nice to be here.

I: You are quite a welcome guest on Radio 1 anytime, needless to say.

K: [Laughs] Oh, thank you.

I: Especially when you got this new album in your hand, thank you very much for bringing it in, Never For Ever. And there's a great line in that album. Let me just read the notes on the inside of the album, "Give me the Banshees for B.V.s." Immediately I looked at that and I thought, Susie and The Banshees, Kate Bush, doesn't work [Kate Laughs]. What is that about?

K: Well unfortunately, [??? inaudible] great for using such words like this. I mean, for instance, "it's the police" has a completely different meaning now because of the group called The Police. And I'm referring to the original Banshees who are, in fact sort of, [??? Fran. St. Tars] from Ireland, who would only cry when death was eminent. And so it's just meant to be very eerie creatures singing the backing vocals.

I: Talking about eerie creatures, on the back cover of the album there's some pictures of you doing a sort of floating pose of yours [York ???], with your tongue hanging out, wearing sort of bat clothes. [Kate laughs] That is quite a cover. I mean, and it is so very important to you, isn't it, sorta of the art of music. This album, is it a concept or... how do you see it?

K: No, it's not a concept but all the songs are very different, that's really why it's not a concept. But they are joined together in as much each track is trying to flow into the other, although they're quite separate entities, they're about different subjects. And the cover was terribly important because I do feel with home taping, etc., happening, you have to give people as much as you can on an album. And it's something I've always wanted to buy, I've always wanted to go in and buy an album I've been waiting for. And you hold the cover and you think "oh, this is it!," you know, and you sorta plow through it for any little bit of information. And so that's what I've tried to do and we've got the most incredible artists...

I: I can see, it's brilliant actually. I mean it's almost like a sort of child's book but using very adult sort of.... adult paintings, adult drawings, isn't it, for the cover?

K: Yes, it's pencil, it's incredible.

I: What about inspiration for the tracks and the music, where do you get most of your inspiration for you music?

K: They come from very different sources, but it is mainly people. Things people will say, whether they say then on television or to me personally or even things I hear on the radio. It's very much stimulus from other people and just the way I feel about things that I see in other people, because I'm involved with people all the time, they come in and out of my life. But the thing that is a continuing theme, you know, is life, people.

I: There's on or two quite big names actually who are mentioned on the sleeves of the album, Roy Harper, Herbie Flowers, Peter Gabriel. Are they just friends, admirers, or helped it musically, or what?

K: Well, they're probably all of those that you mentioned, they're very important to me, those people. Peter I did some work with and he was very inspiring and it was very important for me to write something as a gesture. Roy is on the album. Roy I think is one of the true English poets and so he definitely needed something said. And Herbie Flowers, he's a very special man, because he makes everyone so happy.

I: Um, that's good. And thats something the atmosphere of the album gets across, a brief listen that I've had. And I think it would be nice to turn to another track. I think though with your music it's not just the music about you it's also the whole motion, it's mime and motion. In a track which I'd like to play, which I believe, correct me if I'm wrong, Army Dreamers is going to be the next single, isn't it?

K: Yes, it is. Yes, indeed.

I: It's got a sort of waltz feel to it - Three, four, quick, quick, slow, slow - isn't it?

K: Yes, it is a waltz. It was based very much on traditional music, the stuff that I was brought up on as a kid. So it's deliberately like that, it's very acoustic.

I: Alright, we'll play it now and talk about it afterwards. This is Army Dreamers.

[Army Dreamers is played]

I: ... a gentler track yet with the [??? slavonic] discipline, Army Dreamers. With a bit of discipline there involved. I must admit that this is quite a track. That must... is that one of your favorites... to be the single?

K: Yes, it is. It's hard to like tracks that you create because they seem so old so quickly and it almost becomes a sort of objective thing where you've just become very close to it, so you do like it. But it's very hard to actually say you like or you don't like your own music, it's a very strange thing because it's so personal.

I: Having said that though, you actually did state while that was playing, it was so good to hear your tracks being played on the radio, at last...

K: It's wonderful. It is, it's really exciting because it's been so long since I've had an album and this has been finished for nearly three months now and it's so good to actually see it moving, it's lovely.

I: My first reaction listening to that track, was actually to ask you if you'd kindly have a waltz in the studio which is unfortunately to small.

K: There's no room, I would, I'd love to! [Both laugh]

I: I mean, this whole sort of... the whole music, the concept of your music, and also the energy and the activity that you're involved with it - the choreography involved, though, is so... it's such an important part, obviously, of your whole show. And have you ever thought of doing ballet? Have you ever done ballet, I mean have you ever sort of get into a musical, something like that?

K: I did ballet for a year, on and off, when I was at my dancing school. And I found it very hard to actually get on with the people in the room, that was really my big problem. It's such an important thing for a dancer because it is the classical basics and there's no way [of] getting around it. You know, if you want to have good technique, then you really do have to do ballet. And so for many technical points I'm not really correct when I dance. But I do feel that dance is something that is very free and you can't tie it down. It's techniques, but it's also emotion and for me the emotion is the thing that really matters. You can have technique, you know, that's superb and yet be as flat as a board. And yet, there are children that have never trained at dancing, and yet they make you want to cry, because they move like angels. They're beautiful, they're so free and they're just purely stating what they're feeling and it's so delightful because they're enjoying everything they do. And I think that's what dance is about, the enjoyment of that feeling of movement and freedom, it's like suddenly breaking through a barrier.

I: Because with some bands it's aggravation which they get off on, with their music, but with you it really is emotion coming out. And that is the sort of plus to your music, isn't it?

K: Well I think all music is emotion and aggression is very strong emotion. I think every record that is made has an emotion in it and that's why people like it. Whether it's a basic pulse - it still creates an emotion in the listener and I think that is what music is.

I: If people went to see your stage show and your tour show a while ago, actually quite a long time ago isn't it?

K: Yes, doesn't it fly! [Laughs]

I: Quite some months. And if they seen sorta videos of you on television and they've seen you playing your music and also the amount of energy you put into your stage show, and the choreography involved. It's almost quite... it tires you out, to a certain extent. How do you manage to keep fit? How do you manage to sing AND dance?

K: It is a big problem, it's something that you do have to work up to because the movement takes up a great deal of breath and the singing takes up as much so you literally need twice as much breath to handle it. And it was really just working up to it, stamina. I mean when I began the first few weeks of my training I would never have been able to do that whole show, I'd have just passed out in the middle of it. I mean [makes running out of breath noises] half the songs. And it's really just the adjustment and also adrenaline because once you're up there you just cannot do anything wrong, if you do you're letting down all the people that have come to see you. And that's what performing is all about, you have to die for them. And so I think probably rather than going [repeats breathing sound] I'd hold my breath and die rather than show it, you know. It does become a performance once your up there, and things tighten up that you never thought would.

I: And in the studio as well when you're putting down tracks, when you get so much feeling in your voice?

K: Thats.. It's very much a psyching up thing, it's the same on stage - to become the person that singing the song, and they are often very different people. And so if you can feel the role of that person you've got sort of half way through the problems, you just have to then carry it through. It's actually placing that role at the moment in time that is really the initial move.

I: Um, do you want to hear another track off the album?

K: I do.

I: Never For Ever. She dying to. [Both Laughs] Back home, she's dyeing to hear it. The Infant Kiss, a quick story about that.

K: The Infant Kiss. I don't know if anyone's seen a film called The Innocents, it initially inspired it. It's an old British film, a very haunting film about a governess who goes to stay and look after two children, a young boy and a young girl. And unknown to her, they're both possessed by the spirits that lived in the before, the gardener and a maid. And particulary the boy is in a very, very heavy possession state, he has a.. like a thirty two year old man inside him as a spirit. And the governess will go to give him a little goodnight and he suddenly gives her a very big passionate kiss. And the song is about the woman being incredibly torn, she doesn't what's happening because there's this really sweet little boy that she loves maternally and yet through his eyes there's coming this really wicked, lusty man. And so she can't work out what's happening, she thinks she's going mad when in fact there is this terribly evil force in such a young child that could never have this experience through his own age. And so she's just freaking out saying "my God, what's happening."

I: Yeah.

K: And it was a distortion that I myself would find terribly disturbing...

I: And me..

K: And I really love distortions.

I: Yeah, so lets here the track.

[The Infant Kiss and Night Scented Stock are played]

I: Hm. There is a certain fascination for children in many of your songs. That was the Infant Kiss, with Night Scented Stock to follow...

K: Yes.

I: Which you particularly wanted us to play. Ah, it's almost classical, isn't it?

K: Yes, I think it is. That's probably why I'm fond of it because it's a new area. And I love music without words when it works because it suddenly becomes so much freer, it's like landscapes moving around you and I've always wanted to work in a musical area sometimes rather than always putting lyrics to my songs.

I: I should add that Babooshka and Breathing are both included on the album.

K: Yes.

I: Babooshka, which was a surprisingly big hit after quite a slow start, it did take a little bit of time didn't?

K: Yes, it did. It was climbing up there quite slowly at the front, yes.

I: And the story behind Babooshka very quickly because everyone was saying it's Russian for grandmother, yes?

K: Yes, well apparently it is grandmother, it's also a headdress that people wear. But when I wrote the song it was just a name that literally came into my mind, I've presumed I've got it from a fairy story I'd read when I was a child. And after having written the song a series of incredible coincidences happened where I'd turned on the television and there was Donald Swan singing about Babooshka. So I thought, "well, there's got to be someone who's actually called Babooshka." So I was looking through Radio Times and there, another coincidence, there was an opera called Babooshka. Apparently she was the lady that the three kings went to see because the star stopped over her house and they thought "Jesus is in there." So they went in and he wasn't. And they wouldn't let her come with them to find the baby and she spent the rest of her life looking for him and she never found him. And also a friend of mine had a cat called Babooshka. [He laughs] So these really extraordinary things that kept coming up when in fact it was just a name that came into my head at the time purely because it fitted.

I: With lots of sorta family ties involved in your music - Man With The Child In His eyes, I mentioned, The Infant Kiss. Are you part of a large family or are you...?

K: I'm part of a close family and I suppose I'm very aware of the emotional factors involved. I think families are something that used to be very, very important and now, probably to do with the cities and the race of life, they split up very quickly. It's much more an independent lifestyle. But families are very interesting because it is a structure and from structures all sorts of things can happen.

I: You can't beat a close family though, can you, really? I mean a close family is like a central point to bounce back to when things are... when there's trouble and things like that?

K: Yes.

I: Do you... With your family, in particular, I mean obviously they've took an enormous interest in your career as such, do they help you out with a lot of the pressures involved? Because there must be, for a lady, for instance with male adoration which you must feel a considerable amount of. And I've met some of your fans, who are very, very, very pleasant people, but absolutely on a real cult following. How do you cope with that?

K: It's something that I'm not that aware of, you know. I think people around me would probably be aware of that more. When you are actually the source there's lots of things you don't realize are happening. And also when you meet people face to face, which is the time you get to hear stuff, they behave very differently, I think. And I've not really had any trouble from any of the guys that are fans, in fact they've been so helpful, they're wonderful. They say great things, they write wonderful letters.

I: Protective element, almost.

K: Yes, maybe. Although I'm not so sure about the protectiveness, but I really appreciate that people are so good to me.

I: So when do you go out to meet them again?

K: I don't know, I want to tour again, but it is a very big decision and it involves such a large amount of time and money that I have to be very careful with the decision.

I: How do you plan to promote the album then?

K: Well, I'm doing general promotion. And I do feel that there's something about records, because it's music it has its own life. And there are people that are totally unknown and the single goes out, well it happened with me I was unknown, Wuthering Heights went out, I didn't really do any promotion until it was up there. Songs have their own life and I think they do whatever they want. You can have all the forces you want against a song going but if it's needed to get there, it will. It does its own thing.

I: And when it comes down to it, it really is just the black vinyl that the song....

K: I think it is. And if people want to hear the music then the record does it by itself.

I: Lovely, well it's a great album Kate. I've listened to it fleetingly and I look forward back at home listening to it in more depth and detail. Never For Ever from Kate Bush. Would you say it's your best yet?

K: I'd like to think it was, yes. I feel so much happier with it then I have with any of the others, it's like the first album again. It's like the new step and that's very important for me.

I: You're dying to hear another track, aren't you?

K: Yes, I'd love to.

I: We'll play Delius, OK?

K: Great.

I: Best wishes to you Kate, thanks very much for coming into the studio.

K: Thank you.

I: Bye, bye.

[Delius is played]

K: And that was Delius and I've only got fifteen seconds to fill in before Peter goes on the news so I'd like to say why don't we all just think of Kid Jensen all those miles away across the world and wish him a bit of luck in his new job. [Whispers] Bye, bye.

I: Great idea. That's nice. Thank you, Kate.

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

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