To the Reaching Out (Interviews) Table of Contents
Date: Mon, 10 Jun 1991 00:16:32 -0800
From: email@example.com (Ronald Hill)
Subject: MTV interview 85 (unedited version)
85. MTV: Kate is interviewed by J.J. Jackson for the U.S. cable rock-video channel.
An additional generic interview, nearly one hour long, is shot, and very brief excerpts are aired on MTV. November 1985.
Mr. Jackson's questions are necessarily superficial but are very deftly posed, and Kate seems a bit more at ease and more forthcoming than in the other U.S. interviews. The questioner for the longer, largely unaired interview draws remarkably interesting answers.
[Transcribed by Ronald Hill, above note by IED. Thanks to Ed Suranyi for providing me with the tape. I am not sure if the actual interview is J. J. Jackson, as the voice sounds different. Kinda a depressed, bored sounding voice!] [It's not J.J. Jackson VM]
[Kate getting prepared for the start of the interview.]
I: Let's go all the way back to your childhood, rather than the other way around. [Kate Laughs] But, we'll see.. Let's just do how it's scripted out.. Alright... [Start of interview] So what's different about this new album, as opposed to all the other ones, how is it a progression?
K: I think one of the biggest differences is that we recorded it in our own studio. That made a very big difference to me, it's probably one of the best decisions I've ever made.
I: Ok, now, this studio... This is like right in your home or what? And what do you have to do to build one of these things, does it take years, does it cost millions of pounds? What's the story behind it?
K: Yeah, it cost a lot of money. [Coughs] You gotta find the right place. [Coughs twice].
I: Can you start again?
K: I'd like to, please, yeah.
I: And you know, if want, just for instance, "When I built the studio it cost me a lot of money." You know, you could like bring up the end of my question to the beginning of your response.
K: Do you want me to do that?
I: Yeah, I sorta would prefer it, because it makes it easier for us to cut a piece out of it.
K: I see, yeah. Ok, I'll try. [Smiles]
I: Yeah, you know you don't have to do it every time. But if you think of it.
K: Uh, huh.
I: That would be good. And in fact, I might ask you to say things again if I see that it's coming out in a way that might not work that well on TV. It's one of the things that we have to do.
K: Great. No, that sorta helps me really.
I: Just sit back and don't worried about it, just talk and it'll be good.
I: Alright. We were talking about the studio, right? And you're gonna tell me like what it was like to build it and what you want built.
K: Yeah. One of the main reasons for wanting to build our own studio was the amount of money that it was costing in a commercial studio per hour. And when you work experimentally it actually becomes prohibitive when it's costing that amount of money. Plus the distractions. So you've gotta find a place, and you gotta get the best equipment in there that you can that you can afford because [phone rings loudly] obviously it's very expensive stuff.
[Kate smiles. Phone rings again. Tape cuts.]
I: Can you see was that a wig, was it Memorex [Kate smiles], what was it because...
[Tape cuts again.]
Tech: We're ready anytime you want to.
I: This studio's jinxed now, because the phone rings and everything stops. So, I mean, you have the studio and everything, and it was help make it easier, but what about the subject matter. Do you feel that these songs are about different things then songs on your previous album.
K: Yes, I think the last album was quite an intense album. I think it was about emotion and there were alot of things that I wanted to say that I wasn't happy with. I was feeling mankind to be cruel, negative. And I think I expressed that in a lot of the songs. For this album there's a completely different energy. I moved from the city to the country. I was surrounded by elemental forces which I really feel feature on this album. And I was feeling really happy and positive, and considering mankind to be much better than on the last album. So I think it... it's got a more positive energy.
I: That kinda weird that you say that, because especially on the first side all the songs are so pessimistic, these songs about people who just cannot communicate.
K: On this album?
K: But I think it's actually finding a way for them to communicate, if they can't. The positive side is that they find a way to, and if they don't then there's the hope that they can.
I: Ok, so then Running Up That Hill is just the beginning of a whole cycle?
K: [Long pause] How do you mean?
I: Well, cause I mean that is like a really pessimistic thing. I mean, two people wanting to switch places like that. Saying "if you could feel what I feel now, then what?"
K: But why is it pessimistic though, why is it not positive to want to experience what the other person feels? For me, it's a positive thing, it's saying that they can get rid of the problems, or they want to, they care enough about each other to want to do that.
I: Ok, great. So on this side then... we got the optimist... What caused you to write lyrics though like "You never understood me, you never really tried." Is it some personal experience?
K: I think everyone at some times feels misunderstood. But I can't think of any song that I would say was truly autobiographical. There's something of me in every song, in that I'm expressing something I'm hoping is interesting. But I don't think they're truly autobiographical comments in any way.
I: Ok. I have written here "what's Cloudbusting about?"
K: Well Cloudbusting was inspired by a book that I found in a shop about nine years ago, it's out of print now. Written by a guy called Peter Reich, and it's called A Book Of Dreams. And it's very unusual, beautiful book, written by this man through the eyes of himself when he was a child, looking at his father, and the relationship between them. Very special relationship, his father meant so much to him. His father was a psychoanalyst, very respected, but he also had a machine that could make it rain, and the two of them would go out together and they would make it rain. And in the book there was such a sense of magic, that it a way the rain was almost a presence of his father. Unfortunately, its a very sad book in that the peak of it is where his father was arrested, taken away from him, because of his beliefs he's considered a threat. And it's how the child has to cope from that point onwards without his father. And the song is really using the rain as something the reminds the son of his father. Every time it rains instead of it being very sad and lonely, it's a very happy moment for him, it's like his father is with him again.
I: Yes, his father's Wilhelm Reich, right? [Kate nods] Hmm, good. And in the video, was it easy for you to portray a child?
K: I think it's something I'd obviously worried about. When you're not a child there are lots of things that could be a problem. Like I could look old and not young. And we were also [coughs] - excuse me - trying to take away the feminine edge so that in a way I could be a tomboy rather than a little girl. Trying to keep the thing as innocent as possible. And I think rather than being that worried about playing a child, I was just worried about the whole process of acting, because it's something I've not really done, in a true sense. I've preformed in lots of ways, but not really acted. And it was something that I was wary of and I was actually surprised at how much I enjoyed it.
I: Well that's what everyone around the office is saying, for instance, like saying "well she should play Tess the Dervervilles" this English classic. [Kate stiffels a laugh] I mean is this something that you are really considering doing now?
I: Yeah, acting more.
K: It's nothing that has ever really been a strong desire for me. I mean, never at any point in my life have I wanted to be an actress. But if there was something offered that was interesting enough, I would certainly want to do it, yes.
I: Ok, good. Let's get back to the video then. How'd you get Donald Sutherland to be in it?
K: Really lucky. The brief, really from the start, was that I wanted a great actor to play the father. I wanted it to be a piece of film rather than a video promotional clip. I wanted it to be a short piece of film that would hopefully do justice to the original book. And let people understand the story that couldn't really be explained in the song. So we wanted a great actor. We though of Donald Sutherland and though "well, chances are we won't get him, but why not try?" So we found a contact and explained the story and sent the script to him, and he was interested in doing it. And just happened to have the days free when we were shooting. So, um, pretty incredible really!
I: So what was he like?
K: Fantastic! Really professional, really patient, and an incredible help to me. In my debut acting role I had a pretty good actor opposite me. And he was so encouraging and made it so easy for me. I mean, whenever we were acting, he was my father. I just had to react to him like child. He made it very easy.
I: Great. Who directed the video and where was it shot? I think the setting of its really beautiful.
K: It is a beautiful place. It's the Veil of The White Horse, in England. And the director was Julien Doyle.
I: And tell us more about Julien Doyle.
K: Julien Doyle... [Kate looks over. The tape cuts. Kate laughs. A voice in the background goes "sorry about that". Kate coughs then looks around and smiles real big! Who need art when you've got Kate Bush smiles?]
I: .. we've been talking about Julien Doyle and where he's from and what he's done and how you met him.
K: I'm a big fan of Terry Gilliam, I don't know if you know him, suburb director. And I was interested in working with him and he put me in touch will Julien, who works with Terry on his movies. He's a cameraman and this was really his first role as director. Terry was involved with the storyboard as well, and this is how I met Julien.
We spent a lot of time on this video and what was nice was the way that everyone became so concerned with the story and also concerned with giving justice to it. You know everyone wanted it to be something special.
I: Why is it set in the fifties?
K: Because of the book. That's the time that it happened to the boy. He was about twelve...
I: Ok, in this question you "Because of the book, The Book Of Dreams that it's based on..." Ok?
K: Yeah. It's because A Book Of Dreams, that it's based on, was actually at that time, in the fifties, that his father was taken from him. He was about twelve. [Kate makes an "I hope I got that right" look]
I: And that's really it, you just took the exact time from the book?
K: Yes, I think also it made it more interesting. It's not totally accurate to the fifties and I think that in itself is important. We wanted to create a sense of - no certain time. I think it's more interesting in way when it could be any time. But also by not making it contemporary time you get a big sense of nostalgia, of something that has happened in the past. So I think visually it was a very good combination.
I: How did you make that machine?
K: Well the book very little details of what the actual machine looked like. But from what I could gather the reality of the machine wouldn't look right. ON screen it's got to be exaggerated. So it was trying to design something that would look powerful and possible of doing it but that wouldn't be comical, because we didn't people to laugh at it, we wanted people to be astounded by the machine. So it was really designing something that was a cross between an Akatan [???] gun and a pipe organ. I just felt that it had to have these huge funnels that would reach to the sky and could be moved around. And the whole thing should be rotatable. And so we worked with some designers that worked on the Alien and I think it looked pretty good.
I: It looks great. Is this the first video where you're not dancing?
K: No, but it's quite a departure. I have done a couple of others that again we were trying to treat like piece of film, but we were using lip sync or something like that. And we were working on video as well, which makes it quite different.
I: How come there are two Running Up That Hill clips. Well you should probably tell us what they are. But why is that? Did you actually make them both and authorize them both?
K: No, I think what's happened here is your seeing a TV performance that we did in England to promote the single. And I don't do very many TV performances. It concerns me that to try and to do everything you can and put as much effort into it, and sometimes its very difficult to make things look good in TV situations. But that was a live TV and we presented it that way for the British audience. It wasn't my intention that that clip would be shown anywhere else at all, apart from that one live performance in England. And it was something that the record company wanted to use here, and that's why you're seeing that. From my point of view, the expression visually that goes with that song is the film that we made that is the dance video. And the other one is really for me just a one-off TV.
I: Well who are you dancing with in the dance version and who directed that one?
K: The director of that was a guy called David Garfath and the dancer was a guy called Michael Hervieu, who we auditioned. We wanted to do a piece, a serious piece of dance. Over the last couple of years, all the videos I seen, dance has become a very exploited thing and hasn't really been treated seriously. It's been used to sorta be accessories [makes broad motion with hands] around the person who's starring in the film. And we thought it would be nice to do almost a classical piece of dance, filmed as well as possible, because it's very rarely filmed well now. In fact, the only well filmed piece of dance I think I've ever seen was [???? anybody know who she's talking about here???] and I think that's because she was so involved in it that it was so good. So that's what we wanted to do, a nice serious piece of dance, simple, well-filmed and give dance a chance in a real way in this pop world.
I: I like the masks, I liked the scenes with the masks. How did you think those up?
K: Well that was very much a coincidence, where the director was talking about these masks and I had a film on video that we'd taped that had a section where people were wearing these photographic masks. And we just felt that it was a really interesting idea, this crowd that would suddenly sorta rush in through the dance sequence. And the idea of the crowd being the force of either the man or the woman and so the faces change from the man to the woman. And then the idea of drowning in yourself. Just sorta those kinda plays on things.
I: Ok, good. Now everyone says side two of the album is all about someone drowning, is that true?
K: I'd say it was more about someone not drowning. They're in the water for the night...
I: Okay, Okay, that's the thing. You should start by saying "Even though alot of people say side two is about drowning..."
K: Okay, uh huh. I think, even though a lot of people say that the side is about someone drowning, it's more about someone who's not drowning. And how they're there for the night in the water being visited by their past, present, and future to keep them awake, to keep them going through until the morning until there's hope. [Big smile]
I: Alright. Is there going to be like a whole video film based on that side?
K: That's something that I like the idea of trying, but it's all talk and no more. And talk to action is a big leap, so I don't know.
I: OK. Who's ... This is like scattering around a bit, but why not?... Who's the band in TV performance. Like who are the members of it? Is that the band you perform with? Are those people on the album?
K: When you say the TV performance, you mean of Running Up That Hill?
I: Running Up That Hill?
K: Alot of them are musicians that were on the album and others were people that we had to call in because, for instance, the Fairlight part I played on the record, but visually it just looked better if I was singing. So we had someone on the keyboards. And a few of them were in the band when we toured in '79.
I: Alright. I like that part with the bow and arrow at the end by the way.
K: Do you?
I: It's really striking. Something you thought of at the moment?
K: It's a kind of thread that's been running through that song. The cover of the single is using a bow and arrow. In the video at the end there's a section where there's an invisible bow. [Imitates end of video and laughs] So it was just the kind of thing that kept occurring and I thought it would to fun to... live television with an audience just taking out a bow and arrow, makes people go [makes whoa movement] for a minute and maybe that's a good thing.
I: Uh, huh. That looks real good. Have you ever toured?
I: Will you ever tour again? Will you ever come to America and play a tour, play at various places?
K: I'd really like to tour again and the one tour I did in '79, England and Europe, was really exhausting. We rehearsed it for maybe six months and by the time we got around to the first night, I was really looking forward to having an audience out there so that you could how you see how they would react, see if they liked it. It was really a lot of fun and in many ways very educational for me as a performer as well as a person. But it's the commitment, it's so much time and effort. And I just don't know if it's something I want to launch into. It'd probably be a year out, at least.
[A voice says "We have to change tape." Tape cuts into Kate and the interviewer talking about the Running Up That Hill videos.]
I: ... they show the live performance.
K: Do they?
I: They show it alot.
K: Hmm. That's interesting.
I: It's been shown alot.
K: Hmmm. So would you say that the dance one has ever been shown?
I: I don't know. [Kate Laughs]. I don't know. [Kate laughs again] I don't know if it's ever been shown.
K: [Laughs more] Great. That's really interesting.
I: [Back to asking questions] Did you start out dancing before you became a singer?
K: No, when I um... I left school at ah... I was about sixteen, seventeen. And I actually left school with the decision that I wanted to throw myself into the world of music and [swings arm] go forth and get into it. And I felt that I had to work in order to find a way in. And I took up dance really to sorta fill up the day, give me some kind of discipline, and a way to get to meet people and become independent.
I: Really, like does it take a lot of time? Do you work out a lot? What has it done for you?
K: It did an incredible amount, especially when I started back then. I had a recording contract, but I didn't know when I was going to be making the first album, and I had, in a way, time to kill and use until that point. And I had very little experience... certainly the business, I mean coming straight from school. And I had almost two clear years of going to the dance school, learning to dance, getting more control over my body, and writing. Just using the time generally as a kind of foundation for what was to happen next when the album was released and the single was very successful. I think without having used the time like that, things could've been very different for me. I was very lucky.
I: Do you choreograph all the clips then? Like Sat In Your Lap and Suspended In Gaffa and Wuthering Heights, those all are your choreography?
K: Yes, and those ones that you mentioned particulary. I worked with a chirographer when we toured and I was using two dancers and he was involved with integrating the routines between the three of us. And the Running Up That Hill dance performance, I worked with a lady chirographer called Dianne Grey, and I really enjoyed that. It was really exciting to work with someone else and get that feedback. And her experience with my sorta non-technical ideas were a very good combination, we had a lot of fun.
I: Where did you shoot some of these? Like Suspended In Gaffa it's like in a barn or something. Are these all sound stages or do you use locations?
K: Yes, they're all stages and extremely good designers.
I: Okay. I want to go back to when you were signed and everything like that, sorta back in time a bit. And do you feel that... you very young, and recording very young, and had an album out at a young age, right? And do you feel that it was an advantage to you or a disadvantage, that that happened to you so early?
K: I think it's been a big advantage. I am doing what I want to do, I really want to be involved in this business. I don't think... If I hadn't started so young, I probably wouldn't have my own recording studio now, I probably wouldn't have the kind of control that I have over the situation at such an early age. So I think it's been really beneficial for me.
I: Um, what role did David Gilmour have in getting you signed?
K: I was about fifteen. My family thought it would be interesting to see if we could get some of my songs published, I'd written loads of songs. I just used to write one every day or something. And through a friend of the family who knew Dave Gilmour, we made a contact for him to come and hear some of my songs. At that time, he was sort of scouting for talent, looking for bands that he could produce or become involved in or just encourage. And I became one of the people that he was visiting. I think he liked the songs sufficiently to feel that it was worth him actually putting up money for me to go in and professionally record the tracks, because all my demos were just piano vocals and I had, say like 50 songs that were all piano vocals. And he felt, quite rightly, that the record company would relate to the music much in a more real way if it was produced rather than being demoed. So he put up the money, we went into the studio, recorded three tracks, and I got a recording contract from that. I: Great. What about Peter Gabriel? How has his music influenced you?
K: I think anything you like influences you, and I do like his music. I think he's very clever, he's brilliant. And I think he's one of the few people who is trying to do something interesting with contemporary music.
I: Ok, what do you mean by that, by "interesting", "different". Well, you didn't say "different", you said "interesting."
K: Hmm. Well I think it's both and I don't think there's much of that happening. For me the Floyd were doing something interesting, especially with the Wall. Talking Heads are doing something very interesting. I think David Bowie certainly was as was Roxy Music way back in the seventies, in fact they set a kind of formula that people are still copying and getting away with now. I mean so many people sound like Brian Ferry, so many people look or sound like David Bowie. And I think it's these kind of original stamps that create an incredible amount of imitators, but it's still these people who leave the mark and who are doing something really interesting.
I: Well you sang with Peter Gabriel, right?
K: Say again?
I: You sang Peter Gabriel on one of his records. Can you tell us about that?
K: Um, I was really delighted to be asked to do something and it was a lot of fun.
I: What was the song and what do you think of the song?
K: I thought it was a great song, I think that that album that Peter did was one of those albums that actually set a mark in a point in time. And I think it was well appreciated, which is good. I think another album like that was David Bryne and Eno's Night in The Bush Of Ghosts. I don't know how popular that was here, but it didn't really get that much attention in our country. And I think that left a very big mark on popular music, particularly when you look at the charts at the moment. The things that are happening again in our country are so derivative of that album.
I: That's the sort of album that a lot of people in music or who really follow music listen to alot. So it definitely got a lot of attention. It wasn't like a top 100 album or anything but...
I: .. it really had it's audience. What have you been able to do since you started using the Fairlight that you couldn't do before?
K: It gives me much more control over arrangements, particulary. And it effects so may different areas. As soon as I start writing now I'm working with a sound that is sparking off a particular atmosphere. When you sit down and write at the piano, the sound of the piano is not as different as brass and strings, etc. And I think it really effects the whole flavor of the song. Like the difference between writing on the piano and a guitar, but maybe amplified by a hundred times because of all the different sounds that you have.
I: What songs on the album did you write on the Fairlight and what did you write on the piano?
K: THere were very few track on this album that I wrote on the piano -Running Up That Hill, Hounds of Love, Watching You Without Me. Most of them were Fairlight based. Cloudbusting I wrote on the Fairlight and I just felt it would be much more interesting with real strings, so we transcribed the Fairlight arrangement from string players to reed. And then they redid it.
I: THere are other people using the Fairlight now to, like Simple Minds and Thomas Dolby. Have you heard their records?
K: I've heard some of Simple Minds stuff, yes. I think the Fairlight is one of those instruments that is definitely in there now. When it first came out it was so expensive that I think it prohibited people from getting close to it, getting to know it. But it seems to have conquered that barrier now, it's available in studios, at least, and people can get to use it. And I think it will be on so many things from now on.
I: We're going to change the subject now. Do you see a connection between mysticism and science?
K: I don't know, I'm sure there is. I think there's a connection between everything, I think everything is linked up somehow, you just got to find where they meet.
I: Do you consider yourself a religious person?
K: That's a question that I get asked a lot. Some people come in, they're so convinced that I'm of a particular order. [Laughs] And I think everyone has something in them that is seeking some kind of religion, but whether I call myself a religious person - I don't think so, no. But I think I am fascinated by religious imagery, I think most people are. And it's one of those things that has an incredibly extreme effect on people and that, from a writer's point of view, is fascinating.
I: Are there any writers who've really influenced you alot. Print writers like [??? mentions two writers I couldn't figure out names! Bo Gorge?] that you want to talk about?
K: I don't know if there are any writers that have really influenced me. Particular books certainly have. But again they're much on a novel level rather than a reality level.
I: Uh, huh. Well like let's have a couple of examples.
K: I used to read quite a lot of Kurt Vonnegut and C. S. Lewis when I was a kid was one of my biggest ones. I also think when you're very little, like I don't know if you were ever read fairy stories by your mother, I think those kind of things get in very, very deep. And when I was really little, one of my favorite writers was Oscar Wilder and his fairy stories. And I actually think that they got in quite deep. I think his sense of tragedy and poetry is something that still moves me very much.
I: I didn't know he had fairy stories.
K: Yes, he does indeed.
I: Oh, really?
K: Oh yes, and they're beautiful.
I: Can you like describe one?
K: Well one of them. [Coughs]. Just trying to think what it's called. The Happy Prince is one of his stories. It's about this huge statue that stands in the middle of a city. And it's incredibly beautiful, it's coated in gold, his eyes are rubies, he just sparkles. He's a beautiful statue of the prince. And there's a little swallow who's flown in and nests at the feet of the statue overlooking the city. And the statue speaks to the swallow and says does he realize how much poverty and sadness is going on in the city. So bit by bit the little swallow strips the statue of the gold and the rubies and distributes it around the city to all the poor people. So eventually the Prince is just like a lead blob. He eyes are taken so he's blind, and he's just left completely alone, all his great finery has gone to the poor. And it's winter and the swallow should really migrate or it will die and the swallow will not leave him. And the tragedy is the closeness between them - that the swallow should go or it will die and how beautiful he was and now he's completely stripped. The little swallow dies and eventually they just sort of pull the statue down and stick him in the dump. [Laughs]
I: Oh, no.
K: But the way it is written and it's so beautiful and so sad! And there was one... you know, at the point where the swallow was discovered I always used to cry as a child.
I: So you like to write songs like that that are sorta so archetypal in a way?
K: I think his sense of tragedy in telling a story attracts me tremendously. And I think it's very similar in a way to a lot of the traditional music that I was again influenced by when I was very little... by my family. My brothers were really into folk music. And a lot of folk music is so into telling stories. And it's in a way something that doesn't feature so much in contemporary music any more. I think contemporary music is used to help relationships a lot of the time. Like you go to the disco and you meet someone, so you have a song, and it's your song. It's more about that then actually telling stories. Like the traditional things are. And I think that's a big fascination for me.
I: Well is this a recent thing? Like on your last couple of albums I've noticed a lot more like jigs and stuff and folk instrumentation. Is this a direction that you're going in more?
K: I think I've always been really influenced by it, but I haven't been able to express it through my songs. It's weird, trying to talk about the process of writing. But it does actually take over you and you don't have control over it beyond a certain point. And it's only really, I suppose, the last couple of albums, where I feel I've had enough control over the process to be able to express the influences that are in there. And particulary the Irish ones. I've wanted to work with Irish musicians and the pipes and fiddles for a long time but haven't really had anywhere in my music for them.
I: Could you talk about your brothers for a bit and how they've affected you in you're being a creative person, not just like in the sounds that have come out on the album?
K: We're a very close family and they're my friends. My parents as well as my brothers are friends. And I think they're a very creative family. And I think being brought up in a situation where music is there, people are being creative, it feels natural for you to do that to. So I think that was a very big opening for me at a very young age to have that kind of energy around me. And in fact, the energy that I'm in now.
And I think they have been a very big influence on me. When I was very little it was their music that I used to listen to before I got my own record player and then could play my own music. And I think older brothers, sisters can't help but be an incredible influences.
I: So when you were younger you were much, like, closer with your family then with people outside? I mean, were you a shy person to people outside the family?
K: Yes, I think so. I think I'm still quite shy. It depends on the situation, but I can be very shy with people. But I think it just depends on the situation and the person.
I: Ok. Do you feel you're a reclusive person or social person?
K: I think I'm really fighting between the two. I think there's a side of me that really loves being social and really loves being with people and there's another side of me that doesn't, that finds.. for instance most of my creative work I couldn't do with people around. I couldn't write a song with someone else in the same room. It's a very private process for me. I think I've probably got a bit better about it, I mean when I first used to start writing, even if someone walked in, it would just completely blow my concentration. And at least now I can keep it going maybe if they're one person in the room. But yes, I think there's a strange struggle in there between those two areas, for me.
I: What records did you like when you were younger. Like when you said "You know until I got my own record player and had my own music." What was that?
K: Well I used to listen to a lot of singles that my brothers had bought that weren't out when I was there. Songs from the early sixties that actually I wouldn't have heard had it not been for there collection. And I suppose I started buying all the singles that were out, I was very singles orientated. All the hits. [Laughs]
I: So you liked the singles. Were there like any that you can remember that you still have now?
K: Well one of the first records I ever bought was called They're Coming To Take Me Away, Hah Hah by Napoleon the 14th. I thought that was great! I thought it was really interesting. I suppose it was one of the first rap records really. [Laughs] I think the first album I bought was Bridge Over Troubled Water. I liked the songs on that. I think again that's been a big attraction for me. I'm sure stimulated by traditional music, the thing of the structure of songs and having a story, it does attract me.
I: [to cameraman] Now you're saying there's two minutes left on this tape or what?
Cameraman: Uh, huh!
I: So maybe we should [tape cuts]
Cameraman: It's awfully dark out there. [Pause, Kate looks at the blue screen behind her]. Steadily change.
I: Don't jump cut to much. That'll look weird if you jump cut back and forth. It would drive people crazy I sort like....
K: Hmm. You could have completely different weather in every scene! That would be great!
I: That's a really good idea. We should sometime. You could probably do that with...
K: Yeah! Have it snowing and then brilliant sunshine. That would be really good wouldn't it!
I: Sat In Your Lap, like could you, that seem to be about like knowledge and not getting it and not knowing if you've got it?
K: Yeah, the search for knowledge. And I suppose the thing of people...
I: Okay, could you say "Sat In Your Lap that's about the search for knowledge" you know, say something like that.
I: Say the title and then what it's about.
K: Yeah, Sat In Your Lap is very much a search for knowledge. And about the kind of people who really want to have knowledge but can't be bothered to do the things that they should in order to get it. So they're sitting there saying how nice it would be to have this or to do that without really desiring to do the things it takes you to get it. And also the more you learn the more ignorant you realize you are and that you get over one wall to find an even bigger one. [Laughs]
I: How bout the video, is that on ice, the video, or what?
K: No, it's roller skates. That was a lot of fun. I don't think we felt it was a serious video, you know, it's meant to fun. We thought the roller skates needed an airing. [laughs]
I: Ok, how about Suspended In Gaffa. Like what's the song about and then I'll ask you what the video's about. First the song.
K: Suspended In Gaffa is I suppose similar in some ways to Sat In Your Lap - the idea of someone seeking something, wanting something. I was brought up as a Roman Catholic and had the imagery of purgatory and of the idea that when you were taken there that you would be given a glimpse of God and then you wouldn't see him again until you were let into heaven. And we were told that in Hell it was even worse because you got to see God but then you knew that you would never see him again. And it's sorta using that as the parallel. And the idea of seeing something incredibly beautiful, having a religious experience as such, but not being able to get back there. And it was playing musically with the idea of the verses being sorta real time and someone happily jumping through life [makes happy motion with head] and then you hit the chorus and it like everything sorta goes into slow mo and they're reaching [makes slow reaching motion with arm] for that thing that they want and they can't get there. [Laughs]
I: And is like the video a dance interpretation of that?
K: Well, that video and the one that went with There Goes A Tenner, quite honestly, were rushed. There was very little time to do them. I had to do three videos in something like two months and I don't really think that if we'd had more time that we would have done that.
I: So what takes the most time for you, the ideas or the execution?
K: I'm sorry?
I: 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...
K: 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.
I: Ok, and I guess finally, could you just tell us about your one performance in America?
K: Saturday Night Live?
I: Yeah, that one.
K: It was a lot of fun! It was really good. I was asked to come over here by Eric Idle from Montey Pithon, who was hosting the show. And it was a great honor for me and a real pleasure to do. Complete madness!
I: Oh, yeah? What did you do, what songs.
K: I did, The Man With The Child In His Eyes and Them Heavy People. That was a while ago now that was '79.
I: That's right, that's a long time ago already.
I: Um, what about Wuthering Heights, what inspired you to write that? That sounds like an obvious question, but maybe it's not an obvious answer, I don't know.
K: I think it is an obvious answer. [Laughs] It was very much the book. The idea of a relationship that even when one of them is dead, they will not leave the other one alone. I found that fascinating. Not unlike the energy behind the Houdini song that we did, where the strength of love... I mean it's incredibly romantic. But a very nice story and the sense of how even when she's dead she has to come back for him. Possessive lady. [Laughs]
I: Have you ever been in love in that way or that much?
K: Yes, I think love effects you in a funny way and I think everyone loves something or someone so I think everyone understands at least on some level the experiences. I wouldn't say I was a terribly possessive or ... [Laughs] I mean I would hate to think that I was like Cathy! But I think everyone certainly has shadows or little tinges of those things in them.
I: Ok. I think that's about it, we should probably just shoot little a couple of cut aways. At which point we'll probably think of a couple of other questions, just see how it goes.
K: OK, great.
[This is where my tape ends. According to end, there is a tape that has another question about the ninth wave in it. If anyone has this final question please post.]
Date: Mon, 10 Jun 1991 08:11:31 -0800
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Ed Suranyi)
Subject: Re: MTV raw footage interview
[From Ron Hill's posting of the unedited MTV interview]
> 85. MTV:
Kate is interviewed by J. J. Jackson for the U.S. cable rock-video channel.
As you say below, the actual interviewer is NOT J. J. Jackson. His voice is entirely different.
> I: Well that's what everyone around the office is saying, for instance, like saying "well she should play Tess the Dervervilles" this English classic. [Kate stiffels a laugh]
That's "Tess of the D'Urbervilles", by Thomas Hardy, of course.
> [K:] So it was really designing something that was a cross between an Akatan [???] gun and a pipe organ.
She used the British term for an anti-aircraft gun, whatever it is.
>[K:] In fact, the only well filmed piece of dance I think I've ever seen was [???? anybody know who she's talking about here???] and I think that's because she was so involved in it that it was so good.
Kate says, "Twyla Tharp's 'Catherine Wheel'." It took me a while to figure this out, too! "The Catherine Wheel" had music by David Byrne, and, as Kate says, choreography by Twyla Tharp.
Date: Mon, 10 Jun 1991 09:14:12 -0800
From: email@example.com (Gregory Bossert)
Subject: Re: MTV raw footage interview
>> cross between an Akatan [???] gun and a pipe organ.
> She used the British term for an anti-aircraft gun, whatever it is.
ack-ack gun. from the noise it makes.
BTW, the designer who had worked on Alien was (as most of you know) H.R. Giger, a german artist with reclusive habits and a tendency to use real animal parts in his scultures.
footah! -greg --
Date: Tue, 11 Jun 1991 05:43:37 -0800
Subject: MTV Interview - AA Gun
> She used the British term for an anti-aircraft gun, whatever it is.
Archie in WW1, Ack-Ack in WW2 (Ack being A in the RAF radio alphabet used at the time, c.f. Ack-Emma for Aircraft Mechanic - my uncle was one!)
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Ed Suranyi)
Date: Tue, 11 Jun 1991 11:49:26 -0800
Subject: Re: Second Part of Mtv interview
I'm really glad Ron Hill is transcribing these interviews. But as usual, he made some errors I'd like to correct.
> K: THere were very few track on this album that I wrote on the piano -Running Up That Hill, Hounds of Love, Watching You Without Me. Most of them were Fairlight based.
This is a mistranscription, as anyone who listens to the album Hounds of Love can tell. Here's what Kate really says:
K: There are very few tracks on this album that I wrote on the piano. "Running Up That Hill", "Hounds of Love", "Watching You Without Me" -- most of them were Fairlight based.
In other words, Kate groups RUTH, HOL and WYWM with the songs written on the Fairlight, not the piano. This should be obvious if you listen to the songs.
> I: Are there any writers who've really influenced you alot. Print writers like [??? mentions two writers I couldn't figure out names! Bo Gorge?] that you want to talk about?
One of the writers he mentions in Bob Gurdjieff. I can't remember the other.
> [K:] And when I was really little, one of my favorite writers was Oscar Wilder and his fairy stories.
That's Oscar Wilde, of course.
Date: Wed, 26 Jun 1991 07:53:46 -0800
Subject: Place names
Ron "fingers" Hill had some problems with place names in some of the (many) interviews he has kindly been typing in. I know they are only very minor things (like children's addresses) but I can help with some.
> Subject: MTV raw footage interview
> K: It is a beautiful place. It's the Veil of The White Horse, in England. And the director was Julien Doyle.
That should be The Vale of The White Horse.
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