KT Cloudbusting -- Kate Bush In Her Own Words

Hounds Of Love Album

Released 16 September 1985
Made No. 1 (Double Platinum)


  • The HandSome Cabin Boy
  • The title comes from one of the songs, which is entitled ``Hounds of Love,'' and this album for me is like two quite separate pieces of work: the a-side and the b-side. The a-side is very much five individual songs that are in some way all linked by love as a theme, and this seemed to be a title which really did sum up that side. We actually gave a title to the b-side of the album as well, but because you can't have two titles for an album, so we just went for the a-side title to cover it all. (1985, Homeground)


    *It's almost like two separate albums for me, this really, in that the first side is five separate songs, if they're linked it's only be the theme of love - they're all forms of love songs, they're about relationships. They're all very different subject matters from each other. And the second side of the album is a conceptual piece which is seven songs all linked together. And it's very much something that was designed and written to work as one piece of music. (1985, Rockline)


    *John in particular, seems to have been closely involved musicly - more closely [Laugher] involved musically with hounds of love then previous albums. Is there any particular reason for this?

    John: Well, I think it's the new studio, because having the studio at home gives a very relaxed feeling to the work. So I mean there are a number of other reasons, really the creative ones and there were some gaps in there and I cleaned them up a bit.

    Paddy: Right. And in fact this particular album has shown a slight trend toward using this vocal voice with music as well as the song's voice... And so quite a lot of us were involved in an audio kind of way. We're asked to say things, things are put on to message machines - telephone answering machines and stuff like this. We're asked to phone people up and say silly things like ``good morning, dear this is early morning call.'' all this kind of stuff. (1985, kate bush con. Paddy and jay interview)


    *Yes, how do you keep tabs on whether you're loosing track on reality? You know, whether you're getting to self-indulgent?

    You mean, in context of an album?


    I think you just have to rely on a voice inside you saying that it's getting better and everything that you do to it does make it better and not worse.

    Actually a lot of critics have felt, well the ones I've seen, that there are some very, very commercial bits in this as well, that maybe you were aware that the last lp perhaps did go away from the mainstream a bit. Do you agree with them?

    I don't feel it went away from the mainstream. Whenever you make an album, you just do it and you hope all the songs are good and that you're trying to express what you want at that time. And I felt that I've done that, certainly with the last three albums. (1985, The Old Grey Whistle Test)


    On this album I wanted to get away from the energy of the last one - at the time I was very unhappy, I felt that mankind was really screwing things up. Having expressed all that, I wanted this album to be different - a positive album, just as personal but more about the good things. A lot depends on how you feel at any given time - it all comes out in the music. (1985, Now)


    I do think this has got a much more positive energy. Not necessarily that the last album was dark, but it was dealing with intensities of emotion. Perhaps a more introverted album and this is more outward and happy, yeah. (1985, Late November, The New Music)


    *Though that is exemplary of the bush style -- extreme characters and odd concepts -- she has been known to go even further. Several albums ago, ``the wedding list'' described a protagonist ``coming for'' the ex-lover who killed her new husband.

    Yes, the last records tended to be extreme, [she says, noting how songs that changed] from mood to mood [made it more difficult for her to fully get involved with an entire record].

    Perhaps there's more of a sense of continuity on this album, but that's just my humble subjective opinion. [one thing's for sure:] It's the lightest album and the easiest for me emotionally. (1985, Pulse!)


    *I never was so pleased to finish anything if my life. There were times I never thought it would be finished. It was just such a lot of work, all of it was so much work, you know, the lyrics, trying to piece the thing together. But I did love it, I did enjoy it and everyone that worked on the album was wonderful. And it was really, in some ways, I think, the happiest I've been when I'd been writing and making an album. And I know there's a big theory that goes 'round that you must suffer for your art, you know, ``it's not real art unless you suffer.'' And I don't believe this, because I think in some ways this is the most complete work that I've done, in some ways it is the best and I was the happiest that I'd been compared to making other albums. (1991, Classic Albums)


    Do you generally record in the daytime or nighttime?

    Much more in the day with this album than the last. And I think that sort of goes with the energies, actually. The Dreaming was much more of a nighttime album, I'd normally do my vocals in the evening. But on this album I tended to do them in the afternoon when it was sunny because the atmosphere was right then, because the songs were quite uplifting.

    There seems to be so much water-imagery on this album.

    Yes, well I think as soon as I decided to go for the concept, I sort of said, ``Oh, let's be brave and go for it,'' then the energies, the synchronicities, or whatever you want to call them, started coming into play and nearly everyone I was working with was a water-sign! But I think, again, a lot of people have commented already on how the album seems to them very elemental - you know, full with the elements wind and rain. And I can't help but put quite a lot of that down to the fact that I moved out into the country. Instead of being boxed in by big houses, the visual stimulus coming in was that of fields and trees and seeing the elements doing their stuff.

    Certain of the new songs, like `` and dream of sheep'' and `` hello earth,'' strike me rather like hollywood show-tunes: They're rather cinematic.

    I think in a way they're, umm, probably the most visual songs I've written, in that when I was writing them, I had in mind what potentially might be done with them, visually, which isn't normally the sort of way you go about writing a song. So it'll be interesting if we can ever actually turn it into a film, which is what I'd like to do, and to see if it takes to it well.

    Do you think in your writing you've gradually departed further and further, structurally speaking, from the standard pop-song formula?

    I don't know! I suppose I have in some ways. But particularly rhythmically perhaps subconsciously I've moved more towards that. I mean the constant rhythm with fewer breaks is more in evidence on the new album: though the music is changing, the rhythm keeps on going, and in a way I think that actually makes it a little more commercial. But I think trying to tell the story musically is the biggest concern for me now, rather than...I mean, obviously the structure of the song is always important, but in a way the story tends to dictate that a little bit.

    I suppose the songs on side one are more to formula: Verse, verse, chorus, etc.

    Yes, absolutely.

    But it's not just the case that side one was just put together out of a lot of odds and sods?

    No, no, not at all!

    Del: I would say that, in fact, probably over the course of time there's been more time and effort spent on some of the tracks on side one.

    Kate: Recording, yes, but, compositionally, more on the second side, the ninth wave. The songs on side one were written quite quickly.

    It seems to me that perhaps hounds of love doesn't cohere so organically in terms of texture and emotion as did the dreaming and that, rather than being such a masterpiece, it's a collection of several smaller masterpieces like ``hello earth,'' `` jig of life,'' and things like that.

    Well, I think the problem with Side Two, The Ninth Wave, is that it is an overall concept, and ideally I would have liked two sides of an album to develop it. But I wouldn't like to feel the album was just lots of little cameos that have been put together but rather that the album does flow. It's true, the first side is very much made up of separate songs. But it's so interesting what you say, because so many people have just the opposite reaction in that they found The Dreaming terribly difficult, I just don't think they could understand it. That's fascinating, extraordinary! (1985, Musician)


    One can't help but notice that the first three songs on your new album, though quite excellent indeed, have a distinctly more ``commercial pop'' sound to them than anything on the dreaming. Was this to help make the album sell better than the dreaming, or did you feel it artistically important to make some music that might be more accessible to more people, or did it just come sort of come out that way?

    I don't feel that it is that much more obviously commercial. I mean, I think from what people say, they feel that it is, but for me they are very similar energies. They are just trying to create as interesting a song as possible with the best production to accompany it. And to make it different. And I think what makes it more accessible for people is the consistency of rhythm. I can't really see that much difference, apart from how different songs are anyway from each other.

    Well, did you think to yourself, ``well, if I use a consistency of rhythm that it will be more accessible to more people'' when you went about writing the song, or did you -


    - Just want to do that?

    Well, I write a song because it's what I like at the time. On the last album I was beginning to get very intrigued with the use of rhythm. I realy like using rhythm, and I think this album is a progression of how I've learned to work with it. (1985, Love-Hounds)


    You see, the thing is, with a lot of the stuff on the new album, would you agree if I said that the first side anyway was probably the most commercial thing you've done to date? [Long silence.] or don't you like that word ``commercial''

    No, I think especially from your mouth I can accept it! And in some ways I think you're very right: it is, and not necessarily so intentionally as perhaps I thought. I think the development of rhythm in my music is perhaps one of the things that makes it obviously more available to people, and a constancy of rhythm perhaps wasn't always there in previous albums.

    That's exactly what I'm talking about. I mean it's the rhythm tracks I find on this album are tremendous. Were you totally responsible for that?

    No, I wasn't. I think a very big influence was Del Palmer, who when I was initially coming up with the songs... I would actually get Del to manifest in the rhythm box the pattern that I wanted. As a bass player I think he has a very natural understanding of rhythms and working with drums, and he could also actually get the patterns that I could hear in my head and that I wanted, so it's sort of through him that we started off with the rhythmic basis that was then built upon and was very much what I wanted. (1985, Homeground)


    Was it your idea to do something that was very complex and something that was very easy on this album? - or simple?

    Yes. There were definite areas of simplicity that I wanted to work with musically, particularly in the traditional areas. And also I wanted to move away from certain chord patterns that I'd definitely become very fond of over the last few albums. And, um...though I did move away from them a bit, I definitely hung onto my old favourites. (1985, Homeground)


    Many hours were spent on tiny vocal ideas that perhaps only last half a minute. Many hours went on writing lyrics - one of the most difficult parts in the process for me, in that it's so time-consuming and so frustrating, and it just always seems to take far too long for something that seems as though it should come so naturally. One of the difficult things about the lyrics is that when I initially write the song, perhaps half of the lyrics come with it but it's almost more difficult fitting in the other half to make it match than it would be perhaps to start from scratch, where, for instance, you might have just hummed the tune; or where, in some cases, I wrote them as instrumentals, and then the tunes [??? Perhaps she meant lyrics] were written over the top of this. Many times I ring up Paddy and ask him to come over to the studio immediately, to bring in that string-driven thing - to hit that note and let it float. [N.b.: ``hit that note and let it float'' is a quotation from ``big-eyed bees from venus", a song by captain beefheart and the magic band.]

    One of the most positive things is now having our own recording studio where we can experiment freely, and it's definitely one of the best decisions I've made since I've been recording albums. We've put a lot of hard work into this album, so we've been waiting for it to be finished and ready, and I know you've been waiting. I hope that after this time, and after all the snippets of information we've been giving you, you don't find it disappointing, but that you enjoy it, and that you enjoy listening to it in different ways again and again.

    This album could never have happened without some very special people. Many thanks to Julian Mendelsohn, and especially Haydn Bendall and Brian Tench, who put a lot of hard work into this project, to all the musicians, who are a constant inspiration, to Ma who helps with every little thing, to Paddy and Jay for all their inspiration and influences, and again to Del for all those moments we've captured on tape together. (1985, KBC 18)


    Kate's reveries are broken by the phone ringing. Good news and bad news. The good news is that her record has jumped straight into the top ten - another number one would be terrific, fantastic, amazing. The bad news is that the album artwork must be changed immediately. Side two of the disk, a concept piece called the ninth wave, has been wrongly coupled with a verse from alfred lord tennyson's ``the holy grail'' The quotation turns out to be from another poem altogether ["The coming of arthur"]. The connotations of this faux pas are immensely embarrassing to kate. (1985, What Kate Bush Did Next)


    So what's different about this new album, as opposed to all the other ones, how is it a progression?

    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.

    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?

    Yeah, it cost a lot of money. You gotta find the right place. (1985, MTV)


    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.

    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. [Smiles] (1985, MTV)


    So, I mean, you have the studio and everything, and it was to help make it easier, but what about the subject matter. Do you feel that these songs are about different things than songs on your previous album?

    Yes, I think the last album was quite an intense album. I think it was about emotion and there were a lot 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.

    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.

    On this album?


    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.

    Ok, so then `` running up that hill'' is just the beginning of a whole cycle?

    [Long pause] how do you mean?

    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?"

    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.

    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?

    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. (1985, MTV)


    Is hounds of love an exorcism for you? Or not?

    An exorcism. In what way?

    Well, in the way of getting something out of your system.

    I think every album is. Every song, in a way, is channeling or releasing a form of energy. Yes, so every song is, really.

    But having done it now, do you feel content, as it were?

    Yes, I was very pleased when that album was finished. It took a long time and a lot of work, and I think, for what we were trying to do, it's quite pleasing. Yes. (1985, Picture Disk)


    Do you think that hounds of love is much more controlled than the previous album?

    Controlled. [Pensive] I think it's probably more constant. The last album was dealing with a lot of very different things, and very different places, different atmospheres, in tracks maybe next to each other. I think there's more a sense of a theme on this album. Obviously on the second side, but even on the first side, although they're separate songs, I think they are still, they have a flavor that's consistent.

    So you'd say it was more consistent than the previous album?

    Yes, I think there's more sense of flow from track to track. But I was very happy with the last album, it was certainly a mark for us. (1985, Picture Disk)


    The first in my own studio. Another step closer to getting the work as direct as possible. You cut all the crap, don't have all these people around and don't have expensive studio time mounting up. A clean way of working. (1989, Tracks)


    Just on the lighter side, it's a wonderful cover, the album cover. Now, the two hounds on the cover with you, where did they come from? How long did it take to pose that picture? Because it must have taken a long time.

    Yes, it's a very popular question! The two dogs are friends of ours. And John, my brother, who took the photograph, had a lot of trouble keeping them under control. I think he had a very strong word with them and got them to behave, and it really was just a matter of patience, because we'd get the whole scene set up, and then the dogs would come in and they'd be walking all over me and everything, and it would be totally ruined in five minutes, so we'd have to start again.

    So they behaved themselves in the end, anyway?

    They did eventually, to the point where they just went to sleep!

    And they got a little mention on the album, as well.

    Absolutely, for all that effort. (1985, Homeground)


    The hounds that appear on the album cover look soft and sleepy, but it took a lot of time before they settled down. They wrecked the set a few times... (C.1986, AVD)

    There's lots of credits on the album to comic characters and people involved in comedy. Why them?

    Because in some way they've been involved or helped, either with the album or something connected to it, and it was a way of saying thank you.

    They didn't all come and give you handclaps and all that. [Laughs]

    [Laughing] no, I'm afraid not. I wish they had! (1985, Picture Disk)


    It becomes increasingly difficult for me to talk about the content of the songs. I'm not sure why. Maybe it's because the more I go on, the more I feel it's for the songs to say than for me. Especially with the second side on this album I see it very visually. I would eventually love to see this as a piece of film, and so I feel restricted about talking about these songs other than to give a brief analysis of the story. Otherwise, I find that perhaps too much energy is going into talking about the visual side of it, rather than doing it. I will try to give a brief analysis and to fill you in more about some of the people we didn't get round to talking about in the last Newsletter. (1985, KBC 18)


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