KT Cloudbusting -- Kate Bush In Her Own Words


It's another art form that takes a song to a person. But in a way, it becomes it's own entity. Once you put visuals with a song, it becomes something completely different from the song itself. Ideally, I would like people to hear the songs before they see a video of it, so that at least their imagination has a chance to treat it freely, for a little while. (1985, CNN)


What kind of importance do you attach to the video of the song? It seems to me that it becoming more and more one of the same thing almost, its almost a part of that initial, original creation.

Yes, it is getting closer, but I haven't actually managed that yet, where the point I'm actually writing the song I can see it all. And I think the reason is, because when I write the song, although I'm visualizing it, its quite a different thing because it's so real. Like if I writing a song about another person, I really try to become that person, so I'd be totally different. When you create the videos you tend to use a more theatrical approach, rather than the real thing. So maybe that's one reason.

They are getting closer. I find it gets easier with most of them to create the visual ideas. Sometimes its harder, it really does depend on the song. Because the song lays down every key move, who you are, what you wear, what color the set is, you know. Its really the song dictates it all.

And I think a great deal of my stimulus now comes from visuals - television. I'm one of the television generation, you know, where, a televisions in my house from, I can't remember where there wasn't one here. And I was always in front of the television, instead of doing my homework. I wasn't off reading books, I was watching television. And cinema, that's still a very big treat for me to go and see a film. So all the stimulus comes rushing in and I pack it away in the back. And it will come out maybe a couple of years later.

What's your most successful video to date, in your opinion?

From an artistic point of view, definitely `` Army Dreamers'' (1980, Profiles In Rock)


Why do you always move your eyes right and left in your videos? It is very pleasant to watch, but it intrigues me. What is the idea behind it?

I have to watch out for any demons that might be creeping up on me, and video shoots attract so many of them that I have to keep an extra eye out in case they trip me up while we're going for a take. You've seen what happens to Faith Brown because she doesn't look out for them. [Kate's referring to brown's parody of her `` wuthering heights'' video, in which brown trips and falls.] (1984, KBC 16)


How important is video to you?

I think video has become something a little out of proportion at the moment in that it's being quite exploited. Everyone has to do a video now if they've got a single coming out so there's an awful lot of stuff around. Therefore, like everything, when there's a lot of it, there's a lot of rubbish. I think there's some very good stuff happening and when it's good, I think it can be quite effective. I think the general badness of things gives video quite an unfair name in that in can be quite a creative form of art. I think it's a shame how it can influence things too much as well, perhaps it's a distracting influence sometimes from the song. I feel that in an industry that's a music industry that the music should come first rather than the video. it would be wrong if this got out of proportion and people were being signed cos they looked good on video rather than actually being musically worthy, so let's hope that the priorities stay right. (1985, Open Interview)


When the song also really works with the video that's great. That's only happened to me a couple of times - I think the last two videos are good [" running up that hill'' and `` cloudbusting"] especially the last one. That was so appropriate, and the one before was really a piece of dance, so we got away easy with that one. There have been a couple in the past as well, but I don't really like to have to make videos for a specific single unless it's a very visual song or tells a strong story. I think my ideal way of working would be to treat the whole thing as a complete entity - not to just stick pictures to a song whether they go together or not. I would like to explore the combination of the two more in the future. (1985, Now)


John's photographs are so creative that he always seems to add a sparkle to even the dullest moments. Videos, I feel, have moved into a different area - like the recording process gradually pulled me in, so does the visual world. It's impossible not to be, as soon as you become involved.

I still think some of the best videos are where the band/artist perform the song as a singer - just that simple. I share the feelings of many people who dislike a lot of pop videos: they're so... unstructured! But I think I've discovered that while videos are needed to go with a single, I can explore the medium of film-making, of what works and what doesn't. Much of what happens in a video is dictated by the song: the mood, the subject matter; but it's a fascinating area, and from what I can see so far, it's very similar to the recording process. It's working with pictures instead of sound - it's a very different beast, but still the same ``piecing together'' of a story, images. And I'm so lucky to be in a situation where I can play with sounds and pictures and see if there's anything in there I'm good at. (1986, KBC 19)


I was reading that the two videos that you're most pleased with, and the ones you like, are `` running up that hill'' and `` army dreamers.'' what was it that you didn't feel you liked about the other ones?

I have a couple of favourites since then -

Oh, good!

- but the main problem is that when you write a song, you write it as a song, and not as something that's visual. So quite often there isn't a visual story contained in a song, in a way that there should be to actually put on film. Budgets are a particular problem; it costs a lot of money. And time - usually it's such a rush job to get it together. But more recently we've been trying to get them done as much up front as possible, and spend more time, effort and money on them.

What are you new favorites?

I was quite pleased with `` Cloudbusting'' and `` Experiment Iv.'' And particularly with `` Army Dreamers,'' there was very much a visual story that was adequate for film, rather than just putting a song together; they very much had visual information that worked well on film.

Is the combination of unlike things a kind of oxymoron, something you apply to your visual work as well as your music?

They are very similar processes, but they are not... The way you approach them is completely different. With sound, for me what I'm trying to create is very much the atmosphere, the mood of what the song is designating. It does create its own personality in a way. And it is a matter of treating that personality in a way that it wants to, and quite often you think of things that would be nice to try on a new track and you put them on and the track just won't accept it; it just won't work. So there are only certain things that will happen. But visually, it's not so much a layering process as the jigsaw, you know, putting it all together. It's not quite the same way of layering things up that you do in sound. (1987, MuchMusic)


They're so cliched and narcissistic. Most of what I've done makes me cringe, though I liked `` Army Dreamers,'' because it was a complete little film, not too grand and not clouding the issue. `` Cloudbusting,'' too. That's probably the best I've ever done. But `` Experiment Iv was the first one I directed myself. I was so keen to do that because I actually knew I would be making a video while I wrote the song, so I was thinking visually from the start. But then it nearly killed me, the hours it took, directing and acting in it. Two weeks non-stop. It was too much for me... (1989, Q)


You always come up with something very distinctive to the way you look, and also video-wise, as well.

Well, I think that's jolly nice of you to say!

I'm just being a creep.

Well, I like you being a creep, Janice!

It's not as if you just release a record, and then there's no sort of strong thing to go with it.

I don't know, really. I think it's really nice that you should say that, because I think things like artwork - everything that accompanies the records: videos... Again, it's, hopefully, trying to stay within some kind of standard of what you want to say on the album. And I think it's increasingly difficult to do something interesting in music, and in videos, too. They have become so cliche-ed. I think a lot of people would like not to make videos. But it's a pressure that you can't argue with, because everyone does make a video, and until everyone stops making videos, you actually lose out by not doing so, because it's such a good way of getting people to hear the tracks. Television is a very big vehicle for music, and you get people to hear your music that way. (1989, Greater London)


Gaffaweb / Cloudbusting / Subjects / Videos