“Another Version Of Pop Song” By Rose Elinor Dougall
“I Know We’ll Never” By Rose Elinor Dougall
“DON’T CALL ME ROSAY”………..
To lose one pipette may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose two looks like carelessness, but to lose all three? Oh my! When the news came filtering through that the artist formerly known as Rosay Pipette had left Brighton’s retro-pop outfit, the Pipettes, the initial reaction of shock was quickly replaced by “what the devil’s going on ?” Was it that old chestnut “musical differences?” Was it the “let’s try and crack America” conundrum, a land so vast that endless hours on a tour bus can send many bands totally stark, raving mad and help nurture unhealthy desires to kill fellow band mates (which does nothing for morale, but on the bright side, there’ll certainly be more leg-room on the tour bus.) Had the deranged fan, whose gargantuan tongue made Jamie Oliver’s look like it fitted snugly within the confines of his mouth and who apparently licked and slobbered all over Rose’s arm at a U.S in-store signing, convinced her that life as a Pipette was just too darn risky? Was there a massive big kick-off, with noses, hair and ears being pulled as well as shapes? … Who knows?
Maybe, and I know this is quite absurd, but after about 4/5 years, Rose may have fancied a new challenge? I prefer the “cat fight” version myself, I mean we shouldn’t let the truth get in the way of a good story eh? ;) As a songwriter and performer there’s probably only so much you can contribute to a band that relies on a specific “formula”, and writing for and within a specific framework must surely get a little constrictive? After being responsible for some of the Pipettes best moments (Dirty Mind, Judy, I Love You, Sex, Magician Man and Your Love For Me ) Rose it seemed, felt she’d gone as far as she could within the confines of The Pipettes, and decided it was time to test the water as a solo artist. Shortly after the decidedly odd “official announcement” that she and Riot Becki were Pips no more, a myspace page appeared, through which Rose has released a number of lo-fi “bedroom demos” under her full name Rose Elinor Dougall. These gave an indication of the sort of direction Rose is looking to take, and it ain’t the “uber pop” route. The songs have a hazy, languid, ethereal feel (reminiscent of Au Revior Simone, perhaps?) with Rose’s vocals floating dreamily over a sparse, minimal backdrop of keyboards and the occasional acoustic guitar (and not a “honking horn” in sight!)
After the full on pop sound that has previously accompanied Rose’s singing, it’s rather nice to get back to basics and hear songs which give her voice room to breathe and isn’t competing against other layered vocals and polished but ultimately rather OTT production. Sometimes keeping it simple is far more rewarding ( and I should know). There’s a darker tone to Rose’s songs, if the Pipettes (who lets face it, on occasion, could make Alphabeat sound like Radiohead) declared they had “no regrets” it would seem that Rose may have a few, as there’s undoubtedly an atmosphere of melancholia which pervades quite a few of the numbers, both musically and lyrically. As she’s previously stated “it would be pointless for me to leave a band and then carry on writing versions of songs I used to sing. I have an opportunity to be far more personal, for starters, and I am very keen to challenge myself.” Fair enough, but was she up to the ultimate challenge of speaking to Mr VP about the past, present and future? ………Apparently so…;)
VP: So you decided the time was right to leave the Pipettes to concentrate on writing and performing your own songs, did you feel you’d gone as far as you could under the guise as “Rosay” Was it a case of wanting to branch out in different directions which you weren’t able to do within the remit of the “Pipette formula”
ROSE : Perhaps,I think its important to remember that I was in the band since I was 17, and within the four years a hell of a lot changed, for me personally and within the context of the group. I suppose I felt that I didn’t know what more I had to offer, which was quite a hard thing to come to terms with in many ways.. I also needed to know that i gave myself the opportunity to work in a different modes and areas.. Even if it is a complete f*cking failure I will know that I gave it my very best shot, and I felt that the beginning of this year was the right time to try and allow all of the ideas I’d had for so long come into fruition. There is an obvious structure to what the Pipettes do, and although I’m sure its evolving without me, I just felt I had personally come to the end of my time with it.
VP: Last year seemed to one of relentless touring, jetting all over the world, doing press, photoshoots etc is it difficult to adjust to “normality” when you’ve been through such an experience ?
ROSE: Admittedly last year was pretty mental and I had some really amazing experiences that I will never forget, but I don’t think any of us ever felt above our stations or anything, we were and are a pretty down to earth bunch… there was actually something really great about staying in the same place all year, and getting a job and getting in a position where I was able to focus on writing these songs. On the very rare occasions someone recognises me or brings up the band, it almost feels as though it wasn’t me, I find it all very surreal, a bizarre dream, but a pretty good one none the less….
VP: You’ve said you’ve been writing songs steadily for over a year, so can we assume there is at least albums worth? When do you hope to officially release any singles or an album even?
ROSE: I don’t know if ‘steadily’ is the right word, some months I will achieve loads, others have been less fruitful, but i have more than enough songs written, i just want to make sure that every single one is solid enough to get on the record. i would say I’m about 80-90% there, but I just want to make sure I’ve followed all of the little alleys and tributaries first. Hopefully I’ll start to record it by the end of the year, but there are plans formulating for maybe doing a little seven inch or something in the next couple of months.
VP: Would you say that you tend to write songs about personal experiences or are they rather more none specific?
ROSE: I obviously have the chance to be far more personal than I did before, and i would say that pretty much all of them are from my own experience or imaginings, but obviously influenced by observations of whats around me. Some of them are less specific than others in terms of reference point…..
VP: I’d imagine your output is going to be quite different from what we’ve previously heard, who would you say have been the major influences on your own sound?
ROSE: My approach to the song writing has been quite different to before, so it already is coming from a slightly different angle.. I’ve listened to a lot of Bridget St John, really fell in love with Hope Sandoval’s ‘Bavarian Fruit Bread’ album for a while, PJ Harvey.. I’ve always loved Broadcast, if I could get any where near the way their records sound I would be bloody chuffed… Yeah a lot of female singers, as ever, but then i got into quite a lot of more instrumentally focused music, such as The Penguin Cafe Orchestra, Delius, Debussy, John Fahey…. And I listen to the radio a lot these days so all of that has seeped into the old brain I s’pose….
VP: How do you eventually envisage playing live, would you like a full band or would it be a more acoustic, minimal set up ?
ROSE: The live thing is something i have given a lot of thought to lately.. I’m hoping to play a couple of very very tiny little gigs in the next couple of months just so i don’t get completely out of the habit, and to test the songs out, and because I miss it so much, and that will probably be just me on my own..(terrifying) however I have no real desire to be a strict solo artist in that way, and I know the songs will need more to make them sound the way I want them to. I have always loved playing with other people and that exchange of ideas is one of the best things about music for me, so I’d eventually want a little group. Its not going to be a standard indie line up, but how big it gets will probably depend on how the record ends up sounding, and also the people I meet.. I will probably try and keep it below seven though, because organising that many people is a bloody military operation!
VP: Initially whilst in the Pips you were studying Art , do still you give your artistic talents a through work out, and would you maybe design your own cover art in the future.
ROSE: I left my art degree in a slight flurry of confusion and mayhem, and the nature of my course was very much about deconstructing and restructuring the ways in which you think about making work..I got to the deconstruction part but never made it to the restructuring, so I left feeling slightly unsure of myself… I really want to start painting again and have been doodling away for the last couple of years.. I would love to do my own artwork, but it the aesthetic would have to be right for the music, and if that doesn’t happen I have loads of far more talented friends who have all just graduated from art school who I’m sure would do a much better job than me!!!!
VP: What music have you been listening to in the last month?
ROSE: Apart from my own stuff (hahaha!!!), I like the Wild Beasts record, Altered Images, Lykke Li, loads of 60s psych my brother Tom brings round, my friends band Patrick Hamilton, quite like Ida Maria when she comes on the radio, ( I think she sounds like the sort of girl I would get on with although her band are a bit bland) um… we listen to loads of country in the bar I work in… got really into Big Star with my boss lately..
VP: Who’s the last band you saw live, that made you go “Wooo” ( if indeed you have ever gone “wooo”)
ROSE: I saw My Bloody Valentine the other week and if that doesn’t make you go ‘wooo’ I don’t know what will…
VP: Finally what was the last thing you watched on TV, the last thing you bought and the last thing that made you laugh (very “Smash Hits” I know)
ROSE: (Gonna sound like a ponse now..) just watched the culture show tonight, I went to the supermarket today and bought some broccoli and some tuna amongst other things, and the last thing that made me laugh was my lovely flat mate Olivia.. can’t remember what it was about but we do spend most days giggling…
“Another Version Of Pop Song” is released on limited edition 7” through Scarlett records on December 8th 2008. It Can be pre-ordered here