Lush’s Miki Berenyi “The Interview 2008” and her personal photo album Part 3( Part 1 is here ,and part 2 here )
Miki Interview 1996
Miki: “Me with Ian Astbury (The Cult) after our gig at the Electric Ballroom in 1996. Chris was an absolutely MASSIVE fan of The Cult (well, back to when they were Southern Death Cult) and met Ian the first time during the Ride tour in 1991 in LA. Ian ended up joining us on stage in LA one unforgettable time to duet on the song Ciao! (the Jarvis duet on Lovelife). The really funny thing though was that when we went through it at the soundcheck, it became obvious that Ian had got a bit confused and thought we were going to cover the Cult’s Edie (Ciao Baby). We’re playing the intro and he’s going “It’s quite skiffle, isn’t it?”. Chris was laughing so hard he could barely play.”
“Ciao!” By Lush (ft. Jarvis Cocker)
Miki: “Interview with ‘Kennedy’ at the MTV Weenie Roast – a big production stadium gig that’s comparable to various media-run roadshows, but this is in a fucking huge stadium. There was a revolving stage so that as one band played, the next band could set up. That was the theory anyway. We were on after The Fugees who, clearly, had been booked into that slot shortly before they spent about a million weeks in the top ten with Killing Me Softly. As a consequence, they weren’t too keen on playing so low down on the bill and turned up late, spent ages setting up and then failed to leave the stage after their third song, a 15-minute rendition of No Woman No Cry. By this time the MTV organisation had had enough and as Lauryn Hill’s soulful vocals released the first strains of their hit song the stage started to revolve slowly and the rapturous cheering turned to boos as Lush appeared, startled and apologetic. Possibly the most Spinal Tap moment of my entire music career.”
Miki : With Mark Gardener (Ride) at Phoenix 1996. I only put this in because I didn’t have any photos from the 1991 tour and we’d had such a lovely time – the band and the crew were all really lovely and it was such a great way to have our first adventure to America.”
Photos 36 Is From Kat Bjelland (Babes In Toyland) own collection
Miki: “Somewhere on stage – 1993”
Miki: “Photo shoot for Lovelife with the Fiat 500 car.”
“Love At First Sight” By Lush
Miki : “My last New Year’s Eve with Chris – Dec 1995 ”
It’s a obviously a big decision for anybody to leave a successful group at the height of their fame, but it is said that music is the purest form of self expression and many artists feel the need to branch out away from their band mates and tread a different path. In the case of Charlotte Hatherley its certainly a decision that’s paid off. With two critically acclaimed albums behind her, an army of loyal fans, and her own record label she doesn’t appear to have broken stride since quitting as Ash’s guitarist in January 2006. She oozes pure rock n roll coolness, think Chrisse Hynde with supermodel looks, and your in the right ballpark, but with Charlotte it’s all about the music and the performance and she’s down to earth enough to write in her own myspace tour blogs about the dangers of eating curries before performing on stage ! Whilst Songs like “Kim Wilde” and “Bastardo” have earned her a cult following her latest album “The Deep Blue” will only enhance her reputation and new single “Again”, could well be her finest song to date, a tale of love regret and maybe the heart ruling the head? It’s a song which clearly demonstrates that Chazza has developed into a truly great songwriter, and “The Deep Blue” contains of collection of songs which any artist would be proud of.
We said “Guten Tag!” to Charlotte as her UK acoustic tour ended and her live dates in Germany where about to commence.
VP: Since leaving Ash you’ ve released two solo albums, received critical acclaim, gigged tirelessly and gathered a loyal army of fans. You must be delighted, how different does life as a solo artist differ from that of being a member of a band?
CH:I suppose it’s the difference between being a front-person and being a guitarist….i see myself mainly as a guitarist and playing in a band is just great fun, I never really have to worry about image or being sober. With Ash I would wear whatever felt comfortable and merrily get drunk on stage. Being a solo artist is a bit more serious and more thought goes into it. You have to present yourself in a much more assertive and convincing way, and I feel I have to always be on form. But I try to make the band I have with me as a solo artist feel like a band of friends, rather than just hired hands, so it’s still a lot of fun on the road.
VP ….And you’ve recently done an acoustic tour , what was the thinking behind this ? I’ve noticed quite a few bands recently whom seem keen to play more intimate gigs …
CH:Anyone can be a musician with a laptop and garage band, so the actual theatricality of a intimate stage show is becoming quite rare and I’ve been amazed by how much people prefer to see the acoustic shows, and really love to see up close the three of us playing quite intricate and delicate songs. Initially I was quite reluctant because I didn’t want it to be a boring ‘girls with acoustic guitars’ show, if I saw that advertised I would certainly be put off. I’ve made sure that it still remains interesting and exciting, despite being very stripped down.
VP: Songwriting ? would you consider your style observational, personal, poetically abstract ?? what’s the process , is it spontaneous or do you sit down and think “Ok I’m going to write two great songs today”
CH:I don’t think about my songwriting in any way, it happens and I record at home. Mostly it starts with a guitar riff, and usually the lyrics are the last thing that I write. Anything in between is a guess, it changes often. Some days there is a very definite drought, other days I can be very prolific. I am a dreadful procrastinater, I wish I could be more disciplined.
VP: Since of birth of what is referred to as ” rock n roll” what do you personally consider to be the most inspirational period/decade?
CH: I think music now is incredibly exciting and inspirational. Of course I am a huge fan of Bowie, Roxy Music, Kate Bush and Eno…so I guess the 70s really do it for me, but to experience this dramatic change in the music industry first hand, right now is very inspiring. So much is happening it’s hard to keep up. As everyone around loses their heads certain bands are seizing the moment and adapting to the climate and some seriously exciting times and music are ahead of us. It’s hard for me remain a completely independent artist as it’s virtually impossible to make any money from record sales, but I’m finding ways of surviving, and all these great and innovative new bands will too, so I am sure this era will be looked upon as very important in the future.
VP: What music are you listening to at the moment , and who are your all time musical heroes?
CH:I love the Battles album ‘Atlas’, it is incredible. I also love The Klaxons, and have been listening to a lot of classical music, Bernstein, Koechlin, Debussy and Morton Feldman. All time heroes would have to be Bowie and Kate Bush.
VP: Do you think there is a dearth of decent music shows on TV nowadays .In the past there were old established shows such as Ready Steady Go, Top Of The Pops., then more innovative shows such as The Old Grey Whistle Test , Revolver, The Tube and of course Cheggars Plays Pop ? Do you feel there’s still a niche in the market for a really great music show ( we Still have Jools Of Course)
CH: Jools Holland is hideous , although you occasionally get the odd interesting band and they really stand out as different and exciting. I guess YouTube has become a breeding ground for music videos and live performances. Touring is becoming so important for bands as people aren’t buying records anymore, so perhaps TV live performances are more important than ever as bands need people to go and see them…and lord knows there are so many fucking bands touring that you never know who to see. I bought the Battles album after seeing them on Jools Holland, and that stuff will never be played on the radio, so a whole programme full of bands like that would be really ace.
VP: When you look back at 2007 what do you think your highlights will be ?
CH: Releasing ‘The Deep Blue’ on my own label and getting through the year
VP: There seems to be quite a number of bands reforming recently. influential legends like The JAMC but also a clutch of what I can only term as “the less than leading lights of Brit pop brigade” . Even the Pistols are playing 50 quid a ticket shows. Are there any bands that you wish would reform and any you really wish hadn’t bothered?
CH: No, I don’t like any of the Britpop bands, except for The Bluetones. I don’t quite see the point in Britpop reformations, it wasn’t even that bloody long ago.
VP: There’s no denying you give off an aura of proper rock n roll cool, often people who are cool deny it, what do you think ? are you cool? .
CH:I’m from Chiswick, and that ain’t ever gonna be cool. (Denial = she’s cool! )
VP: That Bono fellows a funny wee man , clearly desperate for a Nobel peace prize or canonisation. But who do you consider to be real heroes of this confusing modern age in which we live …
CH: Alan McGee and all who follow his example in this VERY confusing modern age of the music business. He has a total belief in bands and music and is ready to change and adapt and dares to try new ways to make music available, whilst still protecting the bands that make it.
This month’s Uncut magazine has reviewed ’The Deep Blue’….4 out of 5 stars y’all. Check it: Hatherley always looked like having more about her than being someone else’s rhythm guitarist. She fullfills that promise on her second solo set, flowering into a serious talent. Having just taken off the stabilisers by leaving Ash, it’s even braver, largely abandoning the bubblegum punk of her debut in favour of a magic-realist fantasy forest reminiscent of classic 4AD indie girls. The elegant “Roll Over” and the spectral “Dawn Treader” prove Hatherley is a far deeper beast than her rock chick stylings have so far suggested.
Bristol’s Santa Dog produce an accomplished, glistening sound with razor sharp guitar riffs and have in front person and lyricist, Rowena Dugdale a vocalist who conjures up the ghosts of Harriet Wheeler and Sonya Aurora Madan. It’s been said that Santa Dog sound a little like Britpop bands such as Echobelly and Sleeper crossed with the polished guitar jangle of the Smiths, whilst adding into the mix a liberal dash of the lyrical darkness of Throwing Muses tempered with the sweetness of The Sundays. I can concur with some of these comparisons to a degree, although Rowena certainly has a stronger and more tuneful voice than Kristen Hersh’s menacing growls and primal yelps, but I really can’t see the Sleeper connection(cue Elastica joke) After a good few listens of Santa Dog’s debut album “Kittyhawk” you`ll start to notice a darker side lurking just beneath the shimmering pop tunes . Dugdale’s lyrics are very much of the here and now, there are deft references to the paranoia of the modern world and how technology can enslave as much as it can liberate “computers die/and data lies /your iris pattern doesn’t match your eyes “- “Big Bang. ” Certainly some songs appear to contain oblique yet poetic Orwellian references that conjure up images of a society manipulated by the media and watched over by the state “I tune into the TV station /and get brainwashed with the rest of the nation/I’m so caught up with what I’m thinking/My minds full but my body’s aching” –“Belle De Jour.”
It’s an album that reveals more and more of its inner layers after repeated playing and Dugdale’s edgy lyrics and thematics make for an intense but hugely enjoyable experience. Tracks such as “Yeah, Yeah, Yeah ” “Big Bang” “Chemical” and “Belle De Jour” really should be on national radio on a regular basis instead of the usual misogynistic, booty obsessed self parodying cobblers that Hippty Hop has become. It defies logic that our national radio stations play this sort of guff, when we have intelligent, vibrant homegrown bands like Santa Dog just waiting to be discovered ….but I digress.
Rowena dropped by VP Towers to have a chat about weighty matters such as music/ technology/global warming and of course, has light entertainment in the UK ever recovered from the horrifying revelation that “Wee Jimmy Krankie” was actually not a cheeky Glaswegian school boy, but was in reality a grown woman of 60 !!! Forget the recent “Blue Peter Cat” scandals, this was the deception of a nation…….. It’s a twisted world…..
VP: How did the band get together?
Rowena (RD) : It’s been a jigsaw that has fitted together over time….me and Rob met over 10 years ago in Edinburgh, we met Martin in the pub a couple of years ago and bonded over discussing the finer merits of Prefab Sprout, and Steve (bass) is the newest addition, he joined this summer (luckily he likes the Sprout too).
VP: What have you released thus far Ms Rowena ?
RD : We self-released 3 EPs in 2005 and 2006, Delicate, Chemical, and Belle de Jour. Our first single – Big Bang (7″) was released July 2007 by SoundsXPerience and KittyHawk, the debut album was released June 2007 by Quince Records, in Japan.
VP : Any up coming live performances?
RD : We’re looking forward to supporting former VPME interviewees Canadian popsters Pony Up at Bristol’s Louisiana on 5th Nov. On 1st Dec we’re playing an afternoon event curated bySoundsXPerience @ ROTA – Notting Hill Arts club in London. New Years Eve we’re playing Bristol again – Klub Kute at The Cooler. We also have some Italian shows next year:
14 Feb at Lego, Cesena, Italy
15 Feb at Vibra, Modena, Italy
17 Feb at Mattatoio, Carpi, Italy
VP : How did you go about getting your excellent album “Kittyhawk” released ?
RD: Fortuitously, Japanese label Quince emailed us just as we were scratching our heads about what to release next, whether to do a single or another EP. Their backing gave us the confidence to launch into recording our debut album. They gave it full release in Japan, which was exciting for us, it’s available over here as import.
VP: What’s the Bristol music scene like at present ? Any bands you’d recommend?
RD: I’m a big fan of the Bristol scene, there’s a lot going on, but in true Bristol style a lot of it is under the radar. Countryside are one of our favourites, along with Safetyword, Babel, You and the Atom Bomb, Seagull Strange and the Wraiths.
VP: And the music scene in general at the moment? A clean bill of health or in need of major surgery?
RD : My eyes have been well and truly opened in the last couple of years to the way the industry works in terms of plugging/PR/hype. My previously innocent and naive belief that bands rose to the top purely through talent/deservedness has been well and and truly kicked into touch. It’s a grubby business and I can’t see that ever changing but there are some truly wonderful bands around at the moment and thanks to sites like myspace more people have access to them without needing to read about them in the press first.
VP : Pop Idol, X factor, American Idol , Singing Taxi Drivers On Ice etc . It has been said that shows such as this have turned the country into a huge medieval village that enable us to stand around in the village square and laugh at the fools? What do you think of shows such as this?
RD : Putting aside the analysis – watching the auditions makes for great telly. It’s all about entertainment rather than music…. a ridiculous ego-driven pile of pomp. It spawned Girls Aloud though and they do great pop!
VP: Global warming , should we be worried , or should we just leave it in Bono’s god like hands ?
RD : Ha ha, don’t leave it to that gurning monkey, he’ll accidently drop it whilst adjusting his thinning locks in the mirror. Interesting that Al Gore’s video has been causing a stir amongst educationalists in schools over here. They may call it alarmist but sometimes you need to exaggerate the facts and go over the top to make a point. We should all be worried.
VP: Technology – has it made music more accesible or more disposable . whats your view on how the internet has influenced the whole muisc scene over the last 7-8 years
RD : More accessible I think. From a personal point of view, networking sites like Myspace have been amazing – we have been able to organise gigs so much more easily than before and thanks to worldwide blogs we sold more EPs abroad than over here. Transpose that to the whole scene in general and that’s a whole lot of bands grabbing the DIY ethic by the horns rather than waiting from a phonecall from The Man.(Who ? me ? ) As for disposability – blame the majors for their spit-em-out mentality. Why has longevity become a dirty word?