Rae Of Light-Lily Rae Interview

“Diane” By Lily Rae

If you were to cock a furtive ear to the horrible turgid soulless cacophony that commonly clutters up the pop charts you’d be forgiven for thinking that music was about as meaningful as Davina McCall’s contribution to high quality TV. But if you where to go online and visit many of the musical platforms available you’d be heartened to see (and hear) all manner of talented whipper snappers making the sort of music that makes the world a happier place. On my cyber travels one name kept popping up, “Lily Rae.” I then happened to hear of her mentioned in conjunction with Sad Gnome records. This should have pleased me, as I’m keen on Sad Gnome Records, with their excellent taste and stylish demeanor. But subconsciously I may have made another mental connection. You see I used to work with a chap whom I better not name, called Dave Rae, he was a horrid little shite, vertically challenged, with a nose so big it would arrive in Liverpool City Centre half an hour before he did. A real evil little gnome of a man. A bad sort, maybe unbeknownst to me, I had foolishly associated Lily’s surname and Sad Gnome with this chap (whom I best not name) Dave Rae, and I failed to investigate this young ladies talent. Or more logically (always my strong point,) I just didn’t have the time, I’d been distracted or I’d simply forgotten, like the lumpen headed oaf Iam (so much music, so little time.) Some weeks later I’d heard Julia and Simon of The Indelicates mentioning Lily in revered tones, and then not long afterwards Sad Gnome Records gave away a free Xmas download. I enjoyed Lily’s contribution immensely and scuttled off to her myspace page, sideways like a man crab, giving no more thought to evil gnomish ex work colleagues. Why had I not done so earlier? I discovered she had sang previously in a band called Bottle Rocket for about three years, until, as she describes it “after that particular musical expedition went tits up, so to speak, I decided it would be far easier (and more diplomatic) to just do it on my own.” Her songs are a joy, superbly structured, beautifully sung, with lyrics as clever as they were witty. Some of the best I’d heard in quite some time. Her debut single “Bad Film ” backed by the equally excellent “Scallywag” is to be released in January 2008- it’s rather marvellous. An impressed Mr VP had a natter with Lily and found out more about her musical world.

VP: . Ordinarily I normally ask “how did you meet?” As my opener ,but that wont work here. So instead maybe you could tell us how you came to be involved in the world of “music” 😉

Lily : Well, my Dad – who’s one of my Saturday Girls – was in a fairly dodgy rock band about twenty years ago called King Swamp, which was all ripped-jeans-and-feedback – so from a really early age I was being carted around gigs and festivals. There was always music playing in our house, as well; my Dad would be listening to Tom Waits in one room and my Mum would be listening to the B52s in another, so you literally couldn’t move for hearing something weird. It just became part of life in the end. Silence was horrible and dirty. And then I got a bit older and was very heavily into Morrissey and Kirsty MacColl, and that was the end of me.

VP: Your single Bad Film has just been released (28th January) on Sad Gnome records , what are your musical plans for 2008?

Lily : First and foremost, we need to get out and about with some more gigs. I’ve also got songs coming out of my ears at the moment, so I’ll be recording like a bitch from hell for quite a bit… I’d like to think we’ll have something resembling an album ready by December. That’d be nice.

VP : How would you describe your music?

Lily: I’ve dreaded this question for a while… I’m often compared to Kirsty MacColl, which is probably the best compliment I’ve ever received, but I think she was a lot less bitter and cross than I seem to be. My songs are all a bit on the “I’m Very Angry And Nursing A Lot Of Grudges” side. Oh sod it, we’re trying to be Sleeper for the 21st century. There, I said it.

VP: Who would you say are your musical inspirations?

Lily: I’m of the opinion that Jonathan Richman is the most perfect songwriter alive. Kirsty MacColl has always been a huge influence of course… early Morrissey goes without saying… Elvis Costello too, and I’ll finish up with Aidan Moffat (Arab Strap). If I’d written so much as one song off Philophobia I’d just lie in bed all day, chatting myself up.

VP: Have you played many gigs at this point? What have been the best experiences so far?

Lily: In Bottle Rocket we had gigs on almost every week – the best one I think we ever did was at Storm in Leicester Square, a couple of months before we split. That was amazing. In the crowd we could just make out two guys in Hawaiian shirts who were going absolutely mental over What’s She Got? which is good for the esteem whichever way you look at it. Admittedly gigs have been a bit low on the ground of late, for no other reason than we all seem to be terrible busytits at the moment, and we’re also lazy bastards who book gigs maybe once every couple of months. But we’ll be around more this year, you’ll be sick of us by the end of it. Maybe you already are, which means our careers are speeding up at least.

VP: Are there any bands/artists or musical styles that induce such intense feelings of dislike upon hearing them that you feel compelled to throw the radio out of the window. Or at least turn it off in a hurry?

Lily: Oh Christ, here we go. The Twang, the Enemy, the Pigeon Detectives, the Fratellis and The View made me actually vomit up my own kidneys once, and that’s not an exaggeration. I guess they’re easy targets but I’m ashamed to be British if all we’re about is ripping off the Libertines. I’m not a huge fan of Kate Nash either – she’s probably very sweet and lovely and all that, but her voice just makes me want to burn hair. U2 should’ve packed it in years ago. Don’t even get me started on Hard-Fi. The only band I feel any remorse for disliking are Belle and Sebastian – I can tell they’re an excellent band, but that doesn’t stop me wishing they’d just shut up and stop being so clever.

VP: New technology, i-pods , mobile phones that clean teeth, DAB toasters that are entertainment centres, do they enslave or liberate?

Lily : It depends how quickly you want your shiny new iPhone to get nicked I suppose. I’ve got a lovely little mp3 player that no-one would ever knife me for because it’s too ugly – I suppose if you’re from Hampstead it’s a lot easier to have hundreds of little life-enhancing gadgets on you than it is in Streatham, where I live. I think that, if it does its job, there’s no need to get a slightly shinier one with more buttons. If I had a James Bond mobile the size of a baked bean with bluetooth and 600 gigabytes for mp3s and an eight billion pixel camera and a nutter bastard little device that made everyone want to sleep with you, I’d probably be a bit embarrassed. Probably.

VP: Any new bands you think will make the grade this year and have a major breakthrough?

Lily : Well he’s been around a little while now, but I’m really hoping that this year Malcolm Middleton will get the attention he deserves. A close friend of mine would argue that if he had masses of success the depressive jilted bedsit miserablists that make up his fanbase (me included) would feel like they’d been dumped for sunnier mainstream audiences. I don’t think that would be the case though – there’s too much empathy involved for him to do that. I would’ve liked I Am The Arm, a bloody excellent band, to have really made it this year, but they’re splitting up after one more batch of gigs. It’s about time Of Montreal got a bit of recognition as well. And the Veils really should be household names in the UK by now.

VP: What are the first singles /albums you remember buying ?

Lily: I was a huge Proclaimers fan when I was younger so I bought everything they’d done when I was about ten. When I met them they signed my copy of This Is The Story and I was so excited I didn’t particularly mind that they’d spelt my name wrong. Free All Angels by Ash had a HUGE impact on me when it came out and I spent the next few years trying to be Charlotte Hatherley. I can remember buying Homogenic by Bjork really clearly as well – I only bought it because I liked the cover (it was quite squishy) and then I actually listened to it. It blew my mind completely. When you’re nine you shouldn’t really try and sing Joga unless your parents are already deaf.

VP: Excluding oxyegn and food and erm.. life what five things could you not live without?

Lily: My cat, Finn (geekishly named after Finn Andrews); teabags; my records; Simon Armitage; bitterness posing as sarcasm.


On Myspace

Sad Gnome Records

Bad Film


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The First Significant Interview Of 2008 ….The Indelicates

“The Last Significant Statement To Be Made In Rock n’Roll” -By The Indelicates

Sometimes to understand the present we must look back into the past…………………..

Once upon a time, old school chums Julia Clark-Lowes and Brighton based “musician”/promoter/children’s TV actor, Monster Bobby read a magical book “The Manual: How To Have A Number One The Easy Way “ by Bill Drummond. So inspired where they by Mr Drummond’s instructions they decided to form a girl group with a sound and image that harked back to the halcyon days of the Shangri-la’s, of Motown, of Phil Spector’s “wall of sound”, and back to a time when female groups ruled the pop world “before the Beatles came along and ruined everything” and so it came to pass…. The Pipettes were born. However, in time, Julia decided, this was n’t something she was comforatble with, it was a lie , fakery, smoke and mirrors and told the band of her plans. Alas, this was when things turned nasty, Monster Bobby (living up to his name “Bobby”) refused point blank to let Julia leave, even going so far as appointing renowned celebrity lawyers Alan Dershowitz and Robert L Shapiro to study the small print in her contract and to block Julia’s escape from this polka dotted gulag.  Tragically two original members of the Pipettes backing band the Cassettes were killed in the blood bath that ensued, as full-on war erupted in the musical world of Brighton. Yes artistic types in the area were routinely “wacking” each other and being a guitarist, a singer, a bassist or even a drummer, proved to be one of the most hazardous forms of self expression during those dark and violent times. The victims were many, yet horribly Luke Pritchard survived unscathed and this was the real tragedy of the “Brighton Indie-Pop War.” But even such futile acts of random violence failed to soften Bobby’s attitude “Lady, you’ll not sing in this town again” he pronounced as he threw his head back and laughed manically whilst chomping on a cigar and stroking his malevolent, hideously misshapen cat, the rancorous Dr. Sample. But Julia had already made up her mind, bullying wouldn’t cut it and she kicked Monster Bobby in his nob .

She later met a dashing young fellow called Simon, a poet, oracle and Brighton’s very own  haruspex, a chap who believd in truth and justice  and a chap who shared Julia’s musical vision and together they started to hatch a cunning plan aimed at bringing some semblance of peace to the war torn Brighton music scene…………………and then they thought “nah , F**k it let it fester,” and moved to Lewes

Well that’s what I’ve been told , ok so maybe it’s been slightly embellished over the years, possibly added to, and interwoven with half-truths rumour and innuendo, the official version is simply that Julia left to pursue other interests. Maybe she didn’t see updating the girl group template as simply shaking your ass, smiling and doing a mans bidding ? (Listen to “Our Daughters Will Never Be Free” for an insight.) Since those dark days Julia and Simon have since  emerged with a new project,  “The Indelicates” and along with the addition of  Alastair Clayton, Kate Newberry & Ed van Beinum, they have produced a pop band of great wit, savage intelligence and heart.

They have released a number of critically acclaimed singles via “Sad Gnome” and “Weekender Records” and, to add to the ever-growing list of exciting releases due in 2008, the year will also herald the release of their debut album. The Indelicates are a band who are original, passionate, and clearly have something of substance to articulate to the masses…..if only people would turn off Gary bloody Barlow and listen…but we’ll say no more as Simon Indelicate possesses a far more eloquent tongue than us. Mr VP had a chat with Simon, and it soon became apparent he was utterly out of his depth, in fact within minutes his brain was waving a little white flag of surrender as Simon eloquently machine gunned his questions into a thousand tattered pieces which fluttered away on the breeze like so much cheap confetti ….……

VP: Lets surreptitiously combine the traditional how you meet/form a band introductory question with the awkward question…..Here goes… How did you meet up? Was this at a time when Julia was in her polka dot Period? Where you indeed perceived as kind of male Yoko Ono the big difference being the band didn’t break up and nobody got shot. Did you both have the same ideas as to the musical direction you wanted The Indelicates to take?

S.I: I hardly think that the difference you refer to is THE big one – I can think of several bigger differences, at least one of them underlined by the fact that I have never seen anything referring to me as the male Yoko Ono before. Besides, I thought the Beatles ruined everything? Surely that makes Yoko one of the good guys. Also, don’t be so confident that no one got shot – you don’t know what happened to the first Becki. (For the avoidance of confusion, here is a winking smiley face… 😉 .) As for having the same ideas: no. That would have made communication rather pointless and the evenings dull. We had similar ideas roughly concurrently.

VP: Following your debut single in 2006 “We Hate The Kids” you’ve released two singles this year “Julia, We Don’t Live in the 60s” “Sixteen” as well as an Ep “The Last Significant Statement To Be Made In Rock n Roll ” you also have your debut album due for release in March, do you have anymore details, a track list? The title? The producer? Any surprises ??

SI: The album was produced by Brian O’Shaughnessy who did all of Denim/Felt/etc, Screamadelica and Star Trekkin’ by The Firm. The title ? I can say that we had several titles and that we chose the one that made us the most nervous (“American Demo”) As for track listing and surprises – well: there are no songs with Pete Doherty in the title for one thing, it could arguably be described as ‘neoconservative’, it has a steel drum on it, it’s 53.7 minutes long and it has vocal cameos from 17 people.

VP: Billy Bragg once sang “mixing pop and politics he asks me what the use is….”, would you describe your music as in anyway, protest music or political?

S.I. Yes. Making an attempt at truth is something I value in music. We are educated, thoughtful types who read books and argue about political issues – so it would be deeply dishonest of us to write songs about how much we enjoy fun. I don’t enjoy fun particularly. I’m violently allergic to alcohol; I’m monogamous by inclination and have never found heartache particularly interesting. I do care about truth and society and ideas – so I write about them. I can see why being political is regarded with suspicion, though. Too often, political acts are no more interesting than the satire on the News quiz – mentioning the names of politicians to get a recognition laugh. That Ann Widdecombe, she’s fat isn’t she, eh? Blair’s a poodle, Bush is bad, globalisation’s bad, and war is stupid. Musicians who make such statements should pay more attention to information theory – simply, that the information content of a statement is reflected in its surprise value. It is not unexpected that an angry young lyricist should think war stupid, nor does it impact the way that war is perceived – its information content is therefore zero and its cultural value worthless. It is perhaps a small ambition, but I would hope that our lyrics have information content greater than zero.

VP: You don’t write songs about “hot chicks”, “fast cars “booty” or “bling,” this has led to some to label you “clever” and (whisper it,) even pretentious, what would you say to such ludicrous accusations?

S.I: As I say, it is not pretentious to say what you think as clearly as you can manage. It IS, on the other hand, pretentious to do anything other than that. It is pretentious to conceal your meaning behind words and sentence structures not commonly understood (as the postmodernists do) just as it is pretentious to imitate dumbness from an assumed position of smartness. More though, I think when people rail against pretension in music, it is because they think it should be constrained within a base definition of low-culture that they themselves impose. It seems to me that if rock and roll has a function at all it is to subvert the mainstream – but this means it is defined by the mainstream, a stream which changes. In the fifties and sixties the mainstream was an American society that feigned a buttoned up, suburban, rational civility while it allowed grotesque segregation and lived in constant fear of a bureaucratic nuclear annihilation; a counterculture that retreated into drugs, dancing and slack was precisely the right one to move the world forward. The world did move, the hallmarks of that counterculture became the mainstream. Now the globalised mainstream feigns an anti-rational, opened-top-button, city based creative civility while it allows appalling poverty and lives in fear of faith-based terrorist annihilation; a counterculture that retreats into drugs, dancing and slack doesn’t deserve the name. If that’s too pretentious for ya, kids, then you can fuck off into the irrelevant stupor you belong in 😉

VP: There seems to be a lot of things going on, Julia’s photography, The Band Who Must Not Be Named, The Book Of Job- the musical, John Kerry JK47, The Bathroom Choir.. With so many ideas whizzing around do you both have trouble sleeping?

S.I. Yes. We do. And thank you for bringing all that up, it makes sleeping even harder when you have to schill it yourself…

VP: The song “Waiting For Pete Doherty To Die”, it could be said caused a bit of a stir, for all the wrong reasons. You don’t want him to die, you quite like his music, but was it more of a comment on the feeding frenzy and the build ‘em up knock em down mentality that’s whipped up by the media? And if so don’t you think that maybe that people who court the media are asking for trouble?

S.I. It isn’t a comment on the media in particular, it’s as much a comment on the kids who allow themselves to be conned. I’m fine with the media, much of it is ace. The Pete Doherty thing is just sick all over. Heroin is not romantic or interesting – its just depressive selfishness in powdered form. People who can only talk about how on drugs they are or aren’t boring. People who, as a consequence of informed choice, dribble in front of you are repulsive. People who encourage it are worse. More specifically, as I’ve already said, drug-addicts peddling romanticised nationalism are not what is required to oppose our current mainstream. It is not unexpected to be presented with a Byronic rock star with a smack habit and an apparent death wish, so such an artefact has zero information content. In self-aware moments like ‘Fuck Forever’, Pete Doherty is really excellent, it’s the sound of something I used to love dying, and that excites me. Or, more to the point excited me. It’s kind of old news now.

VP: You seem to be huge in Germany, what do think it is that you’ve touched within the German psyche to produce such adoration?

SI. It is our love of laughing at the misfortune of others while listening to high-tempo comic orchestras.

VP: The internet has had a profound effect on music and entertainment, where it’s almost a case of access all areas. One view is that this has created a lack of anticipation , albums are leaked, you hear a song on the radio and in seconds it can be downloaded, there’s no thrill of hunting down that obscure track…its all on tap now.. Do you think this culture of instant gratification is devaluing music, or is this a new and exciting age that has taken the power from the huge recording corporations and given the artists more creative freedom

S.I.: This is a much bigger thing than music. I think that the free and unrestricted movement of data (including recorded music) is a massive, brilliant, epoch-defining concept. From my computer I can already tap into almost the entire sum of human knowledge within moments, and so can nearly everyone else in any free society. Bloggers in Burma can be heard around the world. Areas of scientific research with hidden connections and unforeseen applications can find each other in ways that have never been possible before. Artists can access any influence, any idea, anything at all that will spur them on to better and more informed work. Any negatives, any little concerns about copyright or wistfulness for bygone ages, or gains and losses of power by guitarists and cd salesmen are so minute in comparison to this utterly incredible change that I can barely comprehend why anyone would bother to bring them up.

VP: What with the likes of Prince and Radiohead pretty much giving away their music, 2007 has been described by some as year zero for the music industry. Looking back on the year what have been your musical highlights?

S.I.: The Flesh Happening are amazing, as are Philip Jeays, and Lily Rae – you should Google them. Carter USM reforming was brilliant, but you should listen to their new projects too, I just got Jimbob’s new album and it’s really fantastic. Post Soothing Out on Art Brut’s album made me sob like a chucked teenager. I saw a band in Worcester called Red Zebra who were very good indeed and we went to the new staging of Cabaret which was even better.

VP: The Nostalgia factor? What your view on this deluge of criminally naff acts reforming and milking the cash cow just one more time (I’m of course referring to bands like Take That, Spices, Boyzone- and lets face it, it’s only a matter of time before Steps are reinvented as “iconic”, “cool” or “legendary”)

S.I. “I don’t have one, it has no effect on my life whatsoever. Except to say that I suspect when Gary Barlow says that he could rule the world he really, really means it. We should watch him. If he ever gets arrested outside a beer hall, don’t let them broadcast the trial.

VP: Who would you say are your heroes/ sources of inspiration (musical or none musical?)

S.I.: I don’t really approve of artistic heroes – they encourage the view that art is privileged above other crafts. You wouldn’t get very far as a joiner if you spent all your time writing blogs about how kind and normal the guy who took you on as an apprentice is. I feel this acutely as I get very star struck when I meet people I admire and find myself entirely unable to have worthwhile conversations with them – rarely getting beyond, ‘I likes your albums, Mr. Haines’ before leaving hunched in a miasma of shame. I also think that when people ask who your influences are, the answer they usually get is just a list of credible people that the artist wants to be seen to like. I would like to be seen to like Luke Haines, Carter USM, Milton, Swift, The Who and Ezra Pound. When I think about it, though, on at least one occasion we’ve recorded a solitary handclap on a single to make it sound like Supertramp – but I can’t very well say them now, can I?

VP: What would you hope for in 2008, be it on a personal level or indeed on a global scale?

S.I.: Solvency. And voluntary universal atheism.

VP: If I were to walk into William Hills and place a bet on yourself and Julia appearing within the glossy pages of “Hello” in the next five years would I be wasting my money?

S.I.: Depends, you might get a good story out of it. And now you bring it up, Julia did reorganise a shelf yesterday and our living room is looking particularly classy and welcoming.

VP: Which five words would you say are the most clichéd and least significant to be used in rock n’ roll?

S.I. ‘Doing’, ‘it’, ‘for’, ‘the’ and ‘kids’.

Available to purchase from Sad Gnome Records:
“We Hate The Kids” “The Last Significant Statetment..”

Available to purchase from The RecordStore:

“Julia, We Don’t Live In The 60’s” “Sixteen”

Audio Downloads