Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Two Russian Interviews


Sophie, not so long ago you were at Red Square. What were your impressions?
It is an amazing place! Not many people are lucky enough to sing there. I’ve been to Moscow about twenty times, so I have already visited the Kremlin and other sights. Besides, each time I come I try to visit interesting and trendy places – restaurants, clubs and bars. In this respect Moscow is not a bit inferior to London. I’m not one of those people who spend every day of their visit in a hotel room. Moscow is so beautiful, colourful, and humming with life and I am very impressed.

You describe your new album, “Straight To The Heart”, as more strict compared to your previous ones. Why?
It has just as much of a dance style as the previous albums, but this one is more electo-, which gives it a tighter sound. It will be an excellent sound for club parties.

For this album you worked on a track “Off & On” from Róisín Murphy. Now she is off the scene, busy raising her little daughter. How did you agree about the collaboration?
She was invited by Calvin Harris, one of the producers of the disc. I have been on friendly terms with Róisín for many years. She rocks and is very talented.

You became the face of the cosmetics brand, Rimmel. With your good looks, you could become a successful model.
I would definitely not agree to this. Art is too important for me to want a career as a mannequin – although I am certainly pleased by your compliment. Yes, I do work as a model when posing for the covers of my albums, but I always take part in the discussion of the concept. Models are deprived of such opportunities.

OK, I think you would have made a good actress. In your videos you successfully portray the persona of a ruthless little bitch, whereas people who know you personally say you are a very sweet person. By-the-way, which is your favourite video?
Most of all I love the very first – “Take Me Home”. It’s a little magical. It was shot by Sophie Muller, who also worked with Beyoncé, Pink, Gwen Stefani. She makes great videos. We had, incidentally, worked on several videos. Because she is easy to talk to, she can create a very warm atmosphere. I can trust her more, woman to woman. And Sophie never puts me under pressure.

Thanks to Paul for the translation.

Thanks to Makke for the link and Paul for the translation

You have been involved with music from the age of 13. When did you realise this was to be your vocation?
Well, when I was 13 I merely took part in various school productions, just like any schoolchild. The desire to devote myself to music came much later, when I was 16. That was when I began to sing in a group, and I realised, this is what I had been looking for. Until then I had considered all sorts of different occupations.

And what, for example, were some of these?
Well, for example, for a while I wanted to be a lawyer. Then at one time I even wanted to be a journalist…

Normal sorts of jobs
[laughs] No doubt! These professions appealed to me because I always liked to write, and to build constructive arguments. Then at one time I thought of becoming an actress as I had the possibility of participating in several plays. But when I sang, I felt on top of the world, and none of these other good occupations could compete with that.

Describe how you decided to get your celebrated tattoo “Family” on your shoulder.
In all honesty I always wanted a tattoo, and knew that when the time was ripe I would go for it. That time arrived when I had given birth to my first son, and I was getting married. You must understand that I take the concept of family very seriously; indeed family is the one thing that keeps us sane in these times. For me, “family” includes all those people for whom I care and vice versa – not just blood relatives.

And what do you think of people who criticise your music?
It’s quite normal. If you are in the public’s eye you must expect some criticism. And what could be more public than singing on a stage? I cannot attempt to please everybody. Even so, I will say this: as a singer I would prefer to be disliked by some people than to be loved by everyone. After all, if some people dislike your work it means you are doing something different from what they are used to.

Do you read criticisms of yourself on the Internet?
Sometimes, yes. But to be honest, to read about oneself - Googling one’s own name – this is not a very good idea. You know how it is in school when you enter a room and everyone immediately stops talking? You just know they were talking about you. Well reading about yourself on the Internet is like eavesdropping on that conversation you were not meant to hear. That is why I try to resist the temptation of reading about myself. After all, even reading horrible things about oneself is a form of egotism. I try to stop myself doing that and to look for more important things.

Your present music differs radically from what you played earlier with the group “theaudience”. Was it a difficult transition from Brit-pop to dance-music?
Oh, of course not, it was not difficult at all. When theaudience split up, I had the opportunity to work with DJ Spiller, and together we did the song “Groovejet”. This opened my eyes to the fact that I can make a completely different sort of music. Although if I am honest, even now elements from my time in theaudience creep into my songs. I’m probably the only person who can see these intersections of my different projects, but I assure you they are there.

Do you miss those good old times?
No, No. I liked to sing, but frankly the indie scene did not please me. Life there is very rigorous and cliquey. You have to know precisely what music is in fashion and what is out. When I changed my style, I left all that behind, and enjoyed the new freedom it brought. I do not regard it as a loss at all – I think pop music is beautiful, whereas with the indie-scene there are these “real geniuses” where I obviously I do not fit in.

You write songs for yourself. Where do you draw inspiration to write about all these things – boys, acquaintances in the clubs, the broken hearts? You have a good marriage, a family, and everything is fine.
Yes, everything is fine. However I have experienced much less successful relationships earlier in my life. And I tend write songs not so much about grief and broken hearts, as about the process of transition, which is something everyone experiences - for example the transition from one relationship to another, from one emotion to another. And it happens that you hear the music and get the urge to write something. But I agree, just writing songs about being a happy wife would be dull.

Speaking of family, how do you find time for that?
I admit it is complicated, even chaotic. On the other hand my three boys know of no other life. From the morning I try to be mum, I take my sons to school, spend some time with my husband. Sometimes I’ll do some housework. Then I’ll get to work on my music and other things. I try to get home early enough to put my children to bed. After that I am occupied with still more musical matters. And when I am on tour, I try not to be away from home for too long. In general there is only one simple rule – sleep less!

Which musical instruments do you play?
Well, I play my beloved piano in my free time, and I compose songs. Once I leant to play guitar, but I seldom pick it up now.

What music do you like?
When I want to relax I listen, for example, to Julie London; her voice is soothing. Then I love groups like Air or Arcade Fire. Sometimes I want something more cheerful and vigorous – then I’ll listen to something from Michael Jackson, David Bowie, Prince.

How about something heavier? Metallica, for example?
In our family, that’s more like the sort of thing my husband listens to.

And, by the way, don’t you get proposals of marriage from your fans?
No – not you too! [laughs]. But even if they were to propose, there’s one problem – I’m already married. Richard is simply a good person who loves me for what I am – without my high heels and make-up. When I am being an ordinary woman, not a pop star. After all it is very important to have a man with whom you can speak freely.

One last question. Did you prepare something special for the Russian fans?
Certainly! Honestly, I can hardly wait for the concert! I think it will be the most epic overall both in the size of the audience and in scope. I will try to make sure that no one who comes will regret it.

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