Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Sophie interviewed by Gay Mag

You can read the interview and the rest of the online mag right here -

Boyz Mag had a little chat with Sophie. Their recent issue has a picture of Sophie on the cover of the magazine, which was already on the cover of 69 degrees. Also, the picture used in the magazine was also a cover on Oxford Life magazine.

Sophie will be performing at G-A-Y Heaven on 26th March. So if you attend, make sure you leave a review here, or link to your review on a website/blog/forum.

Here's the interview...

With a long awaited fourth album - MAKE A SCENE - out in May, a young family at home and over a decade in the business, singer, songwriter and pop Goddess Sophie Ellis-Bextor has come a long way over the past ten years. Here she speaks to Luke Till about her creative side.

So, how's life?
Really good! Last year was brilliant and this year has been really nice so far. I've been back in the studio and I've just come back from the Little World Festival, which my husband's band, The Feeling, organise in Meribel, France. It's skiing by day and gigs and DJs by night.

Did you perform out there?
Yeah, so did The Feeling and bands like Fictionplane, Ed Harcourt, Squeeze, then at night we had people like Freemasons DJing - it was really good.

It sounds fun! Tell us about your new album, MAKE A SCENE.
It's very dancey. It's probably the most genre-specific record I've ever made - normally I spread myself around and do different genres. This one I went all out with the dance stuff. The first few tracks were done with people like Freemasons and Calvin Harris, and it sounded so phenomenal and so phenomenal and so exciting that I didn't want to drift too much from that sound.

How did the Freemasons "Heartbreak" track come about
There's a songwriter called Biff Stannard who lives in Brighton who I've been working with for the past few years, and he used to keep talking about the Freemasons because they come from Brighton too and he'd worked with them on different things. I'd told him before that I'd love to work with them, and then one time he said he had a track from them if I wanted to come and work on it. That was the first one I heard, the Heartbreak backing track. Biff had just come out a very long-term relationship at the time so we ended up talking about how it feels when you're y'know, feeling a bit wounded, and that's when we wrote "Heartbreak (Make Me A Dancer)". I suppose it's a bit like "Last Night A DJ Saved My Life" - that kind of needing the music to heal you.

At the time of "Groovejet" had you already decided to begin a solo career?
No. (laughs) Before that I'd been in a band (theaudience) so "Groovejet" was a breath of fresh air - it was the antithesis of that whole indie scene. I suppose it only really occured to me when the band first left Mercury and I thought we were still a band. It was only after the next few months that it dawned on me that actually that was the end of that, so when I did "Groovejet" I think I was still coming to terms with the fact that I wasn't in a band anymore. It wasn't a decision like, "OK, I'm a solo artist now", it was more of a case of "Oh, I'm not in a band anymore, so I guess I'm on my own." There are pros and cons on both sides but I'm really grateful that I was in a band first because I think it changes the way you are as a solo artist. Every time I hae a live band around me now I really enjoy being around them.

Who influences your music, or you?
I probably take it from everywhere, definitely other artists. I'm constantly going back to things that excited me when I was young - the first few things that made me feel tingly. There was this programme in the early 80s called Minipops that I used to watch when I was little. It got banned quite early on because it was little girls dressed up with blusher and red lipstick and they'd perform pop songs that were in the charts. But it was quite inappropriate because they had full make up on singing about relationships, but they were only 8-years-old. But I did used to watch it when I was about four and think "That's what I want to do when I'm big." So anything from that to watching musicals, pop videos. But even now I love watching other pop stars and seeing who does what. And there's definitely room for everybody.

Had you always wanted to be a singer?
I always loved pop music - it was definitely always my friend. But it didn't occur to me to be a singer until I was a teenager. Performing definitely appealed but I was still a bit lost. And it just didn't occur to me as a job - 'pop star'! So I thought maybe I'd act, or I quite liked th eidea of being a lawyer. And then I thought maybe journalism, because I've always liked the written word. But when I first got on stage with the band when I was 16 I felt something click. I thought, "I don't need to look anymore - this is what I want to do."

Do you have a lot of input in your videos?
Yeah - definitely! With "Bittersweet" it was something quite basic - I said to the director, "I keep seeing slow motion photography, like billowing chiffon or when you drop a drop of paint into water and see it disperse." And he said "Well actually I've been doing some experiments with rose petals", so that's how the video started. Or with "Murder On The Dancefloor", I said I quite liked the idea of having a dance competition where everybody's getting knocked out gradually over the hours. And my director, who I've done most of my videos with, said how about you be the one making everyone lose the competition. I thought it'd be brilliant because at the time there was so many pop stars aound who were shiny and smiley, so I thought it would be really fun to be the antihero in your own video.

How would you say your music has changed from your first album to this fourth one?
I think I've got more fearless but I probably approach songwriting in a similar way. But I definitely don't worry about what anyone thinks anymore. I think I lost that after I had kids actually. I think I've definitely improved as a singer and a writer since then just because I've gotten more confident, and I'm better at listening to what other people are telling me as well.

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