Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Pop Dash meets Sophie Ellis-Bextor


Sophie Ellis-Bextor recently released her latest album 'Make A Scene'. It's one of our favourite albums of the year so we thought we'd give Sophie a ring and chat to her about her music, style and performing in shopping centres!

So the new album’s out now, what was the thinking before you made it? Did you have idea of what you wanted to achieve with it?
Not really, I just knew about the people that I wanted to work with so I recorded ‘Heartbreak’ with the Freemasons and then I went into the studio with people like Calvin Harris and Joe from Metronomy.

It was quite a while in the making, was it a difficult album to make?
No, it was quite fun actually. I didn’t really want to stop writing and working with people. It was very enjoyable actually. I like writing anyway and I had maybe 40 or 50 songs for the album, I had to make a decision to stop!

As you mentioned you worked with some really great people, how does that come about? Did you have a list of people that you’d like to collaborate with?
Yeah, pretty much. It’s a bit of a mix really. I’ve worked with people in the past so I knew I wanted to work with them, and then I ask my friends if there’s anything that they’ve been listening to and is there anyone that they think I should know about? I keep my ear to the ground so it's a really mixed bag.

Do you think that four albums in now that there’s a distinctive Sophie Ellis-Bextor sound?
I think I’ve got a distinctive voice. Nobody has ever said anything about my sound but I like to think my voice is one of my strongest assets.

The one thing that I noticed listening to the new album especially is that you have incredibly clear diction, is that something that you practise?
One thing is that when I listen to it I just try to have a look, I think it’s imperative actually because I’ve found thatI like to tell a story so it is important that people can understand me.

Just the way it pierces through above everything else, you hear it above all the other things, it’s a nice quality.
Aw, thank you. I don’t really think too much about it anymore.

And talking about your style, have you ever considered trying different styles or different genres at all?
Yeah absolutely, and in fact I’ve got to do something a bit different, just because I’ve felt like recently it’s been a lot of disco and pop and I completely adore that, definitely, and its my natural habitat, but I'm thinking of making more stripped back stuff in the future. I’m always going to make dance music though, because it’s what I love.

You've mentioned the band Phoenix as an influence, which other current artists and bands do you listen to for inspiration?
Yeah, I really liked Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix. I’ve really gone a bit backwards with music actually, a lot of Fleetwood Mac and Dolly Parton, I really love old school disco too.

Is there a track on the album that you’re particularly proud of? One that you see as being your favourite track ?
I do really love Starlight, because I just think it’s really gritty and it has a flawless production.

Are you still DJing a lot with your husband (Richard from The Feeling)?
Yeah, well its not for our day jobs, but we love to do that together. Last week we went to Milan, which was fun.

Do you ever play your own songs when you’re DJing?
I think not, I think that’s quite embarrassing. Generally we get up and put some of our own stuff in there but I always make Richard press play and I just hide under the table when it comes on, I just find it a bit cringey. One day I got asked to play Groovejet and I didn’t have it anywhere.

So what are your guaranteed life-saving floor filler tracks for you when you’re DJing?
Just like classic party tunes that if you’re trying to warm a crowd up but you’re not going to get anything out of them. Some old Michael Jackson, Dizzee Rascal, or play some classic Madonna……something that keeps them on their toes.

Looking back on your career are there any strange gigs that stand out to you?
There are hundreds!

Such as?
I recently performed at Westfield Shopping Centre in London.

Did you take in some window shopping from the stage?
Yeah, pretty much. Performing was the only thing keeping me from temptation and Topshop. That was a bit unusual but I don’t mind, I am an entertainer after all so if you want me to do that, I shall do that.

Very professional...
The thing is to jump about, have a little dance.

Talking about fashion and shopping, have you ever thought, or even been approached to do your own clothing line?
It hasn’t happened yet, but sure I would love to. I’ve got tons and tons of dresses that I could use for inspiration that could make it happen. So yeah, I’d love to, it would be lots of fun.

Do you fell more relaxed in what you’re doing now, like there’s less pressure, and everyone’s just accepted that ‘I enjoy what I do now so it doesn’t matter what happens?
Yeah 100% actually, it’s more relaxed now and because I don’t think you should ever get to a point where you feel that you’ve got to chart at a certain position. You either like it or you don’t and people just let me do what I do now.
By the time I got to the third album really, and people were going “Okay, we know roughly who you are and what you’re about.

You’re part of the family now...
Yes, I hope so.

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