FFS caught an under-the-weather Mechanical Bride before her appearance at Peggy Sue’s sold out headline show at the ICA on Friday in the scarce minutes between her soundcheck and stage call.
FFS: You seem quite elusive. Do you do a lot of press/interviews?
Not too many no, you could probably count them on one hand. I think it’s mainly been radio.
What’s happening with your album, it’s been going to come out for quite a while now?
I’m still recording it near Brighton, I don’t really know how much I can say, really. It’s in the pipeline.
Will it be new material or songs that we’ve heard before?
You will have heard some of them live but it’s not been recorded before.
Is it music that you’ve written recently?
Yeah because I’ve been waiting to do this for so long, and that’s not been up to me, and so obviously because it’s taken such a long time it’s going to be interesting — i’ve been recording over the last year or so, so it’ll be interesting to hear how it all sounds at the end of it, the new stuff with the older stuff. And then I will pick and choose I guess.
There’s never been a release date – there’s been an approximated release date. I’ve been a sitting duck for a bit, I’ve been put on hold which has been hard, really hard actually, but I’m still doing things and I’m still determined to do it – I’m still recording. It’s been really frustrating ’cause you’re waiting to do something and you’re in the moment. And you want to do it and suddenly it’s like — oh I’ve got to wait — and you’ve just got to get over it and do other stuff.
What are you doing in the meantime?
I work, I’ve got two part time jobs. I mean this is primarily what I’m doing but because of everything that’s happened… I’ve opened a gallery in brighton. It’s called The Rag and Bone Company so I’ve started a project down there. It’s like an arts collective. so I’ve been doing that, I’ve been doing some artwork in the mean time. And I’ve just been doing other collaborations and other music projects. Writing and doing gigs.
So who are you collaborating with?
I’m collaborating with Caroline Weeks, I’ve been playing with her live. And playing with a band called Collectress. And I’ve been writing some music for a silent film, we did a live event where we had a silent film – myself and another artist – we wrote a soundtrack to The Cabinet of Dr Calagare, a 20s silent film, so fingers in lots of pies really. We’ve been putting on events with other bands and people doing the same thing so it’s been really interesting.
How did you end up on Transgressive?
They approached me. When I was singing with my friend’s band Larrikin Love, Ed played them my music just because – no particular reason – and they just happened to really like it and Toby got in touch with me. and then we just started working together form there.
They’ve got a really nice roster…
It’s a good family, they’ve got a good ear and good passion.
Your MySpace has been a bit quiet of late, do you want to play a tour or do you rather do little bits here and there?
Well at the moment because I’ve just been writing it’s sort of as and when the right things come. It’s quite hard, we couldn’t go and play anywhere and everywhere because of the nature of the project. But I like playing live.
Do you like gigging more or less than being in the studio?
I don’t know. Every gig is different cos the band I have with me is constantly changing so that’s always great. they’re completely separate things I think I love writing and I like recording, doing it by myself because it’s a really nice process really.
Since you’ve been writing stuff for so long, do you have tons of stuff to choose from?
I’ve got a big back catalogue of stuff but it’s taking the right things from it and I’m really enjoying writing new things at the moment so we’ll see.
Are a lot of these songs never going to be released?
I don’t know. It’s really more for me than anyone else.
You said your band members revolve, what dictates it? Is it who can do what and when?
Yeah although all the people that play with me are all friends and musicians and have lots of other art projects and things going on, so it’s kind of as and when, which is really nice because it’s quite special when we play together and it keeps it new and different and the sound changes every time. It brings out different elements of the songs in different live performances and it’s really nice.
Have you always written music?
I come from a musical family but I’ve never been trained in music so I’ve always just fumbled around and sort of found music via my ear and sort of messed around. I never took it very seriously. I started writing when I was a teenager and when I went to study music and visual art at Brighton that’s when I started Mechanical Bride. I just started recording – I didn’t do any live things at first.
Did you just record it in your room on your computer?
Yes, it’s very much my writing process, is writing and recording and recording at the same time and it’s been a new experience for me to then take it to the studio, it’s been quite hard. I’ve kind of had to invent a new way of writing and recording.
Do you have a lot of input from the producer when you’re in the studio?
I’ve been working with Nick Abbott and it’s been a really nice experience. We’re very much co-producing but he has fantastic vision as well. He really understands it and we can really work together on it.
Interview: Lynn Roberts