1. I first had the pleasure of interviewing you in 2006, and to begin
with, I just wondered what some of your favourite memories have been
since that time, and if you may have learnt anything about yourself?
"God (laughing)! 2006 seems like a long time ago now, and we first
met at the Oxford Zodiac didn't we? As you know, we played there yesterday
- where you also came to see us - and we were saying, "When was
it that we last played here?" Because it's changed so much since
then hasn't it? So being there, kind of brought it all back and made
it feel sort of fairly recent again. I mean what's happened since then
(thinking)? Well, we released our first album and we did 2 full UK tours,
we went around Europe - we've basically been around the World since
then! We went to America, Australia and Japan last year, played all
of the big Festivals, played on The Main Stage at Reading and Leeds
and The Second Stage at Glastonbury, which was pretty amazing (smiling)!
And I just think that's the best thing about doing this you know? You
write some songs and because you've written a few songs, you get to
go around the World and play them to people, and people love them (laughing)!
What have I learnt about myself, hmm (thinking)? I crave routine! It's
weird, because I didn't think I liked routine, but I think I do now!
You do get into a bit of a rhythm when you're on tour, but the thing
that annoys me the most about doing the job that I do, is that there's
no kind of stability - you can't eat at the same time of the day everyday.
You know, it messes with your body and it messes with your head a little
bit, and you kind of just crave really simple boring things, like being
able to go to the pub with your mates on a Saturday night, which you
really can't do. But it has its Pros & Cons - like travelling is
good and the lack of routine is not so good (laughing)."
2. The Long Blondes' return was such a wonderful surprise, as your
adventurous change in direction and fully-realised ideas / songs, completely
surpassed my expectations of how I thought you were going to sound.
Have there ever been any artists / bands that you love, whose comebacks
have elicited the same response in you?
"Ahh, bless you for saying that about us (laughing)! Has there
ever been anyone that has done that to me (long pause + thinking)? Um,
I'm just scanning now (laughing + still thinking), I don't think so
- no! I mean there's a lot of consistently good albums, but nothing
in recent times anyway, that has surpassed my expectations. If anything,
usually it's the other way around and I'm kind of a little bit disappointed.
Last night though, I heard some of the new Portishead stuff, and I wasn't
expecting much from that, and I think it sounds absolutely amazing -
the tracks that they were doing on Jools Holland. So I'm definitely
going to buy the new album. It's really, really interesting and very
3. Would you agree that few great groups arrive fully-formed?
"Definitely, absolutely, yeah - certainly in our case (laughing)!
But I think it's really nice to do it that way (smiling), because if
you're forming a band, you should just go out there and play as soon
as you can. Because your fans get really attached to you, and they see
you evolving, growing musically and changing all of the time. I mean
we've really learnt how to play our instruments now, but when we first
started, it was like watching a shambolic mess (laughing), but I think
that's kind of endearing (smiling), and it makes for a more interesting
4. Second albums are renowned for being 'difficult' - although "Couples"
confidently side-stepped this notion - and often see musicians taking
more risks. Do you have any favourite follow-up LPs?
"Hmm, favourite second albums (thinking)? Yeah, I think Arctic
Monkeys' second album is a lot better than the first album - I love
5. Of all the records that you own, which do you tend to go back
to more - the ones that were instant, or the ones that took time to
grow on you?
"Probably the ones that took time to grow on me. I think The Fall
are a great example of a band that (pausing), you know, you buy a Fall
album and leave it for 6 years and then come back to it again, and you're
like, "That was great - that's definitely one of the best Fall
albums ever made (laughing)!" It did take me about 6 years to get
into Code: Selfish (laughing). I mean lots of Fall albums are quite
similar in style, but then Mark E. Smith goes off on weird tangents
- like in the mid-nineties, a lot of the stuff that he released then,
was just weird, but I'm kind of getting into that now (laughing)."
6. And which LP in your collection is the coolest / most cutting-edge,
and which LP is the most embarrassing / a guilty pleasure?
"Um (thinking), OK, the most embarrassing has got to be all of
my cock rock stuff, like Mötley Crüe and Poison (laughing),
but that's fine, because I really love all of that stuff and I'm not
ashamed of it, so it's staying firmly in my record collection (smiling)!
The coolest would be (thinking), Cowboy In Sweden by Lee Hazelwood,
I love it - that's my favourite album!"
7. What's the best record shop that you've ever been to?
"The best record shop that I've ever been to? There's a really
amazing place in LA called Amoeba Records - the States is just brilliant
for it (pausing), and Europe is pretty good actually. But unfortunately,
a lot of the good ones in England have closed down now. In New York,
there used to be a shop called Rocks In Your Head, which was really
good and that's closed down, so it's happening all over the World. But
Amoeba Records - there's one in San Francisco and there's one in LA
- they're very good!"
8. How would you spend your ideal day?
"Ahh, isn't that a lovely question (laughing). Um, well I don't
think I'd spend that much money (pausing), I think I'm going to try
and have my ideal day on Tuesday, because I've got a day off in London
with my boyfriend and we're staying in a nice hotel. It will probably
involve going to The Zoo or The Aquarium, because I love Aquariums and
I love fish. It would probably also involve a pub lunch of some sort,
maybe a bit of shopping - but not too much - and then cocktails early
evening (laughing). Maybe go and see a band, finished off by walking
along The Embankment at dusk (smiling)
and we'd go to our favourite
restaurant for fish as well!"
9. And who would be your ideal dinner guests?
"Nick Cave, Jonathan Ross (laughing) - I love Jonathan Ross, I'd
reverse roles and interview him! Nancy Sinatra, because I would love
to ask her loads of questions about Lee Hazelwood (laughing). Jeremy
Clarkson - just for arguments sake - and I need another woman (thinking),
Beth from the Gossip - she's lovely, I've met her - because she would
really argue with Jeremy Clarkson (laughing)!"
10. In the revered music book, England's Dreaming, Jon Savage wrote,
"Rock 'n' roll without myth, would be like a wasteland" -
but do you have a favourite rock 'n' roll myth?
"Stevie Wonder isn't blind (laughs uproariously)! That's my favourite
rock 'n' roll rumour anyway (smiling). Apparently it's a myth, he's
not blind at all (laughing)! I just think that's funny (laughing)."
11. And to date, what do you think has been the ultimate rock 'n' roll
"Um (thinking), I hate rock 'n' roll statements - I'm really not
a fan, because most of them just end up being clichés, and the
people who copy them are invariably terrible. Hmm (thinking), I think
it's a really difficult question (long pause + thinking). I want to
say Gram Parsons - it wasn't an intended statement, the fact that he
died obviously - but it's my favourite rock 'n' roll story anyway, so
I'll tell you that. Gram Parsons and Emmylou Harris were touring together
constantly, but they both had other partners - I think she was married
and had a child, and he was going out with somebody else. But they fell
in love with each other, through singing together every night. So at
the end of this extensive tour (pausing), this is more of a romantic
statement than a rock 'n' roll statement (laughing), but that's more
like me (smiling). But at the end of this tour, they decided that they
would leave their partners and get together, and finally they did, and
then he went on a bender to celebrate and ended up dying as a result.
So she wrote Boulder To Birmingham about that. It's my favourite rock
'n' roll story, but it's very sad."
12. Martin Scorsese's film on The Rolling Stones, Shine A Light,
was recently screened to critical acclaim - but is there an artist /
band that you would like to see a documentary made about?
"The Fall (laughing), it would be really interesting to see the
inner-workings of what Mark E. Smith's actually like - when they're
making albums - because I know he's notoriously sacked lots of musicians
in the past. But there is a book coming out, which is like his Official
Autobiography - it's been serialised in The Guardian all this week,
so I've been reading that. But I would like to see a film about The
Fall. I'm sure if he allowed it, it would be one of the most interesting
rock 'n' roll documentaries ever made!"
13. NME has just released a 3CD compilation entitled 'NME Classics'
- which features a timeline of legendary songs from The '70s, '80s and
'90s. But if you had to pick 1 defining song for each Decade, what would
"Oh My God! These questions are so hard for me to think of off
the top of my head! You should've e-mailed this to me, it would've probably
been a better interview if I'd done it over e-mail (laughing). Defining
songs for The '70s, '80s and '90s did you say? OK, The '70s (pausing),
the thing about that time, is that there are so many different genres
of music that I really like, i.e. glam, disco and punk, so I could pick
3 very easily, but I'm going to have to say a Bowie track from The '70s,
and I'll stick with Ziggy Stardust. The '80s (long pause + thinking),
it's a tough one again, because do you go indie or do you go pop? Indie
or pop, indie or pop (thinking)? Madonna, Into The Groove. Or, Papa
Don't Preach - anything by Madonna, because it's definitely more symbolic
of what The '80s were all about. I really love The Smiths as well, so
that would've kind of been my alternative choice, so maybe you could
say both (laughing), for very different reasons, do you know what I
mean? And now The '90s - Britpop. Pulp, Common People."
14. Who was your first ever pop star crush?
"God, the guy from Roxette (laughs uproariously) - when I was about
8 or 9! And then it moved steadily into dirty cock rock people. I really
fancied Spike from The Quireboys when I was 10 (laughing) - horrible,
longhaired greasy men, I've always gone for them (laughing)! And then
it was Slash from Guns N' Roses (smiling)."
*I say to Kate that I was fortunate enough to photograph Slash and Velvet
Revolver last Summer*
"Oh really (excitedly)? Oh My God!"
15. Many young music fans wear music T-shirts almost as a badge of honour,
but over the years, which artist / band do you think has had the coolest
"The coolest T-shirt design (excitedly)? Whoa (laughing), Jesus
(long pause + thinking). If we go back to the mid-nineties, I was a
massive fan of Pulp and I always thought that their T-shirt with the
black and silver logo - the one from the Different Class album - was
really cool! And I just think that all of the artwork for that era of
Pulp is brilliantly done, so yeah, I'll say Pulp (smiling)!"
16. Do you have a favourite Long Blondes photograph, magazine cover
or promo video?
"Crikey, um (thinking). We did some photos for Pop magazine in
Berlin, and I think those are my favourite ones taken of us to date
- it was just such a nice day! There haven't really been many magazine
covers and those that we have been on, I haven't really been that happy
with yet. A favourite promo video (thinking)? Likewise, I've not been
100% happy with any of our videos yet (laughing). The new video for
Guilt is OK, but I'm still not 100% happy with how I look personally
on it, but there you go (laughing). So no (laughing), because you end
up really analysing everything that you do."
17. What is your biggest Love and your biggest Hate?
"Hmm (thinking), my biggest Love actually, is walking around cities
on my own, just with my headphones on
*I mention to Kate that I actually saw her as I was driving up to Bristol
"Did you see me doing that (excitedly)? I always do it if I get
the chance (laughing)! Especially on tour, because you're constantly
with other people all of the time, so you need a little bit of privacy
and I just love exploring new cities! I prefer walking around suburbs
actually, than walking around town centres, just looking at different
houses and trying to peak in through people's windows and stuff like
that (smiling). I'm usually listening to The Smiths or Saint Etienne
or something (laughing), but I love doing that! My biggest Hate (pausing),
these are definite e-mail questions you see, because I'm rubbish at
thinking of things on the spot (laughing). What do I really hate (long
pause + thinking)? At the moment (pausing), I can't really say that
no, I can't say that (laughing)! There was something
the other day that was really, really annoying me, but I can't remember
what it was now, um, let me think (thinking). Oh, at the moment, my
biggest Hate without a doubt, is getting the train, which I do a lot
as well - because I'm always travelling - and not being able to sit
down I think is an absolute disgrace (laughing)! But it happens all
of the time! I'm not blaming anyone, it's just that the trains are always
so full. So that's my pet hate (laughing)."
18. If you could relive any moment in your life, what would it be?
"Oh my goodness, that's so hard! You could relive any moment (gasping),
there's loads (long pause + thinking). Probably - this is a childhood
memory - but when I was between the ages of 8 and 12, me and my Mum
and her then boyfriend, used to go to Tenerife for our holidays quite
a lot - more than once or twice a year you know? Because he had a villa
there and his villa was halfway up the mountain, near a volcano in the
crater, and I was quite fit then, as in athletic and stuff - I'm not
anymore (laughing)! But I used to just run down the side of this mountain
with no shoes on, and it was complete and utter freedom (smiling), but
in a very kind of Gerald Durrell way I guess (laughing). So I'd like
to be able to do that again (laughing)!"
19. Your songs continue to have lots of clever references to culture,
film, literature and music etc. But have you come across anything new
recently that has inspired you?
"Well apart from Ronnie Corbett (laughing), I think the only other
thing that has inspired me recently, is a group called Glass Candy (www.myspace.com/glasscandy).
They used to be a garage band, but they've really changed their sound
and are now much more dance-based - I do love their music!"
20. Are there any particular lyrics that you've heard, or any lines
of poetry that you've read over the years, that have always stayed with
"Yeah, a Bobbie Gentry song called Fancy - I love that song and
there's a line in there that (pausing), Oh Christ, how does it go, how
does it go (long pause + thinking)? Sorry, my brain's not functioning
properly at the moment (laughing + still thinking). Maybe if I sing
it, it will help (thinking, then suddenly clicking fingers and singing)
"She handed me a heart-shaped locket that said,
'To Thine Own Self Be True'."
The story of that song - I don't know if it was actually true or anything
like that - but Bobbie Gentry's Mother had died, and she ended up finding
this locket that was from her Mother to her, and the message inside
it was, 'To Thine Own Self Be True'. It reminds me of me and my Mum
*At 5.30pm, we hear the rest of The Long Blondes beginning to soundcheck
Weekend Without Makeup, so Kate says that she'll only have time to answer
a couple more of my questions now, as she really needs to join them
21. If a Pub Quiz Music Question was asked about The Long Blondes,
what would you like it to be?
How many pairs of American Apparel Underpants
does Dorian have (laughs uproariously)?"
22. Lastly, chips or cream buns?
"Still cream buns! I'm sorry sweetheart, I must go and soundcheck
because they're starting without me, but we'll all see you afterwards
A very special thanks to Kate, Dorian, Emma, Reenie
and Screech, to The Long Blondes' Tour Manager Keith, and to Roxy @
Rough Trade, for all of their time and help.
Bristol Set List
Round The Hairpin
Weekend Without Makeup
Here Comes The Serious Bit
Erin O' Connor
Separated By Motorways
I Liked The Boys
Too Clever By Half
You Could Have Both
Once And Never Again
I'm Going To Hell
Lust In The Movies
"That was then and this is now
That was just nostalgia"
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