1.In a recent interview, when discussing the current state of The
Music Industry, Morrissey was quoted as saying, There arent
many bands who are unique. Do you agree with his comments / did
you feel this way before forming The Long Blondes?
Yeah, that was definitely one of the reasons why we formed! But,
I do think that theres more going on in music now, than there
was 3 or 4 years ago. Because when we first started, there was nothing
particularly in Sheffield that we were really into apart from
one band called Pink Grease, who sort of inspired us to start as well!
They were the only band that me, Dorian and Emma, used to go and watch.
Because we all used to DJ and wed play records like Blondie and
Roxy Music, but there were no bands like that, who we wanted to go and
see. So we thought, Well we may as well just start a band for
ourselves the sort of band that would interest us, and
the sort of thing that would entertain us, and a gig that we would actually
want to go out and spend money on! But as I said, there are a lot more
unique bands now, and theres more and more coming out all of the
time. Even though theyve just had the NME cover, I do really like
The Horrors, I think theyre really cool theyve got
that Nick Cave thing going on! And the Klaxons are good as well, were
playing with them in York next week (smiling).
2.The Arctic Monkeys I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor,
has just been voted as The Greatest Student Anthem Of All Time
in a poll run by the NME but which song best reminds you of your
days as a student?
Um (thinking), a student one is difficult its probably
easier to say one from my teenage years, which would definitely be Disco
2000 by Pulp! I used to go out to the Chicago Rock Café in Bury
St. Edmonds with all of my friends, and that was the song that we had
all of these dance moves to, and wed sing to each other (smiling)!
It was 1995 at the time, and 2000 just seemed like a million miles away.
Because you know when youre young, a year is such a long time,
but now, it goes so quickly (laughing), its terrifying
I cant believe that was actually over 10 years ago!
3.Is it heartening for you, to think that your songs, will now become
a part of the soundtrack to many peoples lives?
That is like, THE BEST REASON for ever being in a band! If we
can do what Pulp and Suede and Elastica did for me, when I was a teenager
if we can appeal to people and mean something to their lives
like that, and become kind of a soundtrack to their growing up (pausing).
A lot of our songs are aimed directly at speaking to a teenage audience
I guess? Or, people who are going through the changes that come with
(pausing), you go through so many different changes between the ages
of 15 - 25, and weve just kind of been through that and come out
the other side, so a lot of our songs are really aimed at those people.
So yeah, totally, thats another reason why we do it (smiling)!
4.The Long Blondes share a genuine love of music, and certainly seem
to have that last-gang-in-town mentality. Is it fair to
say that youre all kindred spirits?
Yeah (laughing)! I think all of the bands that we admire and love,
have always looked like proper bands theyve always been
mates whove just formed, because they like music, and they have
that gang mentality / gang feel about them. Bands like The Smiths
they look like a gang! Pulp they look like a gang! They obviously
werent musicians, they just formed because they were friends from
the City, and they were a little bit bored (pausing), the Arctic Monkeys
apart from kicking the bassist out (laughing)! But that was the
reason that I kind of liked them, because they looked like this gang
of scallies (laughing), and everybody wanted to run away and follow
them! Theyve got such a young fanbase, and thats obviously
why. But, were just 5 friends we werent musicians
and we didnt know how to play we started because we were
sick of doing these temping jobs, when we finished University. So doing
the band, seemed like a really good, fun and creative option as a hobby
for ourselves. We never thought that it would lead to this! So I think
thats kind of where the gang thing comes from as well, because
we would have gone out and hung around together, and still dressed the
same and still looked the same, even if we werent in a band (laughing)!
5.Continuing with this train of thought, you used to work in a Vintage
Clothes Boutique in Sheffield, and are renowned for your cool style
and fashion sense. But who for you, have been some of the sharpest dressed
bands and artists over the past few decades?
Thank You (smiling)! Suede. Pulp, again (laughing) I always
talk about them in interviews, I must stop (laughing)! Um (thinking),
The Strokes always look pretty good, I do like them. Yeah Yeah Yeahs
look pretty good as well but there hasnt really been a
stylish British band though, for a long time, and I think that thats
a kind of hole that we want to try and fill a little bit. If we can
6.As a Sheffield band, you said that you feel a kinship with
The Steel City and in many ways, youve now become torchbearers
for its musical future, by continuing the lineage left by great Sheffield
acts in the past, such as Pulp. What was it like meeting Jarvis Cocker
at the 2006 NME Awards?
Terrifying (laughing) he was really nice though! We went
backstage afterwards, and we all had our photographs taken with the
Kaiser Chiefs and The Cribs, and Jarvis was supposed to be in the middle
as some kind of Godfather of the Yorkshire Scene. But, I
had never spoken to him before, and I was just standing next to him,
and in the photograph you can see that Im looking up to him in
awe (laughing)! I mean we still hadnt spoken, and then afterwards,
he just turned around and looked at me, and offered me a menthol cigarette
(laughing). It was one of the greatest moments in my life (laughing)!
*I say to Kate, that The Long Blondes are now labelmates with Jarvis*
Yeah, we are (smiling)! Hopefully, well get to play together
before the end of the year as well. I know hes doing a run of
dates and its been suggested, but we dont know for sure
yet. Maybe, fingers crossed!
7.You want to write what you call classic pop songs,
and at the very centre of the band, is your writing partnership
with Dorian, which conjures up ambiguity in the gap between male and
female perspectives." But what are your lyrical inspirations and
is writing a cathartic process for you?
Yeah, definitely, but its actually Dorian who writes most
of the lyrics. I mean we both write, but because Dorians the songwriter,
he sort of does both in tandem, and then hell bring them to the
rehearsal room and Ill scan them and do the melody and stuff.
But if he doesnt have lyrics for a song, then hell give
me the bare bones of it, and Ill do the structure and the lyrics.
So, theres 2 very distinct ways in which we write, but I know
that his influences are kind of similar to mine anyway. Obviously theres
the musical side, which Ive already talked about enough
(laughing)! Hes also inspired by 60s British Film and Books
he really loves Alfred Hitchcock films, and so do I the
song Appropriation (By Any Other Name), is directly inspired by the
film Vertigo. Theres just lots of different things really. I mean
theres lots of literary references in the songs, like with my
song Madame Ray, which is about a relationship between the photographer
Lee Miller and Madame Ray she was Man Rays assistant in
Paris for a while, and they referred to her as Madame Ray. So thats
where that comes from. Shes one of my heroines, because she was
a really strong woman and she seemed to lead loads of different lives
she was a model and she was very stylish, but she was also very
intelligent and driven, and I greatly admire that (smiling)!
8.Can you remember where you were, and how you felt, when you first
heard one of your songs on the radio?
Ooh (long pause + thinking). No (laughing)! Im just trying
to think? Jesus (laughing)! I think it was probably listening back to
the Steve Lamacq session that wed done listening back to
it in the van, petrified, incase any of us hit a bum note, which obviously
we did you know (laughing)? So, it was more of a nerve-wracking experience
than a fun one. Sometimes, when Im in Topshop, our video will
come on and thats always a bit weird (laughing). I was with my
mother in Topshop in Oxford Street, and our video came on, and she was
like jumping-up-and-down and going to the woman behind the counter,
Thats my daughter thats her over there
(laughing)! So she gets really excited about it, but Im more like
(pausing), its a little bit weird and embarrassing.
9.The Long Blondes adore films, and I remember reading a review once
which said, "Their songs combine kitchen sink drama with flamboyant
movie star escapism." If you could have starred in any film, which
one would it have been?
Wild At Heart by David Lynch (without any hesitation)! I want
to be Lula (laughing), I mean shes great and she gets to kiss
Nicolas Cage, which is a bonus (smiling)! Its all set in Midwest
America, and they go on this road trip to Louisiana, and they meet all
of these weird people along the way. I always fantasise about doing
something like that (pausing), in fact, me and my boyfriend are going
to drive to Nashville in November (smiling)! So yeah, Ill say
Wild At Heart, because its so cool and stylish (smiling)!
10.On a similar note, if you could join any other band for just one
night, who would it be?
Does it have to be a current band?
*I say no, that it can be any band in the history of popular music*
Um (thinking), theres so many that I wouldnt mind
joining for one night its a really difficult question.
Um (long pause + thinking) I cant imagine being in another
band though, do you know what I mean? Its really difficult to
think where Id fit in? I wouldve loved to have been Nancy
Sinatra and sung with Lee Hazelwood, but no one could do that better
than Nancy did. I suppose if I could have been in another band, or at
least been a fly-on-the-wall and seen a band, I wouldve liked
to have seen Guns N Roses (laughing)!
11.What posters did you have on your bedroom walls as you were growing
Again, Guns N Roses (laughing), Madonna and Led Zeppelin!
Then, I tore them all down and replaced them with Suede, Pulp and Elastica
and that sort of stayed forever really (laughing)! It was listening
to the first Suede album that really kind of changed everything for
me, and in my opinion, thats still one of the best debut albums
ever made! But, it did go pretty shit for them towards the end
and The Tears, I just didnt even want to hear that album, because
I knew it wouldnt be a patch on Suede.
12.You recorded your debut album with Steve Mackey, and although
his production has given your songs more of a fully formed, well-crafted
pop sheen, they still retain the new wave edginess of your early recordings
was this important to you?
Very much so, yeah, thats exactly what we wanted to do!
And Steve really understood that, because hes obviously come from
a band background, and he was in Pulp for 11 years. So he knew where
we were coming from in that respect, but hes also been like a
pop producer he did the M.I.A. record, so we knew that hed
be able to bring that high level of production to the songs, without
losing any of their character. Because we didnt want to just completely
change (pausing), I mean a lot of our early recordings are quite um
(pausing), basic (laughing)! We didnt have the money or the means,
we just did them all in an evening after work most of them
in a small recording studio in Sheffield, with a guy called Alan Smythe,
whos an engineer. So thats why they all sound (pausing),
theyve got a lot of character and people like that about us! All
of those 7 singles capture exactly where we were, and what stage
we were at musically at the time, and we wanted the album to reflect
that you know? We want the album to show where we are now and how weve
moved on, but also to still keep the essence of what those songs sounded
like, when they were actually written and what they meant to us. Hopefully,
it has done that (smiling)!
13.Like the best bands, your b-sides are also of a consistently high
standard is this partly to reward loyal fans who buy all of your
Yeah and I think again, that thats coming from us being
music fans ourselves. Because when you buy a single, you dont
just want there to be a live version or a remix on the b-side, you want
it to be a totally new song, that nobody else has heard and nobody else
has got, and its not on the album. I think its important
not to have b-sides on the album although weve put Lust
In The Movies on there, but, it HAD to be on there you know, because
its become a live favourite! But, for the most part, I really, really
like bands who do unique singles, like Suede did you know? Stay Together
was never on any album before the Singles compilation, and its
just such a beautiful and incredible song the full-length version
is amazing! They used to release 12s, as well as the CDs and 7s,
which no one really does anymore, and one of the b-sides on a 12
vinyl would be a song like High Rising which is from So Young
and is just incredible! To The Birds as well, which is a b-side on The
Drowners. But those songs and those formats, are exactly the kind of
thing that we want to do with our b-sides. Unfortunately now, because
of the way The Music Industry works, you have to release 3 separate
formats, so you can never have all of the b-sides together in 1 place,
which is a real shame I think, and I know people would like to have
that. But, its just sort of a cost thing and you have to do what
they tell you (laughing).
*I mention that I heard a radio interview with the Manic Street Preachers
in 2003 where James and Nicky were discussing their b-sides compilation,
Lipstick Traces, and Nicky stated, I think it's a great British
trait, because when we were asked to compile our own favourite b-sides,
I thought of all my favourite American bands, and they just don't do
Yeah, like The Strokes for example, they often only have live
songs or demos of album tracks. Its ok, but youre kind of
cheating your record buying audience if you do that. The 7 single
as a format (pausing), its coming back a bit now, but not everyone
has got a record player, so for the people who do want to go out and
actually buy 7 singles, its worth giving them something
else. Its very fan-orientated that opinion, and thats what
were all about (smiling)!
14.Judging by The Long Blondes own record sleeves, I would imagine
that youre all avid record collectors yourselves, and also appreciate
their aesthetic appeal?
Absolutely, absolutely (smiling)! And again, I dont think
theres been a band for some years, that has really thought about
the b-sides, the artwork, the video, the image, the style and the music,
as one whole presentation of what the band is about, and what the idea
of the band is about! Its like giving your fans a fantasy world
to escape in to, that you can only associate with The Long Blondes.
*I say that I once read a critique of The Smiths and their music, which
considered how they created a whole world / subculture for their
fans to inhabit: one populated by depressive teens, poets and cultural
Definitely, and Suede did it really, really well too (pausing),
sorry for going on about Suede (laughing), but they did do that really,
really well and so did Pulp! Pulp had this glamorous representation,
or seedy glamour I guess, of what Sheffield was, which is kind of why
I went to Sheffield in the first place. Because I listened to the words
and had this idea of what it would be like, but, its not like
that at all (laughing) so we created our own fantasy world instead
*I tell Kate that I really love her paintings, and also ask her how
long shes been painting for / if The Long Blondes artwork is typical
of her style*
Ahh, Thank You (smiling)! Ive been painting forever
I did A-levels, but the paintings on our sleeves, have been developing
while weve been doing the band really. I really love painting
the 7 single covers, because I think the more you think about
that as a size limitation that you have to work within that format
then you start thinking about what works on a graphic level.
But also, I really like old 50s film posters and pulp fiction
novel covers, and thats where a lot of my inspiration for the
paintings comes from. So Ill take images of film stars like Diana
Doors and Faye Dunaway, and then Ill paint them in the style of
old film posters or book covers, but also try and remove them from that
context, and put them in a more modern space. Like with the album cover,
Ive got Faye Dunaway, but shes leaning up against a Ford
Cortina, so its really out-of-synch (pausing), that image of her
is from Bonnie And Clyde, so she would have been leaning against a 1934
Ford Fordor. But Ive put her dramatically into the future!
*I mention that I also really love the bands logo, and that its
retro feel, reminds me of the old Top of the Pops logo*
Yeah, yeah (smiling)! I didnt do that though, Matt Bolton
from The Sugars designed it. It looks nice its cool (smiling)!
15.Interestingly, some music insiders believe that the importance
of albums may diminish in the future, due to the increasing popularity
of downloading specific songs. Do you think this is feasible?
Um, I dont know? I think downloading and the Internet is
a really good thing, I mean its a very positive thing for bands,
as it makes you incredibly accessible, so you can reach a much, much
wider audience, than you would necessarily otherwise do. So thats
a good thing! But, it probably ruins the whole tracklisting (pausing),
I mean we spent a lot of time thinking about the tracklisting, and the
running order of our record, but I know that some people may only download
the songs that they like, say 4 songs, and not the whole album. So yeah,
it kind of defeats the object but if they want to do that, then
thats fine. But hopefully, well have enough of a fanbase
that really gets us, and gets what were trying to do, and will
want to buy the record and have it exactly as we intended it to be.
Im sure therell always be people who want to have that as
an object, and I think were one of those bands that will attract
that kind of fan anyway (smiling)!
16.Siding with tangible records, whats the one LP that everyone
Cowboy In Sweden, by Lee Hazelwood definitely! Its
my favourite album (smiling)!
17.When playing live, do you feel a synergy between the band and
Sometimes, it really depends (pausing), I mean this tour has actually
been amazing! 99% of the shows that weve played, the crowds have
been so up for it and it makes a massive difference to how you feel
on stage. If you see people singing the words back to you and dancing
around at the front, then that makes me dance, it makes Dorian move
we all just feel so much better about the gig, if people are
up for it (smiling)! You do get the odd cynical crowd I suppose, people
who are just there out of curiosity, whove maybe seen us in the
NME and say, Lets go and see what this bunch of poseurs
have got to say for themselves. Not everyones going to like
it and not everyones going to get it, but you know, that doesnt
matter. If we play a gig, and like 2 people go away and they buy the
record, then thats great (laughing)!
*I say to Kate that I think it will be a lot more than that*
Im sure it will too (laughing)
I hope so (laughing)!
18.What would be your dream gig, if you could choose 1 headline band
and 2 support acts?
Whoa (laughing) you keep asking me these difficult questions
(laughing)! The headline band would be (pausing), I guess, um (thinking),
Jesus, its really, really hard (laughing)! Um (long pause + thinking),
headlining: Roxy Music as they were in the late 70s. Us
as the main support maybe (pausing), actually, I wouldnt put us
as the main support, I would probably put another band as main support
(thinking), someone like the Shocking Blue. Then us, and then The 1990s
were on tour with them now and we just love them (gushing)!
Theyre my favourite band in the UK at the moment, theyre
19.Youve now played shows in the UK, Europe and the USA
but have there been any particularly memorable places for you?
I loved going to New York we played there in June this
year, but we also played there in June 2005. That was like the first
time wed really kind of been away for a while, just the 5 of us
together, and it was so exciting to go somewhere like New York (smiling)!
None of us had ever been there before, and we really felt like we were
kind of stepping in to the unknown, and we didnt know how people
were going to react to it but we sold out every show! People
knew who we were, they knew the songs and (pausing), I met my boyfriend
(laughing)! So, that was a really big thing for me (smiling)! I think
that was kind of the moment, where all of us just stepped up a gear
with it as well, and everybody realised it WAS actually going somewhere,
and we DID stand a chance of getting signed, and we were a really good
band! So, everybody just started putting a 100% effort into it, whereas
before, it was still kind of like, Well, maybe Ill go to
Art School and do something else? Reenie was thinking that maybe
shed train to be a vet but then that was the moment I think,
that kind of changed everyones minds and brought us all together,
and made us think, No, this is what were going to do with
our lives (smiling)!
20.For young musicians thinking of starting a group, what is the
reality of being in an unsigned band?
Its loads and loads of hard work! I mean the reality is,
you cant just sit around in a practice room jamming for 4 hours,
and get wasted. If you do that, youll never get anywhere, and
thats not the way to write songs you know? You need to be quite
strict about it, and if youve got a space hired, thats your
money and thats your time, and youve got to really, really,
really practice hard, and, do as many gigs as you possibly can
whilst working (laughing), which is what we did! You know, I used to
drive the van I used to drive us up-and-down the M1 to London,
and wed get back to Sheffield at 4 in the morning, and then wed
all have to get up and go to work for 9am. So it was just like leading
a double life for 2-and-a-half-years. But its worth it (smiling)!
21.Dorian said that signing to Rough Trade Records, was a fairytale
ending for you all but what are your hopes for The Long
More like a fairytale beginning (laughing)! Well, I really hope
that the record is well-received its out in 2 weeks time,
so its quite a nerve-wracking period for us. Because weve
obviously poured our hearts and souls into doing this for the last 3-and-a-half
years, and now its like judgement time! We have to wait and see
what people think of it, but I really hope that its well-received
and then next year, well be touring a lot more, and hopefully,
maybe doing like a big support tour, and then our own tour again. Starting
the second album. Hopefully going to the States, Japan, Australia
just all those things you know? But, I hope we can have a crossover
effect to the mainstream, to reach a wider audience. I mean weve
never made a secret of the fact that we want to be a big band, we want
to just be the 5 of us, but be as big as we possibly can were
not going to change in anyway, but hopefully people will like it! There
arent enough bands who have total control over everything that
they do, and Rough Trades really good for that but most
of the bands that do, are on Rough Trade (laughing), do you know what
I mean? So if we can have that mainstream success, and still retain
the essence of what The Long Blondes is, then that will be our highest
22.Lastly, chips or cream buns?
Cream buns (without any hesitation)!
*I remark that most girls usually go for cream buns*
Really (smiling)? Its terrible to be such a clichéd
A very special thanks to Kate, Dorian, Emma, Reenie
and Screech, to The Long Blondes Tour Manager Nik, and to Becky
@ Darling Department, for all of their time and help.
You dont have to say you love me just because
You dont have to stay forever, Ive got other things to do
Dine out on it or keep it to yourself, just remember: try everything
PS Since this interview was carried out, The Long
Blondes have sadly had to call it a day due to Dorian's illness. We
wish them all the best in their future projects and would direct readers
to the newly released singles collection whose artwork includes a picture
of the band playing an early R*E*P*E*A*T gig at Cambridge's Portland