I’m here with Emma Anderson, of Sing-Sing and formerly of 4ad band, Lush. hi Emma, welcome to AV Deck.


What’s the latest with Sing-Sing? I hear you’ve signed to a new label

Yes! we’re putting our album out on Poptones now, Alan McGee’s new label, this was all finalised in the last couple of weeks

So how did it come about?

we actually made the album on another label, Sanctuary, but things didn’t work out with them so we parted company, so I went to Alan (McGee, Poptones owner) and said “would you like to put my album out?” and he said “yeah! yeah!”

Is that the album that was originally going to be called Siamese?

Yeah, its the same album

Has anything changed apart from the title?

no... well if anyone has a promo copy, the version of ‘Feels Like Summer’ is different on it, that’s all, but no, everything else is exactly the same

Being in Sing-Sing, is it difficult, you were known in the papers as “Emma from Lush” - have you found it hard to be noticed in your own right? NME would have their reports “Emma from Lush was at this gig and that gig” and you were never out of the papers

mm, yeah, it was quite hard actually, yeah, in a number of ways i wont go into now as they’re a bit boring.... there were advantages and disadvantages of being in Lush. obviously you form a new band and you take... some people might not have liked Lush, so they think.... whereas others have been really surprised by it and vice versa, so you take your history with you which is not always great, and obviously when we were looking for labels, everyone was saying “ooh she was in Lush blah blah” and I think they liked new fresh faces, but its worked both ways, definitely, yeah

and I guess you couldn’t get rid of the 4ad connection, as you had Poppy who was also in Mojave 3

ahh, she’s not playing with us any more, she’s in America now.. but nah, I don’t wanna shake off the 4ad thing anyhow.. it was nice while it lasted - its good to keep the ties I suppose

okay, so the first single, it was on Bella Union - another 4ad connection - was that always meant to be a one-off?

yeah it was actually, the idea behind that we’d find another label.. they sort of wanted to keep us, but we were offered a better deal by Sanctuary and we weighed it all up and went with Sanctuary in the end.. we would have loved to have stayed with them but it was the money was a lot to do with it

I guess, its been difficult for you, when you had what you had with Lush and having to start again

yeah, it was always meant to be a one-off - it wasn’t like we fell out or anything while we were making the album! nah, still friends with them, its good!

So how did you meet Lisa? (O’Neill, singer in Sing-Sing)

well it was a double connection actually, she went out with this guy, who shared a flat with Pete, this bloke | was going out with - they lived in this awful flea ridden flat in Camden, beer cans everywhere, bleurgh - typical blokes flat, and I sort of met her there and didn’t think much of it, it was just Fraser’s girlfriend and then my friend Bunny who I’ve known since I was 14 phoned me up and she worked with Lisa and they’re both animators and she said “oh there’s this girl, Lisa, she’s a singer, I think you’ve met her, she’s looking to work with somebody and she sang on this album by someone called Locust” so I was like, “ooh I’ve got that” and put on the track and it was really really good and i thought that was quite a coincidence, so I called Lisa up and that was it really. We clicked and we took it from there

Talking Locust, that was when you played your first ever gig, wasn’t it? I was there then!

Yeah! And Mojave 3 as well!

It was a cool gig! I think a lot of people weren’t sure what to expect, they’d not heard ‘Feels Like Summer’ by then, so didn’t know what to expect? Was it weird playing alongside someone whose audience would be more dancey, after Lush and all the indie gigs that were played?

locust I think are very electronic.. I don’t know if dancey is...

yeah, that probably was the wrong word!

I always get muddled up, well not muddled but when someone says something is a bit dancey, it involves some synths and a lot of beats.. but then I don’t know if you could dance to Locust...

I remember there being the gig and sounds based around tv screens

Yeah it was very experimental, but then of course Mojave 3 were on the bill, so I didn’t feel too out of place as we’d done six weeks with them in America a few years before. I guess we’d already worked with Mark (van Hoen, Locust) by then, as he’s produced everything we’ve done, so it felt quite natural really

so going back to Lush, how did you end up getting signed to 4ad?

funnily enough, everything comes full circle! I was working for Creation at that time


well it wasn’t for Alan, it was Jeff Barrett, who you know, (Heavenly) and Lush had done some demos and Jeff, and Alan in fact, they both said to send it to Ivo, as its the sort of thing he’d like, also Jeff knew Robin Guthrie, so I sent a demo to him and I didn’t think I’d hear anything and then Ivo called, I nearly wet myself! I couldn’t believe it!! And he said “yes I really like it, I really like it” and at the time, this is quite a funny story, we had this guy called Howard Gough, who was the 4ad plugger, who had seen us live and thought we were the worst band he’d ever seen! And he was really trying to persuade Ivo not to sign us, he was going “they really are dreadful, please do not sign this band!” so Ivo was “ yes well everyone in the company has to be behind someone if we sign them its not really like that at the moment with Howard” so he put us in the studio and we did some demos that ended up being ‘Scar’ our first record, and Ivo again really liked that, and put it out as a record and then we did ‘Mad Love’ and Howard warmed to us and sort of against his will he had to admit we weren’t as bad as he thought we were and then he ended up being our manager which was quite a funny time and a twist of fate I suppose and he left 4ad.

he actually left 4ad to be your manager?

yeah! howard did, after trying to persuade Ivo not to sign us! cause we were awful, so....

In the sleeve notes of the Best of, it says about you and Miki and the pressures you were under writing songs, having to write things, writers block.. now there’s not as much pressure, how are the songs coming along?

I never find it very easy to write a song.. its even harder now as I have a day job so in that respect its quite hard but it is always quite hard to just sit and say “I’m gonna write a song today”.. whenever I’ve written a song its come when I’ve been walking down the street or just strumming the guitar watching Newsnight or something... something really weird! The pressure comes from yourself really so even if there’s a record company or a manager behind you saying you have to write or there’s nothing, its still quite hard I think.... so.. I need to write some more songs actually...

So have you ever thought about doing lead vocals?

No I haven;t.. a couple of people mentioned it to me, when Lush finished, said “why don’t you sing?” but I haven’t got a brilliant voice and I actually sing less in Sing-Sing than I did in Lush and I feel much more comfortable like that.. i’m really not a singer.. I enjoy singing sometimes live, but I don’t think I’m very good at it

aww you never seemed to be that bad!

aww I’m not appalling, but other people can do it better, so I think they should!

So, Lush wise, what are Miki, Phil and Steve all doing now?

well Miki has had a baby,

so we can finally put those rumours to rest!

yes! she has had a baby, it is her first baby, there were some rumours about three years ago, so she’s had a little baby girl and she’s at home looking after her at the moment, Phil is working for NME still and some other magazines off and on, I’m not sure if he’s doing anything musically at the moment - he has done bits and pieces over the last few years, but nothing that’s really... well he was in the Mary Chain for a while after we split up but I don’t think he’s made any records and Steve lives in Ireland with his wife and he works at a computer company and he writes sometimes for Mojo and Q, mainly reviewing reissues and stuff, back catalogue type things

and what about you? are you gonna tell us where you’re working now!

yes, as I said earlier, I have a day job, and I work for another band... who were big in the 80’s....

which is.....! and they were fantastic...

their initials are DD and they’ve just got back together in the original line up

do you find that being in Lush has helped with your job, that you have the experience and it helps with the job?

yeah, on one level it definitely helps!

ooh and can you get me John Taylor’s autograph!

I could try, but he’s in LA.. the thing is I never see them.. i don’t actually technically work for John either, so I can definitely try.... but yeah, of course it helps and I think they quite appreciate the fact I was in a band.. i don't actually talk much about Sing-Sing to them but they’d never really heard of Lush so they get quite surprised when I say “yeah I went to Japan four times” and they’re like “oh!?” I think they think I just played in some pub band in backrooms in Camden, maybe, third on the bill

you should give them a copy of the Best of, then see what they know!

Someone gave Nick Rhodes a copy of Gala because its the guy who designs their sleeves, I think he was a bit of a Lush fan, so he asked him for cd’s, but I don’t think he’s said anything!!!! So nevermind!

So like you were saying, you work with Duran Duran, and before you worked with Jeff Barrett, can you imagine yourself not being involved with music?

Yeah, i can actually, very much so.. being on the other side.. as in the actual industry.. I much prefer to be a musician and do that full time but that’s not really happening right now.. especially as I’m older, I can imagine a complete change but I probably always will do music even if its just strumming guitar and putting a cd out myself on the internet.. I just can’t imagine not playing a guitar ever again and not writing songs.. I can imagine career wise doing something completely different, but I have no idea what

you said about putting things out on the internet, so many things have changed from when Lush were first out and you’ve got your own website now with the proper website due to be launched in the next couple of days, how important is all that to you and how involved are you?

me and Lisa are VERY involved in the website as Lisa is actually a web designer now so she’s designed it and I think a lot of websites are done by the record companies whereas this is just completely ours which is nice

that is so important, the best sites are the ones that the bands do themselves

so it should be up this week, as she’s going on holiday on Saturday so its got to be up before she goes! yeah, that's quite exciting,.... its just the way you can communicate with so many people instantly around the world.. its just... it makes life so much easier .. having a mailing list that people can write and we can send out news and... its just brilliant, you know.

And I’m guessing you’ll have MP3’s on there, so people all over can get to hear you, as when are you next planning on getting back to America?

exactly! well we don’t have a North American deal at the moment - the Poptones thing is for the world apart from North America.. although people can buy cd’s from their website, even in the States, so again, that’s great.. so yeah, we are gonna have MP3’s

its got to be as important as doing gigs in the UK

I know..

its quite incredible how its moved along so fast... so what are the future plans?

future plans for Sing-Sing, September 17th there’s a single called ‘Tegan’ and there’s the album due on October 1st called ‘the Joy of Sing-Sing’ but we haven’t got any gigs lined up just yet, we’re just working on it

and if people go to the site they can join up on the mailing list...

they can! all the news updates and everything

any festivals planned?

no, we’ve only just got an agent, actually, so its all been a bit....

next year maybe?

yeah, and also we’ve been getting a new keyboard player and possibly a new drummer as well, so its all a bit of a panic at the moment! so festivals aren’t gonna happen...

so when you look back at your achievements so far, which are you the most proud of?

I’m probably proud of nearly everything actually.. I mean I still listen to Lush records and think they sound good and we wrote good songs and

its definitely not dated at all

you think?

I think a lot of it still sounds like it could have been recorded this year, maybe lesser so the early stuff but Single Girl or Ladykilllers, it still sounds very now!

I mean, there’s obviously things I would have changed if I’d had the chance if I could.. if I could go back in time but then everyone says that .. I’m very fine about all of it really... I loved being on 4ad, it was great! it was quite funny being on 4ad, as I was quite cosseted in a lot of ways... after I left 4ad I got quite a shock actually, to see what the rest of the music industry was like! and how awful it was really.. how there’s disloyalties to bands and the weird a&r policies that people had or have, which of course Ivo was out there on his own in his tastes and his tactics or whatever.. none of this “oh does the lead singer look like a star” and stuff... and things like that.. it was a bit of a slap in the face actually, I have to say, so its funny I’ve ended up back on quite a cool label really

well I guess its like McGee and Ivo are from the same breed really, they’re the indies that stood the test

exactly! they do things the way they do them, and they don’t care what the rest of the industry is up to, so I was never destined to be on a major label,

which is probably a good thing!

I think is a good thing in the long run, yeah!

cool! well thanks for coming in, good luck with the single, album and everything!

official Sing-Sing site