Im here with Emma Anderson, of Sing-Sing and formerly of 4ad band, Lush. hi Emma, welcome to AV Deck.
Whats the latest with Sing-Sing? I hear youve signed to a new label
Yes! were putting our album out on Poptones now, Alan McGees 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 didnt 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, thats 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 theyre 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 couldnt get rid of the 4ad connection, as you had Poppy who was also in Mojave 3
ahh, shes not playing with us any more, shes in America now.. but nah, I dont 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 wed 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 wasnt 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? (ONeill, 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 didnt think much of it, it was just Frasers girlfriend and then my friend Bunny who Ive known since I was 14 phoned me up and she worked with Lisa and theyre both animators and she said oh theres this girl, Lisa, shes a singer, I think youve met her, shes looking to work with somebody and she sang on this album by someone called Locust so I was like, ooh Ive 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, wasnt it? I was there then!
Yeah! And Mojave 3 as well!
It was a cool gig! I think a lot of people werent sure what to expect, theyd not heard Feels Like Summer by then, so didnt 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 dont 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 dont 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 didnt feel too out of place as wed done six weeks with them in America a few years before. I guess wed already worked with Mark (van Hoen, Locust) by then, as hes produced everything weve 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 wasnt 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 hed like, also Jeff knew Robin Guthrie, so I sent a demo to him and I didnt think Id hear anything and then Ivo called, I nearly wet myself! I couldnt 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 hed 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 werent 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 theres 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 Im gonna write a song today.. whenever Ive written a song its come when Ive 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 theres a record company or a manager behind you saying you have to write or theres 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 dont you sing? but I havent 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.. im really not a singer.. I enjoy singing sometimes live, but I dont think Im very good at it
aww you never seemed to be that bad!
aww Im 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 shes had a little baby girl and shes at home looking after her at the moment, Phil is working for NME still and some other magazines off and on, Im not sure if hes doing anything musically at the moment - he has done bits and pieces over the last few years, but nothing thats really... well he was in the Mary Chain for a while after we split up but I dont think hes 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 youre working now!
yes, as I said earlier, I have a day job, and I work for another band... who were big in the 80s....
which is.....! and they were fantastic...
their initials are DD and theyve 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 Taylors autograph!
I could try, but hes in LA.. the thing is I never see them.. i dont 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 theyd never really heard of Lush so they get quite surprised when I say yeah I went to Japan four times and theyre 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 cds, but I dont think hes 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 thats not really happening right now.. especially as Im 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 cant 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 youve 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 shes 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 shes 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 Im guessing youll have MP3s 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 dont have a North American deal at the moment - the Poptones thing is for the world apart from North America.. although people can buy cds from their website, even in the States, so again, thats great.. so yeah, we are gonna have MP3s
its got to be as important as doing gigs in the UK
its quite incredible how its moved along so fast... so what are the future plans?
future plans for Sing-Sing, September 17th theres a single called Tegan and theres the album due on October 1st called the Joy of Sing-Sing but we havent got any gigs lined up just yet, were 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, weve only just got an agent, actually, so its all been a bit....
next year maybe?
yeah, and also weve 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 arent gonna happen...
so when you look back at your achievements so far, which are you the most proud of?
Im 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
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, theres obviously things I would have changed if Id had the chance if I could.. if I could go back in time but then everyone says that .. Im 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 theres 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 Ive ended up back on quite a cool label really
well I guess its like McGee and Ivo are from the same breed really, theyre the indies that stood the test
exactly! they do things the way they do them, and they dont 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!