Lush have recently released their first single, the 'Mad Love' ep. I caught up with them at Sheffield University on the 8th March, promoting it, and chatted to Miki (vocals, guitar), Steve (bass) and Chris (drums). Emma (guitar) was absent as she was tired and so went back with the others to the hotel.

-How are the sales of Mad Love coming on?

M - dunno...

-I mean you've been on the Chart Show and Snub....

M - err it was at 55 or something - it'll probably go down

-How do you like being rechristened Mick?

M - Mike!! Happens all the time!

-What about Snub - the sound on it

M - gawd, fucking dreadful. Yeah the gig was like really good.....

-It was all mixing desk sound

S - It was really bad. It went out live on the radio in France and it was a really good sound, Its just cause Snub only had two microphones or something......

M - I watched the Pale Saints who were on the week before and I watched them that night and it was perfect. That night watching it, it was brilliant. On Snub it was like - fucking hell - what happened? It was like someone was stood with one of those tape recorders!

-so you're on tv quite a lot now....

M - hah!

S - We were on Channel 4 daily yesterday

- I saw that

M - Really?

-A little bit of the video showing the tour dates! How are these ones going?

M - this was like the seventh one... I think
S - something like that. What day is it today?

-Thursday - so have they gone alright then?

M - yeah

- What about the Darling Buds tour? You didn't play York!

M - there were one or two we didn't do. That and London.....

- What's the reaction been like to the NME photos?

M - some of them are alright. I think the thing was, when they did the interview they put all four in, and the week after they had us on the live circuit page and they just put me, sort of like........ typical....... and I can just imagine all these people thinking "urr yeah, they're playing tonight...fuckin' tits out..."

- do you get that a lot?

S - tonight they shouted "get your armadillos out"
M - yeah we've had it. there were one or two.......

-You'd expect it at a Transvision Vamp gig.

M - I've seen people say it to Throwing Muses, you know.... anyone with a girl in the band..... its like "what can I shout out" and it's "oooh get your tits out"....

- have you lots of money like the Pale Saints?

M - no, we're careful with money actually, sort of save it up.....
S - they were going mad on the last tour and spending. We're really tight

- is it a good deal with 4AD?

S - well we haven't got a deal with them.... we've just done both singles.... its like working with your friends really.... its a sort of family atmosphere....cliché cliché...

M - at the moment its just for Scar and Mad Love but I think there might be something going on but I'm not sure

-are there other labels interested in you?

S - Rough Trade, One Little Indian
M - Midnight, Native
S - EMI.....

-my sisters friend who is only 16 likes you....

M - is that what we are - a 16 year olds band?

-She used to be a Brosette

M - Madly in Love - mad love

- yeah.....

M - its destined

-What's the bands history?

M - me and Emma used to go to school together and then I met Steve and Chris at the Poly. We used to have this other girl singing before.... then we sort of got rid of her.... I mean she was alright..... it was just sort of..... problems
S - she was a good singer
M - she was alright - it was just like - she got too involved in this relationship. we had to tear her away from it...it was like..... we were like.... a crappy little band "oooh we've got a gig at the Falcon" and she'd be "oh I was going to go to the pictures" and its like fucking hell......

-how long was it before you started getting good gigs in London?

M - not till recently

S - this time last year we were still playing little pubs
M - fourth on the bill... you know, nowhere.

-you're doing alright now!

M - Yeah! fuckin hell yeah! about bloody time!

-football...... I support Tottenham. Have you seen them recently?

M - no! thank god! since they've lost every match since......

-You know the Pale Saints had their album advertised in the Leeds United programme, well Vaughn Oliver, he supports Sunderland - he put a date in when Sunderland had beaten Leeds

M - really? haha
S - 1973
M - Mr Fact
S - they beat them in the FA Cup Final. He mentioned that in France
M - Maybe we should put that in the Birmingham City programme..... we can't afford to put it in the Spurs programme - probably costs half a grand to get this much (puts hands in small square shape) space in it.

-my friend told me you were in The Times yesterday

M - The Times? We were in The Independent

-The House of Love were in as well

M - that thing in The Independent was dreadful, wasn't it. Like 10 things
S - wildly inaccurate
M - yeah, and all the exclamation marks, "did you know THAT!!!!!"

-what about your Peel session? did you like it?

M - a nightmare - it really was.

-it didn't sound like you....

M - it was just like "right quick do all this" and then they mix it and they cut you off sitting around the desk not saying anything, and towards the end Emma started saying something and they were a bit sort of funny about it... just really unpleasant you know. It's just like a factory... it sounded really twee didn't it.'Breeze' sounded really sort of.... like....
S - the bit after the guitar..... (trails off)

-The ABBA song, where's it from?

S - its the album with them sitting in the back of a limousine drinking champagne

-which albums that?

S - its just called ABBA

-what made you do that one?

M - we were going to do an ABBA song, and then Emma sussed out that one so we did that. It was a toss up between that and 'Honey Honey'

-What about Hasta Manana?

M - haha!
S - good idea
M - 'Thank You For the Music'
S - 'I Have a Dream'

-could you sing it with a straight face?

M - I think we could try

- how old are you all?

M - well most of the band are 22.... but one particular member who stands out a mile.... oh yeah.... he's (Chris) 23 actually... I'm almost 23....
S - I'm 28 in June

-If you hadn't been in a band what would you have done?

M - I was thinking about that a year ago. I had a last year of college - a complete crisis, like what am I gonna do after I leave this place... and I didn't have a clue.... all these sort of prospectuses and career advice and all that and I didn't know at all. What the fuck do you do with an English Degree? Do an M.A.

-Chris,  say some words of wisdom 
C    - Everywhere I go I meet someone from the Lake District 
-Where  are you from in the Lakes?
C - Kendal 
-Mint Cakes! So what did you think of tonight?
C - I don't know.... I thought it was really big.... 
-Miki said at the end "you're a frightening audience" 
C - it was quite hostile.... well.... we're used to people getting into it. Nah it was alright. 
We've had better. I think it was the worst tonight cause it made you  feel nervous. 
-seems a bit analytical if people don't move 
C - I don't know what it is, if you get used to it.... we played Derby Dial last night which   
 was really small and I think everyone was quite into it. It would've been better......    
-Do you know  how much tickets were? 
C - 1.75!! That's brilliant! 
- I couldn't believe it - the House of Love are playing the Octagon in Sheffield next week for 
6.00 
C - that's terrible

-Have you done many support gigs?
 C - We did the Darling Buds and then the Loop tour. The Loop tour was better. it got better every time. 
But the audience....... it was really different.... 
-Have you had much daytime play of Mad Love? 
C - I think Simon Bates played it, which is a big insult! 
- have you any plans to play abroad? 
C - We've got the European thing and then we have to stop so Emma can finish her degree 
-Have you any more songs yet?

C - everything we played tonight is the only songs we've got. When we first started we had a load and nobody could play them, we used to.... we've thrown them all out and do the songs we feel comfortable doing, cos like Emma's at college so there's not a lot of time to get together any songs.... it is quite a slow process too. I think we're going to have to take a bit of time off.... get new material together...

-Does Emma's college get in the way?

C- well it does.... I think she should finish it. She's been 3 years and everybody would be a lot happier if she got her degree cos we're all quite lucky - it all happened last year, not this year. But once that happens you can concentrate on one thing... I know she feels pressured.

- What obsessions do you have? We all have obsessions but some of us hide them.....

-sounds like an advert!

C - football was an obsession till they started losing.....

-I've got a Tottenham mug

C - have you? I've got two

- I also had a Glenn Hoddle phase

C - did you? I'm reading his autobiography - 'Spurred to Success'

- did you buy the Glenn and Chris record?

C - nah.....

- what about Tottenham records?

C - no...

-I've got a Tottenham badge and sweatbands

C - I've got two mugs, a poster in my front room, a large collection of programmes and that's it. Tottenham have gone too downhill and I don't want to talk about it cause it upsets me too much.

-How do you spend your time now?

C - the band is everything. Its totally sort of time consuming. The record came out then the tour... then there's boring things you have to do like talking to accountants and solicitors, and things you'd put off if you were thinking about it and you know that's what you'd have to do

- are you enjoying it as much as you thought you would?

C - I'm really.... what I enjoy is touring. I just love it because I don't like London. I like getting out of London.

- why go to London?

C - for Poly. To get out of the Lake District. If you live in the Lake District you probably end up festering for the rest of your life. Its great when you get a couple of weeks off - Christmas or Summer or summat, and you know you can get out and go there and its brilliant. If you were living there all year round and didn't have anything else I'm sure it'd be totally depressing.

-I've never been to the Lakes

C - it is really nice. If you're in London you need all your money to use facilities, its one of them places where if you want to do anything you have to spend money. We used to go to London with a wad - spend it - it was brilliant, but if you're living there every day you can't go down Carnaby Street and say "ooh I want some of those bondage keks" you know, splash out, it feels good. I dunno.....

- where do you live?

C - Camberwell

- All the 'pop stars' live there - you don't dress like a Camberwell person!!!

C - Guy Chadwick comes from there, I think nearly all the Comic Strip do,

- The Beloved

C - yeah they do - they paint their bodies too. I've seen photos. Maybe that's the Camberwell look - they've changed!

- would you change like they have to become successful?

C - no way! The only thing I'd change is production on records, y'know. like the difference between 'Scar' and the new one... err...

- 'Mad Love'

C - Mad Cow someone said the other day. Mad Cow ep!! The production is a different sound.

-were you happy with it?

C - yeah, I think 'Mad Love' is a progression, it's a bit sharper. If you listen to 'Thoughtforms' on it and then on 'Scar' it sounds like a real dirge

and you just don't wanna listen to it.

 

-do you listen to your records?

C - I listen to it, but its more in a sort of ..... I think it I wasn't in the band I would, that's quite a good way of measuring it, if you're into the band you're actually in. When I first joined it wasn't the sort of music I was into, but if I heard it and I wasn't into the band I'd probably like it. It's like when you listen to it you think "oh I shouldn't have done this" and "it would have sounded better doing this or that". I can listen to it. I listen to it obsessively before the records come out.

- and notice mistakes

C - yeah, that's what its like. Its like that all the time

- do you get a lot of people coming up to you after gigs?

C - yeah a lot of the time. Signing posters which is a bit odd. Well its quite nice in a way.

- it shows someone out there enjoyed it

C - especially tonight. If you think "ooh yeah, everyone hated us!"

-did you ever have your big game of football with the Pale Saints before your gig in November in Leeds?

C - nah, we did in Norwich. When we do the European gigs it's on the contract that they've got to have a football team to play when we get there. It's gonna be a combined team, and they have to provide a team for us to play.

- what do you reckon your chances are for winning?

C - pretty strong.... the Pale Saints are good at football.... they're a lot better than us.....

and with that, Lush needed to get back to the hotel, so I got Miki, Chris and Steve into my car and took them back......

interviewed by jo and Tim, photographs by Tim Johnson