Rock & Folk (April '99)
a fifteen of official albums with the banshees, three as a member of the creatures, the discography of siouxsie sioux is rather of a well stocked kind. that she accepts to evoke it sounds like a miracle. she talks about light. her eyes set it so well, her lips hardly half-opened to relate the one, so special, of sunsets in the south of france. wrapped of light fabric, she's got raven'shade hair, wisely plastered down abaft. yet, she hates to revert to the past & still less over hers. she's a riddle. susan dallion from bromley (london), become siouxsie sioux the unclassable singer of the banshees. pro-nazi with bare breasts, darted to the punk spits of 1976? diva of the new wave in 1979? opportunist in search of a third blow today? of course, she's not anything of all that. the 2 eagles that were flying in the hall of the hotel at last alighted under her brow. her eyes like her, beautiful creatures. of creatures, there's some talk as the divine receives in pigalle between brassières of red skai in sale ( season wants it ) & little knickers of tempting lace but with front holes ( sign of desperate times ). 'anima animus' is the third lp od drum'n'voice that siouxsie & her companion budgie ( drummer of the banshees from kaleidoscope ) have been publishing since 1983. regarded as a sound distraction to the stress of the band at the time of the first trial ( an ep that preceded feast ), the creatures have become nowadays the main activity of the couple. arrived from their french province - they henceforward live near toulouse but haven't got any accent _ siouxsie & budgie will explain later that the vineyard'99 represents the quintessence of their influences & the essential thing of their yearnings. because it's sworn, spat, nothing will ever make the banshees reform. nor money that has never motivated anybody in their ranks, nor any concert promoter & still less polydor, the label holder of the backcatalogue for whom siouxsie only has contempt. this as nailed on the door of the showbiz that logically has never managed how to seize artists of their calibre ( as fickle as innovating). the fans of the sioux will be delighted to learn that anima animus is an extraordinary lp of pop end of century ( it's the case to write it ), an opulent basket filling of fleecy influences & acoustic scoubidous. drawing the cords of this plentiful voice, cuting in our minds indifferent of new certitudes. for rock & folk, budgie & she accept to have good judgement in the rearview mirror.
siouxsie: 'we are given notice but what is exactly the principle of discorama?'
Rock & Folk:'it's a cursory glance of your discography that you're supposed to stud of your own reflections & souvenirs, the good, the bad, you relate what evoke the records. maybe, some readers don't know anything of you.'
S: 'maybe it's better like that'.
R: 'if they want to know you more?'
S: 'they only have to research'
R: '..., so, to us to make easier the task. most of your records are already quite hard to find.'
S: ' do you know the guessing game regarding the label?'
R: 'er! no..'
S: 'how to make aids stop?'
R: 'not the slightiest idea.'
S: 'you have to make it delivering by polydor.' ( medieval laughters )
R: 'not bad. that also works with other records compagnies, all except sioux records.'
S: ' hit!'
R: 'in 1976, you meet severin who will become bassplayer & principal banshees composers, but the scream your first lp produced by steve lillywhite, comes out two years later. at the height of the punk era, we find in it a cover version of helter skelter, the beatles'song.'
S: 'effectively, that may seem paradoxical but we were refering above all to the charlie manson'case. the book of ed sanders, 'the family' was just out...'
R: 'your version is disturbing, it's a kind of electric requiem of a endless sadness, like the whole lp besides.'
S: 'yes, it's a very good first lp, a sort of statement, that looked like nothing to what's going on at that time, regarding the sound of the attitude. I remember that the medias were confused. we had been filling venues for two years without any label signing us, that seemed strange. finally, carried off by the success of the hong kong garden single, the lp was quickly sold in enormous quantities.'
R: 'can you hear reminiscences of the scream, in the music of today?'
S: 'enormously: massive attack, portishead..'
S: 'likewise although she has never admitted it. I think that like a lot of people, she's enormously inspired by our first lp.'
Budgie: 'I remember her coming to see us backstage with the sugarcubes. she was jumping everywhere of excitement like a kid...'
R: ' in 1979, the lord's prayers, that you had played with marco pirroni, at that time guitarist of adam & the ants & sid vicious to the drums three years earlier at the 100 club punk festival reappeared on join hands, the following-up lp.'
S: ( pensive ). 'for better or for worse. it was already the beginning of a certain end. john mc kay & kenny morris were going to leave us shortly after the release of this record for which I've a lot of fondness 'cse it was not at the height of our hopes. letting it out was like giving birth to a deformed child.... the syndrome of the ever difficult second lp I suppose..'
R: 'it's particularly sad.'
S: 'in a certain way, it already marks for us the end of a era... oh for the anecdocte, I remember the assistant of the sound engineer was this young german that elton john wedded a few years later.'
R: 'speaking of germany, your references to the nazi imagery were often bad perceived.'
S: 'it's a subject still hard to approach but let's say that we were seduced by the provocative aspect & the reactions that it aroused. it was a way telling people: fuck off. you don't have to deny either that nationalism, especially when it's linked to soccer, is very important in uk, & we had been bringing up in that state of mind. we knew that it wasn't politically acceptable, but it was our way of extolling a certain type of antagonism. generally, you hold more my passion for the artist john heartfield, from whom I used a collage for the sleeve of mittageisen, that turns the nazi imagery aside.'
R: 'you conceive that certain persons were not able to make these distinctions.'
S: 'absolutely. well, I clearly affirm it. I hate racism & fascism as much as censorship & record industry.'
R: 'marilyn manson also fiddles with chaos appropriating certain techniques of ss propaganda.'
S: 'he's right. he only uses this imagery to marketing aims. people who take that to 1st degree are idiots, fuck them with all the castrators of art.'
R: 'in 1980, budgie as drummer & mc geoch, ex-guitarist of magazine rejoin you for kaleidoscope. siouxsie, you begin to play all the instruments.'
S: 'not that I'm a musician but I wanted to give shape to certain of my ideas & no one was able to do it in my place. nigel gray, successful producer of police contributed to the success of this enterprise. we were discovering keyboards..'
B: 'mc geoch realized that he could be happy making music.'
R: 'the year after, the goth rock term is used by the musicpaper sounds to qualify juju, often considered as one of your masterpieces.'
S: 'already? I thought that rather dated of the middle of the 80's. what is certain is that a lot of goth heirs like placebo, were inspired of juju, sometimed refereing to it at the letter. we were constantly touring, & the band become excellent, was beginning to make fantasizing. we approached juju in a way almost cinematographic, conceiving the songs like scenes of films. we wanted to apply to the lp some precepts of psychodrama.'
R: 'you already tried to escape from labels?'
S: ' exactly, we have a horror of them. we are disgusted by the easy & hide-bound allusions. we were inspired by can, iggy pop...'
R: '... without us perceiving it. being influenced is inevitable & stays the starting point of a lot of vocations but thee influences must not be heard anymore after recycling. morrissey is fan of new york dolls & Trex & if he didn't cry from the roof tops, no one would have ever know anything.'
R: 'on a kiss in the dreamhouse, in 82, we listened to a string section for the 1st time.'
S: 'again an allusion to the movies, I suppose. we felt strong, capable of everything.'
R: 'you describe yourself at that time as the best band in the world.'
S: 'oops. I effectively remember saying that, above all thinking it. the arrival of acid is maybe not completly belonging to that statement. the medias considered at that time that we're doing psychedelic punk.'(laughters)
R: 'you make experiments, you use sound loops for the 1st time, you scrape a little bit with dance rythms.'
S: 'we were groping. in fact, we found old loops of gary glitter on which we began to re-record things of us, before to prepare real loops in the proper sens. the tapes were going accross the studio above our heads, leaded by spoons, pens, it was pure madness. we tried to put microphones into water, wrapping them with self adhesive tape.'
R: 'have you ever been requested to compose scores?'
S: 'unfortunately, no. we sometimes give songs but it stops there.'
R: 'on nocturne, we discover your cover of dear prudence of the beatles, a gem. the studio version, your biggest hit to date,& hyaena the follow-up lp, ratifies your collaboration with robert smith.'
S: 'the cure was the support band on the join hands tour & when the band fractured, robert smith fills the place straight off. at the era of dreamhouse, he was always there, between the paws of severin, hoping that we propose something to him & finally he became fully member for hyaena, more a waste of time than a lp.'
R: 'for the first time, since your beginnings, reviews were bad talking overproduction.'
S: 'hyaena is an unsatisfied search of love. we didn't find what we were looking for. there were too many distractions, too much alcohol.'
R: 'tinderbox, recorded in 86 at the hansa studios of berlin & that you produce yourself after two aborted attempts with bob ezrin & hugh jones is more successful. the ex-clock dva john carruthers fills the place for robert smith.'
S: 'the cure went big & robert had to choose. we were fascinated by the idiot of iggy pop, this miraculous record which flaws made the glory. we've never forgotten that risk & accident are at the basis of a work of art, unworthy of the name. unfortunatly, the studio began to fall in pieces, so much that we had to mix tinderbox elsewhere.'
R: 'through the looking glass, your covers'lp including songs of sparks, kraftwerk, roxy music is produced by mike hedges & peepshow in 88 marks the arrival of jon klein, still another guitarist.'
S: 'we're never managed to keep them a long time. it's rather laborious. (laughters). we wanted to record peepshow very quickly, as in our beginnings. we had songs, we only had to make them sound. it's at that time that the arranger/ keyboardist martin mc carrick, a collaborator of marc almond, played a deciding role & even finished to rejoin us as a member of the banshees. peek-a-boo one of my favourites is a pure accident. I asked to hear an old take of brass section inside out & that inspired me the tune. it had to be the bside of the passenger & it became the biggest hit of the lp.'
R: 'with peek-a-boo, you're familiar terms with dance music but superstition, 3 years later, is a true excursion in this type at that time in full expansion.'
S: 'we wondered til the end what it'd happened to our songs once the producer stephen hague would pass them in the food mill of his computers & samplers, & I have to confess to not have been seduced by the terribly tedious process of recording. yet, drifter & softly are numbered among my favourites today & no doubt the professionalism of stephen mattered.'
B: 'nevertheless that, the rapture the last banshees lp is a return to our roots, recorded in reaction to superstition.'
R: '& to the sex pistols, isn't it?'
S: (thoughful) 'effectively, I took their reformation as a ultimate treachery, the annihilation of a myth.'
R: one year later, 20 years after your beginnings, you dissolve the band forever.'
S: 'oh yes, on that plan, I'm categorical. there will never be a reformation of siouxsie & the banshees. (in french) c'est fini, bien fini.'
R: 'in 83, publishes feast. to be part of the banshees let you so a little of time free?'
S: 'we began to write bits of songs during the recording of juju, thinking to that point that they were not intended to this already well full lp. but not them was written at that moment. after that, we worked for the creatures as soon as the opportunity was given to us, following our planning & the inspiration. for instance, I wrote thumb after reading even cowgirls get the blues.'
R: ' you did not perform in concert?'
B: 'never except maybe a performance in a bar in hawaii, in 83 that most of the eyewitnesses probably wanted to erase of their memory.(laughters) we just went to finish recording feast. after 2 songs the customers were wondering what was fallen on their head.'
R: 'boomerang, the second lp recorded in spain, with brass section & keyboards only comes out 6 years later. is it for that reason it's so rich?'
S: 'yes, we had other fish to fry. we were waiting for a gap, a opening door then we put everything inside.'
R: 'also, before, devoting to anima animus, you waited for the split of the banshees..'
S: 'we were thirsty of freedom. once severed the contract with polydor & geffen, we knew we will never undergo such a trial anymore. our unique aim was to become independent, free & without shackles. we worked the lp to our tempo, at home in france, in london & nyk. the people of suicide & portishead gave us a hand & wayne livesey & steve levine collaborated to the production.'
B: 'john cale also helped us a lot & joined us for the us leg of the last tour, as second bassist.'
R: '& at the guitar?'
S: 'no guitars, we've already had well enough problems with guitarists. (laughters)
Translated from Francais and contributed by Franck Drifter.