On the last night of the current tour in Sheffield at the 02 Academy with her band Shakespears Sister, Siobhan Fahey took an hour out of her schedule to give an exclusive interview to Ultimate Eurythmics. The band are currently promoting the new album Songs from the Red Room and current single It’s a Trip.
How has the tour been going and what’s the response from the fans been like?
Every night has an amazing response it really couldn’t be better. This is my dream thing happening and I never knew that this was in store again. We are only playing small venues to a couple of hundred people each night and the crowds are so full of love and really loving the shows and we are really loving doing it.
The band work really well together, how long have you had this line up?
This particular line up just for this tour you know, actually the very first gig we did together was at the Underbelly and that was in November, although we had a different backing singer at that show. Sara (keyboards) and Katherine (backing vocals) we discovered for the shows – both amazing discoveries, fantastic I think.
Obviously you’ve collaborated with Claire, Gully and Will before.
Claire and Gully I’ve worked with for years and years they were my bass player and guitarist in the 92 incarnation of Shakespears Sister and they’ve been close friends of mine ever since. They both helped write and produce the record with me and Gully was the engineer, programmer and guitarist on the album. Claire played bass and wrote a lot of the stuff with me and Will the drummer has been with me since 2001 and was my Dj partner, co-writer, drummer and an inspirational force and this was really the creative nucleus of the new incarnation of Shakespears Sister.
Do you feel that you now have the perfect live version of Shakespears Sister?
I do think that this current incarnation is my dream team and it’s the perfect band. Several fans have said that they saw me live in 92 but they prefer this version. It’s much more of a band now. The 92 version was a studio album made by me and Marcy and we then auditioned a band to play the album. Now there are four of us at the nucleus who have a very close personal relationship and so the passion and the soul are present in all four of us. I feel like I’m finally in a rock and roll band with my friends that are fantastic players. I got to make the record that I probably wanted to make when I was 16 and I’ve got all my influences on it from Donna Summer, Blondie, Motown, Velevet Underground, Bowie and T -Rex and I love it. So I’m going out playing music I love every night with my dream band who are all my friends.
How do you choose which songs to perform on the tour?
I think I wanted the sets to be full of energy, excitement and fun and so I went for the more electro glammed up kind of material from the new album and the more up-tempo Shakespears Sister stuff that everyone remembers. I really wanted to embrace the old stuff as well as play new tracks. As we continue to tour in the future there are so many other songs that id love to introduce such as Moonchild and Emotional Thing. The set will constantly change as the audience grows and as people become more familiar with the 3rd and 4th albums I can add stuff to the repertoire. I’d also love to maybe do a performance of the MGA Sessions at some point in the future, but on this current tour with a new album I felt that it’s a lot of new material to take in so it’s best to really just hit them with it and keep it short.
Do you have a favourite song to play live?
My favourite song depends on the night and the mood, its hard to choose. The ones that spring to mind are Hello, Excuse Me John, Your History, Opportunity Knockers, Someone Else’s Girl, I really love them all but there’s stuff on the new album I’d love to do live such as the song with Terry Hall. You can only do so much in an hour I’d love to do Cold, but thought I’d avoid the more moody tracks this time out and perhaps save them for the festivals we’ve got coming up such as the Isle of Wight .
What is your approach to song writing? Do you prefer to work alone or to collaborate?
It’s very organic my approach to song writing. I still really don’t know how I do it. Every song comes about in a different situation with a different person and a different idea and I don’t know where ideas come from they just come from up there somewhere! It’s a sort of a magical process to me really. It’s not something that I can name. I do prefer to work with other people although I wrote Cold on the new album by myself but I don’t really do it very often.
What about the rumoured acoustic album?
I’ve started it already! In-between touring I’ve been doing acoustic versions from the new album and will maybe do some of the old tracks. I want the songs to be heard stripped of production and gimmicks. I made an electro glam album this time but the songs stand up for themselves so I’ve started working and recording some acoustic versions.
Is it true your working on the new tracks with your son?
Yes, with my son Sam. He’s an amazing talent who plays drums, guitar, keyboards and records himself. He’s also a great writer, an amazing one man band! I was in Los Angeles before the tour and was just going to his studio and recording. He’s a very focused, talented young man and I’m very proud of him. I’m proud of both my sons. My other son Django is super talented too but in a different way. He’s an incredible singer and performer and he’s actually working with his brother at the moment.
Before you release new material is there going to be another single from Songs from the Red Room?
I’m not sure, I think if I got the opportunity to release another single perhaps it would be Somebody Else’s Girl, I’m really proud of it as a song. We are performing it on tour, it’s a real quiet moment and it works really well in the set.
Finally Siobhan, you dedicated a song to Malcolm McLaren at the Bloomsbury Ballroom Show, can you share your thoughts about Malcolm’s passing?
I went to the funeral that day and it was a very moving and emotional thing. He really changed my life and he changed the whole culture and I don’t know if Malcolm hadn’t existed whether the whole punk thing would have existed in 76 which totally changed my whole attitude towards what I could do with my life. I dropped out and was totally obsessed with forming a band and going on Top of the Pops, making the kind of records that inspired me. His message was very much go out and do something amazing be amazing and no one can stop you. I think that so many people who were around then went on to be iconoclasts who went on to change the culture. The room in the church was full of those people and the funeral was funny and contentious and everything that he was so I thought it was a fitting farewell, but I felt very sad and I felt that with his passing it was the end of an era. It was the end of a really amazing era. Vivienne got up and she said that life goes on and its all about ideas, get a life now go out and do something with it and I thought what finer message is there to go out on stage with tonight. It was totally inspiring.
We would like to thanks Siobhan for generously giving her time for this interview David & Craig
You can buy Songs From The Red Room here, and now also a Deluxe addition here. Its A Trip is also available as a single here. Don’t forget to register on the Shakespears Sister website to receive free access to exclusive content.