Charlotte Hatherley Interview
I was knockin' back doubles in The Good Mixer with the two Bruces ('Ken' & 'Forsyth') when the terror gripped me. I was drifting into the arena of the unwell. Time to hibernate. Taxi! I popped the 'Important Pop Meeting – Do Not Disturb' sign on the office door and crawled under the desk to catch some zzz's. What seemed like a split second later the gaffer was all in my face, givin' it some bunny, veins-a-poppin' and being all Mr. Angry like. It was just noise I tell thee. Then he murmured something like “last chance...blah blah blah...interview Charlotte Hatherley”. Two magic words unlocked the dream box in my noggin', 'Charlotte' and 'Hatherley'. Sir, you have my attention. Jeeves fetch my finest clip-on tie! It's “business time”...
Salut Charlotte! Could you please introduce yourself to our lovely readers, tell us your earliest childhood memory and your favourite word?
Hi I'm Charlotte. Wow, OK well my first memory is of watching Pigeon Street and my favourite word is ragamuffin, closely followed by paraffin and puffin.
Can you tell our lovely readers about the inspirations and themes behind your mighty fine third record New Worlds and why they should rush out and buy it immediately?
I was inspired by painters and colours, I wanted to make a bright, immediate and vibrant record that was visceral and honest. It’s an optimistic record about creating beautiful, durable things and being in love. They should rush out and buy it because it will make them feel marvellous and uplifted…really, it will.
The album has an eclectic, sophisticated and 'Futurist - Art Pop' sound reminiscent of experimental '70s pioneers like Bowie, Kate Bush, Roxy Music – Was this your favourite period for music in terms of 'invention' and how do you rate today's pop wizards?
I think that’s spot on, I love music that’s open minded and experimental and most artists I admire come from an art school background, Bowie, Roxy, Kate Bush, Talking Heads but also '70s psychedelia like Beefheart, Zappa, Todd Rundgren. I like a lot of the retro '80s music that’s happening at the moment, but I always go back to the post-punk / pre-glam of the '70s.
You spent a lot of the Summer on the road with Bat For Lashes – what was that like and what's been the most valuable thing that experience taught you?
It’s been the most amazing six months. I love the music and touring with mostly girls is a revelation. Most of the time we’ve been in the USA, driving through amazing terrains and eating lots of eggs. I’ve learnt that given half a chance I would live in San Francisco, and that too many eggs is bad for you.
You have your own record label Little Sister – what's been the best and worst best things about being a record label boss and would you recommend it to other bands?
It’s been interesting, and I think at first I made a lot of mistakes that now I’ve learnt from. I have full control of my music and what I do, but I’m a musician for a reason and sometimes the business side of things can be a drag so you’ve got to stay sharp. Ultimately it’s been very rewarding and I would definitely recommend it to other bands.
New Worlds is a confident, colourful, optimistic record – what keeps Charlotte happy on a grey day?
Labyrinth on DVD, Marmite on toast, pompom, sausage dogs and friends…real ones, not the TV show.
Your “MySpaz” blog entries are crazy, brilliant, crazy – they're like Hunter S. Thompson – What are your favourite writers and have you thought about writing a book?
Ah….why thank you very much! I love Sci-Fi books, especially Philip K. Dick, and 1984 by George Orwell. I have thought about writing a book, especially around the last two years as they have been particularly crazy and it’s been an interesting period of change in the music industry to write about. I don’t have the time right now but maybe sometime soon. I don’t have the patience to sit down for long periods of time so the ‘blog’ format seems to work, short bursts of creativity suit me better.
As a professional musician you travelled this Old World a fair few times now – where's the most amazing place you've visited?
Japan is always amazing as it feels so very alien and exciting, and the food is incredible. Fans tend to be fairly intense and always make you weird and wonderful presents. Australia is always ridiculous fun, and I left my heart in Berlin on one tour.
If by some bizarre twist of fate you became leader of a New World what laws would be passed and what kind of leader would Charlotte Hatherley be?
I’d pass the Sexxlaws outlined by Beck and I would be a Sereneous leader…powerful yet serene. It’s a new word I’ve made, much like ‘Insania’.
You joined Nightnurse when you were pretty young – what are your memories of that time now? Is there any advice you wish you could magically give to your younger self?
I was 15 when I joined Nightnurse, I was extremely shy and awkward and probably quite angry and moody. We played all the shitty London venues, it was a very informative time as the other members were much older than me and introduced me to all sorts of musical influences. I wish I could have told myself to relax and enjoy the moment. I was always in such a major rush to get things done, and now that I’ve hit 30 I’ve realised that I’m still so young and there’s loads more I want to do.
As we knock on the door of the Twenty-tens – what have been your highlights and lowlights of the 21st Century's first decade? Also where were you on 9/11?
Oh well there’s been a lot of highlights, Bat For Lashes, Bryan Ferry, meeting David Bowie…it’s a large list…lowlights have all been personal, and what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. The London bombings were very upsetting, I was in Tokyo then, and I was in Tokyo for 9/11 too…a very strange, far-off land to be. I felt very disconnected from home and desperately wanted to come back.
Between us good friends, what did you think of Annie Lennox's version of Shining Light and who would you ideally love to cover a Charlotte Hatherley song?
I wasn’t into it. I would love La Roux to cover one of my songs. Or Peter Andre.
Finally, you've crammed a helluva lot into your time on Earth so far – three solo LPs, your own label, playing with Ash, Nightnurse, Bryan Ferry, Bat For Lashes, Client – what burning ambitions have you got left to fulfil?
To stay in one place long enough to have a sausage dog.
So with the parting image of a sausage dog, Charlotte Hatherley departs in a magical horse-drawn carriage specially built for glamorous pop types. Back over the rainbow. A passing tramp shouts out “Who was that??” “Hatherley be thy name”, I reply.
Charlotte Hatherley's third album New Worlds is released on October 19th. Whilst you wait go visit her MySpaz (and be sure to check out the blog y'all).