Rose Elinor Dougall interview
With a new single and album in the pipeline Rose Elinor Dougall dropped into TMF Towers for a chat about what’s been going on since her exit from The Pipettes. Adrian Mules put the kettle on and opened the “best biscuits” tin.
Hi Rose, thanks for chatting to us at the music fix. For our readers not aware of you would you kindly introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about you?
Um, hello, my name is Rose Elinor Dougall, I write songs and sing them. I have a single coming out in a couple of weeks called ‘Fallen Over’ and I am just in the process of finishing my first record. Some people might know me from my time in The Pipettes, who I left nearly two years ago.
I love your solo work but I also loved The Pipettes, how did your exit come about? Was your first single ‘Another Version Of Pop Song’ about this?
I'd been in the band since I was 17 and after 4 years I felt that the time had come for me to go to pastures new. I felt I needed a fresh challenge and had been slowly getting some songs together which I didn't feel fitted The Pipettes mould. I had always wanted to try and write a record of my own and engage with some of my more personal influences and objectives. There was no animosity and I am really proud of what we achieved together.
'Another Version’ was my first single and I guess it served as a bit of a bridge from the past across to my new project. It was a little bit about me experimenting with the idea of writing a pop song without the construct of The Pipettes and how I engaged with those ideas on a more personal level.
So, what’s been going with you since you left?
All kinds of things - It’s been a very turbulent couple of years and a massive learning curve. First of all I spent months writing on my own in my bedroom. i had a few clichéd existential crises. I started demoing with a few producers and then came across Lee Baker, who has now lovingly produced this album of mine.
I played a few little gigs on my own, which was absolutely terrifying, but made me realise how much I had missed playing live. That led me to start thinking about getting a band together. This all amazingly fell into place quite naturally, with some of my friends and my brother. That was about a year ago, we've been playing and writing together loads. They have played on my record and I am really keen to get out on the road again.
What have you found that the pros and cons of going from being in a group to being a solo artist are?
I'm not hugely interested in being a 'solo artist' in the traditional sense, one of the main things I love about making music is engaging with other musicians and ideas and energies. I think that is where I have always learnt the most. I'm lucky to be able to play and work with people I really respect, I'm not running a dictatorship!! Although ultimately the decisions are mine.
It took me a while to have confidence and trust my instincts and convictions. However this process has been incredibly rewarding, and I feel I have had the chance to further understand myself as a writer and singer. I am trying to get the bottom of what it is that makes me tick, whilst trying to push myself into new territories. When I was in The Pipettes there was a clear objective and formula to react to, whereas this new project of mine is a little more fluid and less constricted. Whilst there was something strangely comforting about being involved in a group with such a strong identity, ultimately that became suffocating to me. I think I feel freer in what I'm doing now, albeit quite terrified as I have nothing to hide behind. I've put my blood into this project, and it is only right that I should feel viscerally about it.
If you could travel back in time and give one piece of advice to your sixteen year-old self what would that be?
Blimey! I mean I guess I made some choices and had some experiences when I was 16/17 which have definitely influenced my life since, for better or worse. I might tell myself to have a little more confidence and not be quite so self conscious, but maybe that would have turned me into an arrogant little shit. I don't know if I am old enough to start regretting anything that has happened thus far, ask me in a couple of years. Maybe I would say to brace yourself, its all gonna get quite weird from now on!
I’ve been singing along in the shower to your new single ‘Fallen Over’ (due out on the 30th of November). What’s the song about?
It’s about the unexpected nature of the first steps of a relationship, feeling awkward and clumsy but maybe taking a leap into the unknown - thinking about bodies and physicality.
So what songs do you sing in the shower?'
All kinds of things, if they're not my own! I have been singing 'I Should Care' lately, which Julie London sings so wonderfully.
When was the last time you actually fell over? And why?
Actually about two weeks ago. It was very embarrassing, but not strictly my fault. I was sitting on a stool which was very wobbly by a fire, I sort of leant backwards a bit too violently and fell back on my arse. The disgusting fruit punch I was drinking may have also had something to do with it...classy...
Classy indeed! Your album ‘Without Why’ is due out next year, how’s that coming along?
Yeah its really nearly done. In fact I’ve got too many songs for it, so I’m gonna have to start getting brutal with the track listing soon. Got a bit of mixing and a couple of overdubs, but its pretty much there, which is a weird feeling having worked on it for so long. I'm looking forward to getting a bit of distance from it so I can actually see what it is I’ve made!! I think it is an honest memento of the time in my life spent making it and I am starting to feel really proud of it. I hope to have it out in the first bit of next year.
What posters did you have on your bedroom wall?
Mainly Blur ones... I had a poster of Bjork too and a Spice Girls one at one point... Blur was the big one though when I was a nipper..
Do you prefer Twitter or Facebook?
Well Facebook involves communicating with people I actually know and hopefully even like, which seems a bit more worthwhile to me. I haven't quite got my head around twitter yet, but I am sort of engaging with it, albeit in a slightly half arsed way....
Do you have any other notable talents other than musicianship?
Well I went to art college for a couple of years and I think I used to be quite good at oil painting but I have let that slip a little bit over the last few years as music became my main focus. I'd really like to return to that in the future though... I'm good at making spaghetti bolognese too.
Thanks for chatting to us Rose and best of luck with the single and album release. What’s the next item on the Rose Elinor Dougall to-do list?
Other than doing the massive pile of washing up at home I have a couple of new tunes I’m working on at the moment - both with the band and some other little projects, keeping all the fires burning.
We politely decline to go home and help Rose with the washing up, instead sending her on her way with some discount codes for a new dish-washer.