"I always get a bit extreme and start tidying out my knicker drawer" In conversation with Saint Etienne
They don't call for five years then all of a sudden there's not only an album, the wonderful Home Counties, but an EP too. So with 22 new tracks in 2017, as well as a bunch of festivals and a big ol' tour, coming up we thought it a good time to catch up with Saint Etienne, specifically frontwoman Sarah Cracknell.
Hey Sarah, how the devil are you?
I’m not bad at all thank you, bit chilly.
What have you been up to today?
Oh no, I can’t bore you with the details it would be so dull! I’m off on tour in a couple of weeks so I’m busy getting ready for that. I always get a bit extreme and start tidying out my knicker drawer and wondering if I should paint the outside of the house before I go.
I caught your Sunday night show at Green Man this year, it got me wondering whether festivals are less fun than your own shows as fewer people know the songs?
I actually like playing festivals, it’s a bit of a challenge when it’s not your own crowd. It’s also very handy when you’re playing in a tent, as we were at Green Man, and it’s raining cats and dogs!
It must be great when ‘He’s On The Phone’ gets the reaction it does, twenty years on?
I think if we pulled 'He’s On The Phone' from the set there’d be a Jesus And Mary Chain style riot!
How would you describe Home Counties in two sentences?
It was a chance for us to reflect. It was also a chance for us to set the records straight.
What was your process for writing and selecting tunes for the record?
You’ve got a ‘Popmaster’ snippet on the album, it’s my favourite Radio 2 item, how come you chose Ken Bruce for the album?
We’re such big fans of Ken’s, he’s our favourite.
You’ve chosen Dive to lead your new EP, how come?
I just think it’s so infectious and exotic!
You had 19 tracks on Home Counties and now another four on the Dive EP, has this been the most productive spell of your careers?
To be honest we’ve always written tonnes of songs when making an album. We’re a little haphazard so quite often one of our better songs will end up as a B Side or on an out-takes compilation.
How have you, Pete, and Bob managed to stay sane throughout the years?
We’re very grounded, there are no egos in the band, we surround ourselves on tour and in the studio with people who we love and we laugh all the time. Voila!
What’s your favourite Saint Etienne song?
Marble Lions. It was written and recorded with my darling friend Mick Bund who I adore.
So 2017 for you so far, tell us about it?
It’s been a really busy year, which I like, but I’ve also managed to cram in two great trips abroad to Barbados and Spain. I love a holiday!
What’s coming up for the rest of the year?
It’s all about live shows and playing some new songs from Home Counties plus all the hits. We’re off to the US in a couple of weeks and then Europe. We finish the year with some festive UK dates.
What can people expect from those festive shows?
Tinsel and special guests?
If you could only listen to one song this week, what would it be?
The Future - Motez (ft Antony and Cleopatra).
What’s the question we should have asked you today but haven’t?
May we do all your pre-tour washing for you? Please??
Finally, how do you take your coffee? (Or alcohol?)
I don’t drink coffee but I love cider!
Thanks so much for your time Sarah.
Mon plaisir xxx
For more on Saint Etienne including tours dates and the like visit their website. You can also follow them on Twitter, like them on Facebook, etc. And stream their albums, including Home Counties, on all decent streaming services.