Electro's high priestess is bringing it back solo
“It’s all for the image darling,” purrs Roisin Murphy about her outlandish outfits.”I don’t dress for myself, I don’t dress for fashion, or the audience. I dress for the image.
“Somebody great like Marlene Dietrich said that. I embrace everything that could be construed as creative within my field.” You can always trust Ms Murphy to give a good quote.
Let’s get introductions out of the way. Roisin, pronounced roe-sheen (she wants you to get it right) was in Moloko, who had big hits with The Time Is Now and Sing It Back.
This week she releases her second solo album, the career-defining and virtually flawless dark disco record Overpowered, and also appears at Swarovski Fashion Rocks, the annual event that unites designers with musicians and combines performance with catwalk. “I’m doing Gucci,” says Murphy casually. “I’ve got a few choices but I’ve not tried them on yet.”
Mimicking her album artwork, that sees the blue-eyed blonde coutured up to the elbows in a builders caff, Murphy daintily shovels down Welsh rarebit as we talk, decked out in an amazing rouched bat-wing leather jacket. She looks outlandish and ordinary at once. There have been media murmurs that Overpowered is the album Kylie should be making, and although it’s meant as a compliment, Murphy doesn’t take it that way. “It pisses me off. I don’t care if it’s in a good way – it’s wrong. Obviously I can’t tell you what to write, but it trivialises my life. I’m sure she’ll make a great record, but it’s like the difference between a newsagent and a shoe shop on the same street – they’re different models for business.” That’s me told.
Dare I bring up Calvin Harris? The two worked together on a track for this album (he also worked with Kylie), but she didn’t think the track was suitable for her, and Harris spouted unkind words about Murphy as a result.
I proceed with caution, but the Irish singer bears no ill will towards the lanky Scot: “No, Calvin’s lovely. I saw him the other day and he apologised, and said he understood now he’d heard my record.” Then she lets me into a little secret. “Sophie Ellis-Bextor’s doing the track now. She’s already recorded it and she loves it. It will probably be a big hit and everyone will tell me I was mad for not doing it – such is life.”
But what should she care. Her album is packed with future classics like electro-pop juggernaut, Movie Star, cowbell ker-ker-razy Cry Baby, and atmospheric stunner Primitive. As it stands, her interpretation of disco is easily as good as Madonna’s Confessions on a Dancefloor, without having to sample Abba.
“It’s a brilliant record,” she says with 100 per cent conviction. “But I’m very proud of every record I’ve made.” I ask Roisin if she thinks the album would stand a better chance of commercial success if it were released under the well-established Moloko brand.
She bats away my concern like a gnat on her toast. “No, I think we’re starting again in many respects. You don’t have to put “from Moloko” after my name. 16 year-olds won’t have a clue what you were talking about.”
From yesterday's The London Paper