The current edition of Australian pop culture magazine Cream features an interview with Roisin Murphy. The pictures are by German photographer Thomas Schweigert (see www.purephotography.de).
ONE-OF-A-KIND SINGER SONGWRITER albeit dyslexic, quirky, kooky and loopy, yet altogether loveable and commercially viable (if only just). This is Roisin Murphy, ex-Moloko frontwoman and fully fledged artiste in her own right.
Proving over and over she is a musical and lyrical genius, we’ve considered this gal hot for quite some time. Upon listening to her sophomore solo album ‘Overpowered’, you’re sure to be left with a sense of utter contentment. Here lie 13 tracks of the purest sophisticated pop that uphold Roisin’s title as Kooky Disco Princess. She manages to diffuse four decades into one very present jive sound – with the odd hint of Moloko here and there (unlike her solo debut, for which she admittedly sounded “altogether new”).
“Disco isn’t just about the 70s,” insists Roisin (pronounced Rah-jeen). “There’s a bit of it in every genre from all eras, and these were what I drew inspiration from for this album. I’m just a sucker for anything danceable.”
Right from the opening track, the sounds are squidgy-disco-like and very infectious. That said, in an industry overcrowded with wannabe poppets, Roisin stands tall as a dedicated performer who lives for the music. Despite some very strange character transformations in her music videos (a red sequinned gimp or “big red sperm” as she likes to recall in ‘The Flipside’, for example) and on record sleeves, you still sense it’s all about the music at the end of the day.
“I really inhabited this album,” she says proudly, “only going from my bed to the studio, my bed to the studio…” Mind you, these were various beds and studios dotted around the globe.
“I recorded strings with [legendary conductor] Larry Gold in Philadelphia; saxophone with Carl Cox and worked with producer Seiji in West London; Andy Cato in Barcelona; Richard X in Hoxton; and then went to Miami to work with Jimmy Douglass and The Ill Factor - who manipulates studio gear and computer plug-ins as quickly and precisely as a kid with a Nintendo!”
Since first making her mark on the international music map as the prettier half of Moloko in 1995, Roisin has travelled the world far and wide, being appreciated on various levels everywhere she goes.
“I’ve made six albums in my career, four with Moloko and two solo. The way I measure their success or failure varies, but with every product I give out, I know that I grow and I mature. I think I’ve found the ‘voice in my voice’, so to speak.”
Performing left-of-centre is this girl’s signature charm, and though often performing boisterously on stage and dressing loud in her music videos, she’s managed to cross over to the mainstream occasionally, possessing that necessary sense of equanimity. Lest we forget the cool, calm and seductive vibes of hit singles such as ‘Sing It Back’ and ‘Familiar Feeling’. Still…
“I’ve always looked at things from a different angle; embraced opposites and strived to make things fresh and new. I’ve been troubled with dyslexia since an early age and it’s made me overlook expected musical rules, but it’s definitely been to an advantage. It sets me apart from the others.”
Her wardrobe, too, stands out as extremely unique. The new album sleeve sees her dressed as a giant ball of wool, casually sitting in a café, about to indulge in a plate of chips and fried eggs. And why shouldn’t it?