"All fluffy and nice"
A very interesting interview with Roisin from bodytonicmusic.com:
Roisin Murphy is to many the most versatile and charismatic female performer around, especially since Madonna hung up her sash and decided to turn into a country gentleman’s wife. She also has an accent that can’t decide whether it wants to be Irish, Manc or Cockney. And on top of that people can’t make up their minds which to pay more attention to: the music she’s making or the clothes she’s wearing. She smokes, she swears and she admits that she will quite possibly do your head in. I think we're in love.
Do you ever have a moment before you walk out the door when you just think, what the fuck am I wearing? Yeah, I do. It actually happened the other day. I played the Album Chart Show and they have all sorts of different bands, but it's mostly indie bands, and I walked out in this bright blue mini dress that is like half of a really old 1700s ball gown and I kind of got “What the fucking hell is she wearing? She's doing my head in,” reaction. But then that's good because you get a reaction and then when you get over that reaction and they get to see that I'm a real person as well and I've got all this sort of humour with the way that I do it. But in the end, with fashion, you are saying more, you're not saying less, you are communicating more with people.
Were you happy to be compared to Robbie Williams? Yeah, in the sense that it was done as a performer when they saw me play live and the reaction the audience had toward me, yeah. I don't think I'd ever make records like Robbie does, I think I've got a better voice to be honest as well but that's just me. I think he's a fantastic performer so to be compared to that and that kind of atmosphere in one of my gigs is a good thing I think.
Do you think collaborating with someone as experimental as Matthew Herbert was a good idea for your first solo album? Do you regret not being a little more commercial? It’s just the way it worked. I mean, I didn't plan on making the record with Matthew the way that I planned making this record. I certainly wasn't ready to be that focused about making music. Coming straight out of Moloko, I'd always worked and produced with just one guy so it seemed like a natural thing to do that again. In a way, Ruby Blue was made in a much more similar way to a Moloko record than this one. I started working with Matthew the day after Brixton Academy, which was the last Moloko show, and just carried on until I had an album. It didn't involve the label. I did what I always did which was not involve the label, we did it in Sheffield, we did it all ourselves, we produced it and mixed it and engineered it all ourselves. When I delivered the record to Echo I think that was when I realised I'd gone solo because they said weird things to me. They were like “This is the wrong record.” I was like, “Oh, I left the right one outside. Jesus, I must have left it in the car.” It was weird to have that said to me to be honest with you as I am honestly exceptionally proud of that record and I think it was the perfect record for that time of my life. It set an agenda, where I could do whatever I fucking liked after Moloko.
Is there anyone you'd like to collaborate with? I think personally I haven’t started to think about that in a big way but I would imagine that that’s the way it will work for the next record. I’m only beginning to think about that. I'll probably work with someone I worked with before to begin with and see where that takes me. But I always do it like that, I always feel it out. Seiji is the first person I worked with on this album, he had done mixes and stuff for me in the past and I knew Seiji and was comfortable and intimate enough with him to start the process with him. The songs that I did with Seiji, although they may not be the most glitzy disco songs on the record, they have set the tone for the record. I think they are the backbone of the album, songs like Overpowered, Footprints, Dear Miami – they really have the tone of the record down before I moved on to work with other people, so I think I'll try and work that tone out naturally and then move forward maybe to new people and beyond for the next record.
Do you have a ritual before you go on stage? The whole ritual takes about two-hours and it’s really about getting dressed, doing hair and putting make-up on and warming up your vocals. But I don’t do it like la la la la la. I put on disco music and sing along to, that warms me up. I was mortified recently because there was some picture taken of me through a window whilst I was getting warmed up to go on stage and I was dancing on my own like a lunatic and someone had a long lens and shot me and put it on the internet. ‘Mad Murphy’ strikes again.
What was going through your mind when you were singing Ramalama? Pure joy. It started out with us saying when we were playing gigs “Its Ramalama in there” in terms of it being rammed, and it turned into Ramalama and I just thought Ramalama Bang Bang and then I thought Ramalama bang bang flash bang big bang bing bong, ding dong dum dum d’ dum dum. Just loving it, just bouncing along across the music like that and I was writing the song and we put the song down, and Matthew still didn’t want to do it, still didn’t want to finish it for the record and I had to bully him in to finishing it but it’s one of the best ones on there I think.
It’s sometimes hard to figure out if you are more passionate about fashion or music. Do either of them stand out for you or do you think they are linked? They don't link really – I'm really the missing link between the two I suppose. I don't know that many people in music who are that arsed about fashion at all. But I love dressing up and I love a bit of fantasy and I'm a really expressive performer and I think I use the clothes as a tool to perform with and as soon as they stop expressing something true, as soon as it becomes a mask, I'm going to try and throw it away, I don't really want to hide behind the clothes or anything. They really are to serve the performance and express more to the audience, not less.
Did it start as a mask? No, but it can get out of hand. I mean recently it's been ridiculous – the big numbers. I've done them and then you think, shit, I've got to do another TV appearance and you have to live up to the last one so the shoulders get wider and wider and wider. So I have to keep an eye on it if you like.
Does it annoy you that people call you a nutter? I would say that is the best kind of criticism to hear. The worst is really detailed criticism of your music or what went wrong in the show or why they didn't like the lights or something like that. The best, the very best, review of me was on a DJ sheet, you get the sheets back with all the DJ reactions when you put out a 12" and one DJ just wrote 'she does my head in' and that was it and I just thought, it's a very English phrase, but I just thought that is actually spot on, that's what any criticism of me is always about, that's just the root of it. I do some people’s heads in and others people’s heads I make all fluffy and nice.