An interview with Roisin from Out.com:
Upon the release of her latest dance track, “Momma’s Place,” the gay fave (and new mum) talks about maternal warnings, the fashion that moves her, and the beats banging down her door.
The bad news from Roísín Murphy? We won’t be hearing the follow-up to her glorious last album, Overpowered, for a while. The good news? Though the dancing queen only recently gave birth to her first child, Clodagh Henwood (congrats!), she has released a pair of funky singles, including the brand spankin’ new, house-infused “Momma’s Place.” (It sorta sounds like Culture Beat’s 1993 hit, “Mr. Vain,” which in this case is a compliment.) We phoned up Murphy, currently tucked away in her home in the Irish countryside, to see how she’s faring without all the couture, paparazzi, and nightclubbing that make her world go round.
Out.com: The Geisha-style artwork for your new single, “Momma’s Place,” is pretty fantastic. It brings to mind that iconic Vanity Fair cover with a pregnant Demi Moore and the album cover for Bjork’s Homogenic. What was the inspiration for it?
Roísín: Well, it comes from a shoot I did for Zoo Magazine. I saw the Comme des Garçons fashion show a couple of seasons ago, and the hair was like that, the makeup was like that, and the clothes were amazing. It was actually kind of an emotional fashion show. You don’t get many fashion shows where you feel something, but I really did. It left a massive imprint on me, and as soon as I got the chance to do a shoot, I wanted to do something very similar. I was very inspired by it.
You’ve always been moved by fashion. Why do you think this particular show was so emotional for you?
It was in a circular room. It was very quiet and the clothes were really exquisite. It was very much the antithesis to fashion shows, which are usually big, brash, blaring -- because it’s just advertising in most cases. This had an intellectual depth to it. It was right in the beginning of the economic storm, and I think there were some elements in there in terms of all the cocooning. It was very conceptual and very beautiful.
You’re doing some cocooning of your own now, detached from your usual antics in the media and the fashion world. So what are the best and worst parts of being in the Irish countryside right now?
Well, I was taken out of my home the other day in four-wheel drive with the baby and my mother. We had to be taken into town to my mother’s house because the weather got so bad here. It’s very easy to become isolated, obviously -- a little bit of bad weather and I was completely cut off. So that’s the worst. The best is it’s giving me space to concentrate on the job at hand. I’m very far away from having to worry about anything else other than [my new daughter] Clodagh. That’s really why I’m here. I have my own place here in the countryside. My mum stays with me a lot and my boyfriend is coming back and forth to London because he has to work. I have a lot of support here.
Is songwriting on hold for now?
Until I get back to London. I’m scheduled to work with the Crookers pretty much as soon as I get back. I’ll be back in the studio very soon, I’m sure.
The Crookers have done some great mixes of Kid Cudi and Fever Ray.
They asked me to write with them for their record. I did two tracks and they’ve used both of them. One of the tracks, “Royal T,” is going to be a single. I performed it at the Viktor & Rolf show in Paris last fall. The sound of their music just has great resonance with me -- I just really, really like it.
They’re very much into the heavy bass. Are you heading in that direction on the next record? Could this be your most danceable album yet?
It could be. I haven’t planned an album, honestly. Right now I’m just putting tracks out. I’m sure there will be an album at some point, but these tracks might not even appear on an album. I’ve been so prolific. I’ve got at least 25 tracks I’m pretty proud of in various states of being finished that I wrote during my pregnancy. I just want to put them out and let people enjoy them for what they are -- as pieces of music -- and give myself the time to figure out how I’m going to go forward. Now I’ve got a baby and that’s the main thing. But also, the industry is changing so fast. I know people really want me to make imagery, to make videos. They really want to have something physical of mine as well as having beautifully produced pieces -- and they will have that. I’m very flattered that people want that from me, but right now I’m in no position to do that what with having a baby. But what I can do is give people music.
You say you’ve become quite prolific. Why is that?
I think Overpowered taught me an awful lot of lessons and gave me a great deal of confidence in terms of just going into the studio with people I’ve never met before and singing and showing them my lyrics and creating something. I can pretty much now safely say I could go into the studio with I someone I respect and come out with something by the end of the day. I’ve proven that to myself over and over again. Whether or not it’s good is a whole other kettle of fish, but I can do it and it doesn’t frighten me. I’ve got the whole world to choose from in terms of collaborations and there’s nothing to stop me from just doing it.
Who else are you collaborating with this next year?
I have worked with [Dutch production duo] Mason and with Ian Green, who did a remix of “Let Me Know.” But I haven’t got any specific plans.
You’ve said a new British urban sound is really coming together.
I’m not on the scene, but it’s totally got its own identity now. It’s not reliant on American music at all. In fact, maybe the opposite will start to happen. You’ll see that American acts will start coming out with stuff from British urban artists and get that sound. I think that’s what’s going to happen.
“Momma’s Place” -- tender title, confrontational song. What’s it about?
It represents a kind of light-hearted attitude toward my pregnancy, really. I was thinking about when I had a kid and maybe when my daughter grows up she may start trying to be naughty. I was saying, “I’ve been about as naughty as you can be, so you’re not gonna pull the wool over my eyes.” It’s a light-hearted look at what it might be like to be a mom coming from where I’ve come from, the things I’ve done with my life in the past. Having said that, now I’ve got the baby. She’s completely unpredictable and “Momma’s Place” will only be a tiny fraction of the story.
What’s the funniest thing Clodagh has done so far?
Well, she farts a lot [laughs].
You were DJing a lot during your pregnancy. What does a Roísín Murphy DJ set consist of usually?
Well, it has really evolved. In the beginning I was complete rubbish. I mean I’m still pretty rubbish, but I’m getting there now. I’m beginning to have an identity. I’m trying to keep it as modern as I can, as fresh as I can. I’m using a lot of tracks producers give me, things people haven’t heard, whereas in the beginning I playing a lot of vintage house or old disco.
You’ve said you can’t really get into Twitter.
I have Twittered! I’m just saying I couldn’t Twitter my every thought. I couldn’t create a whole campaign based around Twittering and blogging. I’m a bit more of a private person. Maybe a bit too lazy, actually.
Can we expect more fashion collaborations in the next year?
I don’t know. We’ll see, yeah. My figure’s not looking too bad, actually, considering I just had a baby. I can’t believe my look. Looking after the baby and running around has made me get back into shape. I haven’t been doing any exercising or anything.
Your two new singles, “Orally Fixated” and “Momma’s Place,” have centered on your pregnancy. How much do you think the baby is going to factor into your songwriting in the next few months?
I don’t know. People ask me how this is going to change me, but I keep saying I’m in the middle of nowhere now. It’s all about Clodagh. I’m looking after my baby, bonding with my baby. When I get back to London and start to write songs and start to go to fashion shows I’ll be able to tell people if it’s made me like deeper or whatever people say after they have babies. I may not change at all. Who knows?