A recent interview with Roisin from BlackBook Magazine:
In 2008, Róisín Murphy told BlackBook, "Those are other parts of me that I live all the time. I’m a very down-to-earth, normal person. But I also have a really expressive, creative, flamboyant side." And having become a new mother, the pop star is unperturbed by scaling the latter back for the former. She hasn't completely abandoned her love for music. She's simply shying away from the conventional business model. Instead, Murphy's quietly pushing one-off songs online as she completes them, having released "Orally Fixated" last year and "Momma's Place"--which sounds like a cautionary tale for her daughter--earlier this year. And although she stayed mum on her creative camaraderie with the late Alexander McQueen--he provided garments for one of her most memorable music videos---out of respect for the late designer, Murphy exuberantly detailed the transition from dancefloor demigoddess to first-time mother.
Hi there. How’s motherhood treating you?
It’s great. I’m really enjoying it. She’s a really healthy baby. She’s fun. She’s very unpredictable. But I think we all are. I think she’s very cute...but any mother would say that.
Have you been taking time off from working on new material--to make time for motherhood?
I was working while I was pregnant. I was in the studio a lot. I got a lot of songs written. In the last two months I’ve been resting and getting ready to have the baby. Then I had the baby. Then it was Christmas. I’m still working it out. Right now, I’m very far away from that world in which I work.
You’ve put out two new songs—“Orally Fixated” and “Momma’s Place”--but ignored the decorum of singles and albums. It’s like you’re trying to reinvent the business a little.
I don’t know about reinventing. I just found that it’s something I can do. Certainly while I’ve been pregnant. Having a baby and having the time to commit to massive publicity schedule and touring is difficult. I’ve been very prolific. All these songs are there. So what’s the point in them lying there? They can come out. It’s no philosophy behind it. It’s just the way it is. I looked at the way things are you can just put things out. Keep feeding the fans something and let the music be alive. Because if it’s there for too long it kind of dies. It is what it is right now. I’m just taking every day at a time. I’m just seeing how much I feel like how much I want to do as I go along.
What inspired you with these new songs?
Well, British urban music was inspiring music. Old house music was inspiring. I found drum machines very inspiring. I wanted raw sound. I wanted to make pure dance music. Certainly with “Momma’s Place,” I wanted a big epic club record. The next track I’ve done is “Demon Lover”---it’s urban-sounding. I’ve got UK MCs like Wiley, Kano, and Donaeo. They all inspired me. I was DJing a lot during pregnancy. People were giving me backing tracks and I was trying them while DJing. So I was able to figure out which tracks sort of really worked. That was inspiring. And of course being pregnant. Though secretly at first—when I wrote “Momma’s Place,” I didn’t tell the people I was working with I was pregnant. So I had this secret thing in my head. “Oh I have this song about me and the baby!” Nobody knew.
Your last record leaned towards pop. But this one tends for a grittier sound. Did your pregnancy inform that?
It might have subconsciously. Maybe I wanted to make big brash sounds that would penetrate through all the layers of skin so the baby could hear it. I don’t know. I’ve always wanted to make music that works on dancefloors. It’s a good place for me to be. You really have to approach it clearly. You have to say, “That’s what I want to do. I want it to work on a big system. For people to freak out dancing to it.” The best dance music does have a sense of lineage in it--it’s kind of historical context too as well as just sounding really big and hammering your head off.
Was there any part of Overpowered that didn’t work for you and so you had to learn from that experience?
No, I think it was a really positive experience making the record. I don’t think I would be as prolific now had I not made Overpowered the way I did, working with all these people. Even on one track, working with 4 or 5 people. It broke down an immense amount of barriers with me, coming from a place where I wrote with my boyfriend--while in Moloko. I wrote solely with Matthew Herbert on Ruby Blue. He produced, mixed, and did everything on Ruby Blue. And being in a place where I was working with all these different people and having never met them before, having to be creative in front of brand new people. It broke a lot of barriers for me. I can pretty much go into the studio with anyone I respect now and get something now. Whether or not its good or not is a different case. I can sing. Or tell them my lyrics. I’m not scared. It’s a very positive experience for me.
Tell me about the album.
There isn’t a plan planned for the album as yet. It’s just me putting out some tracks. They may or may not make an album one day. I may make an album and these tracks may never even go on the album. I may make an album which do have these tracks on them. I haven’t had time to really do the whole thing you do for an album. So I thought it would be really cool to just put tracks out as I was making them--they were still fresh.
There are many musicians who work to strike a balance between motherhood and the demands of the music industry. How are you finding that balance?
You’ve got to ask me in a few months. I don’t think I know yet. I’m taking every day as it comes and just see. It isn’t just motherhood that I’ve got to contend with. At the end of the day the industry is changing. So much, so fast. I have to figure it out--day to day, week to week, month to month. And see how this thing plays out. But I can tell you that I’ve never been more prolific, more creative in terms of the music that I’ve been making. And more able to continue to make music. And that’s the backbone of everything else. I know people really want me to make videos and imagery. And I’m very flattered they want that of me. But none of that can happen without music. So if you are my fan, then at least you can rest assured that the thing that creates everything else is there. There’s nothing to worry about.