From 2008's V Festival promotion, I interviewed Roisin Murphy over the telephone all the way in London... my writing was not as good then as it is now, but I still had to share it with myworldtour. (photos courtesy of peter crichton @ petercrichton photography.)
ROISIN MURPHY INTERVIEW 2008
Irish eyes are smiling
Travelling is commonplace for seasoned musician /performer, Roisin Murphy. She’s developed into a deft solo artist since her split with boyfriend and collaborator Mark Brydon. Together they made up the hugely successful trip-hop dance outfit Moloko who crafted the catchy ‘Sing It back’ and ‘The Time is Now’ dance-floor hits.
So successful has her sophomore album release – Overpowered - been (following on from Ruby Blue a sexy, disco- pop, velveteen offering) she’s wanted on the bill of every major festival in Europe until August. That is of course, notwithstanding her latest frolic in Oz for the V Festival tour circuit and her own individual side shows to supplement her time here.
In fact she’s much more accustomed now to clicking her high-fashion heels and finding herself in a different country each week.
“They can be very surprising things festivals some of the festivals, we played as Moloko were pivotal in breaking into certain countries and you don’t even know you’re doing it,” she said. “You land somewhere go on and do the gig and at the end of it you’ve had such an amazing response it really can change things for you.”
Chatting to Roisin, it’s easy to get a sense of her approach to life. She gives the impression she’s laid back and bothered by, not much at all really. She calmly stopped the interview a few minutes into it where I was only to hear on the other end of the receiver clip- clopping through her apartment. I find out later she was off to the bathroom only to return to say she probably couldn’t go while she was speaking on the phone. Moving on from that ‘wee’ drama, she qualifies her desire to come to Australia with solid reflection on the good time she’s had here previously.
“I’m looking forward to coming over because of the sense of freedom sense of being whoever you want to be. There’s a sense of ‘no judgement’ sense of frontier of the world in a way, just like you can always have such a good craic [good time],” she said jovially.
Truth be told, Australia would be one of Roisin’s preferred places to live if only it wasn’t so far from the rest of the Murphy clan. An independent woman from a young age, she’s self assured and her Irish humour must surely have assisted propel her from the party districts of Sheffield to the seductive disco halls she frequents globally, but that is what she considers to have been the time in her life where she really learned a lot about the music she wanted to be making.
“I’ve probably learned more about music through that scene than I have through musicians though, I still learn through musicians but particularly in understanding lineage of music – dance (house) music has taught me a lot,” she said. Understanding the lineage of music has no doubt come in handy when penning the latest tracks to make up the Overpowered release. One in particular is a favourite to perform at the moment being Let me know.
“Let me know – is amazing because now we’ve fused it with the sample that it’s cut from which is Dtrain’s ‘Keep on’, so when I’m performing it we’ve have the first sample of Dtrain then – Let me know on top of that. It’s very emotional because kids who are 14 or 15 are coming along now who haven’t a clue who Dtrain are and then I’ve got the 30, 35 year olds who do and they recognise it and get into it,” she said.
As well as the emotion of the crowd, Roisin draws on her reserves of energy to perform. Not to mention doing a hell of a lot of remembering (loose choreography, reams of lyrics and lighting changes) all of which demands a levels of dexterity and poise and for her to be in a place in her head where it’s all just happening without her thinking heavily about it. “I mean I had an eye injury recently and I could have – kicked myself which would have been terrible cos I would have an eye injury as well as a kicking injury but it showed me that you have to be spatially aware,” she said wryly.
“Some people ask me if it’s an ego trip too and to be honest with you, you haven’t even got time to think about your ego you’re more a vessel for all this information and feeling it’s just an utter sense of rightness. This is you at your purest form in your most right place, I’m not the fittest person in the world it’s a lot about stamina too when you’ve got the stamina to keep going that helps,” she added. While she hopes to bring some of that ‘rightness’ to her performances during her time in Oz she’s also just looking forward to the opportunity to be with the band touring.
“ I just love the aspect of rolling into a town, kind of like when you’re child and when you’re always with the gang’ and you just roll in and think ‘we come here’ and then we change the atmosphere, and just go around as if we run the place,” she say’s jokingly. With the unrelenting festival schedule ramping up post Australia Roisin will be off with the band to Russia, Luxembourg and Holland she looks forward to each unique experience that will befall her.
“Festivals are all different in themselves you can be playing inside a massive aircraft hanger next you can be outside in a field god knows where and then you might be the next night in a fort in eastern Europe all very different from each other, but that’s really good for the band good for the group mentality to push em,” she said.
“It pushes us to the limits of what we can do by landing somewhere different and having to adapt, that really pushes us and that’s healthy for the band.”
Catch Roisin Murphy when she performs at the remaining V Festivals in Melbourne and Perth; or for a more intimate encounter get along to one of her solo performances for the following dates