Pop music veteran Siobhan Fahey of Shakespears Sister and Bananarama sat for a photo shoot, and we discussed the recording of her new album, Songs From The Red Room (due to release in the U.S. on September 21st), as well as her rebel girl relationship with music. I met Fahey late in the afternoon on a fully-cooked 107-degree steamer in New York City’s Lower East Side. She looked cool and glamorous as she sat in the window booth at Fontana’s, cosmetics casually laid out next to a light sushi lunch. With her red Lipstick on a cigarette, a thrash of platinum blonde hair, long legs, and silver Chanel heels, she’s 51, beautiful, and still more punk than you.
If the photo serves my memory correctly, it was 1988, in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. There’s my mom, with frosted hair, in a flamingo pink bikini by the pool. “Cruel Summer” was floating from the speakers of the boom box. Yours truly was only 5 years old, but knew all the words. Bananarama had just been entered in the Guinness Book of World Records as the most successful all-female group in history. How did you identify with the independent young women that were influenced by your music at that time?
Sibohan Fahey: We were absolutely seizing the right to be who we wanted to be, and express ourselves. I totally dropped out, didn’t do anything my parents wanted me to do. I was just obsessed with music, and I had to find a way of doing it, even though I didn’t come from a musical family, or have any training. I certainly didn’t have any encouragement. We were just rebel girls, we were determined to carve our lives the way we wanted them. Maybe that was less usual then. We were different than other girls you might have seen on TV.
1988 was also the year that Fahey branched out on her own and started Shakespear’s Sister. Even solo (or as a duo with Marcella Detroit) she wouldn’t stray too far from the charts. Her band would put out critically acclaimed albums such as Sacred Heart and Hormonally Yours, and the smash hit single “Stay,” which would reach number four on the Billboard Hot 100. Despite the success of her solo career thus far, the ’90s were fraught with lots of obstacles. “Physical and emotional exhaustion” would see the cancellation of European tours, a falling out with London Records, who would leave a record unreleased. She later split with her bandmate Marcella, and filed for divorce from her then husband, Dave Stewart. It wasn’t until the new millennium that she began writing Songs from the Red Room.
So this is a record that you’ve been working on for a while then?
It was a path that took twists and turns direction wise. I was in a very sad place when I started writing the record. I’d just been dumped and was heartbroken, and I wanted to make a record that fused the Velvets with Tamla Motown. Then I started DJing, and the whole nu-electro scene started to influence how I wanted the record to sound, and I suppose I just got my mojo back, you know? [Laughs.] So the later tracks are much more playful, and much more sassy.
Tell me about your Velvet Underground influence.
The Velvets are such a seminal group and are hugely influential to everybody that I respect musically. I don’t feel particularly special in being a Velvets fan, but Lou Reed was an amazing pop songwriter. I love the violence and nastiness of his lyrics, and the sweetness of his melodies. I love the edgy dark musical sound, and the way they broke rules, the way Mo tucker played the drums. He (Lou Reed) took me guitar shopping when I was in New York in the ’90s, so I bought a guitar at his behest!
What was the recording process like?
It was much slower than before. I made it at home, I bought lots of old analog synths, and set up a studio in my backyard. Before, studios were so expensive, and you were on the clock, so you had to go in, and finish it in three months, so it took longer. This record ended up evolving, and going different directions because there was a stop start process.
You might do some U.S. tour dates in September. Is there a place you love to tour or some favorite pastime of being on the road?
I love traveling, being in a moving vehicle just moving across the planet to passages new. My band are my best mates—Clare and Stephen have been in my band since 1992, and [drummer] Will’s my boyfriend. The four of us made the record. Yes, it’s my record, and I’m the sort of creative director, but I’ve got a devoted band around me who are really talented. So it’s not me and a backing band, it’s Shakespears Sister.
Songs From The Red Room features a collaboration with Terry Hall (The Specials/Fun Boy Three), and will be released in the U.S. September 21st (on Fahey’s own label SF Records) via Red Eye Distribution. Stay tuned for U.S. Tour dates in the fall!
Fuente: LimeWire Music Blog