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Morcheeba - The IndieLondon interview


Interview by Rob Carnevale

MORCHEEBA release their excellent new album, Blood Like Lemonade, on Monday, June 7, which marks their long-awaited reunion with singer Skye.

We caught up with Paul Godfrey for an exclusive chat ahead of the LP’s release, discussing the inspiration behind several of the tracks (from vampires to Vikings via self-searching) as well as their feelings about working together again for the first time since 2002.

Q. Hi, we’re loving the new material here at IndieLondon. How does it feel to be working together again?
Paul Godfrey: Thanks, I’m glad you like the record… I’m not sure how it feels exactly, we haven’t all spent much time in the same room together. Our collectively destinies do seem to be inextricably linked.

Q. When were the seeds sewn for the reunion?
Paul Godfrey: When Ross bumped into Skye for the first time in years. He then convinced us it was a good idea to reform.

Q. Thematically, the songs on Blood Like Lemonade unfold on a vast canvas, from autobiographical insights into your own story to flights of fancy involving vampires and Vikings? How much fun were they to write? And how long did it take as a whole?
Paul Godfrey: I wrote the lyrics with the help of my wife, Jen, who was very honest with me when I was being lazy. We researched the subjects thoroughly and talked in detail about the characters. I find writing lyrics the hardest part as it is so hard to express yourself with any meaning in such few syllables.

Q. Vampires are very much in vogue at the moment, did this inform the title track Blood Like Lemonade? What makes them so popular and enduring?
Paul Godfrey: I don’t know about thirst but vampires have always been very popular. I guess it’s the immortality thing and the opportunity to kill at will. I grew up on the Hammer House of Horror films.

Q. Is there a gentle side to Vikings, as you allude to on Beat Of The Drum? What made you want to explore it? Typically, they seem the opposite of all things chilled out!
Paul Godfrey: Well, you just have to get to know them [laughs].

Q. Self Made Man is, perhaps, the most intimate song on the LP. You admit failure taught you a lot more than success did. In what way?
Paul Godfrey: It crushes your ego until you no longer want to exist and then you have to pick up the pieces and survive or throw yourself off a very tall viaduct.

Q. You also refer to a period of bloody mindedness and selfishness is that one of the dangers of success? Did you ever feel that it was going to your heads?
Paul Godfrey: Yes, once the dormant egos erupted it was pretty shitty.

Q. Following on from that, there¹s a lot of bravery/honesty in a song like Easier Said Than Done, which doesn’t shirk from the reality of the bad blood that the split created. How much did Skye bring to that song, lyrically?
Paul Godfrey: She gave me the concept that it was about somebody hanging on and not wanting to let go but not being far from the ground. I interpreted this as her own fears about rejoining the group.

Q. Even Though, the terrific lead single, is a bittersweet listen. It’s genuinely thought provoking in an achingly beautiful kind of way are you optimistic about humanity at the moment? Or do you feel we’re all intent on destroying ourselves?
Paul Godfrey: As Bill Hicks says: “We’re a virus with shoes!”

Q. You’ve mentioned always trying to find the perfect record to fit the moment… do you feel you have ever created a perfect record of our own? Or are you your own worst critics?
Paul Godfrey: I don’t listen to Morcheeba after it’s finished but I imagine other people may consider our records to be “perfect” for them.

Q. How has the chillout/trip-hop scene changed since Big Calm exploded? And what do you think of the scene now?
Paul Godfrey: Well, I’m not sure I’m the right person to ask as I don’t have time to follow it all. Our original contemporaries don’t seem to have made decent, recent records and I rarely hear any new inspiring stuff. The digital age has vastly destroyed the quality of music.

Q. What have been some of your favourite collective memories of the Morcheeba journey?
Paul Godfrey: I can’t speak collectively but some of the early touring was fun and making and selling records was a buzz.

Q. What are the live plans for taking Blood Like Lemonade on the road? When and where can we expect to see Morcheeba over the coming months?
Paul Godfrey: We have a great live band and the tour dates are on our website.

Q. What advice would you give emerging artists keen to follow in your footsteps?
Paul Godfrey: Don’t bother. Learn to grow your own vegetables and live a happy simple life!

Q. If you could cover any song, what would it be and why?
Paul Godfrey: I would like to record the entire repertoire of Woodstock in the style of Chas and Dave.

Q. Finally, what are the 10 tracks that are never far from your iPod players at the moment?
Paul Godfrey: In the car I listen to underground hip hop. I can’t name 10 tracks in particular but I still love the Jaylib album.

Read our review of Blood Like Lemonade or watch the video for Even Though

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Morcheeba’s Blood Like Lemonade is released on Monday, June 7, 2010.