Sunday 14 November 2010

Cocknbullkid Interview

After being thrown out of a Marina and the Diamonds sound check; I joined Anita Blay (Cocknbullkid) in her dressing room at Kentish Town’s ‘Forum’. We start off by discussing how she has found touring with Marina and the Diamonds. She tells me that it’s been “really good fun and it’s a bit sad that it’s coming to an end”, however, once the Marina tour is over she’s heading straight out on the road with Kele. She was a “big fan of the first Bloc Party album, particularly the second single ‘Everything you wanted’” and is looking forward to seeing him live as a solo artist.

The topic of conversation then shifts to the new EP, ‘One Eye Closed’, her first EP release since her début EP two years ago. She seems pleased with it and is aiming to release her first album in February, which she will be calling ‘Adulthood’, “not to be confused with the film,” she adds.

I ask her what music she’s been listening to recently. She replies with “I’ve just slowly started listening to music again because I didn’t want to listen to anything whilst I was writing the album so excuse me if this reference is really old but I’m really into Sleigh Bells at the moment.” This sways the conversation to how I’m seeing them support MIA tomorrow and Anita seems to be a big MIA fan as well.

I follow up this question with “do you go to many gigs?” but she tells me that she made a decision that she wouldn’t go to any gigs, listen to any music or read any magazines whilst she was recording the album so the last gig she went to was the Sleigh Bells instore at Rough Trade. “I haven’t been to any gigs in a while but I’m getting back into it now” she informs me. The ‘not listening to music’ concept seem to be more about avoiding finding out what everyone else is doing and what’s ‘cool’ rather that being influenced as Anita tells me that she definitely draws musical inspirations from: Kate Bush, The Beach Boys, Morissey and The Smiths. The fact that she likes The Smiths leans the conversation towards Britpop as a whole and when asked about the Pulp reunion she seems very excited.

We then move onto the inevitable topic of her writing for other artists, which she tells me has always been a side project of hers. “We’ve just finished some songs for a new girl band and we’re just sorting out some other things as well at the moment” she tells me conspicuously, trying not to give too much away. I then ask her whether she plans on focussing more on her own music career now that the album is all set to be released but she says “I’ll still keep writing for other people; I have a few sessions booked as it’s very important to me as I enjoy writing so much and so I try and do it parallel to my own stuff, when I’m not too busy with it.” Writing is clearly a big part of her life and she loves to keep busy with it.

We then move onto the other inevitable question that I felt very obliged to ask of why she got rid of the ‘The’ in her stage name. She tells me it was just because she felt it was a bit of a mouthful, “it’s neater this way.”

On the topic of image, particularly onstage, Anita feels that “it is important to a degree. If you’re claiming to be a pop star then it kind of is but if you’re just sat there playing a guitar and singing and that’s all it is and it’s not a show then you could just turn up in just your jeans and a t shirt.” I ask her if her musical performances are a ‘show’ and she tells me of her designs and ambitions for it to be but she knows that she’s “just got to take baby steps to make this happen but in the meantime I just think that charisma and just a good performance is a good show.”

I close with the question of whether she has a favourite venue that she would like to play at and she tells me of how she would love to play in a church or a cathedral as “it wouldn’t be great for acoustics but there would just be something really grand and beautiful about it and my mum would be so chuffed to see me sing in a church. I sung in churches when I was younger as I was in the choir but never at the front or anything.”

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