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Image-based songs
Spätestens seit der Hitsingle "You're Gorgeous" dürfte babybird allen bekannt sein, und wer noch mehr über diese Band erfahren möchte, sollte jetzt weiterlesen...

On your latest album, there are a lot of different styles of music, and did you put any effort in creating a specific order of songs for this record? I'm asking this 'cause I tend to think it takes more and more stamina to listen to this album, the first tracks are very, very accessible, really good pop-songs, and then you have to deal with the songs - was this intentional and if so, why?

HUGH: I think it was intentional. Basically, we've had success with "You're Gorgeous" and "Good Night", which are pop-songs, you get people into things and then you whack them with something different.

STEVE: Yeah, of course, but I think if there is something wrong with this album, I do think it's probably too long, it should finish at a certain point, but it goes back up. Now when I listen to music, I listen to it on a CD, and CD-listening is flicking through different songs and you bypass the songs you don't like, and I don't necessarily agree with that, but that's what I do now.

HUGH: I do agree with that. I bypass the songs I don't like on that day, the next day I might love them. When I listen to "Ugly Beautiful", I probably listen to eight tracks, and the next time I won't listen to the same eight tracks, it depends on how I feel.

It could be very surprising for someone who buys this record and who knows only the singles, because it's definitely not your typical B**tpop stuff, any what would you say if I ask you something about B**tpop?

HUGH: See ya! - B**tpop is a creation of the British music press, but we don't recognize it. The bands are there and they are successful or they're not, and B**tpop is a tag, and we don't like having tags, so I wouldn't put the tag on to the bands like Oasis and Blur.

STEVE: It made Oasis and Blur, it put them on the main news, and destroyed Blur a little bit and made Oasis enormous, it's just ridiculous.

It's very interesting when you read all the reviews, because there are tags and a lot of stupid comparisms, some of them I can understand and some of them I can't understand...I don't like to review records by comparing them, because other people might not know what I'm talking about...

HUGH: You should never go to England and become a music journalist, because that's exactly what we've been sort of battling against, it's not a crusade. Journalists in England need a comparism, they don't seem to be able to describe music in their own words. It is lazy, it can be fun from time to time, but it's not particularly inspiring journalism.

So, what about your lyrics, there are some amazing and surprising lines, like "Jesus Is My Girlfriend", and do you find it difficult to come up with the lyrics?

STEVE: Piece of cake. If there's one thing I can do quite well or very quickly, it's to write lyrics and music. Sitting down with the equipment and writing stuff is just brilliant, I mean it's like being an author or something. It's great, you have control over all these words, and use them intelligently, unlike people in the British press as a good example. It's as close as you can get to perfection sometimes writing a pop-song, I don't mean in life but just with an artistic form.

Do you work a lot on your lyrics, because you mentioned close to perfection, and I guess it must be hard sometimes to stop at the right moment?!?

STEVE: Yeah, that's the good thing, because I have manuscripts for like three books that I wanted to write, and that's too much to handle, but with just writing down on one piece of paper, you can get it as close as to perfect. I don't think there's such thing as perfection, but you can get as close as possible. "Jesus Is My Girlfriend", I know that this is going to be a bit controversial, but religion to me is such a silly thing, I'm not trying to brake taboos or trying to shock people, it's just that everyone should be able to deal with religion, and it touches everyone. I don't mean to be blasphemous when I use it...

HUGH: A bloke came up to me in a club and gave me a lecture on babybird, and he described the lyrics as you listen to first half of the line and you think it's the worst lyric you've ever heard in your life, and you listen to the second half of the line, and you realize it's probably the best lyric you've heard in your life, and I thought that was brilliant! I think that describes Steven's lyrics perfectly.

Will you start writing songs together with Steven?

HUGH: No, I won't. I will write music, but not for babybird. I couldn't write with Steven, I'm on a different level. I can converse with them, but there is no way I could write with him, because that would be nonsense.

One last question: Do you consider yourself a conceptional artist?

STEVE: Erm, I'm just very interested in images, and I think a lot of the songs are image-based, they create images within your head, and they're very filmic in that way, and that looks to me like a film still.

Not conceptional, that's for other people to say, I don't think you say that about yourself. They're also very personal as well, 'cause when you take a photograph, you don't think of how personal they are, but when you look back at that, there are so many things in there I didn't realize and before I was in babybird, I blush a lot, you know, my blood is close to my skin and I show my shyness, so that's like that, and it's also women have to deal with giving birth and periods, and the only thing men have to deal with is shaving - that's the only difficult thing they have to do in terms of looking after their bodies, so I knew that when I was taking that picture that was obviously the joke was there, but there are so many other things. If people want to interpret a song the way they want to interpret it, I'm not going to tell them to interpret it. It's surprising sometimes, the song "I Didn't Wanna Wake You Up", someone in England thought that was about necrofilia, and that's just too ridiculous to comprehend, so he's taking it way off. I think people very rarely get to meet the people who wrote the song or the person who painted the picture, so you can't expect everyone to get the point of the song.
Yes, that's also the problem with interpreting art in school for instance, when they tell you what the poet or painter meant - who knows???

STEVE: Exactly, and people analysing Shakespeare and The Bible, and they don't have a clue! It's all conjecture.

HUGH: Especially Shakespeare's joke - you never know whether he's joking or not, 'cause they're not funny...I probably just don't get it, but...

[Erstveröffentlichung im Baby Talk-Fanzine #10, Mai 1997]

Interview: -Ullrich Maurer-
Fotos: -Ullrich Maurer-



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