Polly Scattergood Interview
Way back in December I read this interview with Polly Scattergood over at the Decoding Static blog. Intrigued I popped Polly’s name into Last FM and I loved what it came up with. I bought her album and there’s hardly been a day when I don’t listen to it. It’s wonderful. You can have a listen here if you want to see how right I am.
And here she is, on my blog, talking about hats and writing and David Bowie. This is exciting. Enjoy!
Welcome to the blog, Polly, it’s a thrill and a pleasure to have you on. I first came across your work in November and there haven’t been many days since when I’ve not listened to it. Could you tell us a little about it? What does it mean to you? Did it turn out how you’d expected? ‘Polly Scattergood’ was released in 2009. When were the songs written?
The oldest song on the album was “I hate the way” which was written when I was 17 and the last one I wrote was Other Too Endless... So they were written over a few years, location wise they were all written in various bedrooms!
“I hate the way” was in a bedsit in Selhurst, Nitrogen Pink was in a white box in Streatham, Other Too Endless in my little flat in the attic in North London.
And what’s your writing process?
I write a lot, and very fast. if I haven’t got a song down in half a hour or so I usually give up and do something else. I am quite impatient and I don’t believe in forcing things. I’m not good at being creative on cue.
How important are the words in your songs? What’s their relationship with the music?
The words are very important to me, especially on that first album, as I wrote much of it whilst growing into myself. The words were almost like my diary, my thought process, my vent. I think the relationship between the words and the music was sometimes difficult. I often write too many words for a line, but it was a stream of consciousness. My music is just another part of me and I am constantly battling myself, so I guess the battle between the words and music was inevitable.
What does a song need to do to be great?
I think beauty is in the eye of the beholder and what I think is great, maybe ugly to some. Personally, I love things which have layers and textures and depth. Light and dark.
‘Polly Scattergood’ is going to be entered into the dictionary and you can write its definition, what would it say?
Well the actual definition of Scattergood means “here today gone tomorrow”. I am a creative personality that comes with its pitfalls which makes trying to define my personality hard, as it changes on a regular basis.
What advice would you give to someone wanting to do what you do?
To always be true to yourself and not change to fit into someone elses idea of who you should be. I am libra. I like balance and I am very diplomatic, but I learned the hard way that you can’t please everyone and even if you spend months or years working on something that you have put your heart and soul into, someone will still inevitably sit there from the comfort of their living room hiding behind anonymity and shoot you down. So you just have to have belief in what you love to do and ultimately do it for yourself and your love of music, otherwise what’s the point.
What’s the most difficult part of your job?
I guess the first tour was a eye opener as we travelled back to London every night after the shows. It wasn’t very glamourous traveling back after a gig at 3am, me and all the band boys all sweaty in the back of a transit van, then lugging flight cases into our lock-up, but the thing is, I have worked in shopping centers, in a ice cream factory under a escalator, on a market stall, waitressing, and whilst I was doing those jobs I was dreaming about doing what I do now, so for that reason I could never complain. Every job has its difficult bits and I am very lucky.
Who do you like listening to? Any recommendations?
I have been listening to Massve Attack recently and I am still a big Bowie fan. I also love Vampire Weekend and MGMT’s
Tell us a secret.
When I was little I would go out wearing 3 hats at a time.
What’s next for you?
I am writing my new album which I am so excited about. it is quite different to the first album. I feel like it is a very natural progression though; it has lots more beats and I have built on the soundscapes making them bigger in places, its still quite dark, but this time I would say its slightly more comfortable in its plastic cover.
Anything you’d like to add?
I try and keep people updated on news via those three social networks. As soon as I have finished the album I hope to get back out there and start playing live, so please keep your eyes peeled and stick with me, whilst I write this new album!
And here’s Polly’s cover of New York, New York, appearing in the trailer for Crysis 2 (EA Games). It’s been going down a storm…