MOUTHY ISSUE ONE
interview by Ian C Stewart
London alternative/pop/dance duo Sing-Sing is singer Lisa O'Neill and former Lush guitarist Emma Anderson. Their songs forego the dreaded tags "shoegazer" and "ethereal," two things Lush was cursed (or blessed, I suppose) with from the beginning, combining pure pop sensibilities with danceable rhythms - without pandering to techno/disco/dance as a whole. Sing-Sing was originally signed to Bella Union, the label cofounded by Lush producer and former Cocteau Twins guitarist Robin Guthrie and they have a new EP out in the US on Manifesto Records.
Who were your early musical influences?
L: The first things I used to listen to, not necessarily through choice were things like Kate Bush, Abba, Jean Michel Jarre, Pink Floyd.
E. Early? The Beatles and Abba.
What made you decide to start making music of your own?
L: Boredom, then sheer enjoyment.
E. I guess you absorb so much music over a period of time it's bound to spill out in the form of your own stuff.
How is the current label situation working out?
L: Next question.
E. Ahem. Let's just say 2003 in a new start for Sing-Sing
How did the collaboration with Tim Keegan come about?
L: We were both on Bella Union and they suggested I sing on Tim's first album, as they were looking for a lady's voice. We really enjoyed working together so we have collaborated as often as possible since then.
E: And he is a very nice man.
Who does your website?
L: I do when I get round to it, although Emma does censor me occasionally as I tend to forget it's a public place and I come out with all sorts of clangers on the news page.
E: ...but overall it's very good! An overhaul is due quite soon so keep a lookout for that.
Is there talk of a DVD of your stuff?
L: Are you offering?
E. We have only made one video so probably no at this stage.
What's your favourite place to play live?
L: Small intimate smokey bars
E: Anywhere with a decent, receptive audience.
What's the biggest audience you've played to?
L: In my life? About 20,000 in the dance tent at Glastonbury - with the Mad Professor. Good to be out of the mud.
E: If you are talking about Sing-Sing then probably the Knitting Factory in LA in March this year. Nearly sold it out without a domestic US release. Not bad.
Do you have obsessive fans and if so are they a pain or is it not that big of a deal?
L: Yes, some are obsessive and no, its great, the weirder the better. They liven things up.
E. I think it means you have made it on some level if you have obsessive fans so, yes, don't mind them. Quite a few Lush fans have graduated onto Sing-Sing and some of them are a bit strange.
What do you think about the current state of music - is it better or worse now (or the same)?
L: Worse than when? There is always good music available you just need to look harder for it at times, and now is probably one of those times!
E: The state of music INDUSTRY is pretty dire at the moment, in my opinion. Not enough good labels, not enough people taking risks etc etc. Sad state of affairs - charts full of manufactured pop bands or awful Nirvana rip-off metal bands. Keep thinking things will improve but they don't.
What's next for you, musically speaking?
L: Album number two, that's all I'm thinking of right now, we're writing and demoing...
E. Yes, 2003 will be a good one. I INSIST on it.
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