Siobhan Fahey from Shakespears Sister talke to eGigs

her new tour, the new record, live gigs, and more on Tuesday 9 March 2010

Siobhan Fahey, once of Bananarama and founder of Shakespears Sister is on the road for the first time in fifteen years in support of her new electro-gothic album 'Songs From The Red Room' released in November last year, and perhaps including chart topping singles such as You're History', 'I Don't Care' and 'Stay'. The soft lilting Irish singer took time out to speak to eGigs from across the pond.

You're in Los Angeles at the moment, is that a permanent move?
I actually go backwards and forwards. I just come to L.A. as often as I can because I really like it here. I'm based really in London still.

What's prompted the return of Shakespears Sister?
I have making this record for seven years, so the only question was what name to release it under, and in the end Shakespears Sister seemed the obvious name because Siobhan Fahey was the name I was christened with but Shakespears Sister is my artist name, and it was the name under which I released records, and it feels natural. The record also fits perfectly alongside the other Shakespears Sister work, it sounds like Shakespears Sister which is what I sound like when I make records.

You're wearing quite a costume on your website is that your stage costume?
It is yeah, it is my latest, I designed it and had it made. I went to the London College of Fashion to study fashion journalism, but I've already had an interest in style. My whole family has, I come from a line of tailors and milliners. I've always knocked up, kind of crude outfits. But I didn't make this one myself, I just designed it, and had it made by someone who had a workshop just around the corner. The headdress was inspired by 'Bright Young Things' the Stephen Fry film. There's a kind of 20's futurism look that I've got going on at the moment.

Do you just have the one costume for performances, or do we see you making costume changes?
I probably am going to get another one made, so I don't have to wear the same smelly outfit every night, but I'm more rock and roll that Las Vegas, so I don't think there's going to be costume changes throughout the set.

What can gig goers expect from your shows in April?
It's great because this is the fourth Shakespears Sister album, the first two were on a major label, and I've released two since then, and the body of songs are all great. It's going to be a mixture of old and new. People who know and remember the old stuff, there will some stuff that they know and remember, and there will also be some stuff from the new album. I think the new album is as strong as those other records, catchy, danceable, ironic, with good choruses.

You said you'd been working on it for seven years, why so long for a release?
Because I have no management, and no record label. Put me in a studio, or a stage, and I know what to do, but organisation is not my strong point and it's just taken me a while to work that bit out. During the writing and recording of it, there was lots of stopping and starting because I was heavily DJing at the time. I started DJing in 2002, and people really loved what I did, which really slowed down the writing and recording. I had to knock that on the head in about 2006 to really concentrate and focus on finishing my album.

I also had a family, I was raising sons, it's not like I was twenty and could lock myself away all the time. But, you know what, I think everyone takes ages making albums these days. In the days when you had to go into a really expensive studio to record album, you made damn sure you did it in a month or two. But, when you make it home, you've got to buy the equipment, so that it's there and there's no clock ticking.

Are you likely to make a return to DJing?
I'm not really feeling like DJing at the moment, I haven't done for a few years and it's really something you have to stay on top of, it's much hard than you think.

You're playing the Isle Of Wight Festival have you ever been to the festival before?
No, never.

Are you planning on doing any other festivals?
I'd like to do some more festivals, but none are booked as yet. I just really missed playing live with a band. The band are really fantastic.

Is the band a permanent set up?
Yup, well, the bass player, the guitarist, and the drummer are core members of Shakespears Sister, and Gully the guitarist, and Clare Kenny the bass player have been playing with me since '92 and Will the drummer has been my boyfriend since 2001. So the four of us wrote, recorded, and produced the album.

Will there be a single release from the album too?
There is, 'It's A Trip' is the single. It's kind of Donna Summer meets Blondie.

What was the last piece of music recorded?
I've been doing acoustic versions of my songs, with my son, Sam, who is an amazing producer and musician for an acoustic album which I intend to release later on.

What bands and artists have influenced you for 'Songs From The Red Room'?
Cos I was DJing I got really into the electro tip, and there's definitely an electro flavour to the new album, you know, Peaches and Goldfrapp. But my evergreen inspirations are always T-Rex and David Bowie, early Roxy Music, Donna Summer, Blondie, the Velvets, all the greats. I did set out actually to make an album that fused the Velvet Underground with Tamla Motown, you can certainly hear that on 'Bitter Pill' for example.

Who was the first band you ever went to see?
God, yes I do remember, I was 12, and I was staying with my cousin in Wembley, and we went to Wembley Stadium to see Joni Mitchell, and she was on with the band, which I'd never heard of at the time. I just went to see Joni Mitchell, and it was The Band; Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young; and Joni Mitchell.

What a line-up for your first gig, I'm quite jealous, can you remember any of it?
I remember having no idea how huge it was. It was enormous, Wembley Stadium, and they were little tiny pin pricks in the distance, the people on the stage, which was a bit of a disappointment, and since then I've much preferred going to see people in small places rather than large places.

If you were to record a cover version, what song would you pick?
I often record cover versions, it's really great fun and means you don't have to come up with a great song. What would I pick next? We're about to re-release the album with some extra tracks, and I've done a very emotional and painful version of 'My World Is Empty Without You' by The Supremes. I kind of did it like 'Being Boiled' by the Human League, a really dark slow electro version.

You obviously have quite a love of Motowon.
Yes Motown is my first love, and it will be my last (laughs).

What's the one essential you take on tour with you?
Hmm, well, make-up, make-up is absolutely the one essential I take everywhere.

Over the year's performed with lots of people, but what's been your most memorable gig?
My most memorable was supporting Prince at Celtic Park in Glasgow. That was really amazing for me because I'm a huge Prince fan, and I love Glasgow, and my dad used to take me to see Celtic play when I was a kid. So, that was a very special day for me.

You've also done acting as well, if you had to choose a on career music or acting, which would you pick?
Oh I'd definitely go for music, music is my abiding obsession, but I also love to perform and acting is just another opportunity to express yourself as a performer really.

Do you put on quite a performance for those going to see Shakespears Sister these days?
I'm not somebody who stands and stares at my feet when I'm on stage. I love performing and Ialso my favourite artists are people who really go for it on stage, who really inhabit their songs on stage.

And who was the last act you went to see who really did that?
I saw The Specials when I was in London, and I saw Grace Jones when I was here last summer, which I'd always wanted to see Grace Jones, and that was a lifelong dream fulfilled. She did change costume for every single song, and the costumes were incredible, they were the stars of the show. I love it when a show is as visual as it is musical.

You mentioned you got to see The Specials recently, did you get a chance to see any of your old Fun Boy Three pals?
Yeah of course, they're old friends and it's lovely to catch up with them. Lynval, and Neville, and Terry I have very fond memories of, they're great guys and it was really fun working with them. Plus, they really brilliants, and they make brilliant music.

There's no plans for any Fun Boy Three get togethers?
I don't know I haven't heard of any. It's amazing because 'Ain't What You Do' is such an evergreen, teenagers today DJ that out.

Do you do any of the old stuff from Bananarama in your set?
Right now I don't plan to, but I go into rehearsals at the beginning of April and you never know.

Thanks for your time.
You're welcome Scott.

Shakespears Sister on the following tour dates:

Friday 16th April 2010: O2 Academy, Liverpool
Saturday 17th April 2010: O2 ABC, Glasgow
Sunday 18th April 2010: O2 Academy, Newcastle
Tuesday 20th April 2010: O2 Academy, Bristol
Wednesday 21st April 2010: O2 Academy, Birmingham
Thursday 22nd April: London Bloomsbury Ballroom
Saturday 24th April 2010: O2 Academy, Sheffield
Sunday 25th April 2010: Concorde 2, Brighton

To buy tickets, click here.

Voice your opinion in the eGigs forums...
article by: Scott Williams

published: 09/03/2010 10:39


more about Shakespears Sister