Ep05: Charlotte Hatherley on how 20 years of being in a band has equipped her for the apocalypse
Well hello there, and thanks for visiting! I’m delighted to share my conversation with Charlotte Hatherley, recorded on 24th March 2020.
[Content warning: some swearing present, issued in very friendly voices.]
In this conversation, we discuss:
- how Charlotte went from scraping through her A levels to playing in front of 50,000 people in Ash
- the day Charlotte met David Bowie – what’s it like meeting your number one hero?
- the day Laura saved Paul McCartney from an awkward conversation in Montego Bay
- the ups and downs of touring – is there more to life?
- how to navigate an ever changing technological landscape as a musician
- is B7 is the most irritating chord? (with thanks to guitarist Charley Stone for this question)
The three songs Charlotte recommends from her back catalogue are: “Behave” (The Deep Blue), “A Sign” (True Love) and her sci-fi cover of “How Deep Is Your Love?” by Bee Gees.
Things we talked about
In the intro I mention my recent blog post about Facebook unfriending, plus Cal Newport’s books “Deep Work” and “Digital Minimalism” and his new podcast “Deep Questions”.
Charlotte mentions Charlotte Cooper from The Subways, bass playing heroes Kim Gordon, Kim Deal, Melissa Auf der Maur and D’arcy Wretzky, and seeing Hole (with drummer Patty Schemel) and PJ Harvey play live. She talks about looking up to Bowie guitarists Carlos Alomar and Robert Fripp and remembers the excitement of finding out about American bands L7, Bikini Kill and Sleater-Kinney plus the zine scene of Portland.
We talk about how inspiring Viv Albertine (The Slits) and Gina Birch (The Rainboats) are, and I urge everyone to listen to Viv’s solo album “The Vermillion Border” (on which I have a teeny cameo – I had the great honour of playing bass and singing in Viv’s band at many gigs, and her music is GREAT, as are both her books). Charlotte also talks about Patti Smith and Lucinda Williams continuing to do brilliant things.
Songwriter Frank Turner comes up in conversation about touring – listen to my conversation with him here and watch Charlotte playing live sessions with him here + here. Excellent stuff.
Bookwise, I mention “The Last” by Hanna Jameson and Charlotte talks about “Where The Heart Beats: John Cage, Zen Buddhism and the Inner Life of Artists” by Kay K. Larson.
I also mention my love for birdsong.fm.
Charlotte is listening to:
The “Uncut Gems” soundtrack by Daniel Lopatin, Grimes’ new record “Miss Anthropocene”, the “Chernobyl” soundtrack by Hildur Guðnadóttir and the “Mandy” soundtrack by Jóhann Jóhannsson.
Charlotte Hatherley is a composer, solo artist, and guitarist who initially came to prominence as guitarist and backing vocalist for alternative rock band Ash.
After leaving Ash in 2006, she recorded and performed extensively with artists including Bryan Ferry, Bat For Lashes, KT Tunstall and Birdy.
Most recently Charlotte has toured as musical director for critically acclaimed South African artist, Nakhane.
A truly versatile artist, she has written for film and stage and inspired by her love of science fiction, her fourth solo album, True Love, was released in 2018. Her soundtrack for the powerful film ‘Imogen’ was released in May 2020.
Follow Charlotte on Twitter and Instagram, and watch out for her podcast coming soon!
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Have a lovely day xoPodcast
Well now. This was very good. I have two comments I wish to share with the Listeners:
1) I was pleased to hear that Charlotte agrees that B7 is the most irritating chord on guitar. I set myself the task earlier this year to write a song beginning with B7, and its placeholder title is currently “B7 Annoyance”. Listeners may be interested to learn that in that song I resolve the B7 to an Em, not an Emajor as Charlotte suggests. And that’s where she and I are different.
2) I loved the sound of the “10 Rules for Students and Teachers” and paused the podcast to look it up immediately. I can report that although all the top search results on my laptop all attributed it to John Cage, the top one on my phone tells me that’s actually a myth probably because rule 10 is a direct quote from him and so his name is at the bottom! But actually they were from Sister Corita Kent. So that’s interesting, isn’t it! Here’s the link: https://thepracticeofpractice.com/2017/08/25/10-rules-for-students-and-teachers/
Ooo that’s *very* interesting!
Note to Laura: after clicking “post comment” I got a dialogue box saying “are you sure?” and warning me that if I left the page the data wouldn’t be saved. After doing what it suggested ie returning to page several times I just gave up and clicked “leave page” the next time it asked me and at that point it saved it. So that’s a little confusing.
Really enjoying the podcast series especially this one and Frank (and I’m not normally someone who can listen to podcasts without getting distracted by something else and realise half way through that I have no idea what has been going on). I remember being in my 2nd year of Uni doing a performing arts module of my Primary Teaching degree and being posed the classic question ‘If you could have tea with 3 people who would they be?’ and it being 2006 one of mine was Charlotte just after she’d left Ash. (I think only 1 other person out of 25ish people had even heard of her) I thought it was such a brave decision to leave a well known band like that to find her own path. So thank you, I feel like I’ve now been brought that conversation and good luck to Charlotte on her baby!