Ep47: Miki Berenyi (Piroshka / Lush) on celebrating a breadth of voices in music – Transcript

Ep47: Miki Berenyi (Piroshka / Lush) on celebrating a breadth of voices in music – Transcript


Content warning: this is a very (joyfully) sweary episode so probably not best listened to in the presence of kids. Don’t @ me, Dad!


SPEAKERS

Laura Kidd, Miki Berenyi


Miki Berenyi
When people go “Ohhhh, is the music business dead?”, you know, “there’s no money, la la la, blah, blah, blah…” – I do think that what is happening is a breadth of voices, you know, whether that’s down to race or background and blah blah, but it does seem broader… Certainly for voices of older women, I definitely find that and, you know, I genuinely think if in 1990 you’d have asked what an older woman’s record would have sounded like, they would have said, “I don’t know, what do old women sing about? Crocheting…or fucking, you know, chilblains or something?!” I mean it really would feel like another country, you know?


Laura Kidd
Hello and welcome to Episode 47 of attention engineer. I’m Laura and this is my podcast. Hi!

Attention Engineer is a show where I share deep conversations with fellow artists about creativity, grit and determination. My aim is to consistently remind you – and remind myself – that creativity really is for everyone.

Let’s kick that inner critic where it hurts.


Miki Berenyi is a singer, songwriter and guitarist who became known in the late 80s and 90s as a member of Lush, and currently makes music in Piroshka.

Lush parted ways in tragic circumstances in 1998, reformed briefly in 2015 and then called it a day. They released four excellent albums, the last of which, “Lovelife”, was a HUGE deal in the life of this then-wannabe musician when it came out.

Piroshka emerged in 2018, four individuals with distinct musical identities but also overlapping histories – Miki Berenyi formerly of Lush on vocals and guitar, Justin Welch of Elastica on drums, Mick Conroy of Modern English on bass and Moose McKillop on guitar.

After debut album “Brickbat” explored social and political divisions by way of what MOJO described as “Forceful, driving garage songs and dream-pop epics”, 2021’s new album Love Drips And Gathers follows a more introspective line – the ties that bind us, as lovers, parents, children and friends – to a suitably subtler, more ethereal sound, whilst still revelling in energy and drama.

I had the absolute best time talking to Miki so, without further ado, here’s our conversation.


LK  
I’ve got to say…I am and was a huge fan of you. When I was a teenager, I would say that you, Elastica, Echobelly…who else? Garbage, Skunk Anansie…a bunch of people inspired me to start a band – directly. So, about a year after your fourth album came out and it was all over school, I did manage to start a band and start playing bass. So that’s huge to me, but I’ve been reading a lot of your recent interviews and people seem to just want to have a history lesson about Lush, which…I don’t know if that’s annoying or wearing on you or whatever, but I don’t want to disregard any of that – and we can talk about whatever you want to talk about – but I have questions that are about you now, and things you’re doing now and stuff. Is that okay?

MB  
Yeah, of course, I’m happy to talk about whatever. I mean, the funny thing about being asked about the history of Lush is it changes in my head all the time anyway…retrospectively.

LK  
Yeah.

MB  
But you just ask what you want, because yeah…

LK  
Okay, cool. But it’s not because I don’t know about the other band or anything. It’s just I feel like, I mean…I’ve talked to a lot of people on this show who have done a lot of stuff over their years, but I don’t only want to bang on about the ’80s or the ’90s with people, because that just seems really disrespectful of their entire life and career, you know? It seems a bit weird.

MB  
It’s refreshing to talk about something different, that’s for sure.

LK  
I think maybe it’s because I’m a musician, and not a journalist as well, because I’m not trying to get every piece of juicy gossip – I think that’s kind of gross. You’ve gone over a lot of that stuff many times, even just recently.

MB  
And you do have to talk about the stuff that interests you – it is a conversation, you know, it’s not just a PR piece is it? It’s a different thing, podcasting, I think.

LK
Yeah, it is. First of all, could you introduce yourself to the listeners of this show?

MB  
Hi, I’m Miki Berenyi. I’m in a band called Piroshka. I’m a songwriter, I sing, I play guitar. I used to be in a band called Lush, that was back in the ’80s and ’90s. And yeah, just surviving…

LK
Yeah, that’s great. That’s all we can do, isn’t it?

MB  
Haha, yes!

LK  
I think that’s the absolute bare minimum of what we can do, and it’s sometimes incredibly hard. So, I was just so delighted to hear that you came back to music, because I know there was a reunion in 2015/16. And I’m sure you’ve talked about that length in lots of other interviews, so let’s not do that necessarily here, as we just talked about, but um, that’s what interests me a lot, actually.  I think having been in a band is a great story. And it’s obviously a really big part of anybody’s life if they’ve done that. But coming back and doing more music and releasing two new albums – that’s to me what’s impressive, is that determination, the grit, the keeping on keeping on stuff. So how do you feel about that, at this moment in time?

MB  
I think you’re crediting me with determination and grit that isn’t actually there. I mean, I genuinely admired… You know, I would bump into people in the kind of interim 20 years when I wasn’t making music, you know, someone like Mark Gardener out of Ride and you think, wow, you know, well done you for keeping at it through the highs and lows, and just keeping going. I thought that was really admirable. I mean, part of it was that the way that Lush split up, obviously Chris committed suicide so it was a real, you know, the rug was pulled from under us. And it just made me, for my own mental health, have to sort of vanish away from a lot of that, just to avoid all the triggers. And then I had the kids and then you just think, well, life’s moved on, and I’m doing a different job. And that kind of was in my past.

I think, you know, without wanting to sort of retread all the Lush history, the girl I was in a band with, Emma Anderson, you know, we had a sort of…as many people in bands do, you know, there are difficult relationships…but she was genuinely the one who had more of a vision of where the band could go, right from the start, and was the ambition really. So I quite relied on her for a lot of that. And so in the 20 years when I wasn’t making music…and I was with a musician, I was with Moose who is in Piroshka. And people were like, “why don’t you do some music”, it was like I just didn’t even know where I would start, to be honest. So when Emma came back into my life with the offer of the reunion, you know, she was the instigator again, and it was kind of, you know, I had to think about it long and hard. But it did feel like something that I had closed the door on, was being reopened. And it felt like…it was almost like if I didn’t do it, I would probably regret it.

And then once I made up my mind to do it – which did actually take quite a long time – then I just, you know, then I will work really hard and, you know, make it happen, and weather all the bumps in the road and all of that. And it was really good that I did it, and I was really pleased, and really it’s the back of that, getting back into it and thinking God, this is actually quite, this is actually really good fun. This does actually beat sitting in an office all day. It’s at that point that, you know, I thought well, even if Lush is going to end, it would be quite nice to continue on. But again, because I am completely useless at getting things going. I had to rely on Justin who was the drummer in Elastica, and then he was doing the Lush reunion, and he was the one who was like, “Come on”, you know, “We should do something, it was really good fun rehearsing!” and was sending me ideas. And you know, again, I thought, all right, this is an opportunity that I would feel kind of…you know, it’s more about the regret of not doing something, you know, than the confidence to actually do it, I think, in my case.

LK
I see, I see. I used to play bass for Viv Albertine – I’d played with her for a few years, so I was really delighted to read in an interview that you said that reading her first memoir was quite an encouraging thing for you when you’re thinking about doing that reunion. Is that true? 

MB  
Yeah, it was really key actually. 

LK  
That’s awesome. 

MB  
Because I think when the band ended, there is…you know, I don’t know, if you – you probably remember clear, because I just ducked out of music in 1996. So you’ve seen those sorts of interim years, I was just well out of the picture.

LK  
Yeah.

MB  
But at the time it felt like, you know, anything kind of past 30s is like, you’re not welcome. You know, it’s like, ooh that’s a bit sad isn’t it, look at her now, she’s got quite old…and I just didn’t think I could deal with all that crap. So that was an extra sort of…you know, men tend to get more…you know, they can slot into the sort of elder statesman, you know, genius slot or whatever if they carry on, whereas women tend to just – you just start to lose stuff, actually. And I felt that quite consciously, so reading the Viv Albertine book, you know, great all the sort of early days and The Slits, but it was actually the bits of her going to some crappy open mic night full of old blues hands or whatever, and getting up and just playing her guitar and no-one knowing who she was, that she’s actually someone with a real pedigree here. And none of these wankers even realise it, but she doesn’t fucking care, she’s just gonna get up, and she’s using the opportunity to get over her own stage fright, or whatever. And that was actually really inspiring. Because I’m not a real pioneer, I think that most of us need someone else to sort of beat the path for us to follow. And we all do it in our own way, but just someone to put their head above the parapet, and you know, “it’s fine, you can come out”.

LK 
Do you know what? You were one of those people for me. So that’s so interesting, because there is obviously a continuum of that stuff and you just have no idea as an artist who you’re going to affect. I wanted to have bright red hair because you had bright red hair, you know, and that’s like such a simple thing but it’s because it was a symbol for something so much deeper that I couldn’t articulate at the age of 15/16. It was huge to me, that kind of thing, like, “She doesn’t give a fuck, I want to not give a fuck”. You know what I mean? “I want to be able to do that”, because that’s freedom I currently didn’t have that at that age, you know? And I couldn’t play…I could play instruments like classical instruments (I mean, not very well, but just sort of school band sort of stuff).

And I didn’t pick up the bass til probably a year after I first heard “Lovelife”. But I could see all these cool women playing instruments, so I thought I could. And that’s so powerful. So I just loved that then Viv showed you that through her book as well, because she’s someone who’s been massively inspiring to me, not just having played with her, but before that as well, you know, just what she’s done in her life. And then since I’ve played with her all these incredible books she keeps writing, it’s just so inspiring to see people do stuff. And you’re writing a memoir too, aren’t you?

MB  
I am writing a memoir. It’s going quite slowly.

LK
I think they tend to…yeah, quite a big undertaking though, isn’t it?

MB  
It is a huge undertaking. It’s like deep therapy.

LK  
Yeah, yeah. I don’t want to pry too much into it, because I think there’s a thing with writing any kind of thing, or any kind of art really, if you talk about it too much it’s almost like your brain thinks it’s done it already. So it might be harder to write it if you tell everyone what it’s about, you know?

MB  
Yeah. There’s always two sides, isn’t there? Because I think sometimes talking about it, you can sort of go “Oh, yeah, yeah, this is what I’m going to do” and then you can actually walk away and think, actually, that sounded really boring. I’m gonna have to think of another way to do this, do you know what I mean?

LK  
Yeah.

MB  
Rather than feeling that you’re giving stuff away, I actually think sounding boards are quite good for testing how it sounds when you say it out loud. When you think that actually sounds really unappealing, it might make you think again about how you’re going to tackle it.

LK
Yeah, well, feel free to use this as a sounding board if you like, but I just don’t want to take away the magic of it either. I was wondering…I’ve read you know, a lot of things over the years and recently before talking to you today about how you felt that this sort of “Miki from Lush” thing – I’m using little air quotes here…

MB  
I do as well.

LK  
…became a bit of a caricature, really, yeah, a caricature of of something that wasn’t actually you. But then of course, you know, someone’s impression of you is always going to be an approximation or a sort of versio – their version of what you are. Is writing a memoir something to do with putting the record straight, telling the story in your own words?

MB  
I mean, I’m not gonna lie, it’s another case of someone approaching me and going “Oh, I’m opening a music imprint at this publisher, I’d love you to write your memoir”. And then me literally losing my job the next week, and thinking okay, this seems like quite…it’s a bit Kismet, isn’t it? Maybe I should do this. Not that that’s the only reason. But again, I don’t for a minute think that if I hadn’t been approached, I’d be sitting here going, do you know what, I think I’m going to write my memoir and set the record straight – wouldn’t have even crossed my mind, I can promise you.

LK  
Right.

MB  
It’s another rope that was thrown in my direction that I think, okay, that’s interesting, that will take me to the next phase of whatever’s going on in this life.

LK
Yeah. But there’s a lot to do with grabbing onto the rope, because someone could throw you the rope and you’d be like, “Oh no, I’m too scared” or whatever. And that would be fair enough, there’s nothing wrong with being scared of something. But I think the fact that you want to grab onto the rope is, you know, testament to your character.

MB  
Yeah, and I don’t think I would take something on if I didn’t think I could do it.

LK  
Yeah.

MB  
And again, I did even that I did think about for a good six months, you know, and the practicalities of it. So I do sort of sound myself out and think…I mean I have a long climb out of a hole that is basic lack of self confidence, which I think a lot of people, whatever their outward appearance, you know… The thing is, is you’re seeing the finished product, you’re seeing Ladykillers on Top Of The Pops once it’s all been recorded and done, and all I have to do is like, you know, mime or something.

LK  
Yeah.

MB  
But if you’d have seen me while I was writing the song and recording it, and the arguments that I had about whether it would be on the album, it would be a very different person.

LK  
Of course!

MB  
Which I think is the case with all creative people, you know, it’s that you mask the sort of struggle behind a lot of what you know, goes [on]. And equally I think people who bear their souls, and who, you know, come across very deep…having met a few, could be really bloody shallow, actually, in real life where you think “Wow, so that’s interesting. I was expecting a bit more”.

LK
Oh, yeah I’ve met a few of those people. Yeah, it’s mindblowing when you’re like “You’ve really constructed quite an amazing myth around yourself there. That is quite impressive. Yeah.

MB  
Exactly.

LK  
Definitely had that. It’s almost too amazing to me when someone’s actually all right when I meet them, to be honest. I’m expecting just, you know, horror, and most people actually are pretty great. So that’s nice.

MB  
And I think most people are just normal, aren’t they? So whatever… Because I think so much of what you’re saying, like, “Oh”, you know, “I saw you with the red hair” or, or me even reading about Viv Albertine and I construct this image of her in this blues bar just being amazing, you know, and like, really fucking “fuck you” and doing her thing. It probably wasn’t like that. Do you know what I mean? But there’s this sort of element that the person who’s being inspired adds to what the reality is, in order to make it a kind of thing that they want to head towards. I mean, you kind of have to add a bit of magic, don’t you?

LK
Yeah, well, we’re looking for heroes, aren’t we? I mean especially as a teenage girl who was really interested in music, but not in playing the violin and the saxophone and stuff, which is what I was doing. I was into all these bands, and I was buying the NME and Select every week and just reading about all of you, and just being like, “how could I have a life like that? I know, I’ll move to London” – which I did. That didn’t fix any of my problems, but it was a first step. It was a new life, which was really exciting. But yeah, you’re just looking for heroes to go “Oh I’ll take a little piece of that, and a little piece of that, and a bit of encouragement here and a little boost here”. And then you just, you know, collage it all together for your own life, don’t you?

MB  
And so what age were you when you move to London?

LK
I was 18. It’s terrifying!

MB  
Yeah, I mean, that’s…and where were you from, originally?

LK
I was living in Suffolk. So my dad was in the RAF, so we moved around a lot and then I ended up being in Bury St Edmunds for like, what, six years or something? It just wasn’t for me, I had to get out. You know, it wasn’t creatively fulfilling for me. And yeah, I moved to London to go to university for a year, and that was my way of moving, really. And I wasn’t terrified at the time but I look back now and I’m just like how on earth did that happen, this child moving to this big city alone, essentially? And all of these things happening, and…I’m quite impressed by her, by past me, for doing that.

MB  
I think that, you know, university is a brilliant gateway because, you know, I think if you’d have had to move to London and just find a job and try and pay for a flat or God knows what, do you know what I mean, it can actually be a bit overwhelming.

LK  
Yeah.

MB  
And I think there’s something about, you know, that sort of still is a little bit of a bridge, isn’t it?

LK  
Yeah.

MB  
And then I think there is a lot of confidence in youth, you know. I mean, I think it’s actually harder to do that, I’ll be honest with you, when you’re 35, than when you’re 18. There is a sort of, you know, blind “it can happen!” sort of joie de vivre at that age, which I think really kind of barrels you through the kind of grimmer aspects of it, or just the anxiety of it.

LK
Yeah, the lack of experience as well. Like, I wasn’t thinking, you know, is this a good idea? What could go wrong? and all that. I just was like, I’m gonna move to London, the way I’ll do it is by going to university, and then I’ll find a band when I’m there. And that’s what I did! So it did work out fine, you know.

MB  
Yeah! And I think it’s even about maximising your opportunities, isn’t it?

LK  
Yeah.

MB  
Yeah, you could have done a degree in a sort of less overwhelming city. But then the opportunities…I mean, without sounding like a twat, because people hate Londoners all over the bloody country, but you know, if you’re going to move somewhere to make something happen, you need to go where there’s a lot of people that you can bounce off and a lot of chances, and some of those things are really small. It’s not like the streets are paved with gold and I’m going to become a West End superstar overnight. It’s just the crappy little venues and the weird dropout people, and I just think that’s the sort of way in, really.

LK  
Yeah.

MB  
You know, it’s not the huge record contract, is it?

LK  
No, no.

MB  
It’s the bottom steps.

LK
Yeah, exactly. And just yeah, like you’re saying, it’s about being sort of pushed in with all of these new people and these new experiences. Because I found my first band in London by talking to someone at some after gig party thing that this girl I’d…I hadn’t even gone to the gig with her, I went on my own, and I knew her so we hung out for the night. And then she somehow got us into this after show thing, and I wasn’t that arsed, like, I wasn’t trying to get into the after show to hang out with the band or anything. But then she started talking to this guy thinking he was something to do with the band – I can’t even remember which band it was – and then he wasn’t, so she walked off. And I just thought that’s so rude! How rude is this girl? So I was like, I’m so sorry about her and started talking to this guy, and ended up getting an audition to be the bassist in this band, because he was the manager of a band who needed a bass player.

MB  
Exactly. Excellent!

LK  
Wasn’t an arsehole, and then got an opportunity.

MB  
Yeah, exactly. Yeah. Not being an arsehole helps.

LK
Yes. But it seems like though, the arseholes get there faster don’t they. But I don’t want to be one of them, though. So…yeah.

MB  
I’ve seen people who were really nice, and became arseholes quite quickly.

LK  
Ohhh.

MB  
Like, it’s sort of quite remarkable. I’m not going to name names, but I do remember sort of…even in the kind of very early days where like, “Okay, you’ve had one review in the Melody Maker and you’re walking around like your fucking Keith Richards”, do you know what I mean, and I think maybe some of the arseholeness comes from…people want…you know, like, they are actually looking to the top of the tree by then.

LK  
Yeah.

MB  
They’re not interested in where they are right now. Whereas I think it’s always been about.. it’s that, isn’t it? You know, all the bands I got into I just fell into. I had a similar thing when I first played bass in a band called The Bugs. It was like, they were literally, like, their double bass player was going off to America and it was like, “Oh, that’s a shame” and they were like, “Yeah, we’re looking for a bass player”. And I was like, “I’ll play bass”. Never played bass in my fucking life, you know what I mean, I had a week to learn… But again, you know, this opportunity’s there, you think “well, if I fuck it up, then they’ll just kick me out. It doesn’t matter that much”. And they probably think the same. They think, “Well, if it doesn’t work out, there’s a million other people we can ask”.

LK  
Yeah.

MB  
So there’s just not that much pressure.

LK
No. And I think it’s really good to have that attitude of like, if someone asks you to do something, or there’s an opportunity presented, you don’t have to be the very best at the thing that they’re looking for to give it a go, because it’s much more about the kind of person you are, I think, especially in a band, whether you’re going to gel with people, and you can always just improve later, you know, you can practice a lot and get there.

MB  
Yeah, exactly.

LK  
But I think a lot of people just close themselves off from those things by going, “But I’m not the best bass player in the whole universe, so I couldn’t possibly go up for that audition” or whatever, and that’s just a bit of a shame.

MB  
Exactly. And I think that that was another thing out of that Viv Albertine book. It was just that idea of, I think she called it the year of saying yes, or something like that, you know, that I’m just gonna have a year where I just, yeah, okay, I’ll do that. And then I’ll worry about how I do it later.

LK  
Yeah.

MB  
And I think that can be quite liberating. I mean, clearly you can’t live your whole life like that, because I’ve got to the stage where I’m going, you know what, I’m not…I’m just gonna say no, because it actually is too much. But, you know, I think it’s that first feed into wanting to be a part of things. Because I do think you just have to jump in the pool at some point.

LK  
Yeah.

MB  
You know, I get all the kind of, “Oh, I’ve been sitting in my bedroom and learning this and writing that, and blah, blah, blah. But I just think at some point, you’ve got to fucking get out there. I’m also really quite easily bored and give up, and need a bit of feedback. I need someone to say “No, that’s going really well”, otherwise, I just think this might all be really shit that I’m spending all this time doing.

LK  
Yeah.

MB  
I need someone else who cares about it enough to just not not go, “Yeah yeah yeah that sounds fine”. I need someone involved, and I think that’s where collaboration is, you know, it’s a real motivator, I think. You know, the sense of responsibility that you have towards the people in your band that you don’t want to let down. You know, the fact that it’s really hard to drive creativity on your own 24/7, the fact that it provides both carrot and stick. All of those things. I mean, I sort of stand back in admiration at people who can manage it all on their own. But I certainly know that I couldn’t.

LK  
Yeah, and I think that’s maybe not what’s obvious about collaboration, necessarily, or I’m just thinking of it now. Because I don’t…I tend not to…I do some collaborations, but I’m completely solo the rest of the time. So I hear all the things you saying and yes, it’s challenging. But I think the collaboration is not just on stage, it’s not just in the studio, it’s not just writing, is it, it’s the different personalities coming together to encourage each other and buoy each other up. I can understand why, maybe the writing thing didn’t happen earlier, because you’re putting a lot of pressure on, you know, a relationship and a home life and stuff to also be sharing a band. Because if the band’s going really badly, then that there’s no one sort of to lift you out of that, who’s not part of it?

MB  
I mean, I do think you can, you know, transfer that to friends as well.

LK  
Yeah.

MB  
You know, I think when you’ve known someone and have a relationship with someone a band…well, work just adds an extra layer of stress to that and, you know, being together all the fucking time doesn’t help either. So I think in terms of relationships all of that is, you know, quite tricky. So you’re saying that you started off playing bass in a band? So at what point did you sort of think, “Okay, I need to do this on my own without that tussle of a band”?

LK  
When everyone kept leaving, basically, leaving me high and dry. It’s like, “Well, okay, you’ve all left, I guess I’ll do this on my own, then”. That’s what happened. I was in the band I was talking about when I moved to London, and I was in a band when I was at school, which I started after getting into Lush and Elastica and all them. And then I did session work, which was great because I didn’t have to get on with everyone, I just have to be really good. So didn’t matter if people were not the best people to hang out with, because it was paid, it was a bit better.

And then yeah, I started my own thing as a band, and then yeah everyone was like, not into it so I thought, well, I am, so I’m just gonna make this into my thing. So I did. And then I never even thought about getting anyone else involved after that, because I just thought I can be finally be the leader of this band and do it how I want. And then I just sort of kept going, really, but I do respect – you know, collaboration’s so interesting. It’s such a different thing. It’s magical when it works.

MB  
But I think that’s really interesting, because I think…I mean, I don’t know how it is, you know, again, I’m so out of touch. But when I see there’s quite a lot of people who start off in that solo mould, you know, that seems to be the thing that they want to do from the outset. It’s interesting that, you know, you were in bands, and you were relying on people and it’s like “for fuck’s sake” and they’re like “Well, I’m not as into it, as you are”, you know, and that’s really frustrating. But then you ended up in a situation that probably suited you best from the start anyway, but you needed a bit of a journey to get there, you know what I mean?

LK  
Exactly, it’s that thing of like we all have everything we need inside, but we have to go on a journey to realise it. It’s that Wizard of Oz thing [coughs]. I should say that without croaking. That was a very wise thing I just said then! It’s that –

MB  
That was very wise! [laughs]

LK  
– Wizard of Oz thing, you know? [laughs] Thank you very much!

MB  
Sorry, I talked over you then.

LK  
But it is, it’s…no it’s fine! I think there’s a real – I’m used to feeling this way. I’m used to being this way. But I think it’s quite a strange kind of fixation or focus that I’ve had for my entire life, which I could blame on you actually, as we’re sort of talking about the people who got me into this in the first place. I could have had a perfectly normal life if it wasn’t for all those bands bothering me with their awesomeness every week in the pages of those glossy magazines. But um, I’m a bit of a weirdo, I think, and I’m cool with that. I think it’s interesting to be a bit strange, but I know that not everyone’s like this.

And I think that there’s naturally…if you had four of me in a band, it’d be a fucking nightmare wouldn’t it, you can’t have four leaders who are very specific about what they want to make in a band. It has to be give and take, and that magic that you get from those individuals coming together is so much greater than the sum of its parts. It’s absolutely magical. I’d love to do some collaborations like that in future. But this thing I do that’s my solo thing is very much, it’s just this, and then other things are other things. But yeah, it’s um…it’s quite a fixation you have to have, doing it this way.

MB  
Yeah, but then I just think everything has its own tone to it. So I was listening to the last album you did, and as I was listening to it I thought it’s quite interesting how there’s, you know…it does feel very solo-y, you know what I mean? You’re allowed to meander in whatever direction you want.

LK  
[chuckles] Yes.

MB  
And I can almost hear, even in the progression of one song, like, “Oh, that’s an interesting place that that’s gone to”, because that would probably be quite hard to achieve writing totally collaboratively. Like, that’s not going to come up in a jam session.

LK  
No, no.

MB  
That needs planning and, and like, this is the path I want to follow. And in a way, you know, even though I say I collaborate and blah, blah, I mean, even in Piroshka there are sort of songs that are…they come from me. I had to sit down with a guitar and just write the song myself. Now, if someone wants to come in with a bassline or, you know, fiddle about with the bloody drum bits, or add some keyboards, hey, I’m like really cool with that, because they come up with stuff that I wouldn’t have done. But the song itself and the structure and the way the melody goes and the path it takes – that, you know, I do think sometimes that requires one person.

LK  
Yeah.

MB  
It’s not born out of collaboration. You’ve got collaboration in the later stages, you know.

LK  
Yeah.

MB  
Whereas some people clearly write as a band, you know, it’s all about the energy of the how the song sounds. It doesn’t actually necessarily go anywhere that interesting, but it’s the way that the musicians play together that kind of brings it to life. So…

LK  
I just don’t know how they get anything finished, genuinely. Because I do it all by myself. How do you get to that point? Because I can understand how you can have a jam and come up with some cool bit, but then how does it end up being finished? And what if the drummer’s like “Oh, no, I don’t like that lyric”, or the keyboard player’s saying something about the guitar. I’d just be like, but [frustrated noise]. I want to do this! Just not being able to see an idea through to its conclusion and see where it could have gone, I find that frustrating. That’s what I find frustrating about social media, interestingly, because it’s so surface level, it’s like where could that thought have gone, if there was a little bit more space? Anyway, that’s a weird tangent, but also an interesting segue perhaps into something else.

MB  
No but it’s true, because I think that that is what happens on the internet or certainly on social media.

LK  
Yeah.

MB  
You know, as much as I love Twitter – and I do find it quite addictive – it is that thing of you say something, and the bloody thing is derailed before you’ve even had a chance to sort of…then you’re explaining yourself, then you’re saying “not all men”, then you’re saying whatever the fuck it is that has to qualify, you know, your argument for every fucking person who wants to chime into it. So I think it’s quite a good trigger for certain things, but it’s definitely not a place for, as you say, even when you compare it to writing a song, digging into something and giving it time to develop and following that path with a clear head, you know, without fucking interruptions.

Laura Kidd  
And maybe some bands are like that, because I haven’t sat in with bands in their songwriting sessions, I’ve got no idea how supportive and encouraging they are to each other. Hopefully, they are, but whenever I’ve done…I won’t say “whenever”, that’s really unfair. A lot of the times when I’ve done collaborations, someone’s had a very specific idea of what they wanted, and I didn’t really get to get my idea across before they just jabbed in and started chiming in with their idea. It’s almost like sometimes people are so competitive about it, that they need to finish the idea so they feel like it was theirs in the first place. And it wasn’t a woman, I will just say, it wasn’t a female producer who did that to me several times. “Not all male producers”, blah, blah, blah. I don’t think they’re insecure enough to give a shit about what I say about them, to be honest.

But um, yeah, so I found that very frustrating, so that has put me off collaboration a lot. But I am currently working on an album with Rat from Ned’s Atomic Dustbin, and we’re doing a collaborative thing. And so far – and if he’s listening, thank you Rat – so far, when I send him ideas, he doesn’t go, “Oh, how about if you did this instead?” So thank you for not quashing my ideas. Because it’s just a horrible… It’s like when someone finishes your sentence for you. That drives me so mad, and I don’t know if that’s because of these negative studio and band experiences I’ve had in the past. Where I didn’t feel I could say the thing.

Are you being really quiet now so you don’t finish my sentence?

MB  
Yeah. [laughs]

Laura Kidd  
Thank you! I appreciate it! [laughs a lot] It’s maddening. I hate it so much.

MB  
I think, again, that’s probably down to finding the right people to work with. I know what you mean, there are people who sometimes just want to add something because they just want their stamp on it.

LK  
Yeah.

MB  
It’s not that it’s a great idea, it’s just like, “Well hang on a minute. I haven’t got anything yet. It’s my turn”. And it’s like, well, yeah…unless you’ve go…and then you sort of feel like, well, it’s just not very good. So, you know, you need…do you know what I mean?

LK  
Yes.

MB  
Like, if you’re going to come up with something you need to have thought about it. And it is quashing, sometimes – I’ve done that where I’ve thought, “Oh I think this is a really good idea”. And then, you know, everybody shoots it down. But to be honest with you, a lot of the people I’ve worked with, I kind of get it – I have walked away and thought actually they were right, you know?

LK  
Yeah.

MB  
So swings and roundabouts, isn’t it? But I do think that I probably could…listening to you talk, it does make me think like, oh, maybe I could do all of this on my own. I’m just not sure I would actually ever get round to it.

Laura Kidd  
Don’t blame me when you sack your band, thanks! I don’t want that responsibility…

MB  
No, but like I said, I think the main thing is possibly not the ability to it, but just the motivation.

LK  
Yes.

MB  
And I think if you’ve tackled that, you’ve got your motivation and blah, blah, blah, then you don’t fucking need anybody else, do you know what I mean? And you’ve clearly established.

LK  
[laughs]

MB  
But you have tried it the other way…

LK  
Yes.

MB  
You know, so you do know what you’re talking about. And you do know what works for you.

LK  
Yes, I tried it the other way and no albums were released. And I tried it my way, and there’s been five. So I just think my way tends to seem like it’s going right.

MB  
Absolutely. And I think that that’s so much part of, you know, some of the issues that you’re talking about with creativity. You know, that idea of, oh, what tips have you got for being creative? Well none really, because whatever one way you say it, the flipside is also true.

LK  
Yeah.

MB  
You kind of have to find out for yourself which one works for you.

Laura Kidd  
Yeah. I find that I need to constantly remind myself that I can do it, even though I’ve done stuff. And then I realised recently that I’m really excited about the thing I’m doing next, but not the thing I’m doing now, even though that was the thing I was really excited about when I was doing the last thing. And that’s frustrating, because I also like being someone who finishes things, you know, and completes things, because that’s really satisfying.

MB  
I think that’s pretty normal, that kind of first inspiration and the first wave of excitement of the prospect of doing something. There are a lot of people who have a lot of ideas and never do them, because that is quite addictive.

LK  
Yes.

MB  
And it’s completing it that’s the really hard bit, because that’s actually work…

LK  
Yes!

MB  
…and so, you know, equally with creativity, I think…look, I think everybody needs creativity in their life, whether that’s just cooking a bloody meal, or, you know, nurturing an orchid or whatever the hell it is. Everybody is creative in their own way. But I think when it’s work it requires a real…yeah, that’s hard. It is work.

When lockdown first happened, and there was lots of articles about baking bread, and what jigsaws you can buy, and all of this sort of bullshit, right? But I remember seeing something in The Observer that was like, people going, “Ah, I can finally write the book that I’ve always wanted to”, you know. And they had various authors giving tips on whatever, and I can’t remember who it was, but one person said, “Listen, it’s work, you know. Are you sure? All I’m saying is, are you sure you want to go into what is actually a really fucking stressful period, globally, setting yourself what is a fucking full time job for people, this is not just a bit of fun, it’s actually really hard work to write a book”.

And I just thought that was really good advice, because you can do that – you can immerse yourself in work. But let’s not pretend that this is just some sort of, you know, “Ooh, I’ve always wanted the time to”, you know, “write a symphony” or whatever, you know, it’s really fucking hard work. And it can be really frustrating. And completing an album is way more difficult, I think, then starting it, because you’ve got some momentum and enthusiasm and dreams at the beginning. By the end of it, they’re all fucking crushed out of you. You’re literally thinking, “Oh, Christ, what have I embarked on?”

LK  
Oh, yeah, towards the end of my last one I was like, “Who thought this was a good idea?”

MB  
Part of the worst aspects of Lush was that these were my friends, this was my job, it was all my money. It was, you know, a lot of it was my social life. It was the “Miki from Lush” identity, you know. It was like without this band, I don’t know what the fuck I’m gonna do. Like, am I gonna start driving a minicab or something, and no one’s going to speak to me because the only reason half of these fuckers want to talk to me is because I’m in a bloody band, and all of that. And once you’ve got all that pressure on you, I think it actually can quite stifle creativity, because you feel that you have to maintain that wave, otherwise it’s all gonna fall apart.

LK  
Yeah.

MB  
Whereas with Piroshka, I am in exactly the same boat as you where it’s like, well, you know what, there’s a bunch of loyal people out there who will buy it because they like what I do. But I really am not under any pressure to try and retain people who are just glancingly tolerating what I do enough to sort of buy it now, but if I fuck up one step in the wrong direction, and don’t match what they want, they’re just going to abandon ship.

LK  
Yeah.

MB  
It is a bit liberating to think well, I’ve got quite a lot of wriggle room. I don’t…you know what I mean?

LK  
Yeah.

MB  
There’s no extra sort of weight on there. I can do what I fucking like anyway. Yeah.

LK  
And the thing is, we always could, that’s the funny part of it, isn’t it? That’s what creativity and songwriting stuff is. Use the opportunity to say what you want to say and be you as much as possible. It’s that thing again, of like, you just have to learn that you always had that. It was always there. But it’s not immediately apparent. But so talking about things being work, does Piroshka feel like work in the same way that Lush was work?

MB  
I mean, not in the same way, because it isn’t all encompassing. You know, everybody has got jobs and kids and dogs and different places they live. So it’s just not really comparable. It’s a section of my life, but it’s not overwhelming in any way at all, and if I didn’t want to do it, I just wouldn’t fucking do it.

LK  
Yeah.

MB  
But, you know, yeah, sometimes it’s work. Sometimes it is like, fucking hell, you know, I mean, like, I’m not in the mood, got to finish this, got to write a lyric that I’m just not feeling inspired…but there’s a clock ticking, blah, blah, blah. I mean, there’s always bits of it that are like that. As long as that’s not the major part, then, you know, then you are going to have to expect some of that.

LK  
Yeah, of course. I mean, I don’t even label work as being a bad thing. But I think that sometimes, when people are working on creative things that are in addition to a day job, which we’ve all done, you know, and some still do, then labelling this thing you want to complete as work can help get it done. Because if you think of it as work, then work needs to get done, doesn’t it? You just do work, don’t you. You know that work doesn’t have to feel like you’re being inspired by a muse or something constantly. So it might mean that you can finish a song past the inspiration stage, through the perspiration stage to completion, rather than going “Oh, one day I’ll write the songs of my generation, but I’m not feeling like it right now. So I’ll just watch telly instead”.

MB  
No I think you’re right, that work is…well, I suppose it is, you know, rewarding, and actually sometimes fun. You know, when I was working in publishing for a couple of decades, I was forever [getting] “Oh, but you must miss being in a band so much. This must be so boring” and blah blah. And I was like, I’m not being funny, I actually quite like subbing. It’s interesting, and it’s diverting, and I did enjoy being in an office, and it’s fun to go to the pub at lunchtime. I didn’t sit there going, “Oh, God, how the mighty have fallen”, you know.

LK  
“I wish I was in a Transit van all day instead, yay!”

MB  
“Yay, setting up a drumkit!”

LK  
“I haven’t lifted an amp for years!” The things I haven’t missed in the last two years, I have to say…

MB  
I mean, everybody says that about touring and playing live don’t they, you know. You want the hour or however long you’re on stage to be…when it’s really good, it wipes away all the other stuff, it really feels worth it. But there’s a lot of behind the scenes bullshit that has to go on just to make that bit happen. Whereas yeah, I suppose other jobs are a bit more linear in that way, you know, you go in… I mean, to be honest, even the relief when I was a sub of just being able to clock in at 10 and leave at 6. And I think, oh, great, I don’t have to lie awake half the night worrying if, you know, Emma’s in a bad mood with me or whether my vocal is okay on the track that I just recorded, or whether I have to re-record it again, or whether we have to sack our manager or blah, blah, blah, some fucking interview you’ve done where someone’s going to crucify you or make you look like a moron. Whatever, do you know what I mean, all this shit that’s kind of in your control, but out of your control.

LK  
And you never had the right to reply. That’s what I think is such a, obviously there’s a lot of differences between the ’90s – although it feels like yesterday, it wasn’t – and today. Just the fact that people could write whatever the fuck they liked about these bands, and did every week, and you couldn’t respond. You couldn’t tweet going, “Actually, that’s bullshit. Or this person did this actually. Or, you know, I’m actually this person”. There was no way of rounding out “Miki from Lush” inverted commas to be you, you know, there was no mechanism for that.

MB  
Well, quite. And, you know, I qualify my slagging off of the press treatment, because I understand, you know? I have sympathy with the Melody Maker writer who has to find yet another way of making the phrase, “we just write songs for ourselves” interesting, right? And, you know, the photographer that has to do yet another reluctant band, or they’ve turned up late and blah, blah, and it was really badly paid, you know, so I get that it is not an easy job in itself. There was just a sort of edge of spite to a lot of it, that really fucking pissed me off. And the thing is, is that you do end up having to deal with the public face of that.

I would get people coming up to me with an attitude. I can remember walking through Tottenham Court Road station, there was a fucking busker there that every time I went past when I saw him, he’d just start snarling at me and go “I fucking hate Lush”, you know, and I thought I didn’t even know who the fuck you are, do you know what I mean? And it’s like, you can’t hate my music that much that you’re willing to do this, there must be something else that you hate, which is probably the fucking press face of, you know, whatever cider swilling, football going, redhead, you know, “Oh, she’s got so much attitude”, you know, whatever invention that is being rolled out there.

LK  
Yeah.

MB  
And, you know, it does become really constraining when I don’t like necessarily sitting around talking about, you know, how we did the guitar solo on the last album or, “Oh yeah, it’s just our most fucking important record and this is why”. You know, I get it that that’s actually quite boring to listen to. But I felt like it almost didn’t matter what I did, it would be filtered through a certain way of presenting me that fit with this template that was never going to go away. You know, it was never going to be: there’s a different side to this person or… Nothing. It was just going to be come on roll out the “Miki from Lush”, easy peasy, double page spread, you know? Or if not, sit there and fucking moan about how “She’s not “Miki from Lush”, that’s annoying”. Know what I mean? It’s a box to put you in.

LK  
Yeah, there’s a distinct lack of nuance there. And I don’t know whether that was something that was planned, like they had a meeting going, let’s portray her this way, or it’s just because of the way people are? I don’t know. But that must have had an effect on the band as well. Because to be honest, no disrespect to your other band members, but I don’t really remember the focus being on anyone else but you when I was reading those magazine articles. It was always you, for whatever reason. Did that create issues?

MB  
Uh, yeah.

LK  
I did say we weren’t gonna bang on about the ’90s so apologies, but that’s just an interesting question.

MB  
I mean, I think there is, you know, always a bit of a focus on the singer. A lot of that is quite lazy journalism because, you know, Emma wrote a lot of the most important songs. But I think again, it’s about getting the story and maybe what I didn’t really appreciate is how tabloid those papers and magazines were. It just didn’t cross my mind. I thought the Sun and the Mirror were a separate thing, and that this was a whole different kind of ballgame. But now I look back, I don’t think it was – I think it was just as tabloid. And so then you’re gonna get the easy mark, aren’t you? You know, you’re not going to read a tabloid to get an inside insight into what, you know, someone thinks – they’re just going to go with some cartoony story, because it’s tomorrow’s chip paper.

LK  
Yes. And there’s a lot of pitting women against women as well, even if they’re in the same band, like, who do you fancy most kind of thing out of these bands? Like it’s relevant? I found a bunch of…I mean, this is how much of a hoarder I am, and I still haven’t thrown them away, but I found this load of magazines from ’96/’97, and it’s got like, Louise from Sleeper in there and all these cool people. But I didn’t realise at the time, because I was reading at age 15/16, I didn’t realise how tabloid it was, like you say, it’s exactly the right kind of angle on it. And it’s kind of horrifying now, reading it going “Ugh, oh, you weren’t really respecting these artists at all”. It’s just like this horrible thing where, you know, PJ Harvey’s on the front cover of Q Magazine in her pants.

MB  
Yes.

LK  
And there’s nothing wrong with her being in her pants, she can do what she likes, but I wonder, you know, I’d love to know what she feels about that now, if she felt like she had to, for some reason, or that that would be, you know, just part of the sort of ladette / Britpoppy time where, you know, women are very much sort of put in their pants on the cover of a magazine or you’re not on the cover of the magazine.

MB  
But you know, I think that that still exists now, you know. It’s not quite to the same level but…or maybe there’s just a different nuance. You know, I always felt with a lot of the kind of “women in rock” type features that we would do, definitely in the ’90s, where I felt I get it, I understand the nice side of this, you know, you’re trying to give a platform to women and sell it to a mainly male readership. But actually, what it does, you know, being grouped together kind of knocks off all your interesting edges, and it turns you into like a niche, you know, like, “Oh, so what we’re going to talk about is women who make music” – it just shouldn’t be a thing. You know what I mean? It’s like cats that have tails, or…I don’t know…it’s just fucking irrelevant, isn’t it?

And I have always said, you know, I get that women certainly may…I don’t know, it’s like that bell curve thing, isn’t it? I think that there are men on one end who write very masculine, very male music. I think there’s women at the other end who write, you know, very what you would call feminine music. But there’s a shitload of people in the middle, especially bands, who just write music. It really doesn’t make that much difference, you know, in terms of, the product, the end product of it. I mean, there are songs that are written by men that I completely…I don’t know what the fuck they were written about, and I don’t really care because I’ve made them my own. And I would hope that a lot of the men that have listened to the lyrics that I wrote feel exactly the same way, you know, that it might be a woman’s experience, but they can totally relate to it. That’s the fucking point.

LK  
Yes.

MB  
I don’t think that men who listen to my music are doing it in an objective way, like, “Oh, I’m looking at a woman’s experience. That’s what I’m appreciating”. No, I hope they’re listening to it and going, oh, I felt like that when I was left by someone, or I felt like that when I had a shitty day, and I can totally fucking immerse myself and relate to that. That’s the point.

LK  
Yeah, yeah, absolutely. I think most people are doing that or I get the feeling that most people are pretty great about that kind of stuff. It’s just the way that it’s…ugh, yeah, like you’re saying…the way that we’re put into these little boxes. I mean, hopefully, you’ve noticed that I didn’t open the conversation today with “So what’s it like to be a woman in music? I don’t even know!” 

MB  
[laughs]

LK  
Because I would never in a million years – please don’t answer it, because I’m not asking you that. Please don’t respond! Because one of the reasons for doing this podcast the way I do is, because it’s completely independent, I can ask who I like, and because I’m the publisher of the thing, I decided to take on a responsibility of sharing the platform with a lot of different voices, but not in a tokenistic way. And it’s not so that we can get on here and bitch about how shit men are, because I don’t think men in general are shit.

MB  
Yeah.

LK  
There’s a lot of people who are shit, unfortunately. But you know, there’s a lot to celebrate as well. And I’ve always really hated it when you get through a conversation, and then then that question happens. It’s just like, “Oh, I see, you were just sort of warming me up for this bit you actually wanted to ask me about”. And it happened to me recently, and it hadn’t happened for so long that I didn’t have a response, and I probably stuttered quite a lot. And the person asking me the question’s very well meaning, I really respect what he does but I don’t think he understands or understood what that would make me feel like, you know, as this “Oh, now I have to answer for womankind, just me!”, you know, and I’m not willing to do that.

And so what I did was, there was another artist on the same event who is male, and I just said, “Well, I’d love to hear what this person thinks about it as well”, because I’m not here to fix that for you. Stop asking us how to fix the problem. The problem is not our problem. We didn’t create this problem…we’re human beings making music. That’s how I think of myself. I think my experience as a woman, obviously is part of that, because that’s my experience of life. And it’s not about hiding that or pretending that hasn’t existed. But yeah, it’s not to be different.

And when someone says, “Oh, yeah, you’re one of my favourite female artists”. I just…I don’t take that as a compliment, I get really annoyed. I’m never horrible to the person, because they’re saying something nice. But oh God, what does that mean? Have you got a list of male artists, or have you got a list of artists and the men are the ones above or…? I just don’t understand it, so it’s like that rating system. I don’t need to be rated against another woman, that’s so strange. It’s all completely different, you know?

MB  
Yeah.

LK  
I’m rambling a little bit.

MB  
No, no, but you’re absolutely right. That is quite a weird thing to say.

LK  
Yeah. Okay. It’s not just me. That’s good.

MB  
No. I don’t think that of even actors, so I don’t think “Oh, what’s my favourite female actor, or what’s my favourite male actor?” You just think who the people I like, really, isn’t it?

Laura Kidd  
“Who’s my favourite drummer with brown hair?!” That one. What’s that got to do with anything.

MB  
I mean, I think sometimes people ask in a kind of…it might be a bit of an eggshell treading way where they feel that “Ooh if I don’t ask, they’re gonna think that I’m erasing their experience or something”.

LK  
I suppose.

MB  
Like I said, in that bell curve, if you’re asking someone who is basically performing music that seems to have nothing whatsoever to do with being a woman, or a specific experience that is unique to women, then I don’t really see the fucking point in asking them about it because it’s clearly not what is on their mind. You know, they may even think the other way about it, they might be completely anti-feminist, and actually feel uncomfortable being asked because they don’t really want to fucking go there. You know, I get it.

LK  
Yeah, yeah. The thing is, I think it’ll come up naturally if it comes up, like we’ve naturally started talking about that stuff but it’s not because I had on my list of questions, best check what she feels like about being a woman in music, do you know what I mean? Because I think you’re probably aware of that – I don’t need to point out, “Oh, you’re Micki from Lush, aren’t you? And you’re a woman?” I think you know those things, so yeah, it’s just I think these things come up naturally or they don’t. And if they don’t, then there’s the work to talk about, which is surely the point anyway?

That’s kind of how I feel a little bit about going through the history of everyone’s past from, you know, 1987 til now. For one, it’s quite a big scope for a conversation to go through, and I also think that once it’s been done a lot – like if you hadn’t done any talking about that recently, then I probably would have been more inclined to go well, let’s talk about a bit of that if you want to, but I’ve just read like four or five different ones, and it’s like, well, I think she’s covered it.

So if anyone’s listening going “But I really want to know about the third album and how things didn’t go so well” – just go and look it up. That’s what Google’s for. There’s loads of information, and you’ve expressed very eloquently all of that stuff. I suppose I just don’t want to bore the people I’m talking to by making them say the same stories again, it just seems a completely pointless waste of your time and mine.

MB  
For sure.

LK  
But yeah, anyway, that’s why – it’s not because I don’t know that stuff has happened before. Yeah.

Can we talk about the latest Piroshka album? Because it’s just come out, hasn’t it?

MB  
Yeah.

LK  
Do you still like it?

MB  
I do. I…that sounded really unsure. And I didn’t mean that.

LK  
Shall I ask again? Do you still like it?

MB  
No, I really do. I do love it. I think I have a weird relationship with…I don’t know…when you record something, right? Do you listen to your old stuff a lot? Do you listen to the previous record?

LK  
Not a lot. But occasionally, but mostly I do it in a very functional way to remind myself that it wasn’t shit.

MB  
Right.

LK  
And it’s not because I’ve decided it’s shit, I just think it’s probably not that good. Then I listen and I’m like, “Oh, actually, I do really like this. I’m still very proud of this piece of work. Cool”. And it just gives me a bit of a renewed enthusiasm for writing songs. Because I tend to think, “Oh, I’ve written those songs and that’s finished now, but now I’ll never write a song again, I don’t know how to do it”. So I need the evidence.

MB  
Yeah, yeah.

LK  
So not a lot. But sometimes, yeah.

MB  
Yeah, so you’re listening for a specific purpose.

LK  
Yeah.

MB  
Cos I think it’s really hard to listen to your own stuff for pleasure, right? I don’t know who does that. I remember years and years ago, Woody Allen being interviewed about his films and he said, “Oh I never watch them”. He said “I tried it a couple of times, and all I can do is see the imperfections, and it really sort of pisses me off”. And I kind of got, because at the time that seemed like a real revelation to me, partly because I was surrounded by male musicians who, you know, would go, “Oh, do you want to hear my new record?” Or they give you the record…you know when you give someone a record, as a mate, and they go, “Oh, should we put it on?” And you’re like “Fuck no, absolutely not. Right? You listen to this when I’m long fucking gone. Okay”. But there’s a lot of blokes who seem to really like that, which I just can’t… I can’t understand how you can sit there and listen to your own music in front of someone else who’s kind of like not judging it, but you know, listening to it…

Laura Kidd  
And what you’re supposed to do just go, “I don’t like this very much. This is shit”. Like, you’re never gonna…you’re just gonna politely go “Oh, yeah, very good. Mmm”.

MB  
Well, first of all, that’s what you’re gonna do as the listener. But also, you know, all I’m saying is, I have been in rooms with blokes who are going, “Hang on, hang on, listen to this spirit. It’s fucking genius”. Right?

Laura Kidd  
Imagine feeling that way. Imagine for one day, we could walk around with the confidence of an average man. Imagine what we could do. Imagine that. Fucking hell.

MB  
I know. It’s amazing, isn’t it? To be fair, I have known one or two women who do similar things with like, you know, poetry or something where you’re thinking, oh, please don’t…you know what I mean, but, yeah, in music terms I think it’s always been quite a male thing for someone to do that. So I suppose all I’m saying is that I find it quite difficult to listen to my own music uncritically, and I do tend to wince over the things that bothered me when I was recording it and then thought, “No, it’s fine. I think it’s fine”. And then I can still hear them and they still bother me, and so I just can’t listen to them properly, it’s really difficult.

LK  
Yeah, I have to listen to them a lot… Because I produce my stuff, alone – God, that sounds so sad and lonely, it’s not, I really like it! But because I produce my stuff, I have to listen to it so many times so that I can try and have that distance and hear it like someone else will. But obviously, I never will hear it that way, but I have to try and hear it as one big block of sound in order to see what’s missing, or what to add, what to take away, all that kind of stuff. Yeah, after that, I don’t.

MB  
But I mean I do think that’s quite normal anyway, because I think even if you’re working with a producer, you would be sort of going, “Argh, I still think that bass is too loud”, or blah, blah, blah, whatever, do you know what I mean?

LK  
Yeah, course.

MB  
But I think there is a period when you’re working on an album where you’re listening to it so intensely, that it’s then quite difficult to step away from it and just hear it as it is. Again, I think that the blokes in the band, you know, I mean, Moose, Mick, Justin, they will all go on our Whatsapp group and like, “I just got the vinyl, put it on, sounds fucking amazing”, right? So I guess it is just a bloke thing, and good luck to them. Whereas I will put it on and go, “I think it sounds really nice, doesn’t it? I think it’s all right”! “I really like your song, I think your song sounds great…I’m not too sure about mine.”

LK  
But I wonder if, in that context, everyone’s actually asking everyone else for something. Because if you were comfortable, I don’t mean you, but if one was comfortable putting a thing, having it sound amazing, and that’s enough, then you wouldn’t put it on the WhatsAppp group, would you? And so if you’re also sort of…maybe part of you is asking them to say “No, your songs amazing, too”. The reason we’re all addicted to social media is because we want outside validation, because inner validation could and should be enough, but it currently isn’t for whatever reason, you know, all those little likes and things actually do something for us chemically. So, yeah, I think that’s a much nicer way of getting it rather than going on Twitter going “I just listened to my album, it’s fucking amazing. What do you think?” And then people going “Yes, yes, yes. No, no, no”. You know, it’s a safer space, isn’t it, a WhatsApp group, at least?

MB  
Yeah, that’s true, that’s true. But anyway, yes, back to your original question. I do like the album, I find it always difficult to listen back to something that I’ve just done, and relax about it. But it was a really good record for us to make, because I think when we formed the band… You know, that’s another thing about creativity – I think because Lush had been put under such a spotlight, to the extent that even before someone heard the record, even when we released a record, we knew that people would have a tone that they would take in the way that they received it, because they’d already made their fucking minds up what they thought about us. And so when I was doing Piroshka, and we were doing Brickbat, we only told a handful of people, literally like four people or something knew. Close friends of mine had no fucking idea.

LK  
Yeah.

MB  
Because I just thought this is such a sort of tiny seedling that I need to be able to nurture without people…even with the best will in the world going like, “Oh, I can’t wait. Oh, my God, it must be so exciting. It’s been 20 years since you did this”, you know? And then I thought no, no, I need to…I just need to be able to do this without feeling that there’s going to be any kind of expectation, judgement, whatever. And I’m sort of quite fascinated by people who don’t do that. I’m going to trade a bit carefully here, because it’s someone I’m not friends with any more, but this bloke that I know, who literally puts on social media all his processes, right? Just to add that this person has never had a successful creative project of his own but is like, “Oh, yeah, just came up with a great idea for this today. Throwing stuff out there, does anyone know another word for this? Like really struggling to write…” blah, blah, blah. And I think it’s all quite performative? You’re not…I mean, it’s quite “me, me, me” and loads of attention. And I actually think that’s really the antithesis of what you need for creativity, because you do need to be able to just be with your own thoughts, don’t you?

And yeah, I just remember years and years ago, a mate of mine who was writing a book. So, he wrote this book, he went to an agent, and the agent said, “Listen, it’s good. But you need to write another one. And then you need to write another one. And then you need to write an another one”. So in other words, are you a writer, or have you just written a book? And, you know, this isn’t about thinking what the cover is going to be like, and seeing your face on a dust jacket and calling yourself a writer because that sounds romantic…it’s actually doing the fucking work, you know? And you do it, whether you get attention or not.

LK  
Yeah.

MB  
You want attention, that’s fine – but you do have to enjoy that process and get something out of it, and not just do it because I want to walk around and call myself a fucking director, do you know what I mean?

LK  
Yeah, yeah, yeah. It’s funny, I was talking about this very thing with Ginger Wildheart on the last episode, because I was listening to this thing recently about what do you want to do – what you want to spend your time doing? Versus what do you think you want to be? So yeah, do you want to call yourself a novelist? Or do you want to spend your days writing books that mean something and write them again and again, and be humble and put the work in? Yeah, the perspiration. Yeah, that’s really interesting.

MB  
And also get a lot out of it. Because I think the problem with a lot of people is that they’re already playing Wembley Stadium in their head. And you think, if that’s the only bit that you’re going to enjoy, this is going to be a really, really hard haul. Because most of the funniest and best bits for me, hands on heart, were the journey up. It was actually being stopped by the police on the way back from Newcastle in a Transit van that literally can’t go over 40 miles an hour. It was the first time we’d go to America like “Oh my God, diners, truck stops, amazing!”, you know, yeah, and all those sorts of little steps that you take – those are the really, really fun bits. Once you’re at the kind of pinnacle of wherever you’re going to get to, that’s actually quite stressful. Then it becomes “Oh, oh, not another fucking TV performance. Oh, I’m bored now. Right, there’s 3000 people out there baying, who love you. Yeah, I’m just not quite in the mood”. Like, you know, that’s when all that shit happens.

LK  
Yeah, well, there’s no plan for past the point of for success, I don’t think. So even if a band does reach this goal that they had, then what? Because you don’t cease to exist once you’ve played Wembley Stadium, if that was your goal, and you actually reach it, you then are still a person. So I spend probably far too much of my time worrying and thinking about people who made it too young, and then have nothing to do with their lives because they’re fine for money, and they’re not doing stuff now but they must be fine, they’re not doing jobs, you know. What are they doing all day, in their pool? Do they have a fulfilling life? I worry about that kind of thing. Because I think we all need that.

MB  
I’m sort of slightly fascinated by that exact thing. Because I do think when I look at some of, you know, the real success – you know, all the tragedies, but of people who became really successful, like Amy Winehouse, or, you know, whoever it is. For me to write a song and record it and do all of that – it’s a lot of work, you know, I’m not a naturally gifted…you know, I open my mouth, and everybody fucking stops, because I’m so amazing. And I do wonder, you know, when something’s so effortless, when you can record a song like that in one take, and you just sound fucking amazing…

You know, there’s no way I could record and perform on drugs, right? It’s just not going to happen. It’s a fucking disaster. Now, I know Amy Winehouse ended up in exactly that thing, but I think for a long time she managed it, you know, like, however fucked up she was or whatever she was on, she could still put out these remarkable performances. And sometimes I think that can be a curse. Because for those of us who have to actually be on board, you know, concentrating, working, you know, really making the effort and enjoy that work, if you imagine that all taken away from you, in a funny way, as lovely as it would be to just be able to record a fucking album in 10 minutes and go, “Wow, it sounds amazing”.

LK  
Yeah.

MB  
You’re right, it becomes what else am I gonna do with my fucking time?

LK  
Yeah.

MB  
And then you take it for granted as well.

LK  
Yeah, so we need to be not so talented, that it’s too easy for us so that we don’t have time to develop a substance addiction that will end in our demise. I think that’s perfect.

MB  
Yeah, that’s a good rule for life isn’t it!

LK  
Don’t be too good, because it could just go wrong if you are. I’m fine with that. I’m absolutely fine with that. Because I think the music that’s the most interesting to me is not the best music there ever could be, the very best guitar solo that ever could occur. It’s just a bunch of people together who, you know, combine to make this brilliant thing, or someone’s weird mind, if it’s a solo project, where they’re happy to just go wherever and they don’t give a shit. That’s what I’m aiming for with my stuff, and I really respect when bands can create something that’s so wonderful together as well. So just to finish up, could you please share with me three…I was gonna say, I think I’m going to say Piroshka songs, three Piroshka songs. So if people are listening and they’ve never heard Piroshka before, which three tracks should they start with? And obviously then listen to everything and buy everything.

MB  

Oh my God. I think if you’re looking for a way into what we do, it’s probably…I do think that “Everlastingly Yours” off the first album, is… It is the kind of most popular track on that album, but I’ll tell you why I pick it is because when I first started writing with Moose, despite having been together for so long, it’s sort of – when you are suddenly creatively writing music together, it took me such a long time to get round my head around how he wrote. I can remember him playing “Everlastingly Yours” as a sort of really rough demo, and me being a bit like, “Really? You want to go three times round with that? Are you sure you don’t want to just go two times round?” “No, I want to go three times round.” And, you know, and “Really, that’s how you’re going to do that bit?” And, you know, so there was a bit of a tussle.

LK  
Yeah.

MB  
And it took me til the whole song was virtually recorded to go, “Oh, okay. Okay, I get it”, right. And I think it was just sort of zoning into how someone else’s mind works, because it is really different. But it’s sort of brilliant to be able to join someone on that journey, and actually it is sort of educational, I suppose.

LK  
Yeah.

MB  
And it was completely out of my ability, because I just didn’t get it. I literally didn’t get it. And then to actually go into it and thought, “Oh, well, yeah, that’s really good”. You’re probably thinking, now I’m hearing all those fucking producers who were going like, “Are you sure you want to do that?”

LK  
No, what I was going to say was well done for not doing that! Well done for not going “No, we’re not doing that, it has to be four times round”. I’m a big fan of the three times round thing, but I only learned about it from someone else. I was playing bass for a woman called Lydia and her songs…there was some songs that went three times around so I was like, “I am having that”. So I’ve done that recently, it’s fun. It’s a good one.

MB  
Yeah, because I think, you know, sometimes it just sounds jarring. And you think are you sure you want it to sound jarring? And then once you get into it, you realise it’s not jarring, actually, it sounds really natural. So I don’t know, it has a magic of its own. But I suppose it’s the idea of tuning into someone else’s… I’m used to doing that listening to music, I’m fine with that, I would never judge – I think, hey, that’s how it was written, I’m just gonna fucking love it or not. But when you’re actually involved in the process, and this is gonna have your name on it as well, and blah, blah, blah, and you are wanting to bounce off each other, I think it’s interesting that now I will just shut my fucking mouth in future and go like, yep, just gonna go with it.

LK  
Yeah! You never know where it’s gonna go. It’s about not finishing someone’s sentence, isn’t it?

MB  
Yes!

LK  
Excellent delay there. I thought you’d frozen on the screen there, that’s really funny.

MB  
Just making sure.

LK  
No more delaying tactics – what’s the second one?

MB  
Okay, so I did really like writing “Loveable” off the new album. I think on the first album, I was trying a bit to not write like “Miki from Lush”, and I think with “Loveable” I kind of thought, you know what, this is how I write and that’s fine. But like you said, when you go back and listen to something and think, how did I write with this before and you’re trying to give yourself a bit of boost? To me, it was…listening back to Lush stuff was always tricky, because it’s written from the perspective of a much younger woman, you know, who hasn’t had children, who hasn’t done a lot of stuff. So to write a song like “Loveable”, which is much more…it is about having a long term relationship. It’s a love song, but it’s about all the shit that you’ve been through, really. And that can be a friend, it doesn’t have to be a partner or whatever. But it felt like a mature song.

Laura Kidd  
It’s nice to get wise, isn’t it?

MB  
Yeah. Yeah. I mean, I think there’s a song of yours that has that…”I Used To Know Everything”.

LK  
Oh yeah.

MB  
And I thought yeah, exactly. And that’s got that nice sort of backward looking, but now present moment cast to it, which…it is about wisdom, literally, you know.

LK  
Yeah. Well, one of the reasons I was really keen to talk to you was, like I said at the beginning, about your return to music and making music as an older woman than you were before. And I just think we need voices who are different, different from what we’re used to, you know? I saw this irritating greeting card, it was in an Oxfam bookshop in Bristol, it was a birthday card for a man that said, “Men don’t get older, they just get more interesting”. I can’t laugh at that, I just can’t. Why is that in a charity shop being sold to people in 2020, maybe 2019? (Realistically, it’s probably 2019.) Disgusting.

So the fact that you are writing songs about your experience as Miki now – and past Miki – and that Viv Albertine is sharing her thoughts on her life, and whoever else is doing it, too. That’s what we need. That’s what I’m interested in. And of course, young musicians have a lot to say, too, and I love hearing from them as well. But why would we only want to hear from them? Bonkers! It’s stupid.

MB  
Yeah, and I think that that is one of the nice things about when people go “Ohhhh, is the music business dead?”, you know, “there’s no money, la la la, blah, blah, blah…” – but I do think that what is happening is a breadth of voices, you know, whether that’s down to race or background and blah blah, but it does seem broader…

LK  
Yeah.

MB  
Certainly for voices of older women, I definitely find that and, you know, I genuinely think if in 1990 you’d have asked what an older woman’s record would have sounded like, they would have said, “I don’t know, what do old women sing about? Crocheting…or fucking, you know, chilblains or something?!” I mean it really would feel like another country, you know?

LK  
Yeah.

MB  
Whereas I think now, I do think music is a communicator. I mean, you know, there’s a track on the album, “Familiar”, which is actually about menopause. It doesn’t have to be, it can be about just depression, or feeling out of sorts. But, you know, that is the sort of jumping point for that lyric.

LK  
Yeah.

MB  
And I think it’s sort of important to, you know…things that just aren’t talked about. And you suddenly think God, no one really writes or talks about these things. I’ve just got this fresh sort of pasture to jump around in because no one really does that. It’s quite liberating.

LK  
Yeah, but you know, having released a lot of albums now, if you were still writing about, you know, shagging and drinking pints – I don’t even think Lush wrote about that, so apologies, that’s not what I’m saying – but if that was what being written about in your twenties, as an artist, you’re probably going to have to write about something else, some other aspects of life that you have lived. And so yeah, you’ve had kids, why wouldn’t that come up? You know?

MB  
Yeah, I mean, I think even if you’re writing about shagging and drinking pints, or whatever, I think if you’re doing it from a place of experience and truth, then I think it will resonate, you know, I think the the difficult period is when you start writing songs about being on fucking tour or something, which is like…

Laura Kidd  
Or hating your label!

MB  
Yeah, now you’ve really run out of subject matter, you actually have to go off and live a little now and build up some more things.

LK  
Go to a museum on that tour, maybe. Read a book! Yeah, I just think the eighth album of singing about shagging and drinking pints might get boring, as well.

MB  
No shit, but you would hope that the person actually writing that would be bored with it themselves.

Laura Kidd  
Yes ideally, yeah. I like the idea of chilblain rock. That could be a thing. I’m not even sure what a chilblain is, but it’s such an awkward word I feel like that’s a songwriting challenge to get that into a song now.

MB  
Okay, so next album we both have to get the word show playing chilblain in somewhere.

LK  
It could rhyme with quite a lot of good stuff. We haven’t talked about a third song off your list, have we…

MB  

Oh, shit, okay. So I’m going to slightly cheat because it’s two tracks. So I just mentioned “Familiar”, but it’s sort of seamlessly goes into “We Told You”. I’ve never done anything this pretentious, actually on a record, which is this sort of epic, kind of, you know…I don’t know, soundscapey, thematic shift – whatever the fuck stupid words you want to invent, feel free to throw them in, okay? But yeah, basically, “Familiar” started off as a kind of idea from Mick and then so that was a proper collaboration, I wrote the lyrics and I wrote a melody and then Moose came in and wrote some [guitar] so it just kind of evolved, it genuinely was like a really organic track. And “We Told You” was something that Justin had kind of come up with for the first album, and it just wasn’t really working. So we sort of took it apart and put it together again, but it was a really…the reason I’m rambling on about this is because it was a genuine studio moment.

A lot of the stuff that I’ve done, you know, it’s live, I’ll either play it on a guitar or we’re rehearsing it as a band but, you know, it starts off not from a studio environment, it really does start on an acoustic guitar or something. Whereas this really was studio, and I did sort of feel like, “Oh, this is a whole different thing here”. You know what I mean. You probably know more about this, because you actually have all that stuff at your fingertips.

LK  
Yeah, it’s because I can’t remember anything though. That’s why. So I have to sit on my computer and write it and record at the same time, otherwise I don’t stand a chance. It’s gone.

MB  
But that leaves it quite open, because you can actually chop it up even as you’re going.

LK  
Yeah.

MB  
I’m sure you could record something and then sort of fiddle about with things and actually think I’m just gonna keep that tiny bit there, and then go off in some other direction. Whereas to me it’s like, you know, right, this is the verse, this is the middle bit, this is the chorus, these are the chords, there you go, you know, send bits of paper everywhere, and it kind of has to be quite nailed down before I can get to that fucking stage.

LK  
Yeah.

MB  
But with this song, I mean, down to the fact that when I did the vocal for “Familiar”, I was just sort of guessing my way through it. It really wasn’t til we had nearly the whole song recorded that I suddenly thought, do you know what, I think the vocal is actually out of time, because I didn’t realise when I was writing it what the fucking time signature was. I just thought this is really loose, I can do what I want. And I could suddenly hear the time signature, so I had to take all…”Okay, go back, I’ll do the vocal again”.

LK  
That’s happened to me a few times where I’ve written something and…it’s not that I don’t know what I’ve done, it’s just that it’s come out that way. And then later on, I get to the point where I have to count it to put it into the project properly in Logic and then gone, “Oh, that’s why I had a headache for three days, it’s in 7/4” – my favourite, actually 5/4’s my favourite but – and then I had one that’s in 13/4, or like, it’s 6/4 – 7/4. And it wasn’t like I went, “Hmm, what can I do that’s really interesting and off kilter?” It just came out that way, that’s how it happened. And then yeah, there comes a point where you have to count and then go, “Oh, right. Yeah”.

MB  
That’s why it doesn’t sound quite right. Yeah.

LK  
But in a good way.

MB  
But so you played the violin, you said…

LK  
Very badly, yeah.

MB  
But still…you can you read music?

LK  
Yes, I can. I say that with hesitation because I can…I just choose not to. There’s no good reason for it.

MB  
I literally played the recorder at school, that was it. Right? Everything came after 18, and learning how to play a guitar, and I can’t read music, you know, all my notes are A with a star next to it with explanatory notes for what that chord actually is, you know, I just, I never kind of got there.

LK  
Well, I don’t think you need to. I mean, I got…I’ll be very honest with you now, because we’re having a chat…I signed up to do this music course, which has a bit of theory on it, right? And I started it the other night. And I think it’s because I’d had a really tiring weekend, the guy started banging on about a load of theory stuff that I don’t know, I just don’t understand it. I got so angry and upset, that I just slammed the laptop shut, and then started crying and saying to my husband, Tim, “I’m just a fake musician. I’ve made it all up. I don’t even know what I’m doing”. Because the guy’s talking about what key stuff’s in and I was so panicked by it. I think I was just really tired and on the edge, for whatever reason, because it doesn’t really matter, because I don’t think I’m a fake musician at all, people listening (if I leave this bit in), anyway, so um (probably not). And I was just like, okay, what’s happening there is my fear of the thing that I thought I’d be found out for, which is not knowing what notes I’m playing, what chords I’m playing – because it doesn’t fucking matter, as long as they’re the right ones (and not the right ones, not the correct ones, but the right ones). And so whenever I was doing bass session work, I was always waiting for someone to be like, “Let’s transpose this to G sharp minor”. And me being like [terror noise] “don’t know what that means! Transpose I understand, but the the notes you’re saying pfffft, dunno”. So I realised that what’s happening with me is that yeah, the fear of my big secret – like in EastEnders, my big secret is going to come out and ruin my life – and what I have to do is just not do the course at the moment, cos I’ve got quite a lot on, and just maybe do a bit of theory beforehand. Do it when I’m not tired, and when I have eaten, and then just like, take it from there. Because I think there’s a lot of benefits to being free of that way of thinking, because you’re not and I’m not going “Ooh, but that chord doesn’t go in that key”.

MB  
Yeah.

LK  
Cos I don’t know what the key is. I don’t know what it is. I’m just going “What sounds good next? And then what sounds good over that?” And I’ve got a friend who knows a lot of shit about music and he was going “Oh, it’s really clever, Laura, what you’ve done at the end of that thing” and I was just like “These are words I do not understand. But thank you (I don’t know what you’re saying!)”

MB  
But I agree with you. I mean, I can remember even with the Lush album, I remember Terry Edwards coming in and he’s incredibly talented and blah, blah, blah, but you know, he knows his fucking music shit, you know what I mean…

LK  
Yeah.

MB  
…and I can’t remember what song it was, but he was just sitting there going “That’s so weird”. He said “I could not write that because it’s the wrong…it doesn’t go there. It just doesn’t go. It sounds really good…”

LK  
Yeah, yeah.

MB  
“…and I think it’s brilliant that you’ve done it, but I’m limited because to me that’s just the wrong thing to put…” and so I agree with you. I think that’s the first time I thought, actually there is something quite liberating…I mean, it’s frustrating sometimes because you think someone else would have this shit at their fingertips and they wouldn’t be trying to find a note, you know, what’s the right root note here? Going up and down the fretboard.

LK  
Yes.

MB  
And they’d just have it like that.

LK  
Yeah, but then maybe that would limit them, though.

MB  
Yeah, yeah.

LK  
I’ve met Terry a few times, he’s a lovely man, and I’m just really pleased that he was saying “Oh it’s sort of wrong”, but he wasn’t going “so you’re wrong”. And he wasn’t saying, “and it doesn’t sound any good”, where some people might go, “but it’s wrong, and I can’t deal with it, and this is wrong, and I can’t contribute” or whatever. Or you know, “it doesn’t sound good”. Because if it sounds good, it sounds good.

MB  
Yeah.

LK  
It doesn’t matter what the fucking key is. I don’t know what the key is. I never know what the key is, I don’t know what it is!

MB  
Neither do I…

LK  
How do people know? Anyway, yeah. This is a rambling end of our conversation. Music theory, what’s the point? Uhhh, lots of point. If you know your music theory, it’s probably very helpful, but don’t be constrained by it. Be more punk, I think.

MB  
Yeah, and again, I think it’s that thing of things having a flip side, you know, you can do it that way or you can do it that way, both are valid, you know, you can just choose which path you want to take. I mean, I remember John Cooper Clarke talking about, you know, being asked Sso why do you always write in rhyme?”, and he was like, I need a framework. Otherwise, it’s just…I just wouldn’t know where to begin and end, you know? I write lyrics that rhyme, because I find it – otherwise, it just feels way too loose actually. Yeah. So I think it’s, yeah, sometimes a framework is good…I mean, maybe I’m just being really fucking lazy and going, “No, I’m really glad I’m not classically trained, because it’s really liberating”, when actually, I’m just too fucking lazy to learn.

LK  
This is the dichotomy of that thing, because that’s what I’m saying. So I don’t take pride in not knowing stuff. I’m not being wilfully ignorant and saying that education is bad. But also, I think that given that we have all made these records that are not shit, you know, that no one’s going “but actually, the music theory on this is dreadful. No one buy it!” It just proves that there’s different ways of doing things.

MB  
And also in terms of being a sort of inspirational point for other people to make music.

LK  
Yeah.

MB  
I think it’s a terrifying thought that the only young people who would make music are people who have got their music A level and have done all their piano lessons, not least because that, generally these days tends to indicate a certain privilege in terms of, you know, financial backing. But I think you want people to be able to…I mean, you know, I have said this before, but I watched that We Are Lady Parts, I don’t know if you’ve watched it…

LK  
It is. Not yet.

MB  
It’s brilliant, right? And what I loved about it is that I thought…well, I loved a lot about it, but one of the things was, was I thought there’s going to be a load of people who watch this who maybe aren’t even really into bands, right – that’s the reach of television – and will actually go “Fuck, that looks like really good fun”. And that might be their route in, and it is about just a punk band and people who were, you know, some can play, some can’t, and so I think in terms of inspiring people, the idea of thinking that the only way you can become creative, musically, is if you sit there and do five years of theory and pass your grade 8, that’s incredibly restrictive. So, great for those who have it. But for those who don’t, there is a completely different path available there, you know, that is just as valid and legitimate.

LK  
Yeah, and it just all ties in so nicely because Viv Albertine was one of those people who, in the punk era, was inspiring people to pick up instruments. I mean, I don’t know, I’m not going to assume she doesn’t know what key things are in. I don’t know that she would have done. I was inspired by you – obviously, if I’d have known that you didn’t know your theory, Miki, I probably would have become an accountant instead…

MB  
Fuck her!

LK  
…so I blame you for everything. But you know, that’s the thing, just just fucking do stuff. Do stuff, stuff happens. That’s my motto.

MB  
But work.

LK  
Yeah, well that’s the doing bit.

MB  
Yes. That’s the doing bit.

LK  
Doing not being.

MB  
Yes. Wise words, mate.

LK  
Yeah, there you go. We’ll end there, that’s the best thing I’ve ever said in my life…I could talk to you all day, whether you liked it or not, but thank you so so much for chatting to me today. It’s been amazing to meet you. Thank you so much.

MB  
Thank you. That was genuinely really brilliant fun. I just feel like cracking open the wine now and carrying on but yes, I know what you mean.

LK  
Let’s do it!

MB  
It was great. Thank you so much.

LK  
Thank you.


LK
Piroshka’s gorgeous new album “Love Drips And Gathers” is out now wherever you get your music, and you can join them on tour in November around the UK. Visit piroshkaband.com for more details.

The deluxe show notes page for this episode is at penfriend.rocks/miki.

If you’re new to my show, welcome! Make sure you visit my website penfriend.rocks to pick up two free songs and receive thoughtful letters about art and music, and if you’d like to keep listening now, I recommend episode 39 with Stephen Jones of Babybird and episode 33 with Liela Moss of The Duke Spirit.

This podcast is a rare ad-free zone, but sponsorship from listeners keeps the wheels turning, so if you’d like to be part of keeping this show on the road visit penfriend.rocks/sponsorship. Thanks for considering it!

Massive thanks to my Correspondent’s Club for powering the making of this show and all my music.

I’ll be back in two weeks time to share another deep conversation with you, so I hope to catch you then!

Til then – take care!

Share this:
Podscripts

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.