Pierley Bird Catches the Worm (no, hang on, thats not right
An Pierle is flirting with me! Well, ok that doesnt REALLY sound
like much of a nightmare does it? I mean, shes a very attractive
girl. But Im a happily married man, so I cant do anything
about it, and as a result Im getting rather tongue tied. She may
see it another way of course, but trust me
she WANTED me!
Anyway, she was delighted to discuss her excellent recent album Helium
Sunset with me
AD: Youve been described by various musical sources as being vocally
reminiscent of Tori Amos, Kate Bush and Polly Harvey, and musically
compared to the songwriting of Nick Cave and early Roxy Music. How do
you feel about that, and how would you prefer to be described?
AP: Well, I like very much that theyve sensed that we listened
a lot to Roxy Music especially EARLY Roxy Music. I think its
that whole mix of ballads, and decadent and theatrical emotion, along
with a sense of experimentalism too
and thats how Id
describe our sound as well.
When we recorded Helium Sunset, it really was a first for
us, because the first album was just me all by myself. Back then, it
was easier for people to compare me to Fiona Apple than any of those
artists you mentioned, and the production was more John Cale than Nick
Cave. But with the new album, there was a full band, and a lot of songs
changed completely when we were in the studio we had to really
try to strip them apart. One chap came to see us live and after wed
performed about 100 times, he asked if wed like to try using strings
on the record, and from then on it was really nice to see the songs
AD: How and where did you get your big break? Can you pinpoint an
AP: I dont know that weve ever had one! We just gotta
go slowly, you know? Take our time. I mean, we havent really got
huge radio hits or anything so were taking it one step at a time.
Weve achieved things in Belgium, so we moved on to France. Once
weve achieved things there well tackle Holland and so on.
Of course, the more nice reviews you get, the more interviews you get,
and that always helps. The most important thing is that, during that
time, weve gotta change. That way you always leave the audience
I think the lyrics to Medusa are quite touchingly beautiful,
and possess a poignant quality that appeals to me very much. I get the
impression that this was a very personal song to you. Am I right?
AP: ALL the songs are a bit personal to me really. It kind of freaks
me out a bit because in England, you all actually seem to understand
what I mean by the lyrics! Ive never been able to comprehend why
maybe I write in a sort of Euro-English way,
because everywhere else Ive played, people tell me that the words
are impossible to understand!
AD: Whats your favourite song youve recorded?
AP: Thats a difficult one because it depends from day to day.
If you play lots and lots of gigs like we do, then you can start to
get a bit bored of a certain song, but if you look at it with the same
freshness and tinker with it regularly, the music stays alive. The most
important thing to me is not to work with too many samplers, and be
careful with the sound. Our engineer is invaluable to us because I havent
got studio ears. He has really BIG studio ears!
AD: Whats the best piece of advice youve ever een given,
and what advice can YOU give to any talented, budding songwriters out
AP: Its clichéd, but Its not what you do,
but the way that you do it. You need a lot of perseverance
dont give up on one direction and go another way half way through.
Stick with it, and youll get through it. Also, its vital
that you surround yourself with people that you like! Talwnt isnt
the same as being a nice person, so theres no point working with
a bunch of people you dont get on with!
AD: I guess not! Well, thank you very much for being kind enough
to answer my questions
AP: Ask me some more
I havent GOT anymore
AP: You havent asked me about the large balloon I sit on when
AP: I sit on a great big transparent balloon when I play
AD: You do? Hmmm
.sounds a bit rude that
AP: Yes it does.
AP: Haha! Its an ergonomic chair! Very good for singing it
is too, and it allows me to make all these little movements, because
I had back problems for a while. But this is really nice!
AD: Maybe I should invest in one of those myself
AP: You should. You can carry on asking me questions if you like
And at this point, I thought it was best to make my excuses (it was
something really poor like Ive gotta finish now, the cat
needs shaving) and go
Still, its flattering being chatted up by a gorgeous female so
Im not complaining!
An Pierles wonderful Helium Sunset is out in all good
record stores now. Go get it.
Interview; Tone E