Black Box Recorder

An Afternoon In Detention with Sarah Nixey

Black Box Recorder, as you may remember, had a huge hit a few years back with "Facts Of Life" and then just seemed to disappear from the planet altogether. So it was a pleasant surprise when their excellent recent album 'Passionoia' was released, containing sguch gems as "British Racing Green", "The New Diana""Andrew Ridgeley". Sexy lead vocalist Sarah Nixey spilt the beans on the story behind the band's disappearance and gave the lowdown on the former Wham! guitarist(?), her schooldays and motherhood. Well, actually I never asked her about motherhood. We're not bloody Bella you know.

AD: This was your first album for three years. Where have you been in the interim and what have you been up to?

SN: Well, since "Facts Of Life", we've just been recording and recording and recording. "Passionoia" was actually completed the year after our first album, but since Nude Records went down the pan we'd really just been trying to get the album back from the liquidators and find a new record company. Anyway we finally struck a deal with One Little Indian and it's more of a relief than anything because it just seems like we've been waiting for ages. It's been really frustrating and irritating, but on the other hand it was pretty easy to get a new deal and all the waiting came at the right time as I recently had a baby. So it's all come together pretty well really.

AD: The new album made me laugh actually, especially as you've got a track on there called "Andrew Ridgeley". So did you fancy him then?

SN: (laughs) No I didn't! But, and this is just as sad, one of my first favourite bands was Wham! and I had loads of pictures of them on my wall. That song really was just John taunting me.

AD: What about Howard Jones then? Did you fancy him?

SN: Ugh, God no! Absolutely not!

AD: Just wondered, because when I was about thirteen, I was thinking of getting my hair done like his! I'm glad I didn't though...anyway moving on, the opening track on "Passionoia" is "The School Song". So, what would you say were your fondest memories, and worst ones, of your time at school?

SN: Probably my favourite moment was when we went on strike. I was one of the ringleaders of that. You see, we used to play this game called "Tingy" where you had to throw a tennis ball between the knees of one of the other players, and it ended up getting so violent that the school banned it. So we organised a protest and went on strike. I can't really think of any bad moments from those days, but one of the best ones was just after we'd ordered our grants and we dressd this dummy up in a school uniform and hoisted it up high on this huge pole. It really looked like someone had hung themselves and it certainly drew a fair few worried looks.

AD: I'd imagine something like that would only fuel the criticism you got over your "Child Psychology" track. Were you aware of the fact that this song would be regarded as highly controversial? Was it deliberate?

SN: Not really, we just saw it as an answer and reply song. The verses are a monologue and the line "Kill yourself or get over it" really is just saying "Yeah, you've had a terrible life - now get on with it". It's meant to be a positive song rather than the negative one that certain quarters of the media would have you believe.

AD: Ok, so what's the inspiration behind the sleeve of the album?

SN: It's multi-layered really. I suppose it's very much a Bryan Ferry / Roxy Music type cover, although there IS a reference to a certain TV presenter in there somewhere, what with the swimming pool and all (Hmmm...I wonder who THAT culd be then - Deputy Ed); anyway I think it's very Hockneyesque.

AD: So whose bare arse is that in the swimming pool?

SN: I can't tell you that, I'm not allowed to! I've been sworn to secrecy. My lips are sealed.

AD: What's the last record you bought then?

SN: I think it was "White Blood Cells" by The White Stripes. Another band that I particularly like is Flaming Lips - they're just so theatrical that it's not just a gig when you see them, it's an event.

AD: And what do you hate musically?

SN: Well I could go on, like everyone else does, about Pop Idol, but I think people DO want something more real these days so I won't. I don't know, but I did see this band on television the other day that was trying to be "indie" but was basically just a boy band. Aaah what was their name?

AD: Busted?

SN: Oh my God, that's them! Horrible stuff.

AD: I bet they're the sort of band that video their Top of the Pops performances and watch it over and over again after the event as well! Hmmm...did YOU do that when "Facts of Life" charted?

SN: Haha, no we didn't keep watching it. My mum's got a copy but I really don't like to do things like that; I'd just find myself cringing at all those ridiculous facial expressions I somehow managed to pull!

The only problem with that last answer is that I doubt that ANY face that Sarah pulls can make her look hideous, after all she is quite a stunner...and with a sexy voice to boot. That voice can be heard to wondrous effect on Black Box Recorder's recent album "Passionoia", which is available all over the place right now.

Interview and transcript by Tone E


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