THE OTHER DAY PALOMA FAITH WAS DOING SOME INTERVIEWS AND AS PART OF THAT WHOLE THING SHE HAD A CHAT WITH US ABOUT HER NEW ALBUM, CELEBRITIES BUMMING EACH OTHER, AND GIVING BIRTH TO FISH ON BREAKFAST TV
The gang’s all here.
How you doing?
I’m alright, how are you?
I’m good, I’m alright. I’m hungry, but I’m good.
Have you had your lunch yet?
Well it’s getting a bit late for lunch. We’re almost in the tea-zone now.
I know, I think I’m just going to have to break some rules right about now.
When did you last eat?
What did you have?
I’ve been doing this sort of healthy living thing, which is really boring.
‘Sort of healthy living’ sounds like the ideal kind of diet. Have you just been out scavenging for nuts and berries? Is it one of those diets?
I like fruit for breakfast actually. (Becoming suddenly serious) I really need to sort something out soon, or I might faint.
Don’t faint during the interview. We’ll have to steer clear of shocking questions.
Well that’ll just be due to my blood sugar, not due anything you’ll ask me. As you know about from experience.
‘The unshockable Paloma Faith’.
(Starts screaming) Ask me a question!
Alright! I’m just getting to that. What have you been up to, apart from making pop music?
Um, I’ve just been doing that mainly. I’m sure I’ve been doing other things. I supported Prince, which was really big for me, and slightly life-changing.
Slightly life-changing? Is that like a ‘sort of healthy’ diet?
Well, not life-changing, but kind of career-changing in that I was in the middle of writing the record and I just went and did this one-off gig with Prince, because I couldn’t say no, even though I wasn’t supposed to be touring. And I did it and I ended up meeting him, and Larry Graham and Sly & The Family Stone, and Chaka Kahn and all these things happened that weekend which were just like, things that I never thought would ever happen. It was the first time that I’d been billed on a bill with people that I… Well, that I would cite as my influences or idols or inspirations. And it felt really reassuring, so it was a bit changing in the sense that I was at the top rung of a certain ladder that I’d got up to, and I leapt on to the bottom rung of another ladder, and it sort of pushed me forward to making this record the best that I could make it, because it was really encouraging to me, and I respond well to that.
So how do you feel about being at the bottom of another ladder? It’s a bit like the Miley Cyrus song ‘The Climb’, isn’t it?
I’ve never heard that song.
Basically, it’s about the never-ending stream of shit you’re supposed to battle against, even when you think you’re doing well. There’s always some stuff to get done. It’s a bit like tidying your house…
The point is, Miley Cyrus understands what I’ve been going through.
So when you had that weekend when everything changed, and it inspired you to make an amazing album, prior to that was your album going to be shit?
I think so! (Guffaws)
Well no. If I’m really honest and not being funny, I think that I was due to make a better album because I had a bit of confidence, because with the first album I felt that I had to please a lot of people, because I was signed to a label, and didn’t have any kind of background or knowledge of anybody in the music business that had done it before. And I was sort of trying to learn how to play the game, so I sort of learned as I went along, and now that I’ve made this record… And I didn’t get dropped, which was kind of a feat as far as I’m concerned.
Yes, well done on that.
And then I felt that I had some sort of value to my record company, to a degree, and felt I could feel confident enough to say actually ‘no, this is the record I want to make, and this is what I want to do, please help me do that’, rather than helping me do something I don’t want to do. So that’s why I think I’ve made a good album, because I’ve been true to myself.
Sometimes when people say ‘I’ve made the album that I wanted to make’, you just think, ‘oh Christ, anything but that…’.
(Laughs) Yeah, but in this case… Well, I can’t be a people pleaser! I mean, maybe, I don’t know about the rest of the world, but the British public seem to be embracing and enjoying honesty at the moment, so that’s what I decided to do.
People do like honesty. Just now, when you said, “if I’m honest with you, and not being funny”, it did create the amazing vision of a version of you who was funny but not honest, and that sounded quite appealing.
Oh, I forgot to tell you, I’ve also lost my sense of humour. So basically you’re screwed if you want anything like that.
You know that weekend when everything changed? If they were going to do a kind of My Week With Marilyn-style thing, but it was My Weekend With Paloma, who would play you in that?
(Laughs) Julie Walters!
Amazing. She might be a bit young though?
She’d have some prosthesis.
Have you ever indulged in prosthesis, recreationally?
I have, actually. I’ve done quite a bit. When I was at dance school this art student sort of did a thing with me that showed me in a new light. That was sort of a bit weird.
At the dance place before, I used to do kind of weird performances, and once, I had a prosthetic stomach and filled it with fish and slashed it open and all the fish fell on the floor. I actually did that once in front of a record company exec, and this was before Lady Gaga had come out, and they said to me, ‘the thing is Paloma, you’re going to really have to kerb your giving birth to fish by caesarean section because the public just won’t like it’. So I did kerb it, and then Lady Gaga came out and did all that kind of thing.
She hasn’t done that though.
Had a caesarean section with fish? Well, maybe I can revive that for this record, for the live shows.
Are you going to be doing any appearances on Saturday Kitchen or something like that, because that is exactly the kind of setpiece they like at half ten on a Saturday morning.
Saturday Kitchen? I’ve never heard of it.
What you could do, is you could sort of waddle on and people would be like ‘Paloma Faith’s put on weight!’, and then about halfway though, you’d pull open whatever you were wearing and fish would fly out. And then you’d cook the fish there and then!
Conceptually and on a practical level, we’d also eat the fish. That sounds like a cracking idea. I’ll definitely put that to somebody in my label.
How is the label? Do you feel like they’re confident about how it’s going, or are they just going to put one single out and see how it goes?
No! They’re all like excessively confident and hyperactive about it all. I just kind of sit still and see what happens, I’m not that type. Nellee Hooper, who I made the album with, is the same as the label. He’s just hyped it up to everyone. He keeps telling everyone it’s the best work he’s ever done and it scares the shit out of me.
Well actually he’s done some quite good work.
Exactly! So I hate him saying that to people! He’s like ‘trust me, trust me, don’t worry, it won’t backfire’ and I’d rather we just wandered in quietly, and people were like ‘wow, I didn’t expect that, that’s really good’ rather than everybody going on and on about how we’ve done something amazing. I let other people be the judge of that.
Some of the songs from your album are amazing. But let’s have a look at what Nellee Hooper’s done in the past: ‘Human Behaviour’ for Bjork – one of her good songs. ‘Hella Good’ by No Doubt, also good. ‘What You Waiting For?’ by Gwen Stefani. All of those songs are better than the stuff that’s on your album so far.
(Laughs) Well hopefully it’s just because… It’s nice for somebody positive and… Not everybody can be as cynical as you.
But he’s also done some songs that are worse than what’s on your album, ie most of the other Bjork stuff, lots of ‘Bedtime Stories’ for Madonna during her dumper period. You could in theory say that you’re better than Madonna.
I don’t want to say anything like that. I don’t feel comfortable with that type of thing. I think I’ll just remain noncommittal. But I’m personally really happy with what I’ve done, and I don’t feel like I’m in competition with anybody else.
That’s a very liberating phase to be in as an artist, to feel that you’re not in competition with anybody.
Because so much feedback you’ll get from radio or blah blah blah will go ‘well, you know, there’s this person who’s around already and they’re in a similar space to Paloma, so we won’t play Paloma’, and all that sort of stuff. And it’s great that you sort of feel that actually, you don’t care, and you’re in a vacuum.
Well, I’m on my own little mission.
What’s the objective of this mission that you find yourself on?
To buy a house!
Amazing. Where would you like to buy the house?
I don’t mind, I just think it’s the house that’s important, not the location. It should be London somewhere, but actually I just want it to be so good that I don’t ever want to leave, so it won’t matter where it is.
A family house?
Yeah, probably. And if I don’t fill it with babies, I’ll fill it with clothes.
When you were talking a litte bit earlier about how to play the game, you were talking about that specifically in relation to major labels and that kind of thing?
This time around, have you figured out how to play the game, or figured out what the game is and decided not to play it?
Erm, well I think I’ve got to the point of game-playing where I don’t need to play any more. I’m just going to carry on not playing and being honest and doing my own thing and not worrying about being in the ‘in-crowd’.
The ‘in-crowd’ is helpful when an artist pops up on the scene.
I don’t feel like I’ve ever been in the in-crowd in my life, and the moments when I’ve tried to be in the in-crowd, I’ve always come out feeling a little bit demoralised.
Have you given your fans a patronising name yet?
No, and I don’t intend to. I find it all a little bit weird, a bit gimmicky. I just call them by their first names when I meet them. I just say “what’s your name?”. (Chuckles to self)
It’s a shame though, because both ‘Paloma’ and ‘Faith’ probably lend themselves to quite good names for a fanbase.
Yes few of them have tweeted me saying “we’re The Faithfuls, why don’t you call us that?” It’s a bit cheesy though.
Speaking of cheesy, when we spoke last you discussed the fact that you were thinking about Noel Edmonds bumming Ronnie Corbett. Have you thought about that much in the time since?
I’ve not thought about that recently, but I’ve been thinking about other combinations of people doing that.
Other combinations of bumming?
We could come up with some together if you want. But I have to think about these things, you know. I’m a thoughtful person.
You could always tweet some ideas at a later date.
Let’s just throw names at each other over Twitter.
It was amazing when you went on holiday and started moaning on Twitter about fans wanting to have their picture taken with you.
That was something I’ll never do again.
I like how you’ve just been very gracious about the fans, going ‘it can’t be cheesy, they’re individuals, I respect them’ and then on holiday you’re just like ‘FUCK OFF THE FANS I’M TRYING TO HAVE A LIE DOWN’.
Well to be honest everybody else in every other career on earth gets to have a holiday and it’s weird to me that like, some of the people said to me when I did that that I was an ungrateful bitch and that Cheryl Cole would never do that and I was like ‘that’s because Cheryl Cole would have a holiday in a gated resort where nobody was allowed to come in’, and I wasn’t having that sort of holiday. Do you see the difference?
Yes but do you see why some people raised their eyebrow slightly at you going off on one?
I think those people didn’t understand what I was trying to achieve.
It seemed that what you were trying to achieve was to tell everyone to fuck off and we all understood that.
No, I think what I said was actually really quite funny. I said ‘office hours are closed until we re-open on January 5′, which was a very funny way of putting it. But they chose to avoid the jokey side of it and took it all quite personally but actually it was quite funny I think.
What’s your favourite and least favourite songs on the new album?
‘Just Be’ is probably my favourite because it’s probably the most vulnerable and exposed I’ve ever been. My least favourite song on the album, if I had to chose one, would be… I don’t know. I was about to say one and then I felt really guilty because the person I wrote it with is such a nice person. I don’t mind bad-mouthing my own work but not other people’s. I don’t want to say which one it is because the person I wrote it with is super sensitive and really nice.
There’s a lot of sensitivity in the creative industries. And I think behind all the Paloma bluster actually you’re a bit more sensitive then you like to let on.
I’m used to it. I had to prepare myself for this because I’m used to you being like that with me.
Is there anything you’d like to add?
No, there’s nothing I’d like to add.
Answers: Paloma Faith (obviously)