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Charlotte Hatherley

4 May 2009

This short interview was conducted with CHARLOTTE HATHERLEY (formerly of the band ASH and now a solo artist as well as the current touring guitarist for BAT FOR LASHES) over e-mail last week because I didn’t have a chance to see her play with Bat for Lashes when they were here in Philadelphia this past Friday. Look for her 3rd solo album New Worlds to be released in September (see more on this below). Thanks to STEVEN at her label Minty Fresh for setting up this interview.

I wanted to ask you about the new album. I’d been told that the title will be Cinnabar City (after “Cinnabar”, one of the songs on it). However, I’ve also seen it listed as New Worlds. Any comment?

CHARLOTTE HATHERLEY: The album was nicknamed Cinnabar City for a while, I liked the way it sounded cartoony and sci-fi, as well as mixing a beautiful and exotic word with something hard and modern. I decided to change it to New Worlds which still has the PHILLIP K DICK futuristic connotations I so love but is more of a mission statement for this record.

Why will this be the first solo record of yours to be released in the U.S. ? Who’s putting it out?

CHARLOTTE HATHERLEY: I set up my own label, Little Sister Records, in the UK for the last solo album I released, so spent the first two records setting up distribution in the UK, Europe and Japan. I didn’t want to hit the States until I was set up closer to home, and now I’m ready for it! When I was playing with Ash we had such bad luck with American labels that kept folding so I was very thorough about finding the right home for my record. Minty Fresh are perfect and are releasing New Worlds in September.

The song “Full Circle” reminds me a little of THE WAITRESSES and “Little Sahara” reminds me a bit of THE PRETENDERS’ “Birds of Paradise”, which you seem to quote in it, and as far as your vocal delivery on that track as well. Is it fair to say that you were listening to these records/groups when you made this record?

CHARLOTTE HATHERLEY: I’ve never heard of The Waitresses! I’ll have to check them out now. I do love The Pretenders so would happily hold my hands up to being influenced by Ms. CHRISSIE HYNDE. “Little Sahara” is a fun song and I was playing around with the vocal delivery, I can hear a lot of XTC in that song.

I wanted to ask you about the title of your 2nd record The Deep Blue. In the book To Be Someone by LOUISE VOSS, the main character listens to a fictional soundtrack by that name (The Deep Blue) as her band climbs the top of the charts in the summer of 1988. I’m curious if that’s where you got the name from.

CHARLOTTE HATHERLEY: I did not know that! Wow, it sounds pretty perfect though.

What was it like working with ANDY PARTRIDGE on “Dawn Treader”?

CHARLOTTE HATHERLEY: I am a massive XTC fan so it was mind blowing! I went over to his house in Swindon and we sat in his garden shed writing songs with our acoustic guitars. We demoed about 5 songs and then I took them away and worked on them. “Dawn Treader” was one song from that session, I’ll have to dig out the other songs one of these days. Andy is a national treasure in the UK, a very underrated songwriter.

How did you end up as the guitarist for Bat for Lashes for this U.S. tour?

CHARLOTTE HATHERLEY: I am friends with ADEM, a folk singer from London, and he was helping NATASHA KHAN put together a new band for her record. She was looking for a guitaris/bassist and keyboard player and he recommended me for the job. She’s never used a guitarist live before and wanted a more bombastic sound. It’s been an absolute blast so far. 5 girls on the road. Very different to my Ash days!

 

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