Interviews  |   Kevchino, June 2003

J. Marsh & Kevchino interrogate ex-Cocteau Twins guitar maestro, Robin Guthrie with Ten questions in June 2003.

(Kevchino) Robin please tell us about a day in your life?

Wake up early being kicked in the face by a small child, elbowed in the eye, then pushed off the side of the bed..need coffee - head for kitchen, eyes not yet machine will take a little while to warm up, should have left it on all night..stopped smoking so I can breathe a little better.. then lots of morning things involving washing the dishes and feeding small people (cut to the Osbournes for the next hour) Finally leave the living part of my house and enter the working part of my house ...peace, serenity, air conditioning, no toys strategically placed on the floor for me to fall over, just quiet. drink more coffee, answer some email, make calls, Bellaunion website stuff generally start to think about things (cut back to the Osbournes for lunch).. In the afternoon I will work on music, (back in the peace and quiet), drink coffee, around 5pm go for a random drive to empty out and prepare myself for the evening-think milk-think children's tv -- think bedtime...silence... woohoo.... back to the studio for a couple of hours...... then at night, back to my computer to do more web stuff and then go bed.

(Marsh) How did you first get involved in music? Any artists that really inspired you?

As a kid I was listening to Roxy Music, T-Rex and other 70's pop stuff until about 1976 when I was introduced to punk rock - I was just at the right age to absorb the energy of this music and culture and I guess that influenced, more than anything, the way that I live my life.. for me, it was all about doing what I want and doing it my way (it sounds naive now as I hear the same words come out of the mouth of my eldest daughter who is 14) ...After the punk rock thing died down some of the groups from the late 70's caught my attention like the birthday party, the pop group and killing joke and that sort of was very noisy stuff - but I wanted my noise to be beautiful noise...after I started trying to make that beautiful noise I guess I let less and less things in...

(Marsh) What was the impetus for recording your first solo album “Imperial”?

After a very intense period doing Violet Indiana stuff with Siobhan, she seemed to be a little too pregnant to do shows and come to the studio, so I found myself with a little space to do something else..I had done some music for and exhibition in Seattle, Ted Grudowski's The Sky Is Falling and thought to myself that if I could expand upon what I'd done I'd be able to make an album. I had a starting point and an end so I thought about where to go, muscially, to join these two very different pieces of music and found that it was really easy. In many ways this instrumental music frees me from the constraints of songwriting which is a nice change once in a while..

(Kevchino) Will you perform any live performances in support of “Imperial”?

I'd be happy to on the condition that it is the right sort of venue or event....but unfortunately I haven't really had anyone offer me any shows so far....

(Kevchino) Who is the naked woman laying on the beach on the cover of your debut?

Can't tell... :)

(Marsh) Has your approach to recording changed since you first started recording? (Like the use of samples, computers, recording at home as opposed to the studio)

The first album that I really recorded was Head Over Heels, the second Cocteau Twins album, 20 yrs ago. The prior albums were engineered and produced by others and I was very frustrated because the sound, to me, wasn't the sound I was looking for..It was frustrating so I decided I had to try myself. With HOH I went into the studio, having written no songs, and after a process of learning by my mistakes, became able to produce and engineer my own records.. I was working with analogue electronics and some cutting edge (at the time!) digital tools... The recording process was very linear and loops had to made from tape..With the advent of non linear editing this all changed but I was reluctant to change to that technology until the technology itself matured. Whether or not I work at home or not is irrelevant as my studio is part of my home. It's just that studios don't really have to be as big as they once were.. Now I'm working with digital tools and some analogue electronics..same but different.....

(Marsh) Do you like working alone or with a group?

I like working alone in the studio - I like working on stage with a group.

(Marsh) Do you have any interest in scoring on a film soundtrack? Your music would lend itself very well to soundtracks.

Go back to the answer about doing concerts for Imperial : I'd love to do a soundtrack : I find my music to be very cinematic, as do the many people who tell me hey, why don't you do a soundtrack? Quite simply I have never been asked to do anything for a movie. I think it could be a very good thing to do..For me, when I write music, especially instrumental music like imperial, it is a very visual experience, an itinerary of places I've been that I can visualise in my head as I'm working...

(Kevchino) Any future plans for Violet Indiana?

We have made a new album which will be released in september, and hopefully some shows as well. The new album, haven't got it titled yet, is a very fine peice of work, Siobhan is on top form and the whole thing is fresh and exciting. It's light and dark where roulette was dark, dark, dark with a little light here and there - the lyrics still really cut though....they're painful in places and angry, but at other spots they are tender and caring (men don't write stuff like this)

(Marsh) How did you end up working with Harold Budd on “The Moon and the Melodies”?

Ah, that was some TV documentary that was going to be made with the idea behind it being the putting together of musicians from different genres and filming them working together : the tv thing fell through but by that time we had met harold and thought 'what a top bloke' and did the thing anyway in our own studio, very quickly indeed - He was a very nice man indeed...

Interview by J. Marsh and Kevchino.