She, Robot – Interview
PD: What type of artist are you?
S,R: I am a female solo electronica artist using loop pedals, beatboxing and a load of instruments to create completely live material that’s song based with harmonies and synths. I’m a one-woman band for the 21st century!
PD: Tell us the brief history of yourself.
S,R: I started out with Japanese electronic keyboards and organ as a kid, then got into guitar. I did acoustic stuff for a few years and then started looping when I realised it was a way I could create the arrangements and harmonies I heard in my head live. I self- released my first two albums myself, then collaborated with legendary producer Mike Bennett (The Fall, Ian Brown, The Specials) to release an EP in 2018.
PD: Who are your musical and non-musical influences?
S,R: Musical influences:
Kate Bush, Dub FX, Bat for Lashes, early Depeche Mode, Elliot Smith, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Arcade Fire to name but a few!
The philosopher Robert Pirsig, my unique and eccentric family, current affairs, the art of the possible, caffeine.
PD: What are your dreams and goals?
S,R: To become as good as I can be, to keep playing music and writing new material and reaching new audiences.
PD: Who writes your songs, what are they about?
S,R: My songs are about power, struggles, ambition, personal responsibility, stuff I read about in the news and stuff that goes on inside my head.
But I must also give some song writing credits to my electronic devices – I chose the name She, Robot’ because I felt like one human trying to co-write with digital band members. The loop setup seems to have its own ideas as to how I can arrange the material – sometimes it’s these limitations that help to give you structure and something to work against as an artist.
PD: What songs do you wish you’d written and why?
S,R: I often find myself thinking this about some particular song, but of course when someone asks I can’t remember any of them! So for the moment I’ll have to go with the sublime sonic arrangement and enigmatic lyrics of Ultravox’s ‘Vienna’ and the whole of Kate Bush’s ‘The Ninth Wave’ (from ‘Hounds of Love’).
PD: How do you promote bands and shows?
S,R: I am on Twitter at @sherobot, also Facebook and Instagram. I have a website at www.sherobot.co.uk.
PD: What do you think about downloading music online?
S,R: It’s been a game-changer in terms of the financial model for music. One thing that’s a shame is that people have got so used to consuming very compressed files (mp3 etc) on tiny speakers, Guy Garvey once called this ‘the death of hi-fi!’! But certainly it’s made music accessible in a way it never has been. We just need to create some kind of proper cross-platform that is not proprietary to benefit independent artists, but that’s easier said than done.
PD: What are some of your pet peeves:
S,R: Wet summers. I always take it personally, like it’s an act of deliberate spite from the universe. But then again, I’m quite a festival-orientated act…
Other than that, people mangling my surname (it’s Condrad, which is Anglo-Burmese), biscuit-dunking (why?!?) and next door’s evil cats, who keep trying to catch and eat the frogs in my pond!
PD: What has been your proudest moment in music:
S,R: Sharing the bill with Neville Staple at Polyfest, collaborating with members of Spiritualized and The Fall on my forthcoming release!
PD: What are you working on at the moment?
S,R: I have just released a live performance of ‘Isolation’ by Joy Division and am working on new material for an album.
PD: What music do you have available and where can we buy it?
S,R: My ‘7 Bells’ EP with Mike Bennett is available on Spotify and my two self-released albums are available through my website www.sherobot.co.uk
My latest release, ‘Obsessed With You’ is a reworking of a classic track by Poly Styrene and X-Ray Spex. Originally created as a live track to play at PolyFest, a festival in her honour at Dublin Castle in Camden, it snowballed after I sent my studio demo to my producer Mike Bennett, who gathered together a supergroup comprising Simon Wolstencroft (The Fall, The Smiths, I-Monster) and Mark Refoy (Spiritualized, Spacemen 3) with Pete Gleadall (Pet Shop Boys, George Michael) on mixing duties. This track has morphed from punk to electro-disco to rock with each person adding a touch.
She, Robot links:
Band/Artist location – Bristol England
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