IV Leader
Interview with Sing-Sing’s Emma Anderson
By Neil Miller
Feb. 26, 2004

Q: To begin with, a lot of people are wondering who this Emma Anderson is, so if you could, please state your position in your current band and any other bands you’ve been in that we might have heard of (hint, hint)...

A: Emma Anderson used to be the guitarist/backing vocalist/songwriter in a band called Lush and she does exactly the same in a band called Sing-Sing.

Q: After listening to some of the newer Sing-Sing tracks, I can hear faint tastes of what I’ve heard in older Lush albums (most namely Split and Lovelife), do you attribute this to your presence in the band or to the return of Alan Moulder (just in case if no one knows this, Alan’s had a hand in producing a lot of today’s most amazing albums, most namely the Yeah Yeah Yeah’s “Fever To Tell”, Nine Inch Nails “The Downward Spiral”, My Bloody Valentine’s “Loveless”, and Smashing Pumpkins? masterpiece ?Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness) or possibly even both?

A: Alan basically made the tracks that we did with Mark van Hoen sound better and more dynamic. But the tracks before they went to Alan didn’t sound that different to the post-mixed results. Relating to the previous question, the similarities are probably occurring as I more or less write songs in the same way as I did back then and the tracks sound more ‘bandlike’ than the tracks on ‘The Joy Of Sing-Sing’ which were constructed more with keyboards and samples.

Q:  Out of curiosity, how has the English crowd and press been receiving the Sing-Sing material?

A:  Mainly good.

Q:  Do you find that a lot of hardcore Lush fans have turned their backs on Sing-Sing or are they embracing your new work for the most part?

A: For the most part they have embraced it. Some have even said that they think Sing-Sing is much better! I actually have not really heard anyone say Sing-Sing is inferior. If they have thought it they have been too polite to say!

Q:  When listening to clips of the songs on the new EP, it’s easy to tell that the tone is a lot rougher than the previous album, were you in any way gearing for a different sound?

A:  Yes, I think as we had toured twice North America and worked as a band more, we were keen to capture that sound more than what we had done with the first album which was work with samples and keyboards and beats more. Also, when we played the first album live, we used to have to play to the backing tracks on a computer which is OK but can be a bit limiting. We were keen to have more natural instruments on the newer tracks – so that live we could actually play them as opposed to having them being played back on the laptop.
Q:  I noticed that “Undertow” was used in a recent Levi’s commercial, how did that all come about and who’s decision was it to give it the OK?

A:  I think a guy at Levi’s is a big Lush fan so he picked the track. It was Miki’s decision to give the OK as she wrote the song. She also had a song in a trailer to a Hollywood movie – namely ‘Light From a Dead Star’ which was in the trailer for ‘Solaris’.

Q:  In a previous interview you had stated that it pisses you off when the press would acknowledge Lush as “Miki and her band...”, when reading this, one can’t help but to be curious as to if this cause some nasty tension in the band (and not to kiss ass or anything, but I always thought you were the shining star of the band anyways and when I read that, I was actually a little shocked)

A:  I don’t remember saying that. It’s always inevitable that the lead singer gets most of the attention and I always thought I had been OK with that!! I am OK with that!!

Q:  I know that you wrote quite a bit of Lush’s music and lyrics and I know from previous reading that you don’t enjoy singing so much, but in the writing process, do you find yourself omitting certain things for being too “personal” to be sung by someone other than yourself?

A:  Ha – this is a good question! Yes, it is weird when you write lyrics and you know someone else is going to sing them! And sometimes you do want to write very personal things and if they are about things that are going on in your private life and the singer kind of has an inkling, then it can get a bit strange. But I normally just write them and give the lyrics to the singer and then don’t really discuss it! It’s an unspoken understanding! At the end of the day a song exists in it’s own right, whoever sings it. I always try to remember that.

Q:  I’m beginning to notice a lot of new “shoegaze” fans popping up on the scene now, and even more “shoegaze” bands...do you take some pride in knowing that you were a part of it all when it was original and new?

A:  Well, it’s a weird one because in the early 90s in the UK ‘shoegazing’ was a term that was coined to ridicule the bands of the time! No, one uses it here to describe a genre in a serious sense! but they do in the USA! It does frustrate me when I hear bands like Sigur Ros, Mogwai, Death in Vegas and many many more that have obviously been influenced by ‘shoegazing’ bands and the press here NEVER mention the word in their reviews of said bands as it would actually be an insult! I know people in cool bands here that have said to me that Lush were really important in their formative years. One guy in a 2 girl, 2 boy band – said that his band probably only existed because of Lush. Has he ever said that in an interview? No. But he always cites My Bloody Valentine.

Q:  I know that you must have a long line of influences as so many are heard in your music, so tell me, what are some of your favorite artists/albums that you feel has helped you shape and mold the style you have now?

A:  Kate Bush, Roxy Music, House of Love, Cocteau Twins, New Order, Wire, Laura Nyro, The Ronettes, Husker Du, Air

Q:  From my own personal experience, I can tell that you must be very involved with your fanbase, do you feel that keeping some kind of contact with your fans is crucial to the success of Sing-Sing or any other project you may have?

A:  Yes, the website and the mailing list is crucial to Sing-Sing and we are very hands-on with it. It is absolutely critical
and the band probably would not exist without the website.

Q:  So, if anyone in the US wants to order anything of Sing-Sing or even check out track samples, all they have to do is visit the website (www.sing-sing.co.uk)?

A:  Yes. The new EP is only available from the site.

Q:  Can we expect a tour in the US anytime soon? If not, will there be a tour to support the new EP?

A:  No, touring costs money and without a US label it’s impossible. Also pointless to tour without a new album.

Q:  Well, Emma, thank you very much for your time and I hope that you enjoyed answering all of my questions;-)

A:  I did.