Text by Lynne Bevan
Images from the Internet
© 1985 FFanzeen
The following article/interview with Kate Bush was originally published in FFanzeen #13 in 1985, written by Lynne Bevan.
At the highest level, a transatlantic phone connection can be “the next best thing to being there,” and at the worst, a near disaster. Amplified buzzing, humming, another disturbing effects can put a damper on the most intriguing of conversations. So when Kate Bush placed a call from somewhere in the British countryside to this Stateside writer, apprehension was being developed at both ends. The anxiety was quickly dissipated\, however, when Kate’s charming accent clipped through the line with hardly a disturbance to bother with.
We rapidly adjust to the five hour time difference between us and being to converse: about her, naturally, and the music she creates.
“I’m concerned with promoting the music. I’m not really concerned with promoting me,” she professes.
The statement is an accurate one. Kate keeps her private life tightly under wraps. Whatever information is discovered about this 26 year old singer-songwriter-producer must be leaned from interviews, or more importantly, from the music itself.
Nineteen-seventy-eight was an auspicious year for Ms. Bush. Records being played most often on the British airw2aves during that time were mostly banal and inane. The initial reaction to her debut single, “Wuthering Heights,” was one of incredulousness. How did this young upstart get to challenge those musical stalwarts, anyway? After a couple of listens, “Heights” became firmly entrenched in the minds of the record buying pubic and speedily soared right to the top of the charts. The whirlwind journey of the single, and later The Kick Inside, her album debut, triggered other enticing prospects for the deserving songstress. The start-making machinery was in full swing and Kate went ‘round and ‘round.
“I wanted people to like my music,” she recalls. “It was fantastic that people received it so well. My schedule was so full, and I had so much to think about. I went to Australia, Japan, and Europe. In-between from coming from Japan, and going to Australia, I recorded the second album.”
The success was admittedly sweet, though problems occasionally developed to thwart Kate form her ascension to the top of the heap.
Reflecting on her choice to record a second album hot on the tracks of her initial smash, she stated, “That’s the only time I’d ever been in that situation, and though that’s how I wished it to be, I feel it’s not good to be releasing an album between promoting an album. The success of the first album was so great, that I couldn’t ignore the opportunity of pushing that success.”
Kate’s subsequent releases outlined her continued involvement into new territory. “Lionheart,” “Never For Ever,” and most recently, “The Dreaming,” could be compared more to journeying into uncharted waters rather than following a well-trailed path. You won’t find this lady altering her style to suit the average Joe. A quick spin through one of the discs proves this out. What’s forcefully apparent is that she refuses to be bullied into playing it safe.
Kate’s situation seems to be more the exception than the rule. Many corporate heads tend to champion high chart position and able at the mention of artistic freedom. To parlay some of that artistic freedom into big bucks may be what some record executives dream about but scarcely expect.
No matter. The connection between Kate and her label is real peachy. A carefully crafted bunch of songs are periodically handed over and are eventually released to the waiting public.
Admittedly, Kate has more razzle dazzle success in her native England than in North America. The mass sterilization of today’s radio doesn’t leave much room for esoteric offerings, however good they are.
What propels the serious music listener to plunk down the cash for one of her albums, anyway?
“I wish I could actually pin down the quality that enables me to keep working and keep people enjoying it, so I wouldn’t worry so much,” says the artful Bush. “Whenever I made an album I do everything I can to make sure, within the time allowed, that every song is as good as I possibly can make it.”
There’s been many printed words assembled regarding Kate and her career, but The Dreaming becomes the focal point since it’s the most recent of her releases.
“Many people keep finding new things within The Dreaming,” she offers. “By the third or fourth tie of listening to it, they will hear some of the things that we’ve put there in layers. Some of my favorite experiences are listening to albums. When you start listening to it a few times, you start hearing things that you’ve never heard before.”
It is true that The Dreaming is over two years old. The thinking here is to create a quality product; one that satisfies the artist’s creative guidelines. And if the procedure is a rather lengthy one, that’s just the way it is.
Well, Kate and I have been discussing matters for at least an hour. Her fans would be chagrinned lest I omit a much requested matter: the original release date of a new album has come and gone. We have all been milling about, waiting for something new. When will Kate comply?
“I’m very pleased wit the songs that I’ve got so far,” she volunteers. “I think they’re different than the last album.”
Pressing further on the matter elicits this response: “I always feel wary about talking before anything is completed.”
Whether or not the new album, when released, will be able to grab a coveted position on the charts is anybody’s guess. Kate says it best: “When the time is right for Americans, if it will be, then it will be.”