Polly Scattergood

A quick chat with Polly Scattergood about being half of onDeadWaves with Maps’ James Chapman

polly scattergood, london 1/2013 photo: frank bauer

The seeds for onDeadWaves were sown at Mute’s Short Circuit Festival in 2011, when you and James Chapman paired up to perform each other’s songs…

“There are loads of artists on Mute who I find really inspiring but, as with any collaboration, you don’t know what works until you try it. That was the exciting thing about making the onDeadWaves album. We were just friends making something in the moment and we didn’t think about it any more than that.”

James’ studio is in the middle of nowhere, right? You wouldn’t think he was so hermity… or would you?

“Kind of, but not in a bad way. When you make music and you love what you do, it becomes your life and you sort of make your own world and you get your own routine. It’s constant, your mind never turns off, so when you are in the middle of making a record it’s like you go into this bubble. If you are lucky enough to have a studio in your home like James does, then everything outside of that is on the periphery. There was no need to leave the house other than when a guitar string broke!”

Being in the country must have been nice… how come ‘onDeadWaves’ sounds so spooked?

“We have both been on our various journeys in the last few years and we made this album as a kind of escape. The countryside was a good place to reflect and take some time out. It’s calm, peaceful and expansive, which in turn felt freeing. All those elements rolled together made the sound. The environment was just one part of it.”

Did things ever get a bit like ‘The Shining’? Who was more likely to turn “Here’s Johnny”? 

“This is one of my favourite questions I’ve ever been asked! I can confirm that no axes were used in the making of this record.”

We love how two electronic musicians have made rather an acoustic album. Did that surprise you too?

“Thanks. It surprised us how quickly the sound came together. It was really easy and effortless from the start. We both have very eclectic tastes in music and love experimenting with sound, so the fact this record ended up being less electronic wasn’t a big surprise. It is still quite electronic, but in a subtler, more of a soundscapey type way.”

Our reviewer describes it as “‘Twin Peaks’ outer space C&W”. Does that sound like a fair summary?

“Yeah, we both love ‘Twin Peaks’, so thank you! We are currently in rehearsals and will be playing live soon, so we’ll hopefully be channelling the ‘Twin Peaks’ vibes on stage as well.”

‘onDeadWaves’ is out on Mute

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