Interview: Pauline Murray | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Following the original dissolution of Penetration at the end of 1979, Pauline Murray and bassist Robert Blamire wrote an album’s worth of new songs that marked a radical departure from their past. They recorded them with Manchester based Joy Division producer Martin Hannett and keyboard player Steve Hopkins as Pauline Murray And The Invisible Girls. They released a single entitled ‘Dream Sequence’ in August 1980, followed a month later by an eponymously titled album, which melded post-punk and the nascent electronic pop era to lay down the foundations for what would become known as dream pop.

Songs from their album will be performed live at Cluny 2 in Newcastle on 25th July for the first time since 1981. We caught up with Pauline Murray to find out more.

What made you want to change direction musically after the dissolution of Penetration at the end of 1979?
I felt that musically Penetration were starting to veer towards heavy metal rock and the guitar led format was becoming tiresome and limiting. Writing and working with keyboards brought different results which was more inspiring at the time.

Penetration bassist Robert Blamire co- wrote Pauline Murray and the Invisible Girls with you and you both set up and run the well known Polestar Studios. What is the secret to a productive and long lasting creative partnership?
We are both hard-working and have different skill sets that complement each other. We are committed both personally and creatively, trust and respect each other and acknowledge that we are individuals within the partnership.

What was it like working with Joy Division producer and studio pioneer Martin Hannett?
Martin was  a law unto himself, more into the technology and studio techniques to create soundscapes than musical arrangements. We had all the songs demoed and did the backing tracks with drums bass and keyboards. At times I found it difficult to trust the process but the end result was a unique collaboration. Rob learned a lot from Martin as a producer.

This is the first time songs from the Pauline Murray and the Invisible Girls have been performed since 1981. Why have you chosen to revisit the material?
We have performed some of the songs at various times but not the whole album since it was recorded. I have been recording a new solo album and Steve Hopkins from the Invisible Girls has contributed most of the keyboards. Rebellion Festival has asked us many times to do an Invisible Girls set but it’s only at this point in time where key members are together and in a position to do this. So now is a good time.

What can people expect from your show at  Cluny 2 on 25th July?
We have put the date in at short notice so we can perform the set prior to Rebellion Festival on 4th August. I will be doing a short acoustic set and then performing the album in its entirety plus a few songs from the new album.

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