INTERVIEW: Róisín Murphy | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Eccentric, extravagant, iconic. All words that have been used to describe Róisín Murphy since she began her music career in the early nineties as part of trip-hop duo Moloko. Having gained considerable renown for her solo projects, including her celebrated debut Ruby Blue and the recently re-released 2007 album Overpowered, she’s also collaborated with a host of big names from David Byrne and Fat Boy Slim, to Tony Christie and David Morales.

More recently, The Vinyl Factory released a series of four 12” records on which she worked alongside house producer Maurice Fulton, who has brought her sound back full circle to the danceable art pop she’s helped pioneer, from the synth-heavy, funky piano of The Rumble to the 80s disco of World’s Crazy. “Often I go for producers that are very strong in their ways of working,” she says about the collaboration, “they have a very specific way of working and when you turn up to the studio that can really change the process.”

Róisín is equally as comfortable as ‘the boss’, as she puts it, as she is working collaboratively, but she’s had to be choosy about what she lends her name to. “I did one track for a dance music producer one time, they got the video made and it was like some soft focused porn thing in a hotel room; it was like some sort of Travelodge porn, it was awful!” Although, the upsides of collaboration provide her with an opportunity to broaden her own musical ideas. “I end up working with people I really really admire, and so I have to go on a journey with them.”

People think I go out of my way to be a weirdo, but that comes out of me naturally

An avant-garde performer and musician, Róisín’s music has always made its mark, whether she’s working alongside super producers or on her own; her expressive live shows are pieces of artwork in themselves, with multiple costume changes and an inimitable style. “I’ve never been one for very very serious, you know – I get quite easily turned off by pretentiousness. People think I go out of my way to be a weirdo, but that comes out of me naturally.” She laughs. “It goes back to that thing where I’m flamboyant and over the top with ideas, but at the end of the day, I like to keep it grounded, somehow, in my own mind even if other people don’t realise it.”

Alongside making dance floor hits, Róisín buries herself in other projects, such as shooting her own music videos, recently directing one for rock bad boys Fat White Family, and running a podcast series named Sync Sessions which have featured conversations with the likes of Groove Armada and Metronomy. This restlessness is a facet of her personality that she’s happy to embrace. “I like taking on a lot more, I like directing my own videos so all that is a job in itself. I do my own styling, I’m my own creative director; it’s a lot at once but it’s really enjoyable and what I love doing. I just keep my hand in everything nowadays.”

Róisín’s forthcoming gig at The Boiler Shop on Sunday 19th May will provide a perfect showcase of her unique talent – and, she assures me, a costume change or two. “I’m a performer, I’m very elaborate but I’m still very down to earth – very expressive, you know, but also, I enjoy a good laugh, and a pint – especially in Newcastle!”



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