AN INTERVIEW WITH
GAYNA ROSE MADDER
Judging by the number
of gorgeous songs yet to reach vinyl, it's not hard to fall instantly
in love with
a handful of demos. Kevin Pickstock, the innocent love--sick victim,
asks the former Shiny Two Shiny singer/songwriter a thing or two about
the things that matter...
Why did you change
your name from Flo Sullivan?
Mainly for numerological reasons - "Sullivan" in particular
added up to a really bad number, and "Flo" had unsuitable
connotations - it would have been great if I was a nurse or social worker.
Without going into too many details, I was inviting the kind of luck
and events I could have expected to with the name I had.
Have you ever felt
like giving in?
"Yes, top myself. But not until I'd done some serious damage to
the people I see as being responsible for the current dreadful state
of the music business."
signed to the 'Ugly Man' label. Do you think you'll follow in Black's
footsteps, in attracting the majors as a result of an indie release?
That wasn't particularly the idea. It had been so long since I had "Higher"
out that I got to the stage where I had to put something out or die.
I also wanted to do an indie release, to put out something closer to
my heart, and I feel lucky to have Ugly Man's support - they're a great
label. I'm just very interested at the moment to see what the reaction
to "Are You In Pain?" is like.
What inspires your-
songwriting? Your lyrics are very moving.
Personal experiences! I've tried politically vehement & globally
relevant things but found that they seem contrived - I came to the conclusion
that anything you feel strongly about, and which other people can identify
with, is political in a sense - particularly as my. songs are written
from the standpoint of someone female in an obviously male-dominated
Who are your personal
heroes and heroines?
To follow on rather smoothly from the previous point, I don't see many
women who take a truly independent role in music. I admire Laurie Anderson
for that (and other) reasons. and aspire to anyone who's had a long(-ish)
musical career because they've been genuinely innovative (of which there
Your demos have
been really impressive, often a simple portastudio recording, with an
intimate, soothing voice. Would you agree that it's sometimes difficult
to recapture this "closeness" when you're in a recording studio?
A difficult one, this. I often feel quite happy with the really rough
original version of a new song - and sometimes it has a quality you
can never obtain again - then when you get into the studio it's really
tempting to use all the gadgets and do a mega-production (Luckily, perhaps,
finance never allows, with me!). I actually like sparse but large &
spacious arrangements so I enjoy the flexibility of working in a proper
studio to get this. But to be tautologous, a good song is a good song
and any version should stand up. When we supported It's Immaterial recently
at a large Liverpool. venue called Pickwick's, the backing tape broke
down and we had to do the most important part of the set without it.
But everyone (after reeling in amazement at the fact we carried on)
came up afterwards and said it was actually better when the tape went
What would account
for the fact that there is still a consistently good music scene in
There's nothing else to do here! With 90% unemployment in some areas,
and such a strong tradition of musical success, for a lot of people
it's the only hope of "getting out". I also think desperation
often lends a
cutting edge to what one does: and the competition's fierce enough here
already for the quality to have to be fairly high. (Mind you, for every
good act there still must be another 20 dogging up the circuits!)
What's on the cards
for the rest of the year?
After the last live experience where the disaster was not remotely of
my making I'm seriously questioning the validity of playing live at
all. It's bloody hard, uphill work rehearsing a band (for everyone concerned),
very expensive, and for such a transient result! Hopefully the record
will get some airplay (thanks Janice!), some people will buy it and
I'll be able to make another one soon! (I've certainly got enough songs
ready). And finally I'll be doing a couple of projects with other people.