So Sioux Me!
When rock ‘n’ roll legend Siouxsie Sioux called to chat about her upcoming DJ gig at Jodie Harsh’s Circus, long-time fan Richard Goller was all ears…
Siouxsie Sioux: Hello.
Richard Goller: Hello. Is that Siouxsie?
SS: Speaking. Is that Richard?
RG: It is, Siouxsie. Hello! How are you?
SS: I’m very well, thank you.
RG: Thanks for making the time to chat to us this afternoon. It’s a real pleasure. I’m going to gush, I am a great fan of yours.
SS: Oh right [laughs]. For how long?
RG: Since the 80s.
SS: Too long!
RG: So where are you, Siouxsie? Are you in London?
SS: Yes, I am. I’ve just popped in from the office. I’ve got to get to the vets in time. I’ve had to get my shopping in and I’ve been looking after my sick cat. It’s had six teeth out on Monday. He’s 17 years old. He’s run out of this special food so I’ve got to get him back to the vets to feed him. He’s a plucky little thing. I was worried he’d come out looking like Lamb Chop the Shari Lewis puppet. His face hasn’t caved in luckily.
RG: So he’s recovered?
SS: He’s recovering. I’ve been told that their gums get hard so they can chew biscuits, but most of his molars have gone. He’s called Gummy, and the other one with teeth is called Gnasher.
RG: So how did the DJ-ing gig come about?
SS: I was invited by Gay Pride and thought, “Well, that sounds like a lot of fun.” Independence is always good to celebrate, on many levels, so I’ll be having my own independence day with everyone else.
RG: Have you always had an affinity with gay people?
SS: Yes. For me, with my calling to music, it was the gay scene that saved me in my mid to late teens. It was the only place that stayed open late enough, played music that I liked, and there weren’t loads of fights breaking out. Albeit a few cat fights, but none of this broken bottle testosterone fighting you get in heterosexual clubs.
RG: How do you know Jodie Harsh?
SS: I don’t know Jodie Harsh. I imagine she must have initiated all of this. I’m looking forward to meeting her. I’ve always enjoyed transvestite comedy, people loving clothes and make-up. I’ve always stood for that.
RG: You’re certainly a gay icon in terms of theatricality and always dressing for the occasion. I think a lot of gay men appreciate that.
SS: Having no money never held me back. In the early days I just customised my mum’s clothes.
RG: Often, when one has less, one is more creative.
SS: Absolutely. That’s the same on many levels. You see people and they make you think, “Oh my god, much more money than sense. Or ideas. Or imagination.”
RG: Have you DJ-ed before?
SS: I’ve always enjoyed playing people music that I love, but I’ve just never done it publicly.
RG: Have you played at your own parties before?
SS: Yeah, people who are with me, when there’s a get-together. My theme on 4 July is going to be predominantly 70s. No rules 70s disco.
RG: Can you tell us about any tracks you’ll be playing?
SS: There are some classics in there, but it’ll be a surprise.
RG: You’ve always liked to have that mystery.
SS: I don’t like giving things away. Why give people preconceptions? Come and experience it and have fun. You’ll be pleasantly surprised.
RG: Do you have a varied music collection?
SS: God! A lot of my stuff for this set is on vinyl, so I have to find copies of it that aren’t scratched to pieces. I need to make sure the records will play properly.
RG: Do you have the technical experience?
SS: I don’t know much about all that, but I’m sure I can do it. It’s just pressing a few buttons. I don’t think there’ll be any decks there. The important part is getting a good set together and knowing what I’m playing.
RG: Are you a vinyl girl at heart?
SS: Yes and no. I don’t use a deck. I used to love buying and playing vinyl. Now there’s no such thing as a release date. The idea of playing music through a computer is abhorrent to me. If you like something you want to crank it up. It was the physicality. I hate the dimension and size of CDs, they are so inadequate.
RG: Also the design of the sleeves…
SS: Well, it’s about the artwork, and taking the record out and whether it had a gatefold. It was about looking forward to having it, music was a real possession. Just unwrapping it!
RG: We’re giving away our age here!
SS: I’ve always loved the idea of unwrapping something.
RG: Tell me Siouxsie, what are you listening to at the moment?
SS: Oh, goodness. I’ve been listening to a lot of film soundtracks. Hitchcock soundtracks, so Bernhard Herrmann. I’m talking about films that changed my life for the BBC, I can’t remember the name of the show. I picked Psycho by Hitchcock.
RG: Why that film?
SS: It scared the shit out of me, and was so thrilling at the same time. The music along with the imagery was so potent and powerful. The music goes with the visuals, it makes such a lasting impression. Hitchcock came from a background of stills, so the shots are really amazing. He’s a national treasure for Britain, there should be a statue of him somewhere. I love his humour as well.
RG: Are there any other projects you are working on?
SS: I’m trying to get the last of some press done, and then after this party I’ll go back to France, and yes – I’m writing a new record. I have lots of ideas but I need to go somewhere a bit quiet.
RG: Mantaray [her solo debut album] was very well received…
SS: Yes. And it was great with the band, I just love playing with a band. That’s why I made sure we filmed the last show and made a DVD.
RG: Do you still love playing live?
SS: Yeah, because you have to work at it. I treat every show like it’s my last. You can’t be complacent, you can’t give the same stuff night in night out. It’s great to see the look of fear on the band’s face when I say, “I know – let’s try this” [cackles]. Things shouldn’t be slick and thought out. Lots of people mime, but who knows, and who cares.
RG: In terms of your new album, do you have any ideas in your head that you want to share?
SS: I can’t give things away. But I want to work with the people I worked with on Mantaray. There’s a lot to be explored with that set-up. Playing live brought that album into another dimension. I’m looking forward to realising my ideas and getting focused.
RG: Your fans are looking forward to hearing those ideas. It’s been great chatting to you.
SS: Thank you. Will you be there on the 4th?
RG: Definitely. I’m looking forward to hearing you play.
SS: Thanks Richard, well bye for now.
RG: Bye Siouxsie.
Siouxsie will headline the Circus party at Matter on 4 July, in association with Pride London. The line-up also includes VV Brown, Frankmusik, Kissy Sell Out, Dan Gillespie-Sells and Kris Di Angelis.