10 Questions To Skye Edwards of Morcheeba
As the lead singer of the British trip-hop band Morcheeba, Skye Edwards has one of the most recognizable voices on the planet. Hearing her smooth, effortless tone for the first time on tracks like "The Sea" or "Otherwise" is an unforgettable, spellbinding invitation to an aural voyage. After seven years of separation, Paul and Ross Godfrey, the founding siblings of Morcheeba, invited Skye back into the band. Their reunion materialized into the acclaimed Blood Like Lemonde, released in 2010, and continues as they introduce their latest LP, Head Up High, a more eclectic concoction that feels like a true comeback.
OUT: On 'Blood Like Lemonade', you only sang on five tracks. This time, you're present on almost every song. Would you say that 'Head Up High' is your real reunion album?
Skye Edwards: You know, by the time I was asked to rejoin the band, Paul and Ross [Godfrey] had already finished half of Blood Like Lemonade. It was a weird process because all three of us lived in different cities, so we communicated a lot via email and people thought “They’re not even talking, so they must still hate each other.” But the most important thing is that we communicated. We managed to listen to each other, and finished the album. For Head Up High, we started the project together, and there was much more harmony between us. The sound of the album is generally more upbeat, more radio-friendly than what we’ve done in a while.
Why did Morcheeba break up?
After spending so much time together recording, touring, and promoting our records, we just started to hate each other. Paul and Ross were tired of touring. They didn’t like going on TV shows, so I would go on my own on behalf of the band. I was in the limelight, representing something that they had created, and I think that it became difficult for them to see that people were associating Morcheeba with only me. People actually started calling me “Morcheeba." At some point, Paul said “I want a break, I want to stop Morcheeba for a year,” and I found myself wondering what I had done wrong, and what I was going to do with myself.
Did your solo career help you get over the breakup?
In some way, it did. I was happy being the voice of Morcheeba and I didn't feel the need to do my own thing, but when the band broke up, I felt like had to bounce back. I didn’t write lyrics for Morcheeba, so I began writing my own songs. It was satisfying to work with people who listened to me, offered ideas to improve the music. I’ve released three solo albums, and I hope to keep working on my own projects.
What brought Morcheeba back together?
I randomly bumped into Ross on the street in London, and we caught up a little bit. After that, our manager invited me to the studio. I was actually offered to record a song on the album Dive Deep, one that Judie Tzuke ended up singing. At this point, I was terrified to be in the band again, it was like a punch in the stomach to even think about being in the same room as Paul and Ross, because I was convinced that they still hated me. When I saw them again, my first instinct was to run in the other direction. But our manager invited me for lunch, and after a tall beer, he asked if I wanted to rejoin the band. My first instinct was to say “No. Absolutely not,” but my husband convinced me -- after a lot of arguing-- that I should do it, that it would please the fans.
Has your relationship with your bandmates improved?
Yes. We have a great working relationship. When we’re in tour, we’re like family. When I rejoined the band, my only condition was to have my husband play bass for Morcheeba, so they hired him and he’s been there to support me on tour. He’s my best friend. And when we’re off the road, each of us go back to our family lives without interference.
What are you favorite tracks on Head Up High?
When we performed "Make Believer" on stage, we got an incredible response from the audience. It was amazing. But I think my favorite track on the album is “Under The Ice”. It’s quite upbeat, but it's a beautiful breakup song.
Morcheeba’s been around for 18 years now. What is your assessment of the current music industry?
The industry has certainly changed a lot. I think that in America you’re bit more gentle about age, but in the UK the industry is very into youth, unless you are very old and then you’re labelled “legendary”, like the Rolling Stones. When you’re over 40, people stop really paying attention, and suddenly the focus is on your age rather than your music...
Well, you sound and look like you haven’t aged in 15 years...
That’s the beauty of Photoshop!
Are there specific bands that you like?
My son is about to turn 18, and went to the Reading Festival this past summer. We saw this band perform, Alt-J, and I was blown away by them. Lately, I’ve been listening to Lorde a lot. One time, I was driving around with my children when the song “Royals” came on. My 13-year-old said to me “I quite like this song”, and I said “Oh, yes, it’s Lorde isn’t it? I like this song a lot too.” It made me look very cool.
It’s interesting that you have a background in fashion design.
I studied fashion design and industrial design at London College of Fashion. I love making dresses, and I really enjoyed when I could just go up to a mannequin and start sawing something. I wasn’t so much into talking and writing about my inspiration, my creative process... So I kind of put fashion on the side and dived into music. Alexander McQueen has always been a great inspiration to me, and I love Eli Saab’s gowns. When I was going to perform in Rome, actually, I asked if I could wear an Eli Saab gown, but I was told that those were only given to red-carpet “A listers”, so I went back home and made my own Eli Saab-inspired dress. Since then, I've designed some of my stage outfits, and the champagne-colored dress that I’m wearing in the video for “Gimme Your Love” is mine, although the stylist did a wonderful job adding those pieces of fabrics around it. I also make dresses for my daughter’s school events. I don’t have any plans on launching my own label, although collaborating with a fashion designer on a collection would be fantastic.
Are you planning on going back on tour with Morcheeba soon?
Yes! We just wrapped up a few dates performing Head Up High in Los Angeles and San Francisco, and we have a European tour coming up. Hopefully we’ll be able to come back to America after winter, and we’re also planning on touring Australia, New Zealand, and Japan.
'Head Up High' is available now. For more information, go to Morcheeba.co.uk