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Morcheeba

Morcheeba

Instigators in the ‘90s for their unique blend of hip hop, jazz and electronica, UK trip hop trio, Morcheeba are now in their 18th year of existence and are still kicking on, recently dropping their eighth album, Head Up High. RACHEL DAVISON chats to vocalist, Skye Edwards, in lieu of their appearance at West Coast Blues ‘N’ Roots on Sunday, April 13, at Fremantle Park. 

While Skye Edwards and the Godfrey brothers, Ross and Paul, haven’t strayed too far from their original sound, there is an audible dose of maturity and some inspiration from their teenage children by way of some post-dubstep. 

“Paul has two teenage kids who are really into dubstep and he mentioned Skrillex – and it wasn’t like we were gonna go off and start doing dubstep, but we did take that on board,” says Skye Edwards on the phone from her home. “We kind of listened to what our children were listening to and took tiny elements, which you can hear in songs like, To The Grave and Make Believer – a bit of a new production style.”

It’s early morning in Surrey, England – just gone quarter past 10 to be exact – the chatty Edwards hasn’t had breakfast yet and she’s just gotten the kids off to school. She’s sewing – making a winter coat. It’s not very rock’n’roll, but refreshingly homely and the antithesis of the glamour you see from Edwards on stage and in the video clip for the catchy single, Gimme Your Love.

The making of this album and their previous 2010 album, Blood Like Lemonade has fit in around their own individual lives and families. With Paul living in France and Ross in Los Angeles, the process of writing and collaborating has been a mostly online affair and very different from their early days spent smoking weed in the Godfrey’s London apartment.

“Before we started writing anything new we had a few meetings and when we (Ross and Edwards) were on tour and over near where Paul lives (given Paul doesn’t get involved in the live shows) we would talk about tempos and the kind of album we wanted to write,” she explains. “We all agreed we wanted it to be more up tempo – Paul described it as ‘Morcheeba with a pulse’ and so he went away and got together with the drummer and recorded lots of different rhythms and beats and then edited those and sent us copies of 20 or 30 or so.

“I guess we communicated more because it was really important to keep on emailing each other and letting each other know what we were thinking, and then when the time came we would get together and record the bulk of it. In the past – going back 18 years now – Ross and Paul lived together, I would go over to their flat and it was just getting stoned with a guitar and writing that way. But we all have our own lives now outside of the band, so it works well this way.”

After a falling out with the brothers, Edwards departed Morcheeba in 2004 – releasing two solo albums and a third one in 2012. The two Godfrey brothers made The Antidote and Dive Deep with a range of guest vocalists. She talks openly about that difficult time.

“They didn’t beg me, they asked me to come back,” she laughs when I suggest that Morcheeba just wasn’t the same without her. “After they did The Antidote they asked if I would like to do a couple of songs on Dive Deep and I said no, and then they asked again via management if I would like to come back and I said no again. It took a lot of convincing and my husband… we had a lot of arguments over it and I really didn’t want to go back, but I’m glad I did, actually. I really am happy to be back and I’m having a lot of fun on stage with Ross and it’s all pretty cool and I think it shows with Head Up High that the relationship is pretty strong.”

Why didn’t you want to go back? “We didn’t like each other to put it bluntly,” she says. “There was a lot of hurt there still. I didn’t want to go back to that but they were sorry and it’s all pretty cool now, actually.”

It seems that in any relationship you sometimes just need a break…

“Yeah, exactly; it is pretty much like that. It’s like a marriage and I had two husbands and then a messy divorce and we fought over the kids – which is the studio or whatever – and then they got a couple of new wives – who were the new singers – which was a little bit weird and it didn’t work out and now we’ve resolved our differences.

“We’ve not been through counselling, but I dunno, maybe they’ve done their own counselling and we’re back and happily married.”

 

Morcheeba play West Coast Blues ‘N’ Roots on Sunday, April 13, at Fremantle Park. 

Get your tickets here.

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