What’s it like performing on stage without Paul Godfrey (pictured left with Morcheeba)? Does it feel strange?
No, because it’s been like that for some time. I rejoined in 2010, and Paul didn’t tour with us. Even before that, in 2003, and even earlier than that, Paul didn’t tour. We had Paul Bruce, who was from the Scratch Perverts and he stood in for Paul for a number of years. Paul just wasn’t really happy on the road. He hated sleeping on tour buses and was uncomfortable on flights. He was just never happy and if he wasn’t happy then none of us were happy so he stayed away and focused on the studio. So as far as the live shows, it’s the same as what it has been for the last fifteen years. Ross and myself have a stand-in scratch DJ but I guess the last year-and-a-half we’ve removed the DJ and now we’re triggering some of the sounds from the drums. We don’t really miss it.
You’ve adapted without a DJ.
Yeah, exactly. Occasionally, you get somebody waiting outside for an autograph and they’ll ask, where is Paul? And you say well, Paul hasn’t been on tour with us for the last 15 years so it doesn’t feel weird at all. I think it’s weird for promoters because its Skye and Ross from Morcheeba now. Obviously, the name Morcheeba has huge clout but as long as they have the Morcheeba name in there alongside ours they can still sell tickets. We have a tour booked up until November as Skye and Ross and I think we’re doing more than okay.
This new album is a way in which you can build another dimension to your careers, I suppose?
Yeah, exactly. Some of the songs that we’re playing as part of the set are ‘Light Of Gold,’ our first single. That’s brilliant and it gets people to sing along with the chorus. We also play ‘Hold On,’ ‘How To Fly’ and then depending on the feel and the spirit of the night, we’ll play ‘Clear My Mind,’ which is just an acoustic track with myself and Ross, in the encore. They fit in really brilliantly with all of the Morcheeba songs, so everyone comes away feeling that they’ve heard Morcheeba but I do say “I’m Skye, he is Ross and together we are Skye Ross but then when you go on to Twitter or Instagram and see #Morcheeba and “oh Morcheeba you were great!” So I think we’ll be forever known as Morcheeba, which is not such a bad thing.
How do you look back at what you’ve done in the past? Are you comfortable with it or do you tend to be critical?
I was always critical of (the band’s biggest UK hit) ‘Rome Wasn’t Built in a Day.’ I was so upset with that song because I felt that it was too poppy, too commercial, but then it did wonders as far as developing our career and along with the ‘Fragments Of Freedom’ album took us to another level as far as being a festival act. It put us in the headline slots and people were dancing for the first time rather than coming in sitting down and getting stoned. With ‘Fragments…’ there were more up-tempo songs and it really pushed me vocally because I had to sing louder and more powerfully. And then when you see everybody singing along you realise that they love it and because they love it you love it. It’s just a lot of fun now but during the ‘Fragments…’ album it was all falling apart at that point. There was not a lot of love in the band and that’s why I think it was hard for me to like ‘Rome Wasn’t Built In A Day.’ I didn’t really like the guys that much at that time….
Yes, you left the band in 2003 but what factors persuaded you to rejoin Ross and Paul in 2010? What had changed?
They asked me to come back. At first, I just wasn’t ready and wouldn’t entertain the idea at all. They asked me to sing ‘Enjoy The Ride’ (on 2008’s ‘Dive Deep’ album), which Judy Tzuke sang, and they also had Thomas Dybdahl, who was another collaborator on that record, who was emailing me constantly and it was like there was no way; why would I want to go back to a hostile environment? But we share the same manager and he told me that they would like me to come back. I had my husband (bassist Steve Gordon) on my case constantly who was saying: “I think you should go back for the legacy of Morcheeba and for the fans. For your own career, you should go back. At least meet them for a coffee…” It was relentless. (Laughs). We had had a lot of arguments – there was a lot of furniture thrown – and I just got so upset and couldn’t understand why they wanted me back but eventually I met them. By that time seven years had passed since I’d left and we had all grown up and become a little more humble, I guess. They asked me to come back and I agreed to it and ‘Blood Like Lemonade’ was the record that we worked on. A lot of the songs were already composed but I came back and wrote the melodies to those and Paul wrote the lyrics again. It was fine. Ross was a much happier person and we had a chance to reconnect and Paul stayed away from touring and it worked out brilliantly. Actually, it was a lot of fun and it has been a lot of fun since then on tour.
In between, you established yourself as a solo artist, making four albums. Is your solo career just on the backburner temporarily and if so what can we expect to hear from you in the future?
There was ‘Mind How You Go’ (2006) and then ‘Keeping Secrets’ (2009) was around the time where I rejoined Morcheeba so I did a tour and then whilst I was on tour I was writing melodies for ‘Blood Like Lemonade.’ We released that album and then there was a break in between when I put out (her third solo album) ‘Back For Now’ (2012). After ‘Head Up High,’ ‘In A Low Light’ (2015) came out (pictured left). So it’s just something that I’d like to continue to do. I don’t really make a big song and dance about it. I met up with this guy, Robert Logan, an amazing producer and really creative guy and I’d really love to work with him again. I really enjoyed working with him on ‘In A Low Light,’ so that’s a possibility. It’s all depending on timings really. Next year we just want to go head-on in promoting the ‘Skye Ross’ album and in the down time, if I come up with an idea for a song I’ll send it over to Robert and work on it. But there’s nothing quite like being in the studio, it’s just magical really. Ross really likes Robert also so he may well work on the next Skye Ross record.
Going right back to the beginning, when did you begin singing?
From a young age really. I didn’t really know I’d make a career in singing but I really enjoyed singing along to the Hoover. We had one of those round ones that kind of hovered so I remember just humming along to the Hoover, harmonising with it (Laughs). I led a very sheltered life, I think. My parents listened a lot to country music. They had a record player and my mum had this record called ‘Friends’ and I remember it had songs like ‘Ruby, Don’t Take Your Love To Town,’ and ‘I Never Promised You A Rose Garden,’ all those kind of country classics. Every Sunday she listened to that. She also loved the songs from the musical ‘Cats’ and they loved a lot of black-and-white movies with Deanna Durbin and Doris Day in. They were a lot older. They were in their late forties when they fostered me. I was fostered at the age of six weeks old so it was like being brought up by your grandparents. So I’m very good at knitting (laughs). My mum taught me how to knit and sew…
You mentioned earlier that you recorded your vocals in the ‘sewing room’ and it crossed my mind that maybe sewing was a secret hobby of yours.
You know how we were talking earlier about being a teenager and not really knowing what to do and what we wanted to do? Well, my mum said to me, “well, you can sew. Why don’t you go and do some sewing in college?” So I joined Redbridge Technical College and did a foundation course and then I managed to get into the London College of Fashion and did some pattern cutting and learned how to sew. So, all of the stage clothes I wear, they’re all of mine, which I designed and made. So that’s good practice. I was too shy really to go out there and be a fashion designer or work for a fashion designer. I just wanted to make clothes. I wasn’t very good at writing about clothes; you know you had to write pages and pages like who your favourite designer was and why you came up with these designs, but just give me a manikin and some fabric and I’ll make you something. I kind of failed at it in college but it’s kind of worked out now. I’ve made my daughter’s prom dress, which she’s actually going to get married in when she’s older.
What’s in the pipeline after this album? You mentioned touring but are there any other projects on the horizon?
We’re basically going to be touring up until November. We’re off on Thursday to the Czech Republic and then we’ve got two weeks off. I’m suffering from sciatica at the moment. We did six flights in six days and getting out to Tbilisi in Georgia (where Skye Ross played a festival recently) which was a long, long journey with my 15 month old baby. I think the baby carrier caused it, but anyway, after that we’ve got an American tour and then a European tour and some UK dates. And next year, I imagine that we’ll try and get out to Australia and South America and summer festivals again. And we’ll see what comes from there really. There will certainly be another album. Ross and I will continue to work on music and he also has a side project, a band called Little Mountain with this guy called Ste Forshaw, who he met on the South Bank one time. He loved the sound of his voice and they started working together. So yeah, there will be more music for sure, definitely.
SKYE ROSS’S ALBUM ‘SKYE ROSS’ IS REELASED ON SEPTEMBER 2ND VIA FLY AGARIC/COOKING VINYL
SKYE ROSS TOUR DATES:
30th Oct: Birmingham Elgar Concert Hall
31st Oct: Bristol The Lantern
1st Nov: Brighton The Old Market
2nd Nov: London Electric Brixton
4th Nov: Manchester Band on the Wall