Last month, I had the chance to do the below interview with Ana Da Silva of The Raincoats.This British post-punk band is in the music scene since 1977 and we wanted to celebrate the 31st Anniversary of their influential first album by this interview. Enjoy!
PUNK GLOBE : Ana, thank you very much once again for accepting this interview. On March 2009 The Raincoats-Fairytales-A Work in Progress, directed by Gina and produced by The Raincoats was screened at the BFI in London and The Raincoats performed at Donaufestival with Girl Monster Orchestra. Recently on May 20th 2010 The Raincoats performed "The Raincoats" for Don’t Look Back in London and again during May All Tomorrow’s Parties in Minehead,UK. What are the plans for the rest of 2010?
ANA DA SILVA : Yes, we've done the shows you mention here. The 1st one was the ATP curated by Matt Groening (the Simpsons). The 2nd one, also an ATP festival, was curated by Pavement. The 3rd one was the Don’t Look Back event at the Scala. All these were very special events for us for different reasons. We are also going to Japan to do 4 concerts and feel very happy about it. I have never been there and have always been very curious about a country whose culture I have always been interested in.
PUNK GLOBE : Tell us a bit about the early days of The Raincoats please.What made you decide to be in a band and make music?? Were there any other alternative names thought of naming the band?
ANA DA SILVA : I always loved music. Gina and I were going to lots of gigs, I could play a little and then we just had the crazy idea of maybe getting 4 women together and see what would happen. So we had one rehearsal but it didn't seem to work in that formation. We didn't give up though! The people we liked just sounded so interesting and everyone seemed to be forming bands, so it didn't seem strange that we wanted to do this as well. No one had records out, so it didn't seem like a big deal to do this. There was no thought of career, recording, contracts or long term plans. It was purely for the sake of just doing it.We got this name in that first rehearsal and kept it. I don't remember any other names that might have been mentioned.
PUNK GLOBE : After the release of the album "Moving" in 1984, the members began working on solo projects and you formed Roseland with Charles Hayward and worked with choreographer Gaby Agis dance projects. Can you give us some information about Roseland and these projects/collobrations in that period of time, starting from 1984 to 1996’s "Looking In The Shadows" album?
ANA DA SILVA : I really enjoyed working with Charles Hayward (drums), Sarah Homer (bass clarinet and double bass) and Helen Ottaway (keyboards). We did a few gigs together. Some of the songs I wrote and that I played with them ended up on Looking in the Shadows (The Raincoats) and on my solo album The Lighthouse. Also I wrote some music for three dance pieces by Gaby Agis, which I found very interesting and rewarding, as it was the first time I did something like this. I really loved it. Her creations were very inspiring, warm, humane and strong with an essentially female feel to it. The dancers were all women and this made the pieces very strong in that female way. One of them was for a TV series called 'Dance on 4' and the others for theater. She also sometimes had a visual artist to collaborate.I actually miss doing something like that.
PUNK GLOBE : You also released a solo album called "The Lighthouse" in 2005, which Stuart Moxham of the Young Marble Giants joined on one of the tracks on the album.Will it be a one time solo project or collobration? Can we expect new solo albums and other collobrations from Ana da Silva in the near future?
ANA DA SILVA : I'm working on another album. So far no one else has done anything on it, but it would be good to have someone else bring their soul into it.
PUNK GLOBE : You are in the music scene for more than 30 years now and you are a founding member of one of the most inspirational, legendary and special bands in the music world. If you were to create your all time dream band, who would you choose to be the members?
ANA DA SILVA : Oh dear….I'm so happy with the people that I play with, that it's difficult to think of another combination. Really. Sometimes it's difficult, but I love Gina's songs, the way she plays. Anne Wood and Jean-Marc Butty play amazing music, Shirley O'Loughlin has really good ideas about where and how we do things and collaborates in an artistic way. I think we all complement each other really well. Am I being boring?
PUNK GLOBE : Are there any Raincoats songs that hasn’t seen the light of the day yet? If so, are there any plans to re-record or release them (alternate versions,b-sides, unreleased sessions) someday?
ANA DA SILVA : I always think that when people decide to put certain things on a record, it means that those things are the best.We've got lots of live cassettes but we don't feel like listening to them. Maybe one day...
PUNK GLOBE : Ana, I’m sure you’re proud of all the songs you’ve written and enjoyed all of your albums, but which song is the most special for you or the one that you will never get tired singing of??
ANA DA SILVA : I always like to do 'Shouting Out Loud'!
PUNK GLOBE : Nowadays terrorism is a bigger threat and this rancid-money centered system in the world continues to create bigger problems everyday. As a member of one of the legendary bands, what are your opinions? When we think about today,doesn’t the world need the existence of real rock bands more than ever? For telling the youth what’s going on, giving them the spirit to not only getting angry but to question everything (which made punk-rock as important as any other movements.) What do you think?
ANA DA SILVA : It is very important to think about things and challenge them and express your concerns. It is a difficult battle to win, but it's necessary to boycott those powers that have money as the main reason for their actions. So, the ones that really care, have to make a lot of noise. Preferably electrified and amplified. And with the windows open! Rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr
PUNK GLOBE : There’s this story that ,in 1992 Kurt Cobain went into the Rough Trade Shop in Talbot Road, London in search of a new copy of The Raincoats and Jude Crighton sent him round the corner to see you at her cousin's antique shop. Cobain wrote about this meeting in the liner notes of Nirvana’s Incesticide album and in 1993 Rough Trade + DGC Records released the three albums with liner notes by Cobain and Kim Gordon. Can you please share your memories about this meeting, how was it and which Nirvana songs was your favourite?
ANA DA SILVA : I didn't know who Kurt and Courtney were at that time, but soon I found out and this event opened for me a new musical world I didn't know existed. It prompted our re-releases and we ended up doing 'Looking in the Shadows'. I wish in a way we had done the tour we were supposed to do with Nirvana but unfortunately that didn't happen…One day I was walking by a record shop and they were playing the unplugged version of 'All Apologies'. I cried…
PUNK GLOBE : Ana , what were you listening to when you were a teen and which bands are you listening to nowadays? Are there any unknown bands that you like and recommend us the check out?
ANA DA SILVA : I must admit I find it difficult to get as excited by a band the same way I did when I was younger. It was all new to me. Having said that, I still get a lot of enjoyment in exploring music I don't know. We played with a band in Portland that we really liked: Explode into Colors. I saw Christy and Emily live and thought that was very good. I also like Colleen, Phew (a Japanese woman who we are playing with when we go to Japan),Gudrun Gut,Chicks On Speed,Cornershop,P.J. Harvey,No Bra,sometimes just particular songs by someone.
PUNK GLOBE : Since 1996, The Raincoats have played some special events and recently recorded a cover version of "Monk Chant" for a compilation album of The Monks in 2006. Are there any plans of releasing a new Raincoats album soon and what other surprises can we expect from the legendary Raincoats world in the near future?
ANA DA SILVA : We are not planning on recording new things.We re-released our 1st album on our own label and because we wanted it to be really special,we remastered it,which I think it made it sound much better. More time and care was spent on it to make it really good. We also redid the CD artwork and also spent more time and care on it.We've done the same for Odyshape and Moving but,at the moment they are just being released in Japan.Eventually we're doing them here too.I want to finish my solo album and I need to put in quite a bit of time until I'm happy with it.
PUNK GLOBE : Last question….When you were a kid growing up, who did you imitate when you stood in front of the mirror??
ANA DA SILVA : I don't remember doing that.Maybe it is because there was no television where I grew up.I only started to watch TV when I went to university. Unconceivable these days, right?
PUNK GLOBE : Any last words for Punk Globe Readers?
ANA DA SILVA : Enjoy life if you can. Music is a good remedy sometimes…