Imagine being able to enlist the talents of your childhood rap idol, or hearing a song on TV and deciding you want the singer to feature on your album. These days, Morcheeba are in the enviable position where hand-picking their most desired collaborators is fairly uncomplicated business.
In support of their latest release, 2013’s Head Up High, Morcheeba will be hitting Australian shores for a tour, which includes a set at Byron Bay Bluesfest. Singer Skye Edwards spoke from a rainy Surrey, England about working solo and how, when it comes to writing, pleasing everyone is no longer a top priority for the band.
“Paul [Godfrey, producer and founding member] tends to read a lot of reviews, good and bad, and in the past he had read that lots of people were saying, ‘Oh, I don’t like the rapping part.’ So rapping became less and less on the Morcheeba albums,” Edwards said, just days after their latest European tour wrapped up.
For Head Up High, the trio decided it was time to concentrate more on what pleases them. “It felt right to get rapping back on there, and [Paul] always tends to track down his childhood rap heroes. So he went for Chali 2na and researched the kind of tempos he likes to rap to, and felt Face of Danger would be perfect for him.
“Then he was watching an episode of Breaking Bad and heard a song that Anna Tijoux was singing on. He didn’t know who she was, but got management to get in contact with her and sent the songs to her.”
It’s been about four years since Edwards rejoined Morcheeba, having parted ways with brothers Paul and Ross Godfrey and releasing solo material in her time away. “My role in the band is to write the melody and be the front person. It was never like, ‘Oh, I’m leaving because I want to write more and I want to do more.’ It was more of a personality clash when we broke up in 2003.”
Through working on her solo material, Edwards faced the harsh reality of the digital music era when she managed to track at least 120,000 illegal downloads of her solo album Back to Now. “There’s no guilt attached to it,” she says of online piracy. “It’s like walking past an apple tree in a field and you just pick the apple because it’s there. You don’t think that this tree might belong to somebody, this apple might belong to somebody.”
With that in mind, Edwards feels live shows are becoming more important, and she’s excited for the upcoming Bluesfest. “That’s another fun part of playing at a music festival: if you get there a day early you can go down and get to stand on the side of the stage and watch how the bands play. Sometimes you might get them watching us.
“It’s always really cool to have other musicians watch you play. You feel like you’ve gotta impress them a little bit.”
Wednesday, 16th April 2014
The Corner, Melbourne
Tix: Via Bluesfest Touring
Thursday, 17th April 2014
The Metro, Sydney
Tix: Via Bluesfest Touring