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Róisín Murphy chats about her new venture as a podcast host

“I definitely look like someone who never stops swearing cause they put it in the headline, so me mother is calling me going ‘For feck’s sake! What are you doing?’”

IT’S BEEN A busy year for Irish-singer songwriter Róisín Murphy.  

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Tonight #Łódź image @pniewskasylwia

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Throughout 2018, the Wicklow-born woman released eight tracks over a series of four 12″s with house producer Maurice Fulton. ‘All My Dreams’, one of the A side tracks, is a particular joy, with Murphy alternating between breathlessly sighing out and seductively bellowing.

Desire, both anticipating and actualising it, has never sounded so pleasurably painful.

‘All my dreams come true’, is sung on repeat at the end of the track, and for Murphy it was a dream come true to work with cult producer Fulton, saying working with him was:

…the one I wish had, [he was] who I really wanted to work with for 15 years.’

Source: Róisín Murphy/YouTube

The captivating video for ‘All My Dreams’ was directed by Murphy: In fact, the immensely talented artist has self-directed all of her own music videos since 2015. Alongside the eight tracks with Fulton, Murphy has also collaborated with DJ Koze, the German DJ and music producer, singing on two songs for his new album: ‘Illumination’ and ‘Scratch That’.

Source: Pampa Records Official/YouTube

Murphy wrote the lyrics to accompany both tracks, but the last verse was taken out by DJ Koze and instead replaced with an off-the-cuff recording of Murphy in the studio assertively stating ‘I need a bit of light here’. Murphy’s speaking voice, for those not familiar, is as exquisite as her singing one. It’s the human equivalent of an expensive whiskey: smooth and silky but with a brash kick.

For those wanting to hear more of Murphy’s voice, you’re in luck.

At the end of the summer she teamed up with Heineken® Live Your Music to create Sync Sessions: a podcast that is a music nerd’s dream come true. 

The podcast has Murphy interview artists and dig deeply into their backgrounds, inspirations and psyches. Of the six Sync Sessions, four have been released so far. First up was Groove Armada (or one half of it with Tom Findlay), followed by Swedish electronic band Little Dragon, two members of British art rock band Django Django, and then finally British producer and DJ Daniel Avery.

The chats come easy, with Murphy saying

Some musicians are quite nervous talking to journalists but seem at ease chatting to me. It might have been easier for them to open up because they were talking to another artist.

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@theblueprint.ru @marni @fakoshima

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Murphy is excellent at keeping the dialogue flowing. She draws on her own experience and artistic vision to draw out intimate stories from her guests, but is modest about her own skills as a presenter:

The thing I’m good at is the talking, but the thing I could do with learning more about and being more fluid is when I have to get information across and not sounding like I’m reading something. TV Presenters are fascinating, I often watch them when I’m on a show. – how they do it all at one time. Seeming so calm, reading and imparting information but in a relaxed way. 

But her self-awareness makes the podcast better.

When she welcomes Little Dragon she reads the line out quite stiffly but immediately addresses her enunciation saying, ‘No that sounds really fake’, which breaks the tension and causes her guests and producers to laugh before she re-introduces them with an infectious good-humour.

They were the greatest people. Brilliant. Really young. Hungry. Very together and they presented me with great research.

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#roisinmurphylive photo @mj_hewitt

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When asked what are some of worst interview questions she’s been asked, she responds unhesitatingly:

Misleading questions. When one’s been around for a long time, you know when they’re coming. [The questions are] just to get you in trouble: “What have you in common with other artists?”. Questions about ambition. Misleading questions that invariably if you answer them you’ll be in trouble. With some questions, you know they’re not listening. They’re waiting for the quotes that’s going to be the headline.

She laughs heartily then as she says: 

I definitely look like someone who never stops swearing cause they put it in the headline, so me mother is calling me going ‘For feck’s sake! What are you doing?’ 

This is the first time Murphy’s sworn during our phone-call and I make a mental note not to put this in the headline. 

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#behindthescenes #overpowered #albumart #photoshoot

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Murphy is as much a visual artist as she is a singer. During her long career, Murphy’s style has changed constantly, reflecting each musical stage of her life, but she says at her essence she is absolutely the same.

Same core…the rest is just window dressing. No big changes fundamentally. Whether I’m wearing a rave queen – or whatever I’m doing – it’s just tools to tell specific stories.

Murphy’s mother was an antiques dealer, so their home was full of unusual collectables and extravagant rarities like ’elephant-feet umbrella stands and 1950s hair-dryers that you sat under and dentist chairs’. Growing up amongst such eccentric oddities seems to have worked as a training ground that has enabled Murphy to easily draw inspiration in her everyday life:

with the styling and the visual ideas, somehow it’s just there. I never look too far…It’s like falling in love with someone. I look close by me for inspiration. What’s the natural thing I can do, rather than some overarching plan. 

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Brought up in the middle of a scheme I #like you #sheffield

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Murphy expands on the visual inspirations behind her last two albums, Hairless Toys (2015) and Take Her Up to Monto (2016).

In specific terms, when I did Hairless Toys, I didn’t want to do fashion, which I’d done on Overpowered [in 2007] so I made a visual that was what I was at that time. I was coming out of another time – I’d been in suburbia, you could say, with my children, and I kinda created this character that could have been coming out at any time between the 1970s and 1990s and she was full of mystery but was grounded in a housewife identity…nothing fashionable about it. 

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#hitec #silvershadows #hairless

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And then, the next after [Hairless Toys] was ‘Take Her Up to Monto’ and I was a member of the Brutalist Appreciation Society. So I’d take pictures, beatuiful pictures in the morning light, and I noticed the guys in the construction outfits. I have people from my family who built roads and put roads down. [So it was] another archetype that was mine and then [I'd] turned it into a thing.  And then this year it’s been about club culture and its naturally cause that’s what the music is about. 

fbb8cb86 Source: Murphy

You can listen to Sync Session on all of the usual outlets: here’s a link for SpotifyApple Podcasts or Podbay.fm. There’s also an accompanying Spotify playlist of the music that’s most influenced the guests on the podcast, enabling the podcast to feel even more intimate. Murphy says she particularly liked Daniel Avery’s playlist, calling it ‘unexpected’. 

sync session Source: Spotify

So what are you waiting for? Go forth and listen. 

Next summer, Murphy will be playing at Primavera Sound in Barcelona. The Catalan music festival takes place between Thursday 30th May and Saturday 1 June, with Murphy’s performance on the last night sure to be unmissable. 

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