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Faithless in SA: 10 minutes with Sister Bliss

2011-02-02 15:46
We're so excited to have Faithless back in SA in February. What excites you most about South Africa?
It's just such a beautiful country, so lush and of course the people. It's just an incredible thing to feel that your music has travelled as far as Africa, you know, when you're an English electronic dance band.

Any favourite local foods?
I just think the seafood's amazing! And the wine is world class. That's something I'm hoping we'll be having a little bit of, but after the show, not before!

Take us through the group dynamics of Faithless, who does what.  
Well I write all the music, and Rollo and I argue about it. And Maxi writes everything that's a lyric for his song. And then Rollo and I produce it in the studio. Rollo and I will also co-write with other singers and songwriters that we collaborate with, because on each album we often work with other artists that complement, or contrast what Maxi is doing.

Any plans to work with Dido soon again?
Well she's on this album. She's working on her own album at the moment. She's really busy in the studio and I'm busy touring but you know, she's family. (Dido is Rollo Armstrong's sister). She's been on every album we've ever made. It's always a pleasure to work with her. She's a great melody writer and she's got a very unique and listenable voice. And I think we make really lovely music for her.

What is your favourite Faithless track and why?
Ooh, that's a tough one. I'm very, very proud of pretty much everything we've ever made. But I think Mass Destruction is one of the records I'm most proud of because it managed to be political and funky but also a statement of intent. It wasn't something people expected, it wasn't an out-and-out club hit. It was something that tried to break the tradition. It wasn't like "Here's another God is A DJ". Maxi managed to sum up what's wrong with the world in a couple of very succinct and eloquently phrased verses.

Do you think female electronic musicians have to work harder for recognition than their male counterparts?

I think in some senses they probably do, but the other side of it is that there are actually much less of us around. So in some ways it's advantageous because every man and his dog wants to be a DJ or producer, so to stand out in a crowd in a kind of inverse sexist way is maybe advantageous. But it's hard, it's very boy-sy, particularly at the top. And that's not to say I've had any bad experiences particularly, but I know how it was when I was first DJing, people thought it was a bit of a novelty instead of thinking, 'No, she really knows her music and she really knows her stuff'. But it's been 20 years now so hopefully I don't have to prove myself as much. But I'm about expressing myself; I wasn't ever doing this to prove a point.

Why house music?

It was a scene I fell in love with. I was able, luckily enough, to express myself within the genre.  I really got it (house music) because I was there when it was born. When house music appeared in 1988 that was just when I was starting to go out clubbing; I couldn't get enough of it. There isn't anything you can tell me about house music, I pretty much know... I know my scene.

There's a very nerdy aspect to electronic music. It's definitely full of people who are nerds. One of the most popular DJs at the moment is Deadmau5 and he is a total nerd! But he uses his nerdishness to create something unique.

Speaking of nerdy, Faithless doesn't strike us as that at all. What is it that makes Faithless hits so popular and radio-friendly?
Well we don't have that many radio hits, we get lucky occasionally, but I have to say we're not the easiest radio band. We don't make three and a half minute pop hits. The mainstay of our support comes from the club world.

One last corny question: Do you or have you ever suffered from insomnia?
I have! It isn't a corny question at all. In fact it's the reason we even made Insomnia. I walked into the studio and went "Oh God I can't get any sleep! And we're going to do this song and it's going to be called Insomnia." And I just sat down and whacked out the riffs and did a bass line and then we went shopping. We had no idea that it was going to become such a monster record.

Channel24 chatted to the fierce, female element of Faithless about insomnia, nerdy DJs and being a woman in a male-dominated arena.
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