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Mojave 3 - Interview Part 3

  by Anthony Strutt

published: 24 / 9 / 2004

Mojave 3 - Interview Part 3


In the third and final part of our interview with Slowdive and Mojave 3 guitarist Rachel Goswell, she talkes to Anthony Strutt about her debut solo album, 'Waves are Universal'

PB: I think we have covered everything else, so let's go on to talk about the new records. To be honest, I didn’t know what to expect. I thought it might have been a bit sadder because the only band that I know you are really into is the Red House Painters. RG : (Laughs). PB : I thought if you liked the Red House Painters that it might be slow and moody. Are there any other people you really like? RG: Yeah, I really like Nick Cave. I love Nick Cave.I have loved him since I was 15 and still love him. I actually really like Tracy Chapman as well. PB: When I reviewed the album and EP I said one of the tracks sounded like Tracy Chapman. RG: Yeah, I consciously didn’t listen to any music for the total duration of the recording apart from the Tracy Chapman album. I think Tracy Chapman is great. Actually Dave (Naughton-producer of 'Waves are Universal' and 'The Sleep Shelter'-Ed) really likes Ron Sexsmitth. PB: I only really know ‘Fast Car’ off her first LP. RG: I like Billie Holiday and Joni Mitchell as well. PB: Some of the album reminds me of Beth Orton? RG: She’s alright. I have got her albums, but they are not on constant rotatation. She’s okay, but I can understand the comparisons. She’s a great guitar player and a good singer, but she’s not someone who inspires me. Ella Fitzgerald and Etta James inspired me. I really hate being asked who I like. I really used to like the Byrds and Nick Drake is lovely. Bob Dylan’s good. PB: You like singers and songwriters basically. RG: I like singers and songwriters and a lot of women and female divas like Aretha Franklin. I feel when I listen to those kind of women 'If only I had written that song...' Joss Stone is fucking incredible as well. PB: The one thing that surprised me about the album and the EP is that you only play guitar on one track. Is that because you haven’t played a guitar for so long and you didn’t feel confident. You did play guitar for the whole of your last London gig at the Jazz Café in June. RG: It is because of a mix of things really. On the stuff I co-write with Joe (Light-guitarist on 'Waves are Universal' and 'The Sleep Shelter', and Rachel's partner), Joe plays the guitar. Joe is a much better guitar player than I am. I can do limited stuff (Laughs). I’m the first one to admit it. On the stuff we have co-written, Joe has written the music and I have just done the words and vocals melody and so it’s right that he is playing a guitar. PB: The first track on the album, 'Warm Summer Sun', has Thai insects on it. Did you go to Thailand? RG: No, Dave went to Thailand (Laughs). PB: What ? With a tape recorder? Oh, that’s sounds good? RG: David is like that. He is totally mad and off the wall. He went to Thailand for a few weeks and whacked it in. It sounds nice. There has been mixed reactions to that. Some people think it’s awful and some people like it. PB: How did you first get to know David ? RG: I met David when we recorded ‘Out Of Tune’ (Mojave 3’s second album) in Scotland. He was the assistant engineer. He moved down to London a few years ago and for about two years, every time I was out and about and bumped into him, he kept me bugging about making my own reccord. He was like "When are you going to do a record. When are you going to do a record?” And in the end I just said "Alright then, we'll do it." It took me years to write enough stuff. PB: How long did the album actually take to write? RG: It took about two years. I started writing in 2000 when I split up with Chris (Andrews - Rachel’s ex- husband and the main songwriter in 4AD band, Cuba) and I finally had space to breath. PB: Was writing the album then a sort of therapy and a way of getting over Chris ? RG: I didn’t really have to get over him so much (Laughs). It was all fucked anyway. We were married for 6 years. We got married really young. At the time we had a lot in common and at the end of it we couldn’t have been farther apart. There are a few songs on the album that are certainly therapy (Laughs). I would say I was exorcising some ghosts. PB: Songs like ‘Come Rescue Me’? RG: ‘Come Rescue Me’ is actually not about him. That’s quite a nice one. I have spent all my life in relationships. I was with Neil for 4 years and then a few people in between for a couple of years. Then I was with Chris for 6 years. Pretty much everyone I have been out with has ended up being a guitarist or a musician, which I suppose was part of the course. The main relationship though was with Chris. He had a big ego and everything was all about Cuba, even though I was still in my band and we were releasing records. PB: Mojave 3 were always bigger than Cuba! RG: I met Chris when I was on a tour. He has such a big personality. I really did lose my identity in the relationship. PB: That sometimes happens. RG: I had a lot of health problems throughout our marriage. Many things were wrong ,but looking back it’s because I was in the wrong relationship and I wasn’t strong enough to get out. It came to the point when I couldn’t stay with this person, and so we called it quits and as a result we are both much better off. It is the best thing I have done in years but it wasn’t until I was out of that relationship that I finally picked up a guitar and started playing. I wanted to get something out , so I got the 4 track out. I bought my 4 track off Simon Rowe (Mojave 3’s guitarist and former Chapterhouse guitar player) I started doing some songs so it just stated like that. 4AD told me that if I ever wanted to release a record then they would release it. For 2 years from then on I had gentle encouragement from my manager. PB: Anyway, back to the records. I thought that you sounded with a lot of the vocals like a female Nick Drake. RG: It was my first opportunity to sing a lot. I just wanted to experiment with my voice and see what I could do. I hope that’s what I have done. PB: Each song is very different. The first track on the album. ‘Warm Summer Sun’, is orchestrated and like Tindersticks because you use violins and cellos on it. RG: That’s the one that’s got the Irish pipes on it. PB: That was a bit strange. Did you put that on because you love Scotland and Ireland? RG: No, not at all. It is because I wanted to experiment with my voice and instruments that we haven’t used on records that I have been on before. I consciously didn’t have any pedal steel guitar on it. I love it but I have been hearing it for the last seven years with Mojave 3 and it was time to do something different. The Uillean pipes which we use on the album came about, for example, because we did a lot of recording in Cornwall. My parents have a house down there and opposite them lives a guy who works for Hobgoblin Music. He knows a lot of musicians. I think he repairs and makes mandolins as well. I was thinking about having a mandolin on the album so I just asked him if he knew anyone who plays it. He said that there was this guy called Jerome who lives up the road who plays the Uillean Pipes. He came down and did it in the kitchen (Laughs) PB: And that’s the guy who played them at the gig at the Jazz Cafe this year? RG: Yeah, he just blew me away when he played them. They are so powerful and so loud especially, when you are in a small kitchen. It was just about doing different things. PB: I will start with the EP. You play a snare drum on ‘Sleepless in Tooting’. RG: Yeah. It was just a giggle really because on the percussion side of there are a lot of little things on the album all done separately and then put together. PB: On ‘Flying With Gene’ Joe plays a Leslie guitar! That’s a new one on me? RG: That’s a guitar played through a Leslie speaker for a Hammond organ. PB : That's the one that I thought sounded like Tracy Chapman. RG : Oh right ! PB: 'Sticking with Grace' ? That’s the one that sounds like Mojave 3. RG: Neil and Ian (McCutcheon-Mojave 3 percussionist) really like that one. They were like “Yeah, that’s a really good one. Can we have it?" And I was like "No, you can’t" (Laughs). Joe and I sometimes record on our computers. We put down ideas and then listen to them and then come up with songs. That song was originally a lot slower on demo than it is on the EP. Dave came in and was like “Let’s speed it up!” I like it. It’s a good pop song, but I still like it slower. PB: You play the guitar on ‘Come Rescue Me’. RG: Yeah. PB: I was going to say that quite a lot of the titles have a lot of hurt in the songs. RG: Yeah, well that’s me exorcising my demons. Some of it is personal while some of it isn’t about me but about other people that I know. It depends on what mode of writer you are. I’m very observant. I tend to be quite quiet. I spend a lot of time observing and gathering information. PB: And onto the album ! 'Gather Me Up'uses a Hammond organ on it. Is that a squeezebox on there as well ? RG: It’s a Hammonona (A keyboard which is blown into. That’s on there. PB: 'No Substitute'-I thought that one sounds like the Mojave 3 song ‘Give What You Take’. RG: Oh right, that’s interesting. PB: There are more insects on 'Hope'. Is that another one of Dave's? RG: Yeah, that one is in C. I wanted to make it an organic record. I didn’t want to use peddle and electronic effects. PB: ‘Coastline’-That is the one that when I reviewed it I said it sounded like Slowdive meets Mojave 3. RG: Yeah, I did try and record that and ‘Save Yourself’ with Mojave 3, but I took them back. 'Coastline' is ultimately a love song, but in my head I always hear it being really fucking noisy and just full on. which is what happened. It’s great. PB: It reminded me of Lee Hazlewood as well. RG: Does it ? It’s got that twangy guitar. I was thinking spaghetti westerns and I wanted it to sound a bit like Ennio Morricone. I played lots of guitar on that track you see PB: 'Save Yourself’ reminded me of REM during their grunge period and of their ‘Monster'album (1994). RG: That was kind of my ode to Neil Young. I have got some REM albums, but I haven’t got that one. PB: Would you like to play more gigs? RG: Oh, yeah. (Rachel will now be playing with the Willard Grant Conspiracy for 3 dates at the end of November.) PB: Will you be getting the guy up from Cornwall again? RG: No, that is not realistic because of the finances involved. It will be acoustic with just me and Joe. PB: Why did you choose the Jazz Café? RG: I really like it as a venue. PB: It’s a nice venue. It has a nice vibe. RG: That’s it. I really like it so I wanted to play there. PB: Is there going to be a second solo album ? RG: Oh, definitely. Yeah, but I don’t know what form it will take yet. PB: And sooner rather than later? RG: I don’t know. We got to do the Mojave 3 album next. PB: Have you started working on that ? RG: Neil has started that with Ian. PB: Previously Neil has had a bit of a hippy beach bum attitude and the songs have been laid back and happy go lucky. Now he is happily married how is that going to affect the songs ? Have you heard the new songs? RG: I haven’t. I been told by Ian that they are very up beat and quite poppy. It’s like he has finally settled down (Laughs).It can only do him good. PB: How do you find 4AD compared to Creation Records apart from dealing with Alan McGee? RG: And apart from dealing with people who aren’t stoned out of their minds. This is totally different. PB: Because 4AD has only two people in their office? RG: It’s fine. It’s completely different. Creation was above a sweatshop out in Hackney. It had a party atmosphere when you went in there. 4AD is completely different. You can’t compare the two. PB: Could you see yourself working with anyone else if you were asked to? RG: Definitely if it was someone I liked. Someone I respected. PB: What about a Red House Painters duet? RG: Well, I already did a little one with Mark Kozelek on the John Denver tribute. PB: Yeah, oops, I have got that but I have never got around to playing it (Laughs). (The track is called ‘Around And Around’ and is on ‘Take Me Home’ – a tribute to John Denver on Badman Records (2000) ) RG: (Laughs) John Denver is close to my heart because my mum used to love him. That’s why I did that. PB: That’s it. Thank you. RG: Thank you.

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Mojave 3 - Interview Part 3

Mojave 3 - Interview Part 3

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Interview Part 2 (2004)
Mojave 3 - Interview Part 2
In the second part our interview with Slowdive and Mojave 3's Rachel Goswell, she talks to Anthony Strutt about the end of Slowdive and new beginnings with Mojave 3
Interview Part 1 (2004)
Interview with Neil Halstead (2003)
Interview (2002)

live reviews

Musician, Leicester, 4/11/2006 and Jazz Cafe, London, 7/11/2006
Mojave 3 - Musician, Leicester, 4/11/2006 and Jazz Cafe, London, 7/11/2006
At a two very different shows, an acoustic one in Leicester, and an electric one in London, Anthony Strutt play two fantastic sets


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Mojave 3 - Profile
Slowdive and Mojave 3 member Rachel Goswell has just released her overdue first solo EP, 'The Sleep Shelter', and album, 'Waves are Universal'. Far different than anything she has ever done before, Anthony Strutt finds them worth the long wait


Puzzles Like You (2006)
Surprisimgly poppy second single from Mojave 3's new album of the same title
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