If you love what we do, you can help tQ to continue bringing you the best in cultural criticism and new music by joining one of our subscription tiers. PH: Mmmm. Last time I met her, in a pub in Abbotsbury, Dorset for 2007's White Chalk, it struck me that she answered questions the same way she poured our tea: elegantly, precisely, without spilling a drop. So it does perplex me sometimes, as to why songwriters aren't afforded the same way of looking at their work. 'England', for example, espouses a love and hate relationship with her country, claiming "I love England" one moment and bemoaning its "bitter taste" the next. I knew that before I even began; that was at the forefront of my mind the whole time. Or playing music extremely loud and shouting.". For the majority of her live appearances, PJ Harvey tends to use a Vox AC30 and an Orange Retro 50 head into Marshall 4×12 cabinets, creating an immensely saturated tone. At that point, she could have gone either way. For a list of stockists, visit the Stool Pigeon website I'm already writing, and the writing feels like a continuation at this stage, but by the time I've got the strongest words together it might go somewhere else. Harvey's shy persona is at odds with the figurehead who emerged in the early 90s at the forefront of the PJ Harvey trio with bassist Steve Vaughan and drummer Robert Ellis. A probing into the meaning behind the words of her new album Let England Shake is easily deflected. "I wanted to remain a narrator." It might be driving really fast somewhere. And it all ties together: the voice of the narrator, the music. I wanted a sense of moving through different times, different eras, different countries - for it to be a journey, not particularly routed anywhere. "Certain Neil Young songs like 'Southern Man' or 'Ohio', I'd go looking for the meaning behind them. ", I wonder how she was affected by researching Let England Shake. Read the choicest cuts from the Quietus archive: reviews, features and opinion, PJ Harvey's Let England Shake: Track-By-Track Review, All She Ever Looked For: Kate Bush’s Never For Ever, 40 Years On, Crack Actor: PJ Harvey’s To Bring You My Love at 25, True Pairings: Tom Fleming's 13 Favourite Albums, Of Cakes & Men: Sleaford Mods Interviewed, A Kind Of Magic: Wardruna Teach Us To Laugh At Ourselves Again, More Than You Were Told: An Interview With SPAZA, Joyful Noise: An Interview With Pharaoh Overlord. Follow. She flew in to visit some friends in Berlin the day the wall came down in 1989. The songs they played were windows on the world beyond. Is it still frustrating when people try to read autobiographically into your work? Hip Online - February 9, 2008. Her next album, 2004's Uh Huh Her was a raggedy scrapbook of disparate ideas, less a coherent statement than an exercise in creative house-clearing, and with White Chalk she opened a whole new chapter. But whatever I do - and I've always been like this, and I am as a visual artist as well - I want to learn and see how much I can uncover in the short life-span that we seem to have. PH: The whole of the album is. PJ Harvey has taken part in a rare interview with Andrew Marr for his BBC One show, as well as performing ‘The Community Of Hope’. Conflict is obviously a theme on the record, which is interesting, because it feels as if there's a constant conflict between violence and beauty throughout Let England Shake. Her parents, a quarryman and a stonemason, were friends with Rolling Stone Ian Stewart and their remote Dorset farmhouse (she has said that even a day trip into town would make her dizzy) was often home to visiting musicians. "And all of these writers offer me a greater understanding of what it is to be alive, and that is such an incredible thing art can do for other people. "Had she not got a record deal she would have gone on to do fine art at St Martins. She sits down to write every single day instead of waiting for the muse to strike. You just close up all your edges and carry on about your day. For the majority of her live appearances, PJ Harvey tends to use a Vox AC30 and an Orange Retro 50 head into Marshall 4×12 cabinets, creating an immensely saturated tone. Where Dry and Rid of Me seemed brutally honest, To Bring You My Love feels theatrical, with each song representing a grand gesture. [Laughs] Because I really didn't want to do it badly, because there's nothing worse than a bad song dealing with such things. "It strikes me every time we play that song," she says. Harvey still likes to draw and paint, recently contributing illustrations to Francis Ford Coppola's Zoetrope: All-Story magazine, and owns paintings by Christopher T Wood and Alasdair Wallace. So hopefully, it can cross [boundaries] and not just be particular to England. 4269. ", Songwriters tend to be notoriously bad at describing the creative process, and loth to mention the perspiration behind the inspiration, but Harvey is visibly energised by talking about it. PJ Harvey Readies Expanded 'Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea' Reissue. "Just that feeling of reading something profound and having your breath quite literally taken away by the end of a piece. "There's so much you want to know once they're gone. It's odd, because if you'd done even half the things you've mentioned in your songs, I'm pretty sure you wouldn't be allowed out on the streets. The person that was delivering the stories had to have the right voice, and the music containing that voice had to inhabit the right place in the stratosphere, if you like [laughs]. Support tQ's work by becoming a subscriber and enjoy the benefits of bonus essays, podcasts and exclusively-commissioned new music. The UK singer's new film, A Dog Called Money, examines the … "What touched me the most is that [Ware] heard the voices of the dead talking to him and he couldn't rest. Bookended by a cup of green tea on her side and a Dictaphone on ours, it's a physical gap of roughly eight feet; at times, though, it feels closer to 80. I think the endeavour is to keep finding a new way of saying something. But no. So I'm very disciplined. PJ Harvey has described wearing a veil, while filming on location in Afghanistan, as a "freeing experience". I'm getting that feeling – just reaching the end of every poem, going 'Oh my God!'" It speaks to Harvey's fondness for old things. "There was so much going on. You said earlier that you spent longer on the words for this record than any others. To find out more, click here. Why did you decide to record this album in a church? I just use it for very specific purposes when I know exactly what I'm looking for. She hoovered up information about myriad conflicts from books and museums. PH: Yeah. A diminutive figure swathed in black and sat on a vast settee, she's determined - as ever - not to give too much away. Polly Jean Harvey chooses her words carefully. The project takes a fresh look at some of her classic recordings, bringing them back to vinyl. But when you look at the history of the song, as well, it's not so very long ago that songwriters even wrote their own material; it's just the turn of the century, really, or even later than that. You can't do it with a closed heart. I can't not finish a book. I remember thinking about money a lot, and how this thing that meant so much was just a piece of paper." But I went over to Berlin and couldn't find a place that felt right, so I was still looking for places - and then, just coincidentally, the man who runs this church as an arts centre approached me and said if I ever wanted to use it for rehearsing I could, because he liked my music and knew I lived nearby. At 41, Harvey is revered for what she does not give away. Share on Facebook. But I do feel at this stage of my life, it feels very important to give voice to things that really matter. It's only now that it's come full circle and I'm using my voice again in a way that's tying everything together. Even as she paraphrased Eddie Cochran on "The Words That Maketh Murder" and sang "What if I take my problem to the United Nations?" PJ Harvey – Interview. With its depictions of warfare, though, it seems impossible that current events weren't a catalyst. It's almost like being a sponge and you just have to absorb everything in order to have all of the goods to make something out of that. 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