Record Overplayed
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Frou Frou interview | May 2002

"This Popstars thing is getting out of hand!"

So says one half of new band Frou Frou on the subject of manufactured pop. Dawn caught up with sultry songstress Imogen Heap for a chat about all things musical.

Frou Frou are the musical partnership of one-time solo star Imogen Heap and producer / musician Guy Sigsworth, whose impressive CV boasts work with the likes of Madonna and Bjork. Their first single, Breathe In, gained rave reviews and their debut album Details was released in July.

Since then, music journalists have struggled to find an accurate description of Imogen’s distinctive voice. She groans at the mention of comparisons to Dido, but seems intrigued by one writer who labelled her vocal style a ‘breathy yodel’. "It probably comes from my voice being really different," she says. "I was listening to my old album and, in comparison, vocally it’s just so different. In six years, my voice has changed so much, partly thanks to Guy pushing me in a different direction. I try different things I’d never really thought about. I’m less afraid and embarrassed – but I sometimes still try a vocal and send everyone out of the room, do whatever I try to do and then edit it before letting them hear it!" She laughs, then continues to sing the praises of her partner: "Guy is a great influence on me and I’ve been a great influence on him. Compared to my solo work it’s great ‘cause I never had this person to bounce off. We play each other music all the time. Guy buys about twenty CDs a day and he plays me all this great stuff."

Imogen is clearly extremely passionate about what she does, as becomes obvious when the topic changes to manufactured pop music: "This Popstars thing is getting really out of hand," she sighs. "I was hoping after the first one that people would see how shallow it is and wouldn’t swallow it. I really want radio to wake up and give the public – and me and you – real music. There’s so much good music out there that it gets on my nerves. Maybe it’s because I love the people I work with and these things come from me and not the record company." She pauses before continuing: "I like the fact that A and Hundred Reasons exist – there’s more rocky things coming through. It just makes such a difference to hear somebody’s own songs – their thoughts, their dreams – coming out of the radio, rather than a songwriter that’s written songs for fifty zillion other people."

It’s something which Imogen clearly feels strongly about and which is also demonstrated in Frou Frou’s music. Album track The Dumbing Down of Love suggests that all music is worthless unless it makes a stranger break down and cry, and Imogen says, "Music has to make you feel something, otherwise what’s the point?" Then she laughs, "Even if it’s just wanting to leap out of your bed and dance around the room! Guy and I spend most of our days when we’re not in studios searching for those songs that do mean that to us. There’s so little music about where I can actually go, ‘Wow, that one song is just so brilliant and nothing about it bugs me!’"

And Frou Frou will be hitting the road to tour with the album: "We don’t know when or where or how many people are gonna come, but definitely," enthuses Imogen. "We’re totally up for it – I like interaction with the crowd. That’s what’s so sad about big concerts – you can’t actually get into the audience. You don’t get that intimacy with your audience which you do get at smaller gigs. So if we ever have big productions, we want to bring our personality across." And until then? "We both just want everyone in the world to hear this record, so we’ll do whatever we can. We think it’s album of the year!"

Thanks to Imogen, Adrian and Don. Frou Frou’s debut album, Details, is out now. Visit www.FrouFrou.net for more details.

 

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