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Margot Smith talks with Beat magazine about Taste Print E-mail
Thursday, 01 January 1998

Beat Magazine


Margot Smith Interview




Despite touring with the World Party, a stint as The Pogues? backing vocalist, an ARIA nomination for Best New Talent and a strong link with The Church (Peter Koppes is part of her band and Steve Kilbey writes for her no less) Margot Smith remains an enigma. Why is it so? Beat searches for clues.

Margot Smith certainly was launched into the rock landscape with a bang during the early 1990s. Signed to EMI as a relative unknown at the behest of Neil Bradbury [R.I.P.] it was full steam ahead into the dizzy heights of stardom. ?It was a really good experience to have,? Margot reflects. ?The only thing was that every time an overseas band came to Australia, local acts seemed to be put aside. But EMI were really good to me. I learnt a lot and I still have a good relationship with them. I still ring them up and ask for advice but because we were heading in different directions it was a mutual decision to part company.? One of the main benefits of this period was establishing a working relationship with The Church. ?Whilst I was on EMI Neil suggested I meet with Steve and he play on a couple of tracks on Sleeping With The Lion and the friendship just continued. We realised we thought the same way and had a similar understanding about music.?

Her new record, Taste, consolidates the bond. Steve is co-writer on most songs and she is signed to Peter Koppes? label, Immersion/Phantom. The process surrounding the recording represented an experimental approach. ?We wrote the record straight to tape so the whole record was recorded live. Nobody knew what they were playing before they were taped which I think was great because nobody had time to think before they started playing. I just sang whatever came off the top of my head.? But some personal changes which occurred during the recording period are reflected by the acerbic nature of some of the lyrics. ?A song such as Hope came about as frustration rather than a relationship, however. When I recorded this album what came out of my mouth acted as the lyric. There was no pre-conceived idea and sometimes when I look at the lyrics I have to ask myself what they were all about. But I feel people should interpret the words in their own way. I get to disappointed when singers explain what they are writing about.?

Not a fan of the rambling ten minute epic, most songs on Taste clock in at under three minutes. Brevity seems to be the key. ?I?m not a fan of the epic. When we record we just look at each other and know when to end it. There is something to be said about short songs. They lead people to listen to something and then wonder what it was and listen to it again. But by no means am I suggesting that all songs should be kept short, it is just the way I like to work. Our next album won?t be written straight to tape and it will be quite a lot heavier than Taste. It [the recording] was an amazing experience but this time I am interested in doing something at a slower pace so that I can reflect on things whilst recording.?

For Margot reflection plays a key role. It is not a continuous musical malaise. She strongly believes in using time to ponder and discuss issues. ?If you listen to a lot of music you absorb it and it makes you become what you are not. In fact I am a fan of silence because when you are on tour what everybody wants to do is listen to tapes and I just say why can?t we just talk?? There will be plenty of time for such activity on the forthcoming trip to the United States. ?We are going for about a month. We will be going to Los Angeles and then New York and the East Coast. Steve Kilbey will be joining us for a few shows and we would like to set up a record contract over there. We will be doing several showcase gigs with that in mind.?

Margot can be seen at the Esplanade tonight, the Rochester Castle on Thursday, the Dan O?Connell on Friday and The Club on Saturday.

Transcribed by Mike Fulmer

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