chickfactor: what is heavenly’s relationship with the british music papers like? have you considered bribing them with chemicals?
amelia: bad! very, very bad! the only chemical that might be of any use is arsenic, but we’re not that desperate yet.
cf: mathew, what’s it like being in a band with your sister?
mathew: I view amelia less as my sister, more as the queen of all indiepop, and–as such–I am happy to serve as one of her privvy counselors.
cf: what makes heavenly blush?
amelia: telling crushes.
cathy: people seeing my tail and hooves.
mathew: when I make some really poor joke, and everyone just stares at me like I’m some kind of moron.
peter: worldwide fame and adoration.
rob: overuse of the word plop.
cf: amelia, what’s it like being in a band with your brother and your boyfriend? do you ever have to kick their butts?
amelia: oh no! harmony reigns supreme in the world of heavenly! actually, the last time I kicked mathew’s butt, he poured an entire bottle of lemonade all over me, so I learned my lesson.
cf: what makes heavenly smile?
amelia: the tv version of jeeves & wooster with stephen fry and hugh laurie–if you don’t get it in america, you’ve really missed out.
mathew: my ever-stylish dance steps.
peter: the laughter of little children on the playground.
rob: songs by bruce foxton, especially “london traffic.”
cf: what do you like in a boy?
amelia: humour, some eccentricity, some unpredictability, a good haircut.
cf: do you miss playing in talulah gosh, even though some of the lineup remains?
amelia: not really. it was fun at the start, but it was pretty miserable at the end. I miss eithne, but we still get to see each other pretty often.
cf: do you get peeved when people at heavenly shows request TG songs?
amelia: yes, because we’re really not such big throbbing gristle fans that we’d want to cover their songs.
cf: will heavenly ever play “steaming train” live?
amelia: nope, it’s too difficult. we do sometimes do “beatnik boy” and “be your baby,” though, when we’re in the right mood.
cf: what makes heavenly angry?
amelia: my continuing inability to apply lipstick correctly; michael bolton; macho pride.
cathy: clowns; dogs; sour grapefruit.
mathew: you know how sometimes, when you buy a sno-globe, and you take it home all excited and you shake it up and… no snow! grrrr…
rob: lame creation bands like superstar.
cf: what are your ugliest vices?
amelia: examining my feces and then describing them to my friends.
cathy: ducking the question.
peter: eating stuff off the sidewalk.
rob: pokering other people’s cigarettes.
cf: how did you end up on sarah?
amelia: haven’t you ever heard of the casting couch?
cf: most previous sarah bands didn’t feature chick singers. is this just a twist of pop fate, or are there preferences for such?
amelia: I think it was just pop fate. although they did turn down the popguns, whose “chick singer” is one of my favorite singers of all time (listen to their singles compilation, eugenie).
cf: what do y’all do for fun in your hometown?
amelia: annoy pete.
cathy: play with sheep.
mathew: I like to scare people by wandering around my local supermarket in a dirty overcoat mumbling stuff under my breath about “fucking coleslaw…shit, it’s too tasty.”
peter: stay home and eat, or go to oxford’s no. 1 music venue the jericho tavern.
rob: eat curry.
cf: best thing about america?
amelia: bagels, reese’s peanut butter cups, the results of the election.
cathy: free coffee refills in diners.
peter: the food; the music scene in the cool towns.
rob: no nme or melody maker.
cf: worst thing about america?
amelia: pretzels; the antiabortion lobby; the fact that america is so damned far away from england.
cathy: easy cheese.
mathew: my two dads.
peter: [fill in some ignorant generalization about u.s. politics here].
rob: petrol’s too cheap.
cf: what do you think of the “seattle sound”?
amelia: those guys just don’t know how to rock. they should listen to a few more sarah records.
cathy: it’s an excellent magazine and no mistake.
mathew: it’s not as cool as the orkney sound.
peter: mudhoney are getting better and better. tad and nirvana are ok, too.
rob: sick and wrong are chronic.
cf: heavenly’s favorite beverages?
amelia: tea and elizabeth mead (honey-flavoured alcohol favored by shakespeare and his pals).
cathy: banana milkshake and vodka.
mathew: jolt cola.
peter: tanglefoot ale.
cf: how did you record “c is the heavenly option” with calvin? isn’t he dreamy?
amelia: we just flew him to the bahamas, where we were recording the lp. he was amazingly quick. he recorded the whole part in 3 1/2 days. what a star! (truth: we sent a dat of the backing tape over to olympia and he recorded it there and sent the dat back to us in oxford. oh, and see the crush section for the rest of the question.
cf: heavenly’s favorite books?
amelia: all of the claudine books by colette.
cathy: the passion by jeanette winterson and all dr. seuss (esp. sneeches).
mathew: bleak house by charles dickens, the bluest eye by toni morrison, the water method man by john irving, and crash by ballard.
peter: very good, jeeves by pg wodehouse.
rob: the trilogy by samuel beckett.
cf: amelia, why do you sing with the pooh sticks? you are the essence of sweet pop purity and hue pooh is raw sex power–seeming opposites. what gives?
amelia: oh dear! I’m afraid you’ve got this quite the wrong way round! it’s me who wants to be the madonna of indiepop (you should see the collection of strapping toy boys I keep in my airing cupboard). hue is a pussycat! and he always hides my pointy bras and bondagewear, so I can’t embarrass him by wearing them onstage. hhrrumph.
cf: heavenly’s favorite records from childhood?
amelia: “there was an old woman who swallowed a fly” by burl ives (I think).
cathy: “atomic” by blondie.
mathew: kings of the wild frontier by adam and the ants.
peter: pete seeger’s folk songs from the village gate; harry belafonte sings calypso.
rob: bringing up baby, talulah gosh.
cf: do y’all have any good small factory stories?
amelia: they all look very fetching in lime green.
cathy: I heard that phoebe sometimes doesn’t brush her teeth for the full five minutes (but I guess everyone’s heard that one by now, right?).
peter: they are martian agents sent to save the world from destruction, but they left their instructions on the bus.
rob: yes, they are all crack dealers but managed to outwit british customs by pretending to be in a pop group. they are freemasons. they all share the same father. they have no fingerprints.
cf: can you tell us any pop juice about the poohs, calvin, etc?
amelia: no. they’re all wonderfully clean-living and pleasant chaps.
cf: are there any decent pubs and record shops we yanks should seek out in the uk?
amelia: in london: rough trade in neal’s yard, covent garden, is excellent; in edinburgh: go to avalanche (particularly for secondhand indie stuff); in oxford: don’t try and buy records (it’s almost impossible), but go to gigs at the jericho tavern (probably my favorite uk venue).
cf: tim veronica lake wants to know why you only did one dance/disco single, which he loves.
amelia: oh gosh! I’m surprised. I like my disco single, but I didn’t think anyone else did. about 6 months after talulah gosh split up, I decided I wanted to be a disco diva (à la yaz and kylie), and the single was the result. it was supposed to make me a star. ho hum. now, 4 years on, I’m pretty pleased I gave up trying to be a star and started heavenly instead.
cf: tell us about the bugbear single.
mathew: well, I guess it’s ok. I never really thought it would be released so I didn’t try too hard with it. but then my friend jennifer in sf fucked that up for me by deciding that she wanted to put them out. strange girl. really bugbear is just something I do in the privacy of my own bedroom. with the lights out. because I’m sad. but soon it’s gonna be a proper band and we have a second single (recorded and played by hired professionals so it sounds sort of better) coming out soon on vinyl japan.
cf: any upcoming records in the works?
amelia: hmmm. no. I’ve got to write some more songs first. sorry. maybe we’ll have something done by next autumn.
cf: when will the heavenly/small factory world tour begin? we want to quit our jobs and follow it.
amelia: various of the wets in heavenly have jobs and won’t give them up, even for the sake of rock & roll. so the world tour will have to wait until cathy and I can get a bozo band of session musicians together and whip them into shape. so you’d better plan on not quitting your jobs until at least 1999. we’ll try to come back to america next year, though. cf
25 records heavenly cannot live without
up for a bit with the pastels
spotlight on sandie shaw
teen anguish vol. one by the dixie cups
elektra masters, love
dreamy, beat happening
(oh, can I have lazy ways by the marine girls as well?)
world clique, deee-lite
you turn me on, beat happening
mozart, mass in c minor
down to earth, monie love
pure, lightning seeds
(or freak scene, dinosaur jr.)
it’s alive, ramones
the band that would be king, half japanese
jamboree, beat happening
13-point program to destroy america, nation of ulysses
it’s a shame about ray, lemonheads
eligible bachelors, the monochrome set
the billie holiday story
20 classic cuts, little richard
robin archer sings brecht
the camera loves me, the would-be-goods
the only ones
greatest hits, blue orchids
you turn me on, beat happening
the next tiger trap single
it’s a shame about ray, lemonheads