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I’ve lost count of the times I’ve danced to those songs at discos! When you wrote those tracks did you have a sense that they were winners? First of let me say you have very different discos to what we have here, ha ha! Tere were a handful of songs that we had decided that Gil Norton would work on with us. He didn’t have time to do a full album with us then, but we picked a few of our more straightforward songs and did Feed the Tree, Gepetto and Slow Do with him. I’m glad we did it that way cos he has a real gift with structure. He’s great cos he doesn’t suck the ‘weird’ out of anything, he has

the long run though because the people who loved it still really love it, and still to this day they’re still connected to it. Tat means more to me than our music being cool or successful. Why is now the right time for Belly to reform, and is this a one off? We’re really just going summer-to-summer. What we’ve tentatively decided is to treat it like a one off but should things come up next summer we would be open to them as well. We’re going to be finishing off some music we’ve started recording so who knows what that will bring.

“Music is where I go to till the emotional soil”

great respect for quirks, but knows how to get it right. What is Feed Te Tree about? It’s basically about respect and commitment. It’s a relationship song but it’s broader than that as well. Belly always trod a fine line between commercial success and cult underground following. Do you agree? I think we were always in this funny little space of not being weird enough for weird and not straight enough for straight. So we were never particularly cool, or even mainstream either. I actually feel like that benefitted us in

How’s it going on the making new music front? It’s been going great, really well. We’ve become more sophisticated as writers, all of us, in terms of our basic songwriting. I think I’m a better lyricist now and we all, as musicians, have more under our belts. You know, a lot of music has come our way over the last 20 years purely as listeners, and we’ve played with a lot of different people in the interim, so we’re bringing all of that to the new songs. Tey definitely sound like Belly songs. How has it been rehearsing

and hanging with Gail, Chris and Tom before the upcoming tour? It’s been really fun. Tese are some of the people who make me laugh hardest in the world, so it’s been great, and nice to have the sort of peace that comes from approaching being 50 rather than fooling around in your 20’s! Being unselfconscious is precious – we just don’t have any of that “is this too much like this?”. We just do what we want to do and it just feels good. Have you been surprised by the level of excitement that has hailed your return after such a long hiatus? It was a surprise. I mean we expected a certain amount of excitement mainly because it wasn’t too long ago that Trowing Muses toured for the first time in years and people were excited about that. Tere was a point there when the New York and Boston shows sold out and I was a bit concerned that people thought we were the rapper called Belly! Oh yeah, there’s a rapper called Belly now! Has there been any confusion? Tere’s been a lot of confusion in the States but less so elsewhere I think. He is touring at the same time as we are so we had to get in touch with him – we’ve both been really proactive about making sure the right artist photo is on the right ticket site! I think there’s going to be very little confusion when it comes time for the concerts – I doubt that anyone’s going to walk into our show thinking they’re coming to see a rap artist! You should each cover one of the other Belly’s tracks at the end of your shows! Yeah! Tat would be really funny! What are your memories of playing the UK the first time around, 20 years ago? Tat was one of the halcyon times of my life! We were just in love with each other. We

ended up with these great crews and bands that we were touring with and it was so much fun. I have to say, with all my bands, I’ve been very lucky – just another wonderful group of people! You’ve had a successful solo career since Belly and also I know you’ve trained and been working as a doula since 2006. What does music continue to give you that nothing else does? Solace. I’m a very pragmatic person in my daily life, and music is where I go to till the emotional soil and make sure that it’s all healthy! I go there for sadness too, grief practice, a friend of mine said. My stepsister Kristen (Hersh) said “Sadness doesn’t upset me – beautifully crafted sad music is beautiful.” So I get a lot of that out of it, but also I’m a big dancer and so are my daughters so we dance around the kitchen. Tere’s always music playing. Trowing Muses was your first band, with your stepsister Kristen Hersh, and you guys recorded some new music and toured a little a couple years ago. Is that a project you might return to? If they ask me to do something I will most likely do it, primarily because I love playing guitar with my sister. I sporadically play lead in my other projects but mostly I’m the strummer and the singer so I love to do that in the Muses. And I love playing her music and working with her. Plus they’re my best friends from childhood so that’s lovely too! I actually had to have it pointed out to me recently that I’m naturally drawn to bands with siblings in, like the Deal sisters (Pixies) and the Gorman brothers (Belly) and my stepsister’s Trowing Muses (Kristen Hersh). I was brought up in that familial musical environment so I am naturally drawn to that. In the 90’s there were loads of brilliant female-fronted / July 2016 / 13

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