Entertainment - Music

The dark but peaceful side of the Morcheeba

By Marco Cresci
6 min read

Rome Wasn’t Built in a Day is the best known and most pop song by Morcheeba, but I can’t say it’s the more representative of their sound. The London based band broke into music in 1995 with their first single Trigger Hippie from one of the manifesto albums of that era Who Can You Trust?, In which the reverberations of Bristol sound echoed everywhere. Since then the brothers Paul (DJ and producer) and Ross Godfrey (multi-instrumentalist), together with the singer Skye Edwards have created 4 albums. Things changed in 2003, the year in which Skye got dumped by the manager via telephone and began, upset, her solo career.

The band continued to play as Morcheeba and released two albums but with different voices until 2010, when they hardly managed to persuade Skye to return to the band and release their seventh album Blood Like Money. Everything is good if it ends well… but no! In 2014 Paul Godfrey left the band, but wanted to be paid to have the other two members use the name Morcheeba who, carelessly, release the album “Skye | Ross ”in 2016. Fortunately, time drowsy the disagreements and in 2018 Sky and Ross regain possession of the band name, remaining a duo. Blackest Blue is the second album since the reappropriation of the name and the tenth as Morcheeba. It is a more pop album with velvety and dark tones, which touches the chill, jazz and soul showing their most vulnerable side.

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This is the best moment to talk to Skye:

Hi Skye, how are you and where are you?

Skye: «Hi, I’m fine thanks, I feel relaxed right now. I’m in the bathtub while I’m answering these questions».

You took some time for the new album, do you consider it a kind of new beginning?

Skye: «Ross and I had a lot of free time in 2020, with the whole live calendar canceled because of the pandemic. We usually play 80-100 shows a year, so when we found ourselves in isolation we made the most of that timecreating this beautiful album. It feels like a brand new start when I read the comments below our new YouTube videos. Many fans say “Morcheeba are back“. The truth is, we’ve never left».

Morcheeba

The video for the single Sounds of the Blue is very theatrical, I’m referring to the images of you on the boat in the waves. I wonder what kind of travel would this album be?

Skye: «It would be a transformative journey, involving psilocybin. The journey would provide a psychedelic-induced state of consciousness and erase any fear or anxiety and reconnect us internally».

Skye this is the second time you’ve been involved in lyrics writing. Blackest Blue seems to follow the dark tones of the record. Is it a reflection of the situation we are going through?

Skye: «As always, lyrics are left open to ambiguity. I really like that a listener can interpret a song, its mood and words in a totally different way to the next listener. Personally, the songs reflect part of life and emotions. Reconstruction and relationships. Kinship and ties between peers and partners. A cathartic expression and a much needed deep breath».

Morcheeba
The song Falling Skies refers to the terrible events that took place in America which culminated with the assassination of George Floyd and the Back Lives Matter movement. This is not the first time you have dealt with political issues, can you tell me about it?

Skye: «The BLM movement began long before George Floyd’s death, witnessed by the world in 2020. The hashtag #BlackLivesMatter originally appeared on social media after the fatal shooting of African American teenager Trayvon Martin in 2013. And it got more recognition thanks to street demonstrations in 2014 after the deaths of two African Americans at the hands of police officers.

The Trigger Hippie song was inspired by a spectator who drew a gun after being attacked by security guards for getting too close to the Altamonte Free Concert stage in 1969. He was stabbed and beaten to death by the Hells Angels, who were hired as security in what should have been a sweet, lovable and fun hippie festival like Woodstock. The single Friction was inspired by the 1995 Brixton riots, which began after the death of a 26-year-old black man, Wayne Douglas, held in police custody. And Love Dub from the Blaze Away album was a backlash to the “Trump Wall” proposal during Donald Trump’s US presidency».

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I’m curious, what’s your point of view on Skye | Ross, is a record that many fans consider Morcheeba’s ninth album as its release took place between Head Up High and Blaze Away. How do you live it?

Skye: «Someone I spoke to recently described the Skye | Ross album as the lost Morcheeba album, some even called it the secret Morcheeba album. Paul left the band in 2014, this was a transition period for me and Ross. We had to understand a few things before we could perform as Morcheeba. In a way, not using the name Morcheeba gave us a different kind of freedom to express ourselves. Light Of Gold for example is my favorite track from that album. There is a beautiful video to accompany her, shot in Sibenik in Croatia».

Who Can You Trust? turns 25, how do you feel about it? Has the fanbase grown with you?

Skye: «Our fans have grown as much as we have. As young students they listened to our music while smoking marijuana, now they listen to our music while exchanging wedding vows or giving birth to their babies. I met a couple of Morcheeba fans with their baby boy named Skye at our concerts. It’s wonderful».

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What is the first memory that comes to your mind of those days?

Skye: «A memory of those early days is me sitting in an old cinema drunk with Ross and Paul, we are watching the film Performance starring Mick Jagger as Turner, Anita Pallenberg and James Fox, the film touches on topics such as drug and psychological battles and allegedly pushed actor James Fox to the edge of sanity. As Jagger’s character Turner says, The only performance that really makes it, that goes all the way, is the one that reaches madness».

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Last question, suggest us an album:

Skye: «We recently performed the cover of John Martyn’s I Don’t Want To Know, a song from his Solid Air album, for a BBC 2 radio show in the UK called The Sofa Sessions. I listened to the whole album recently and fell in love with it again. I first heard it around 1992 when I was twenty. Released on Island Records in 1973, this entire psychedelic folk jazz album is an absolute masterpiece from start to finish».

6 min read

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