Home > Interviews > Nerina Pallot Interview June 2011

Nerina Pallot Interview June 2011

Jo & Lisa


A video banned by Youtube within 24 hours of its launch and her 4th album on the way. MTTM caught up with Nerina Pallot to find out more about her thoughts on the industry and what prompted her to name her son after Mozart.

MTTM: You’re playing Dear Frustrated Superstar in its entirety later this evening. On Twitter you said you wanted to ‘go back and hit the 26 year old you over the head with a frying pan’. What’s that all about?

NP: Some of the songs I just think, well I know what they’re about or who they’re about and some of them are about a bloke that I had a little mini obsession over, an infatuation and he just so was not worth it and you just think ‘why did I not know what a tosser he was?’ So it’s things like that just looking back and thinking oh God if only I’d known what was going to happen.

MTTM: But you got an album out of it so…

NP: This is true, that’s a good way of looking at it.

MTTM: You’re incredibly interactive on Twitter and host regular U-stream sessions, do you think the importance of interacting with fans has been heightened for musicians these days?

NP: Probably, I mean I’ve always been quite interactive with them even from the beginning, so, um maybe, maybe it is more important. I don’t know if you could be like a Kate Bush today and never really speak or tour or anything like that. I think it would be very hard, but I’m not sure. I just enjoy it. I think if you’re an artist who doesn’t enjoy it and you fake it then it comes through.

MTTM: Unlike many other female musicians you’ve avoided falling into the ‘Beyonce trap’, of having to wiggle your butt in every music video you make in order to have hits. Why do you think even in the 20th century there seems to be a huge pressure from the industry for women to look and act in a certain way?

NP: It’s a problem I think and I have lots of questions about it. I enjoy that kind of music, I’ve bought many Beyonce records but I do feel uncomfortable about the way it’s sexualised. I don’t know, there’s so many, I don’t have a definitive answer. On the one hand you can argue that women are empowering themselves, but they’re still empowering themselves through sex so is that really empowerment or is it just playing to a male sort of stereotype? I don’t know.

MTTM: I think that was the Lady Gaga argument…

NP: Yeah I’m not sure I buy that. I’m not sure you empower yourself by getting your kit off, because you’re still reducing yourself, you’re still objectifying yourself in a way that men never have to do. You know men simply don’t have to do that in order to have success. In fact I think it detracts for a lot of men. I don’t think any men, no male bands have endured who have done that kind of thing, but for some reason it seems to be the only way women can go on massive headlines and stuff.

I don’t want to be too poker faced about it because by the same token I’d rather that women were able to be financially powerful by whatever means they can be because it’s only in the last 100 years we’ve been able to vote, you know, never mind being financially independent so I don’t want to detract from that.

MTTM: Do you think it ever will change?

NP: I’d like to think so but unfortunately I think we’re just raising a generation of girls who think that the fast track to success is to be a WAG and get their tits out and I’m not convinced it’s changing. I’d like to think that it’s changing but right now no one seems to want to get an education, they just want to make money, or to be rich, do you know what I mean? They want to be rich and famous for nothing, so when women can just shag a footballer and go to Max Clifford and make a million quid for selling their story then young girls are going to look at that and go ‘well I could do that, couldn’t I’? Do I sound a bit bleak?

MTTM: At Union Chapel you described current single Put Your Hands Up as ‘camper than Christmas’ but for those eagerly awaiting the album release on Monday what should they expect from the other tracks?

NP: I think Put Your Hands Up is very indicative of the album sonically, in the instrumentation and the soundscape of it, it’s a fair representation in terms of the theme of it, subject matter wise it’s probably the most pop song on the record and I call it camper than Christmas because for me it’s the most pop thing I’ve ever written, though compared to a sort of Katy Perry singer it’s still like a slash your wrists song. But I think it’s a very fair representation of what the rest of the album will sound like.

MTTM: You’ve co-written with Linda Perry. How did you find the experience of working with someone who’s become well known for co-writing and producing so many successful pop tracks?

NP: That was really great, it was a master class. I mean I went at a time in my life when I was feeling quite low and unsure of myself. At the time I didn’t really realise how much I’d learnt from it but after that I went on to work with other artists and I realised those few days I spent with her was really, really useful and I really enjoyed it.

MTTM: The Graduate generally has a more poppy tongue in cheek vibe to it. Was there a conscious decision to go really pop with it or is that just the kind of music that you naturally make?

NP: That’s probably the most pop thing I’ve ever done for me. I mean, I’ve done more pop stuff working for other artists but I just wanted to have some fun. It was where I was at, at the time. I don’t think I’ve ever made a conscious decision with my records. I wish I did, it would be much more focused but I just do what I want to do at the time and try and give an honest reflection of where I’m at. You know, in my head space and also what I’m listening to and what I connect to musically. So it did reflect that at that time I was listening to quite a lot of pop music and I just wanted to have a laugh really.

MTTM: So a bit like Dear Frustrated Superstar where you were singing about stuff you now regret?

NP: Haha, I think it depends if you keep a diary or not, I’ve never kept a diary so I suppose my albums are the closest snapshot you’ll get to where I’m at a particular time in my life and I suppose that’s why I do want to go back and hit myself over the head sometime, I have to also go yeah but that’s who I was right then and there’s nothing I can do about it.

MTTM: It’s interesting because a lot of people say that Twitter kind of fills that gap and it’s like having a diary because you can back and look at it. Do you ever think that you’d look back at things you’d tweeted about and be reminded about things you might use then as part of songs and albums?

NP: That’s a really good idea… I’ve never really thought about it because Twitter’s kind of difficult to go back in time isn’t it, you could scroll through pages and pages and pages. But yeah, because it’s pretty much a daily occurrence for me and I like it because it’s a conversation yard, I quite often put out a question like ‘do you know where I can get such and such for my sink’ you know, really mundane stuff to kind of like pondering question time of an evening. It is good like that and it’s a really good way of looking at it.

MTTM: You had what seemed like a really whirlwind romance, you got married and engaged really quickly which sounds like something which could only really happen in the movies, how did you know it was going to work?

NP: I didn’t. I just really had this gut feeling that this was the right man and this was the right relationship and, I don’t know everything just, I just felt it. It’s weird isn’t it? I’ve spent more time debating a pair of shoes than I did whether or not I was marrying the right man.

MTTM: You named your son after Mozart. How will you feel if he ends up tone deaf and unable to play any instrument?

NP: Oh I don’t care. I didn’t give him that name hoping he’d be a musician. In fact I’d rather he was a footballer or a manager so he can keep me in the manner I‘ve never been accustomed to. What happened was the day we found out I was having a baby, my husband and I were watching telly and Amadeus was on and in the movie they always call him Wolfie, and we just looked at each other and went, that’s such a cool name. And then we always called the baby Wolfie when he was in my stomach and when he came out, we looked at him and were like ‘oh my god, he’s totally a Wolfie’ and then we went right ‘we’ll give him the proper name’. He’ll probably change it by deed poll when he’s 16 won’t he?

MTTM: It’s a good namesake…

NP: Well I just want him to reach his potential and if he grows up to be the best parking warden ever then he can do that.

MTTM: You’ve dubbed yourself ‘Mystic Nez’ on Twitter. Exactly how many predictions have you got right to date?

NP: I was right about the mini heat wave, I didn’t get the lottery numbers right sadly. Umm, not very much but that doesn’t mean that they’re not all going to come true, it’s just that it might not have happened yet!

Nerina’s latest album Year Of The Wolf is released today.