Die Veröffentlichung von Heather’s erstem Gedichtband „The Sorrowjoy“ war für uns Anlass, in einem Interview mehr über Heathers vielseitige Hobbys, ihre Zeit als Filmstudentin und ihre Gedanken über das Alltagsgeschäft zu erfahren. Auf Heather’s Wunsch hin belassen wir den Text in Englisch.
From which period of time are your poems in „The Sorrowjoy“?
The poems in „The Sorrowjoy“ are mostly from the last 2-3 years. I don’t usually go back to really old material and release it. I guess because I am always moving forward and changing, both personally and in the way that I write, old stuff just seems old, and not relevant to how I feel now.
Do you have a different procedure writing your poems compared to writing song texts?
Well, its not completely different; its still balancing words and rythm and emotion. poems have rythym too. But melody is so much a part of songwriting. There is a kind of profound privacy in writing a poem. It is just you and the page. Whereas when you write a song you are singing it out, right from the start – it’s almost as if you are letting it go by writing it.
When creating a song, what do you know first – text/topic or sound?
I tend to sit with my guitar and go round some chords and I get a line first – a complete line with melody and lyric and then I work out the song from there. Melodies just flow. I never really think about melodies; I let them happen, whereas sometimes I will work for weeks on a lyric.
Are there certain topics that can be described in poems only, not in songs?
I think that every time I write a song there is an element of hope in it. There is not always hope in my poems. I don’t know why that is. maybe something to do with the inherent hope of music, of melody; the act of singing is somehow very hopeful in itself.
„The Sorrowjoy“ does not contain any song texts. Why not? Are poems so completely different from song texts?
It is a different process and I wanted the book to only be my poems. There are already quite a few cds full of my music! I just wanted this to be a separate project.
When playing „Winter Blue“ live you always reciting a poem. Can you imagine having a mere reading, completely without music, instead of a concert?
I like to incorporate some of the poetry in a live show, but I think I would feel pretty strange standing in front of an audience for an hour just talking without music.
The drawings in your book, are they from a former period? Or did you still find enough time to paint beside your music?
The drawings are mostly recent too. I still draw. Its a total escape for me. I get lost when I draw and I like that. They are not masterpieces by any means, but I wanted to put them in the book because I think they compliment the poems. I have always liked books with pictures!
Did you publish any of your pictures anywhere else except on the CD covers and the book?
No, those are the only times I have published my pictures.
Do you plan selling some of your pictures as an art print? Surely there’re fans who are interested?
Maybe some day I will have an exhibition.
Musician, painter – and you even studied film for a couple of years. What experiences did you gain in this time?
Doing filmmaking at college was an adventure for me. I thought that because I like working in both image and sound, film would be the perfect medium for me. But I got put off by the need for all the gear and the fact that you have to be dependent on other people when you make a film. When I write it’s just me and a guitar and a pen and paper. I think doing film was another step to realising that music was my true calling. I got much more into making the soundtracks than the films themselves.
After you have published the book, some fans might be interested in a publication of some short films you have made during your time of studies. A DVD with Heather as a producer and actress, would that be possible?
Yeah, maybe. There was one film that I was pretty happy with. Some day when I put out a live DVD maybe I will include it. I haven’t done any acting though.
People say that you once were pretty shy. Meanwhile you are close to your fans after a concert and you talk to them. Why the timidity, and why did it fade away? Or is it just a matter of routine?
I forced myself to get over it. A lot of people misinterpret shyness for aloofness. I didn’t want to be seen as aloof. So I got over it. It is more important to me to connect with people now than to hide from them.
During the recent chat at Rockpalast some people made some really stupid contributions, and you already quit the chat after five minutes. Do you feel offended at things like that?
Well, in a way, yes. I felt that a few of the people didn’t respect the situation. So it makes me feel like i am wasting my time. I find those chat things pretty weird. If it is just me and some real fans that would be different.
In the past your songs were mainly melancholic, today – see „South“ – they are partly more happy and sign of fun. Has your life changed in any way, what affects your songs, oder have you just found another way of writing songs?
It’s weird to me that some people have thought that „South“ is happy and fun. (maybe it’s the picture on the cover!) If you listen to the lyrics you will find that most of the songs are about searching for a way to keep love alive in a longterm relationship. There are actually some very sad songs on there! And alot of aching.
„South“ entered the charts from 0 to 5 in Germany. What does a musician think about that – are chart positions a confirmation of success or how do you measure success?
Chart positions are not really a sign of success. It can be the success of a moment, but as we all know someone can be in the charts one week and then you never hear of them again. Success is something that happens over time. And everyone measures it differently. I feel successful because I am doing what I love to do and I am able to continue to do it. I also feel some success from the fact that I have made a difference to some people with my music. Sometimes it is just receiving a letter from a fan that makes me feel like it is all worth it.
After nearly one year of distance – which song of „South“ is growing to your favorite one?
Oh, it changes still from night to night, but I would say that „Talk to me“ and „Like lover’s do“ are my favourites at the moment.
On your recent concerts you always included an acoustic part, in Den Haag you will even play a pure acoustic gig. Do you to take into consideration to release a pure unplugged album one day – containing very special versions of your songs? Beyond this, do you feel like doing an unplugged show at MTV?
I have been thinking about doing an even more stripped down record. Something very minimal. We’ll see. I started doing some of my own unplugged shows a few years ago in Japan, Australia, New Zealand, and recently in England and Ireland. We got a really great response to them and they were fun to do. I enjoy it because it’s like taking the songs back to the way they started. (MTV have never invited me to an unplugged show for them.)
At last you toured in autum 2001, then in spring 2002, currently new tour dates get announced weekly. Do you never get tired of touring?
Yes, sometimes I get tired of touring. Living out of a suitcase and moving everyday can be tiring. So I take big chunks of time off in between. it’s all about balance.
You abandoned your domicile in London. Where do you live right now?
I live between London and the Caribbean.
Do you miss home – the calmness and your friends – when you are on tour?
I don’t really miss it when I’m not there. And I don’t miss touring when I’m not touring. I am one of those people who gets totally into where ever I am at the time. I guess I am pretty adaptable! Its kind of nice slipping back and forth. I wouldn’t want to be more famous because I could never slip out of it. I really like being able to be anonymous in some places.