Cat On The Wall caught up with Sue Denim, who happens to be one half of the excellent Robots In Disguise, for a quick chat about her solo project Sue And The Unicorn and her forthcoming mini-tour around the UK.
Cat On The Wall: How did Sue And The Unicorn take shape? What was the motor for this outlet (what decided you to create a solo project alongside your existing band – Robots In Disguise)?
Sue Denim: Songs just started coming out of me which didn’t seem RID-specific, me and Dee write all the RID songs together and these ones were more personal and fully formed by me. I just had a lot more songs in me than only the RID ones, and enjoyed writing on my own too so that’s why I decided to do a solo thing.
COTW: Your recordings and videos are very homemade. They have a very DIY feel about them. Was that intentional? Is it an artistic statement (in a performance type of way)? If so that probably translate well on the Berlin art scene…
Sue Denim: It’s kind of intentional and also partly comes from necessity and wanting to get the ideas recorded and broadcast quickly! It is also because it is kind of totally opposite from RID where the time between the ideas and the ideas becoming public is so long. I wanted more immediacy.
COTW: You work with quite a few collaborators on your tracks. Can you tell us more about who these people are, what they do and why you’ve chosen to collaborate rather than go fill-on solo or setting up another band? There’s something of a community about this, it seems free flowing.
Sue Denim: I don’t want to set up another band – this is pointless – I am in a great band already and it’s fun and fulfilling but really hard work and a lot of organisation too! I wanted Sue And The Unicorn to be purely enjoyment and not really hard work, so I work on my own, or if there are friends or family around that feel like joining in then I’ll work with them, it’s all dependent on who is around at the time and enthusiastic! It is definitely a free flowing thing, spontaneous and flexible.
COTW: Do you have any ambitions for this project and if so what are they?
Sue Denim: I will eventually record an album when I have enough time off from Robots to do a good job on it. It will be pretty simple though so maybe it won’t take too long anyway… I don’t have any specific ambition for it. It’s a see what happens thing. I like playing small intimate places, I really can’t see it working in big venues, but I guess you never know. I think I’d have to change it a bit – for now it’s very loose, haphazard, I often finish writing new songs on the day of the gig, I make mistakes – if I had ambitions for it I’d have to be far more professional – I like playing these little gigs where people haven’t paid too much to get in, I can just play my songs in a friendly atmosphere without too much pressure – leave the big stages to Robots for now I think!
COTW: You seem comfortable playing an acoustic guitar as you are rocking out with a band or DJing. Is it a natural progression for you or is it that you like experiencing with different genres?
Sue Denim: It was the easiest way for me to write and record songs. I know how to use Pro tools but I’m pretty rubbish at it and it doesn’t really work for me – I am totally unmotivated in front of a screen in terms of creativity. I prefer sitting and noodling about with the few chords and finger picking patterns I know, and letting the songs arrive!
COTW: What’s on your music player at the moment?
Sue Denim: Leonard Cohen, Black Kids
COTW: You’re going on a mini-tour in the UK in a couple of days. Why do only a handful of gigs? What do you hope the audience’s response will be to Sue And The Unicorn?
Sue Denim: I’m doing just a handful of gigs, because up until a couple of weeks ago I wasn’t even doing a tour! I was asked to do the London date and then thought it would be fun to do a few more. I am travelling by train (my favourite mode of transport by the way), and travelling alone with my guitar – for now just a few dates is enough for me!
I hope audiences feel a spiritual connection with me and with each and every person in the room and then go off smiling and humming the songs. Is that too much to ask? Well then at the very least they can buy one of my new spangly Sue And The Unicorn badges!
Sue And The Unicorn is on tour NOW!
08.08.08 Bangor, The Menai
10.08.08 London, Goldmine @ Tommy Flynn’s
11.08.08 Weymouth, Sunbeams, Unicorns & Brewster Mccloud @ Queen’s Hotel
12.08.08Bournemouth, I Dreamt Of Pigs Last Night @ iBar
Sue And The Unicorn were interviewed by Jo Whitby and CB Lux on behalf of Cat On The Wall.