Bumbershoot Sons & Daughters: Interview
posted by September 12 at 18:55 PMon
Stranger contributor and photographer Dagmar Sieglinde scored a post-Bumbershoot interview with Scottish hottie and Sons and Daughters singer Adele Bethel…
Sayeth Ms. Sieglinde:
I talked with Adele, a week after the band’s performance at Bumbershoot in Seattle. She is a gorgeous Glaswegian with an earthmoving voice and an intimidating figure. She’s a demon onstage – and just as cool offstage.
You guys were amazing at Bumbershoot – it was really nice outside with the Space Needle.
Adele Bethel: Thank you. I think it was the coolest festival we’ve ever played.
I love those gold gloves you were wearing. Where did you get those?
A.B.: I bought them when we were at South by Southwest in Texas. They’re actually part of a cheerleading or ice-skating outfit with a tutu. It’s really ridiculous so I cut them off the outfit.
Do you like shopping for clothes?
A.B.: Yeah, that’s pretty much how I spend my time when I’m on tour because there’s not much else to do apart from hanging around the venue. I look for the best places to go. Today we play the Double Door in Chicago – it’s in the middle of Wicker Park and I believe there are lots of places to go there. [On tour] I come with a half-packed suitcase and then fill it up as I go along.
Did you sing a lot when you were a little kid?
A.B.: I did. I was an incredibly annoying child. My parents thought about sending me to stage school at five but then they thought it was a bit cruel. I would act out musicals and invent my own plays.
A.B.: I used to perform the Wizard of Oz. Mary Poppins, I used to do that one too. I think Annie – I was also a fan of that. I played all the parts because I didn’t have any one else to do it. It was terrible.
Do you want to act now? I can see you doing that.
A.B.: Back home I have a friend who’s a playwright and I recently acted in one of his plays. It was utterly terrifying. I’ve been asked to do another one – I have another friend who’s written an adaptation for the stage. I’d say it’s much, much harder than singing.
Do you ever get stage fright?
A.B.: Oh God yes, every day.
It builds up well though.
A.B.: I think it would be really worrying if you didn’t get it. It’s a natural thing for such an unnatural thing to do. Quite often I’m sick at things – like before really big shows. I have anti-sickness pills.
What’s your favorite Sons and Daughters video?
A.B.: Probably the one for Gilt Complex. It was a really small crew and directed by Blair Young, who’s done a couple of our videos. He’s really easy to work with and the production crew was really nice. That was a fun video. There’s a band back home called Uncle John and Whitelock and they own this bar with an amazing space where they rehearse. There were two rooms, one we wanted to make look like Andy Warhol’s Factory, in gold instead of silver. So we got all these gold balloons and a gold backdrop – it was just a really fun day. I prefer to make videos at home although the last video we made in New York – that was fun too.
You played in Arab Strap with David Gow - where did you find Scott [Paterson, guitarist/singer/co-songwriter]?
A.B.: I worked in a record store back home for a few years and when Scott was a student he used to come in every single lunchtime. I used to recommend him records. I was really into Bonnie Prince Billy and Smog and he got me really into Jeff Buckley. We just kind of struck up a friendship through that and then I found out that he played guitar as a sort of solo project he had called March of Dimes. I went to see him perform and I thought he was great, really original. I wanted someone else to play guitar because I was the main guitar player and I really wasn’t good enough. We asked Scott to come to the first couple of rehearsals. Ailidh [Lennon, bassist/co-songwriter] and I had started writing some of the songs already.
Q: You all write the music together? But you write the lyrics?
A.B.: I write all the lyrics but we write the music together. For this record we rented a country house near the islands in Scotland and we sort of isolated ourselves. There was a converted barn and we wrote from about 11 in the morning till 7 at night and then hung out, had dinner and drank whiskey later. It was lovely. You need to cut yourself off from the city and hang around together as a band.
What kind of movies do you like? Would you like to do a soundtrack?
A.B.: We’d love to. I’ve submitted our album to a couple of people actually. I’ve contacted Ann at Sixteen Films, she’s Ken Loach’s assistant because one of the songs on the record [This Gift] is about a Ken Loach film. We also sent our cd to David Lynch. I’d love to be the band in a Tarantino film.
What’s one of the more exotic places you’ve toured?
A.B.: We just went to Mexico City – that was really a different experience. Australia is my favorite place we’ve been. It’s beautiful.
Do you write poetry apart from lyrics to go with music?
A.B.: I do. I think it’s a good thing to do because it gets you in that frame of mind. There are a few that have turned into songs … I love to have everything rhyme in a song. In poetry it’s more free form. I don’t think I will ever let them see the light of day to be honest.
What are you doing after the American tour ends?
A.B.: We have our own festival in Dublin [Hard Working Class Heroes]. We get to choose local Glasgow bands and they all come over and play so it should be a lot of fun.