Ultraísta Ultraísta… Polaroid android? (Sorry…)

Interview: Ultraísta

Published on October 29th, 2012 | Jonny Abrams

Rocksucker was left suitably spellbound by the mesmerising recent debut album from Ultraísta, a three-piece comprised of Joey Waronker, legendary producer Nigel Godrich and Dimbleby & Capper/FEMME songstress Laura Bettinson, so we fired the latter over some questions in the hope of finding out a little more about its genesis, and whether or not we can expect to be treated to a second instalment…

Congratulations on a splendid first Ultraísta album. Are there any plans for a second?

We’ll see. No definitive plans at the moment but we’ve certainly got enough ideas. So maybe…

How did the writing and recording processes take shape? Were you given tracks to come up with vocals and lyrics for?

Every song was completely different. Sometimes we worked on ideas separately, others we did all together. We spent a lot of time just hanging out.

How successfully would you say you channelled Whigfield (!)?

Oh Whigfield. This is a bit of an in joke between myself and Nigel. When we were trying out vocal ideas for the record, if I was going a bit west he’d shout “a bit more Whigfield” through the glass. You know. Catchy. Simplistic melodies. Strangely “Saturday Night” was the first ever cassette I bought as a kid.

Do you know how Nigel came across your work in the first place?

Yes. We were introduced through his management. I was spending some time gigging in London and I was in my second year at Goldsmsiths university in SE London. He came to one of my gigs in a pub in Old Street and seemed to enjoy what I was doing. I was essentially doing a one-woman show with a Loop Station and beats. I think the cyclical, repetitive but pop nature of my music appealed to him and he thought it would fit nicely with what him and Joey had already starting working on for this project.

Which of your forthcoming live dates are you particularly looking forward to, if any?

New York! I’ve never been and I am looking forward to spending some time there. Nigel and Joey seem to have a lot of friends there so it will be nice to experience the city with a gang that know it well.

How was your recent show with Crewdson? Rocksucker would have loved to make it down; his Gravity album from last year is superb, one of our albums of 2011 in fact…

It was a lot of fun. Crewdson studied with me at university and actually we now live on the same street. He’s a good friend of mine and I’ve always enjoyed his work and seeing him develop from the very beginnings of his musical career to where he is exploring now is very exciting for me. We actually recently started making some music together for a project called Eckoclick: http://soundcloud.com/eckoclick

Is there any more FEMME work on the horizon?

Oh yes. There will be some music and live dates in the new year.

Can we ask if Nigel has many good stories about people he’s worked with over the years? And if so, do you feel able to share any?

I’m sure he has hundreds and I’ve certainly heard a few good ones but you’d have to ask him to spill the beans.

Are there any obscure and/or up-and-coming bands that you’d like to recommend or give a shout-out to?

Yeah. There are a few bands out there that are exciting. Buffalo Ink. Bitches. La Shark. Saltwater Samurai. They’re all born of the SE London scene so get them in your ears.

Finally, if you had to spend the rest of your days in solitary confinement, with just the entire back catalogues of five different musical artists for company, whose would you choose?

Bjork

The Ronettes

Dusty Springfield

Kraftwerk

Prince

Laura Bettinson, thank you.

Ultraísta - Ultraísta

Ultraísta is out now on Temporary Residence. For more information, please visit www.ultraista.co.uk

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About the Author

Editor of Rocksucker and the website's founder, Jonny is passionate about the music he listens to, both good and bad, as well as interviewing his favourite musicians.