Wednesday, 12 January 2011
Cocknbullkid interview: “I'm not flying the flag for genitals.”
Anyone who has heard Cocknbullkid tracks such as 'Clean Apart' or 'I'm Not Sorry' will be aware that Cocknbullkid is generally rather good. However, anyone who has heard the new Cocknbullkid single 'One Eyed Closed' will be aware that Cocknbullkid is completely and utterly amazing.
Cocknbullkid is the creation of one Anita Blay - a self confessed 'non-musical' musician with a ruthless approach to board games and psychotic tendencies when it comes to dealing with the pigeon menace.
We sat down with Anita to talk about Monopoly, the weirdest thing she has ever seen in church, genitals and oh yes, her forthcoming album, 'Adulthood'...
Hello Cocknbullkid. Are you proud to be the only popstar on the planet with the word ‘cock’ in your name?
I do feel like I might be the only musician in the world with it in my name, yes. I’m not flying the flag for genitals, I’m flying the flag for poultry. It’s not the cock and ball kid – it’s not to do with cocks and balls, it’s cockerels and bulls!
Why did you lose the ‘the’ from your name?
Snappier. More concise. Wanted to get to the point really, keep it nice and neat.
You’ve flooded the internet with releases, MP3s and downloads over the past few years and now you are finally ready to release your debut album. Does it feel like a long time coming?
Yes, it’s been a while and it feels good and strange to have my album ‘done’. I spent five years trying to complete an album and so obviously I’ve had various attempts and drafts at the album but never the finished article – which I guess that’s what we have now. I’ve got the album finished and it isn’t anything I ever thought I’d have the discipline to do. I like to make mistakes and just put it out there. But it’s different when other people are working on it and you’re signed to a label – you can’t just give things away.
Your new single ‘One Eye Closed’ is a little more epic than the urban, electronic sounds of your earlier work. Have you gone mainstream?
With my previous efforts, I always thought that was me trying to write a pop song or discovering how to write a song. I’ve always seen what I do as a craft and something that I’m always looking to hone. I don’t play any instruments, technically I’m not a musical person – I enjoy singing and writing music. I feel that the album is representative of me now and a new confidence in being able to write songs. It’s one of the hardest things to write a concise, three-minute pop song that people from A to Z are going to understand and enjoy. And that’s what I’ve tried to do on the album – write pop tunes.
Your style has changed as well. You’ve gone from cool to diva. Is this all part of the more mainstream Cocknbullkid?
I don’t believe in fashion. I go through personal phases and feeling a different way – sometimes feeling more feminine, sometimes feeling a little more butch – and I will just dress accordingly. When I shaved my head I did it because I wanted to, I was in a place where I didn’t feel like I wanted to be pretty. I didn’t feel very feminine at the time.
You recently worked with Chilly Gonzales. How was that?
He’s very lyric driven, because he’s an artist as well as a producer, he’s very accommodating and nurturing of just ‘being you’ without compromise. Sometimes if you work with someone who’s isn’t an artist and is strictly a producer it’s harder for them to understand that you just want to say what you want to say.
He’s famously chess-obsessed. Did he teach you to play?
He attempted to! He loves it and that’s his thing. I’ve been trying to get the guys in my band to teach me because I’d like to learn but as yet, I don’t know how to play chess.
What is your board game of choice?
I’m pretty good at Monopoly. Obviously you aim for all the purples and the green properties – all the expensive ones. I think you need to keep focused. I used to play with my cousin and he would literally try to buy everything but if you keep it specialist you’ll have the advantage. I haven’t played it for a very long time though. You don’t want to end up with just the water works.
La Roux recently claimed that ‘synth music is dead’. Do you agree?
I don’t know if I believe anything is ever over. Things are cyclical. Things go and come back. Maybe right now we’ve got a lot of synth artists and people are getting sick of it. It’s not dead, it’s just taking a nap. I’m not a person to be bound by genre. If a song is shit, and it’s synth pop – then it’s a shit song. If a song is amazing and it’s synth pop – it’s just an amazing song.
Let’s talk about your very good new video. It was filmed in Tooting – not a usual location for a video shoot...
It put Tooting on the map. I thought it was really pretty!
You're seen working dressed up as a monster in the video. What’s the worst job you’ve ever had in real life?
I’ve done all the call centre things – and that’s pretty soul destroying, being told to ‘fuck off’ all the time over the phone. I have done everything from double glazing to surveys on mobile phone providers. You’d just end up phoning lonely old women and it was a real disappointment when they wanted to talk, so the survey took about an hour. Those jobs were so tedious. I think it would be more fun to dress up as a monster for a living.
There’s a supernatural element to the video. Have you ever had a supernatural experience?
When I was younger, I used to have a friend that no one else could see who I really believed was there. I definitely believe in ‘other’ things. My mum was quite god-fearing so we went to a lot of Pentecostal churches where they performed exorcisms. There were loads of stories that I’ll save for another time, but I’ve witnessed loads of exorcisms. I put it in inverted commas though – what someone might call an exorcism is really just a big dramatic production. It’s brilliant though, it’s fascinating.
What’s the scariest thing you’ve ever found in your bedroom?
Once a bird flew into my room and I have a huge phobia of pigeons and birds. I just don’t like that they have the advantage of flight, so when it was around me in a confined space – it was over. I had to run out of the house. I left the window open so by the time I made my way back inside it had flown out. I can’t even think about it. Even thinking about it now is really disturbing me.
Have you ever killed an animal?
Jesus! Have I killed an animal? No. I’ve killed flies and shit. I would kill a pigeon in a heartbeat. If I had the opportunity to kill a pigeon, I would.
Well, on the theme of avian murder, let's bring this to a close. Thank you very much, the very brilliant Cocknbullkid.
Her single 'One Eye Closed' is out now. The album 'Adulthood' is due for release February 2011.