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Street freaks: interview with Roshin Murphy

As the voice of Moloko, Roshin Murphy darted from the British club scene to the top of the pop charts in the mid-90s.

The performer, with the help of her third solo album Hairless Toys, came up with a minimalistic sound with discouraging effects, going from experimental trip-hop and pop music to the masses.
Verena Reigers listened carefully and found an inner freak with a love of discipline in the artist.

In Berlin, freaks can not be found either in the city center, or in Friedrichshain, neither in Kreuzberg, nor in Neukölln (administrative districts of Berlin – approx. Ed.). People who do not fit into their surroundings because they do not want to adapt can most often be found at the Zoological Garden station. Not far from the Kurfürstendamm and the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church, the homeless, prostitutes, punks, and all those who have been identified by society as flawed and torn out of its canvas are making ends meet.

Meanwhile, in the immediate vicinity of the station, in the bar of a hipster hotel, Roshin Murphy answers questions from the press. The singing component of the Moloko team has long been recognized as a solo artist. Naming her a freak is more likely to be taken as a compliment to her creativity. The fact that Murphy, of course, takes this concept differently and that in her creative activity is as little extraordinary as in the working day of some white-collar worker, can be understood from her third album, “Hairless Toys”. And in a conversation with her. A casual ensemble with a fitted jacket that is worn on a nee Irish looks like an exquisite school uniform. Murphy got a little cold, tired of the interview marathon and as cold as milk, in whose honor the group was named.

Although the duo were not just a professional couple, Moloko never sounded particularly fervent. Pop anthems like “The Time Is Now” and “Sing It Back” were rather bought up with a clear structure, strict cyclicity and a hard beat, sprinkled with a proportionate proportion of dance sequins. Although their relationship ended in 2003, Mark Bridon and Roshin Murphy worked together until 2011.

The world has been waiting for the new Moloko album for 12 years. Instead, Murphy released two solo albums. The first, “Ruby Blue,” in 2005, was produced by Matthew Herbert. Then, in 2007, “Overpowered”, with which the performer was to establish herself as an alternative to Madonna in the pop world.

She did not succeed, although Murphy admits that this was not the main task: “My solo career was started in the first place in order to find out if I can even write songs and record music without my partner.”

Can. Although “Hairless Toys” was released 8 years after the first album, its appearance is due precisely to the events of that time. Last year, the singer recorded the EP “Mi Senti” along with Italian producer and father of her second child, Sebastiano Properci. The musician and composer Eddie Stevens took part in the work, supporting Murphy while still working on “Ruby Blue”, and prompting that it was time to work on a new solo album.

While Murphy’s previous albums have been conceived as pop projects targeting dance floors, Hairless Toys is moving toward simplification and restraint.

“That’s right,” Murphy says, nodding with a smile: “Obviously, I didn’t want to record pop albums like“ Overpowered ”anymore. I really didn’t really plan anything except, of course, the style of the record that I wanted release on time. ”

During the recording of “Hairless Toys”, the singer ignored (at least initially) modern studio equipment and old-fashionedly recorded songs verse after verse. And in order to destroy the established structure, she refrained from linearity of lines and repeating verses. So “Hairless Toys” as if wriggling in different directions. There are practically no hooks, but there are certain points that fall into memory and, when you listen to it again, replace the refrains. Despite all these experiments, Hairless Toys does not sound chaotic and uncoordinated. The reason for this is the fact that Murphy is precisely positioning his work.

“If I’ve learned anything over the years, it’s that you don’t have to wait for inspiration to write a song,” says the performer. This knowledge, to which she was introduced by former producer Matthew Herbert. “When I started recording Ruby Blue with Matthew, he had a clear daily schedule starting at 11 and ending at 18,” says Murphy, describing a producer who didn’t particularly appreciate sleepless nights spent on work. “I had a feeling that we should be well prepared so that meeting in the studio does not waste time.”

Thanks to such a strict work ethic, Murphy learned to sit in front of a blank sheet of paper until something came to her mind. This usually happened within half an hour, she claims.

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