Interview by F Piralla
Interview – 4 December 2003
On December 1 An Pierlé released her UK debut album HELIUM SUNSET through Helicopter Records. In 1995 she took part in a rock contest with a cover of Gary Newman’s ARE FRIENDS ELECTRIC? and four years later she releases her first album MUD STORIES in Belgium, 1999.
How does your second album [HELIUM SUNSET] differ from the first?
The first album was a collection of songs in which the only instruments used were a piano and my voice. It went really well in Belgium. I wanted to take time and be very careful with the second album. I didn’t want big producers involved so I started writing songs with my boyfriend and guitarist Koen Gisen. We experimented with new instruments and it went well. It was a big step for me because I come from a piano background and I’ve always played in theatres before. It’s very mellow. The kind of music you want to listen by the fire.
Why did it take two years for the second album to come out?
I think it’s important to take time. We are not an instant radio hit. All we do is play and play to create a reputation. In this way we build up a different relationship with the audience. It builds up slowly and gives me time to think my next step.
You’ve played more than a 100 gigs. Which venues did you prefer?
We played in theatres, festivals with 200 000 people, small gigs… I like them all! Small venues are mystical and fragile. At the big venues you have the challenge of conquering new fans. Small gigs are stronger if you play them right. There’s a constant search for musicality and adaptation.
You are very successful in Belgium, France and Italy. Are you planning to tour in the UK at all?
We hope to be able to come to the UK, The album was entirely constructed in the studio so it has more depth when you play it live.
Who are your musical idols?
Early Roxy Music, both classic and rock music in general. I like Johnny Cash. I steal from everyone and make it different. I like Roxy Music’s atmosphere: decadent melodic extravaganza and I like bands like Radiohead, Talk Talk, Libertines and Elliot Smith.
You’re Belgian – why do you sing in English and not French?
Belgium is so small and there is a big influence of UK and US music. We listen to English every day and it’s a link to rock and pop idioms. It comes naturally.
HELIUM SUNSET has just been released in the UK but it’s not a ‘new’ album. Have you got new material on the way?
I’m working on new material. When you’re on tour you have lots of ideas but no time. Last November we worked on 13 new songs for an ‘electronic project’. We are experimenting a lot with the computer to create a new sound. I don’ t know when the new album will come out. It could be anything from six months to a year.