The Taffetta Punk Files - Liz Prendergast on 'Skyclad'

Since 2001, we have been holding out, breath, as they say, baited, for the next installment in the exciting saga that is Bluehorses.

Since the new line-up, there has been an electricity on the stage that is truly infectious and utterly irresistible. How can we possibly have waited so long for the next chapter which, as many already know, is called SKYCLAD? Who knows? I think we've been exceedingly patient. But, the wait is finally over.

Hoorah! Those of you who have already laid their mitts on a copy will know what I'm talking about in this here interview with the fabulously glamorous Liz Prendergast. Those who don't know what it sounds like will, by the end, be chomping at the bit to get hold of one. (Sorry, Mr. Neddy. Nothing personal.)

So, sit back, relax, chew some hay or drink some coffee, whichever your preference, and take a few minutes to read what our lovely Liz has to say.............

TP: This is the first release since 2001. How are you feeling about the completion of this limited edition EP?
LP: Really excited... The way it all came together was so natural, everything fell into place seamlessly.

TP: There is a rockier feel to this EP than Bluehorses fans may be used to. Is this a step in a new direction?
LP: A rockier feel?... I don't think it's that much rockier than, say, Bigger Gun Than Yew or Helen (version 1) or Big White Telephone. Fans can look forward to a complete Bluehorses experience in this EP, it has all the elements that make it 'us.'

TP: Perhaps this impression is to do with the line-up? Nathan and Jakey have been with the band for a couple of years, now, but this is their first recording as part of Bluehorses. You appear to be comfortable, playing together.
LP: Every Bluehorses line-up has made recordings that were products of their time and each one unique in its own way. To answer the question more directly, yes, we are comfortable playing together, it's fireworks on stage, it gels very quickly and writing together is very exciting.

TP: We all know Bluehorses are influenced by rock as much as folk, mixing traditional and modern sounds. Do you think perhaps the band will slot neatly into this new generation of heavy guitar riffs and strong female vocals, along with, of course, that trademark BH fiddle-driven sound?
LP: Definitely... and the fiddle-driven sound will ensure that we keep our identity. I love the music that's emerging at the moment, it's so full of energy and passion. I have always liked the 'heavier' end of the music market, but still really love artists like Last Night's Fun and Blowsabella, both having a dark 'twist' here and there. Bluehorses slot in just nicely.

TP: An example of rock fused with another genre is the Finnish Nightwish, whose vocalist Tarja Turunen is a classically trained opera singer. Is it Bluehorses' intention to make people more aware that folk doesn't deserve the stigma that's still attached to it?
LP: Definitely. Folk isn't about putting your finger in your ear and wearing Arran sweaters! Bluehorses have never been 'folk' in the traditional sense of the word, we have always pushed the boundaries, taking influences from very diverse sources. As I've said before, music should make you FEEL something, pain or joy, elation or sadness. Folk, though, I think, only has a 'perceived' stigma, in the right place at the right time, it can be so powerful, a lone voice singing a lament can squeeze the very last tear from even the most 'I don't like folk music' eye. You listen to Denny Bartley of Last Night's Fun and you'll know exactly what I mean. Bluehorses take 'elements' and mix them together in a way only we can. I like to think that our music is ours, and ours alone. You can't easily compare us to one band – yes, bits are Floyd, Curved Air, Zeppelin, ELP, Blowsabella, Afrocelt, the list goes on, but I don't think you can truly say, 'Oh, yes, they sound like...' Which I think is a good thing. Music would never progress if we all played safe.

TP: 'Skyclad,' in pagan circles, means 'naked.' I take it you won't be using its literal meaning on stage, so perhaps this is a way of describing the new sound of Bluehorses?
LP: Yes, I suppose so, here we are, this is us... We are a feeling, a colour, a taste, that's how it is to me. Bluehorses can make me cry, laugh, or feel very 'cheeky,' transport me to another place or keep me bound. 'Black is the Colour' makes the hairs on my neck stand up, I just love the way the guitar weaves around the vocal line as the music 'lulls' one minute then 'spins' the next. All the tracks mean something to me. So, yes, here we are, this is us, Skyclad, but watch this space, as there is even more to come.

TP: Is there a specific reason why Bluehorses have chosen to release a four-track EP, as opposed to waiting for a whole studio album? I presume you've been getting some deal of pressure from fans for a new release?
LP: It has been a while since 'Ten Leagues Beyond the Wild World's End' was released, and there have been so many ideas bubbling under the surface, just waiting to explode! Also the line-up. This is the first recording we have done as this incarnation, and felt the need to put digital pen to disk, as it were; we wanted to give the fans a 'taster' of what was to come. The album will not be too far behind. Definitely watch this space! ***

So, are you hooked yet? Have you got your copy? If not, why isn't your cheque already in the post, winging its way towards Bluehorse Towers? Liz has said her piece. What is there left? What else will convince you? Please. For your own sanity. You have to own this EP. Get in there quick.

© TaffetaPunk, Liz Prendergast, 2004/5.