Welsh musician Cate Le Bon will perform at Dunedin’s 50 Gorillas tonight, as part of a five-
date nationwide tour. The Star reporter Brenda Harwood made contact with her to ask some questions about her life and career:
So you are on your way back to New Zealand for a five-date tour – you will be coming from a cold winter to a pretty hot summer. Are you ready for that? How difficult is it to make that kind of transition?
I am always ready for that. I was recently in Berlin where the cold was a different variety from the Welsh cold and, not to sound like an old lady, but it seems to have taken residence in my bones. I will be lying in the sun like a greasy cat as soon as I’m off the plane.
You have recently completed a tour of the UK, which I know went very well.So will we be hearing many of the same songs here in New Zealand? Are you focusing on a particular period of your career, or will they be ranging across it?
It will be a similar pool of songs.Old ones reinvented and new ones that were written on piano as well as a cover of one of my all time favourite songs . . . all stripped back from the studio recordings. It’s been really rewarding and truly terrifying playing them in such an intimate setting.
Your performance here in Dunedin will be supported by Death & The Maiden, do you know much about them? Have you selected your own support acts, or have they been suggest to you?
I have not but I am very much looking forward to hearing them play. I do know that Dunedin is somewhat of a musical gold mine.
2018 was a very busy year for you, with the release of “Drinks” with Tim Presley, collaborating with Bradford Cox, and also studying furniture in the Lakes District. I have read that you wanted to study furniture making to have a break from the whirlwind of your music career – did it have the desired effect? Are you feeling energised and excited about touring again? And can you make a nice chair or cabinet now? That would be a very handy skill to have!
I now have skills that mean I am of use. I can make a chair – it being `nice’ is objective – but you can sit on it and it will hold you. It was the perfect time to take a step back and
readdress my relationship with music _ become a fan again and remember that it is something that I find nourishing and not just draining. Robert Fripp said “If you love music, become a plumber” and I now know what he means.I feel like I’ve re-addressed the balance so the focus isn’t all on music and that makes it far more carefree and exciting.
What are your memories of New Zealand, and what are you looking forward to during your trip here? Will there be time for sightseeing?
My last and only trip to New Zealand was very much about meeting Dan Ward’s family.He played drums with me for seven years before moving back to Auckland and had become like family to me and the band so when we were offered an Australian tour we set up and Auckland show so that we could be in the fold of his other “real” family and see his mother
land. We took the boat to Waiheke Island which was magical and again to a volcanic island, I think it was Rangitoto? We drove to Piha which was like another planet . . so unbelievably beautiful and thats just around Auckland, so I’m preparing myself for an overload of natural wonder and an onslaught of wonderful people.Ideally I’d like to get one wild swim in a day. And, at the risk of sounding like a 5 year old, I want to see an Orca or two.
And after this tour, what will be your next adventure? Are you continuing touring, or are you planning on doing some more writing and recording?
After this tour I’m going to Marfa, TX to build a chair as part of the Marfa Myths festival – I
cannot wait for that, to have some dedicated time set aside for furniture building on Donald Judd’s old stomping ground of all the places.And after that it’s getting ready for a lot of touring the new album which I’m very much looking forward to – hopefully I’ll return to NZ with the band in tow at some point. Fingers crossed.