IT HAD ONLY BEEN the 35 years since she’d last trodden the boards in a meaningful fashion. But, against all the odds, Kate Bush’s Before The Dawn presentation at Hammersmith Apollo in the autumn of 2014 was an extraordinary triumph.
Bush has never been fond of explaining herself, but with a live album now commemorating those magical nights, she agreed to explore the show and the creative journey that led to it exclusively with MOJO, in an 11-page interview in the magazine that hits UK newsstands on Tuesday, November 22.
“It was exciting and very moving, very touching,” she says of the extravaganza. “The audiences came with us on that journey every night.”
Speaking to MOJO’s Jim Irvin, who first met Bush in 1978 when she arrived to do interviews at UBN – a radio network broadcasting exclusively to United Biscuits factory staff – she maps out the hard work and deep thought that went into transforming her two epic song-suites – The Ninth Wave from 1985 masterpiece Hounds Of Love and A Sky Of Honey from 2005’s Aerial – into a visual spectacular. The process brought together musicians, dancers, lighting designers, carpenters, puppeteers and more.
“Am I a natural collaborator…? Well, as long as I have total creative control, yes.”
“Am I a natural collaborator…?” she ponders in response to one of MOJO’s questions. “Well, as long as I have total creative control, yes.”
There are surprise revelations. For instance, she originally imagined she might not be in the show at all. “I thought it would be nice if I got someone else to be in it,” she says, “and I could oversee the whole show from the outside.”
There were moments, she concedes, especially when a filmed sequence obliged her to be suspended for six hours in a tank of water at Shepperton Studios – after which she contracted mild hypothermia – when she questioned her sanity.
“It’s such an horrific scenario isn’t it?” she says. “Absolutely terrifying, and it needed to feel like there was some real struggle involved.”
Bush goes on to talk about the original 1984 concept for The Ninth Wave, the role of her son Bertie, the fate of the film of the show that was shot, her views on the record business and Bowie’s Blackstar album.
“Music is being continually devalued,” she tells Irvin of the challenges facing artists in 2016. “You have to fight for your music not to be treated as a disposable item.”
Also in the new issue of MOJO magazine: we decree the 50 Best Albums Of 2016; the Sex Pistols’ Steve Jones reveals the pain that drove his punk rebellion; The Band’s Robbie Robertson tells his side of a controversial tale. Plus: the madness of Oasis’s Be Here Now; the legend of James Booker; albums by the Rolling Stones, Pete Doherty and Chris Wood; and Pete Burns: the last interview.
Not to forget this month’s FREE CD. Dream Forever is a Kate Bush-inspired, 15-track dream pop compendium, with songs by The Anchoress, Nite Jewel, Haley Bonar, School Of Seven Bells and more.