As If By Magic: Carter Tutti Void Interviewed

Chris Carter, Cosey Fanni Tutti and Nik Void have made one of tQ's favourite albums so far this year, f(x). John Doran interviews the trio at the C&C Music Factory in the Norfolk

Leave the capitol! Exit this Roman shell!

The Fall ‘Leave The Capitol’

Look out of the window. The first thing you see is roadkill.

Sun baked black iron tracks – 4’8.5” parallel, all the way past the vanishing point, until they hit the buffers in King’s Lynn – throb and groan. Oil tacky track ballast between weathered sleepers – the home of the most hardy and sonically traumatised insects in England. The last combine harvesters of the season, plunder fields, in giant clouds of dust. The solar glare reflected off dirty canal water is blinding. Sun dopey cub scouts march in line along the towpath; Greater London to their backs and all of Norfolk in front of them. Every tenth holds aloft a pennant on a long wooden pole. There’s a momentary premonition of an exodus of the young. A glimpse of an evacuation yet to come maybe.

As the train pulls into a station I see the burst animal lying, tits up, in road guttering. What was it? An unlucky badger or an unloved dog?

Look out of the window. The first thing you feel is guilt.

I literally can’t remember the last time I sat on a train and did nothing other than listen to music and look out of the window. Who has the time for such indolence! However, f(x), the new album by Carter Tutti Void, demands full attention is paid to it. It simply doesn’t work as background music. It simply won’t let up til it’s done.

Four years ago Chris Carter and Cosey Fanni Tutti of Throbbing Gristle and Nik Void of Factory Floor were invited by Mute records to collaborate on a 40 minute live performance, as part of the Short Circuit festival. The intimate show was held in the small studio stage of London’s Roundhouse theatre on Friday 13 May, 2011 before an audience of 200. The recording of the evening was released as the Transverse album on Mute, the following March (and for what it’s worth, it was my favourite LP of that year).

After returning with some live shows a year ago, the group have now released their first studio album f(x) on Industrial records. The mathematical symbol of the title perhaps giving lie to the type of knotty, organic and darkly psychedelic music contained within. This is a very English record and one that seems to throb to a pulse which easily predates the electronic equipment that it was recorded on. No clean propulsive lines for this statement; no efficient autobahns; this is not the Germanic heartbeat of modernity. Neither is it the febrile locked grid of Motor City techno. This is the sound of a tangle of backstreets, footpaths, bridleways, towpaths and Roman Roads built up chaotically and organically over centuries with no blueprint. Impossible for most to fathom. Impossible for most to navigate.

This is England. Such a small nation but so many different ways to get lost.

When the train stops just short of the buffers Chris Carter is standing by the ticket barriers waiting for me, beaming. He drives me in a jet black, energy efficient car, silently out of town, past arable fields, drainage ditches, canals, over bridges, past endless hedgerows. Not that I’d tell you anyway but I can’t remember the name of the place they live in and I couldn’t find it again if my life depended on it. From what I see of it, it would be a stretch to call it a village even. They live in a converted schoolhouse in what Carter calls “a one horse town”, where the only local pub closed shortly after they moved in over 30 years ago. I wonder for one paranoid second if their house doesn’t appear on OS maps; if there is just a blank white space like there is for GCHQ and RAF Fylingdales.

Perhaps this is the point though. When I get out of the car and go into their (lovely) house, I realise that I’m literally in the middle of nowhere. Cosey Fanni Tutti and Nik Void are already sat round the kitchen table when we walk into the room. Just visible through an open door is their home studio where f(x) was recorded.

In the very economical press release that came with your new album, you describe f(x) as “expanding and exploring onwards” from Transverse. So when it came time to do your first studio album, did you start from scratch or did you look at Transverse and say, ‘Well, we’ve got a sound, let’s build on that’?

Cosey Fanni Tutti: The release of Transverse triggered loads of requests for us to play live. When we went to play those live dates I wanted to keep the free/improvisational element of what we had originally done and to see where it went. I didn’t want [CTV] to turn into a kind of band that did a certain kind of thing. So we just rolled along with it. When it came to doing this studio album, we had the same approach. We set up our home studio as if we were going to do a live gig. The three of us just played together. That’s what I wanted it to be. I wanted it to be completely free; to let the sounds go where they wanted to go. I wanted [the sounds] to weave and interweave, to ebb and flow; to rise and fall. I wanted the sounds to do their own thing.

Nik Void: I think if we were asked to do an album before we did the first CTV show, it might have come out differently. It may have had a different sound but this didn’t happen because the first show was supposed to be a one off collaboration where we could do whatever we wanted. When I came here to rehearse for that show I brought the tools I usually use. I can only do what I do. I felt I was just playing what I normally play but maybe letting go a little bit more than usual. And that’s how the sound came about it wasn’t a case of playing and then thinking, ‘Oh, that sounds good, let’s do that again.’ It’s what came to us naturally.

Chris Carter: The workflow of this album was exactly the same wasn’t it?

CFT: Yeah. Before the Roundhouse gig we just set up in there as well. I think that’s our modus operandi really. For me having another guitarist there really made the difference to me. I don’t know if it did to you…

NV: Yeah.

CFT: You sort of bounce off each other or I could sit back and watch while Nik was developing something good. It wasn’t just about bashing sounds out. It wasn’t about that at all. I surrender to whatever sound is coming out and I just contribute to it. It’s all about that. It’s not about me, Nik or Chris as individuals. It’s about the sounds that everyone is producing. That’s why it’s called f(x) because it’s not about us at all really.

As much as you set up in the same way, the very fact that this time you knew you were aiming to release an album must have affected you on some level or other though.

CC: I guess it did. The biggest difference with recording this was that we had some rhythms in mind in advance that we could work with and we played through the entire set live three times recording it and the album was assembled from those three takes. We’d take a bit from the first take, a bit from the second and a bit from the third and assemble them into a track. Technically it’s like a live album but recorded in a studio. It’s a real mix. Some tracks consist of pieces from two takes, some from all three takes but there weren’t any that were just one take. We’ve taken the best elements from all the takes.

CFT: It’s the most base form of giving yourself a huge library of sounds basically without having to write music, or chords, or choruses or anything else. And then just getting all of those elements together and condensing them down to give you the same feeling you had when you were playing it. When we play live – on stage or in the studio – the music has its own momentum and power. It’s quite strange.

CC: We tend not to put a time limit on when we play. So if [Cosey and Nik] are coming up with great ideas then we keep on playing and recording.

CFT: You reach a stage of disembodiment with it. And then you finally realise that it’s finished. Not that you have but the music itself has found its own end.

It’s a way of working that would necessitate a home set up or a lot of money really isn’t it? Because unless a band was loaded or had a good home set up they wouldn’t be able to do this.

CFT: That’s ironic you say that because we’ve got a home set up due to the fact we couldn’t afford to go to the studio! Being set up at home was cheaper. Chris made his own gear and the rest of it – it’s history really but it was all because we couldn’t afford the studio.

CC: I mean the last time we recorded like this in a studio was with TG in Berlin. We rented a studio for ten days and we were going to work in a similar way I guess even though the sound was very different. And that cost us an absolute fortune and it didn’t really work. We went way over budget on studio time alone. But here you can keep on going for hours and hours, break off and come back the next day.

Why did you settle on three takes?

CC: Post production wise, having more than three takes would have been a nightmare, trying to blend it all together afterwards. It would have been a lot of work and we didn’t want it to be a lot of work. Transverse was a relatively easy album to record.

NV: Also we would have lost that instinctive nature of it by doing it again and again.

CFT: Yeah, it can get too manicured can’t it?

How does the editing process work?

CFT: [LAUGHS] Are you after our studio secrets? No way… don’t tell him… he’s writing a studio secrets book. You can hear what’s missing on a track and you can tell when you’ve played something that doesn’t fit in. Maybe there isn’t enough reverb on it, maybe it needs dirtying up a bit.

CC: You can hear on some of the tracks where it suddenly goes up a gear and that can be where it’s gone from one take to another.

CFT: Or the mood has suddenly changed and you start ramping it up. I can feel it building away underneath. You can feel it simmering away underneath, building slowly but then it starts coming louder and louder and louder. And I love that bit because it’s more intuitive. It’s almost like your innards working – like you’ve got your heart beating and everything else is churning around it, building up and coming back down again. I love that part of it.

NV: I wasn’t there for the editing process but Chris and Cosey brought a couple of tracks over for me to listen to. And it was nice not being there because it must be so immersive to listen to it that much but not having been part of the editing process, it was so fresh hearing it. I could tell where the tracks cut from one take to another but I thought they sounded so natural at the same time. I could remember how the tracks built up naturally and gradually but the editing added a dramatic element to the tracks, and they probably needed it. And that’s the biggest difference from Transverse to f(x).

CC: Live we just tend to build it but being on record we needed to make the change more obvious.

So tell me how you made the tracks in that room. First of all what pre-production did you do Chris?

CC: Yeah, I made the beats because that’s all I do. I had an Elektron drum machine going through some effects, some Kaos pads with some loops on them. I played some ideas to Cosey and Nik to see if they liked them or not and then we’d literally just play those beats and then jam over the top of that.

And what equipment were you two using?

CFT: Guitar, vocals, Alchemy, Ableton – I had some clips in Ableton, with sequencers and drum programmes, do I could make a counter rhythm to what Chris was doing.

CC: Did you use a cornet?

CFT: No, I’ve not used a cornet in Carter Tutti Void have I?

NV: No. I’m waiting!

CFT: Are you? Really… Oh right.

NV: I had the same set-up as on the first album but I’ve introduced a few new elements like the H9 pedal and I stuck more to the guitar on this record. I used a sampler first time round but not this time. Chris and Cosey sent me snippets of the tracks we were going to be playing over, so I had chance to really work on my settings in advance.

CC: Your guitar sounds quite jangly at times, I quite like it.

NV: Yeah, it does. I’m surprised it doesn’t fall apart. I’ve used the same embarrassing studio rack I’ve used since I was 19, and I’ve got a whole box full of them because they’re cheap and they break.

Is it always really obvious to you Chris, whether you’re listening to Nik or Cosey or are there any bits where it blurs and you can’t really tell?

CC: All of the above. Sometimes I have no idea who is doing what. Because I had the benefit of looking at the multi-track when I was doing the editing, I could see who was doing what. But when I listened back to it recently, I really had difficulty hearing. I know the jangly stuff is Nik’s but with some of the other guitar bits I have difficulty telling who is doing what.

NV: We have difficulty with this playing live.

CFT: Sometimes we both come in at the same time with a noise that sounds similar. You just sense that there’s a frequency bare. There’s a space in the song that needs to be filled and you both fill it at once. So we look at each other to work out who will carry on.

CC: There’s a lot of eye contact going on live. I like the layers of guitar you get with CTV… that’s what makes it sound different to a techno record or whatever. The other thing is that nothing is synchnronised. We don’t use anything to sync everything up, which you might expect with a group using drum machines and electronics. So you get a kind of slippage.

NV: I think it’s a fuller album. There’s a lot more going on.

CFT: I think it’s charged in a different way. When Chris and me were mixing it, it did feel like an invocation. It did get to the stage where Chris and I were looking to see if something had appeared behind us. Do you remember Nik, when you came over to listen to it and we were going, ‘Oh, that’s weird, that’s a bit weird.’

CC: It’s got more depth than the first album maybe but then the first one was a live album.

CFT: It’s more dense without us trying to make it dense. Personally I didn’t want it to be anything that it didn’t want to be. John, you said it was more dancier… maybe that’s from playing live. Because when we play live through a big PA and you can feel the bass you get really into that.

CC: And you can feel the audience picking up on that and maybe we tried to carry it on into the album.

So when I last spoke to [Chris and Cosey], which would have been just after the release of Transverse in 2012, Chris you said that you felt maybe that Nik and Cosey were holding back on their guitar playing…

NV: Oh really!

CC: I think they were, because it was so new, the whole concept for us was new… two female guitarists. And I think they were waiting to see what the other one would do slightly whereas on this they just went for it.

CFT: He’s been talking about us behind our backs. We’ll have to sort him out!

CC: There’s more confidence I think.

CFT: For me, I didn’t want to impose anything on [Nik]; I wanted to give you space to see what you could do in your own right. Because I can go crashing in and it’s not always productive. As the only guitarist in Carter Tutti and TG – other than Gen’s bass which he didn’t play that much second time round. It was very much my own space to occupy. So in that respect I didn’t want to take away any time from Nik if she wanted to come through and play guitar.

CC: I know they can both be quite polite with each other and one gives way to the other sometimes but I like it when they’re both playing together. I like the overlap.

CFT: But we don’t and we’re the guitarists… so shut yer mouth!

NV: I think our relationship has changed as well. Before hand I didn’t know [Cosey] that well but now I do. There’s a comfort now in feeling that you can play and not step on anyone’s toes. That very rarely happens. Usually when you meet up with a group of people to play, in a non-standard way, sometimes people don’t get it.

CFT: That’s true. It can be quite embarrassing with some people. It’s very unusual that you get people together and they’ll be like, ‘Yeah, that was great, where did that come from?’

CC: That’s part and parcel of collaborating and experimenting though. These aren’t songs with structure where people have a defined role.

CFT: That’s where you get into trouble you see… when you have defined roles people protect them and they’re so bombastic about it. You can hardly say, ‘Do you mind not singing there or do you mind not doing that drum there for so long… it’s really aggravating.’ And you’ve got to be able to say that to people when you’re working with them otherwise you’re never going to get anything decent done. But then you’ve got to be diplomatic don’t you? [LAUGHS]

Also when I spoke to you two in 2012, you said that Transverse was the most well-received thing you’d done in your entire career and I was wondering if you saw this maybe in negative terms. It can feel, from an outsider’s perspective, that in the past you’ve perhaps thrived on not having everyone love what you do; on confounding people.

CFT: I think it was a shock. I think to do something where you just abandon yourself to having a good time and then have it come back like that… it was like, ‘What?’ And how long did it take? 40 minutes? In 40 minutes we created that kind of response to a work but we can spend two years on an album and get trashed over it. And then 30 years later, have people say, ‘Oh actually that was fantastic that album.’ Well, thank you very much but that didn’t pay the bills in between. Sometimes it’s like that with tracks. They happen as if by magic and you think, ‘We’d better not tell anyone how easy it was to make that track because one, they won’t believe us that it was that easy to make and two, they’ll think it’s not worth anything. But I know loads of people who make work like this – artists and musicians – they have work magically appear and you think, ‘Wow, I can’t do anything else with it. It’s perfect it’s done.’ And you don’t know where it’s come from or what it is. It’s nice when it happens though.

CC: I don’t think we’ve ever had some many reviews written for one piece of work in one period of time before. We put them all up on the website and there were 80 reviews.

Talking about the live shows in 2014, there were only a few weeks between the ones in Hackney and the shows in Tilburg. But stylistically they felt like very different shows to me. So I was wondering how wide the parameters are for variety?

CFT: It’s the PA.

NV: It’s the PA and it also really depends on what kind of mood you’re in. To put out music that you’ve been very unguarded about – the first album was very true to ourselves – and then to have to go and perform that, I still get nervous in front of a crowd and nerves hold you back from letting go. The night in Tilburg was like that, I was very nervous. But if you go through a performance without thinking about it, that’s when you perform at your best.

CC: I don’t think people realise how much of an impact the venue, the PA and the audience has on what you’re doing on stage.

NV: And a lot of it is improvised isn’t it? Even though we have these tracks and certain settings on equipment but apart from setting my gear up and knowing what the basic rhythms will be that’s as far as I go in knowing what I’m going to do during the show. I don’t listen to recordings afterwards and think, ‘Oh, I must do that again.’ It’s all done from feel.

CC: I don’t have any notes at all, I just have a list of times, saying by this time you should be on this track.

[A friendly but confusing argument breaks out about one time on stage they were all playing different tracks to one another. It turns out it was Chris’ fault.]

CFT: It can be quite confusing. I’ve got three programmes running at any one time – my guitar rig, Alchemy and Ableton – as well as doing vocals, so I’m quite busy but it doesn’t feel like I am.

Do you record all the shows?

CC: We try to but it doesn’t work. We did get really good recordings from Oslo done on multitrack by an engineer. So that might be the next album.

I should admit at this point I’ve only just realised that Alchemy is a computer programme. I thought, ‘That is a bold statement, claiming to use an actual magical, alchemical process to make music.’

CFT: [LAUGHS] Maybe I actually do turn lead into gold.

In what notable ways is recording for Factory Floor and CTV different?

NV: Recording for CTV is so much easier because I’ll come in for a week and we’ll play together and then Chris and Cosey will take it away and edit it whereas with Factory Floor from the first process right through to mastering I’m involved. That’s the time consuming thing with Factory Floor; even though our music is quite minimal we start off with a lot of material initially and we have to choose what we like and take the other stuff away. Also it is more a case of building tracks rather than making a composition like it is with CTV. It’s not quite verse chorus verse chorus with Factory Floor but it’s still structured and I’ve also got more elements to contend with because I’ve got the vocals as well. What I’ve taken on board from being in Factory Floor is that we need to do it all ourselves. I’ve got a studio set up at home now and so has Gabe. I haven’t set foot in a professional studio for a long time. And you learn so much doing it this way. I process my vocals heavily and I know how I want them to sound and it’s often difficult to translate what I want into terms an engineer can understand. It’s just having that confidence to know that I can work all this stuff myself. And when I look at Chris and Cosey it gives you confidence. My set up is a lot more simple but it works.

CC: The basic workflow is the same though. If you’ve got a laptop, an interface and a mixer, you’ve got a studio haven’t you.

Now… it’s time to take you back through the mists of time elapsed…

CFT: Oh god…

Have I got it right that you all met after a Factory Floor show at the ICA at Cosey Club in 2010?

NV: Yeah.

Well, what was that like for you Nik? I knew you from before that point and I know you were already a big fan of Throbbing Gristle.

NV: Yeah. I think I was very nervous… I hid behind Paul Smith [TG/former Factory Floor manager] and let him do all the talking. I didn’t stop grinning. Especially when Cosey said she’d enjoyed it and had danced. I was beaming when I left the ICA that night.

CFT: When we first saw Factory Floor at the ICA we were watching from the mixing desk and it was great because you had to move to it and in quite a nice but involuntary way. Factory Floor were quite different then to what they are now. It was very organic then and I think that’s what I connected with, the way they were working off each other. And it was great because I didn’t have to think what I’d have to say to them afterwards. Usually when I go to see a band it’s like, ‘Oh fucking hell… I’ve heard this so many times.’ Or, ‘I’ve heard that preset so many times.’ No, it’s really good with people like Factory Floor or Haxan Cloak just to be able to enjoy music like that. It must be the same for people who make films, when they know all of the little techniques that can be employed. It must spoil watching films for them because they can’t get past that knowledge. And music and film are supposed to be the genres where you have the magic experience of not knowing how the art is made. It is supposed to just be. So when we first heard Factory Floor it was really refreshing for us.

How did it feed back for you when you became a temporary auxiliary member of Factory Floor?

CC: I was just given a brief. I was given notes and files and brief and I took it all home and learned it.

CFT: He was a factory worker!

CC: But I enjoyed it.

NV: He worked really hard on stage I can tell you that much. Gabe said, ‘Oh my God… I think I’m going to have a heart attack!’

CC: I think we were at Sonar and Gabe walked off stage and I wasn’t expecting it. And we carried on. We were like, ‘What the fuck?’ But I think he was just tired. But we carried on.

NV: In the great Chris Carter way… he slowly builds. It’s the same with CTV. It’s not like we start at full volume and that’s how it gets you.

You’ve all mentioned the fact that CTV has two female guitarists. But you both come from different backgrounds. Cosey, maybe it’s fair to say that you were an iconoclast of the instrument from the start. Maybe there was something perverse about you picking up an instrument which was definitely thought of in the late 70s as an instrument of male vanity and tedious virtuosity for virtuosity’s sake.

CFT: It’s weird you saying that because it never crossed my mind. It never crossed my mind that a guitar was a bloke’s instrument therefore I should take it as a woman. Never. It’s interesting you should say that but it’s never occurred to me.

Well, I’d never want to draw a direct parallel but one of the most interesting interviews I’ve done this year was with Viv Albertine, who very much is the opposite of you in that case. It feels like she was hyper aware of the masculinity surrounding guitar playing in the 70s and the lack of identifiable female guitarist role models. But then I guess you were using the guitar in a very different way. Nik, you came to your sound via a slightly more traditional route didn’t you?

NV: Yeah. When I was a teenageer I played it normally, I guess you could say. I was a big Nirvana fan and played Nirvana tracks. I started a band and tried to play guitar, in a very limited way. But then I took a break from music and thought, ‘Well, if I’m going to go back into music then I’m going to do it in my own way.’ I realised I had been playing guitar like a guy had taught me how to play guitar and I thought, ‘Why am I doing that?’ I realised that if I hit my guitar with a stick it created a reverberant sound that I was much more into, than picking notes. I don’t do riffs. I’ve played with many other guys in many other bands and it’s always non-stop. There’s never any space. It changes when you learn how to improvise with other people. You can’t improvise properly with other people if you’re playing in a style that someone else has taught you. So that’s why my guitar playing has changed but I didn’t want to put it down because it was something that I was very familiar with.

CFT: I think what you said about giving people space is a gender thing. I think women tend to do it more than men. Men do want the spotlight more than women. And having thought back, the only male guitarist that played the guitar with that kind of feeling, as one, was Hendrix. Because there was delicacy as well as rawness. There was fire in there. A lot of other [male] guitarists are just thrashing away.

NV: It was in his body as well.

CFT: He was one with his guitar. I always feel like I’m melding with my guitar when I play live. It becomes your instrument of language. I know it more now than I used to but it still surprises me. For me it was great to play because it was very physical. And it had loads of FX pedals.

I know it’s bordering on cliche talking about the urban versus the rural in terms of influence on music but I still have to ask you about this given that you’ve both made the journey out of London to the relative wilds of Norfolk. Did swapping an urban for a rural landscape affect what you do creatively?

CC: I think it probably did although I couldn’t pinpoint what it was. It was a struggle living and working in London and that struggle definitely affected our music.

CFT: Is that why we did Trance in London and CTV in Norfolk because they’re poles apart. Trance is something you’d expect us to do in Norfolk and Carter Tutti Void sounds like it’s come from Hackney.

CC: But the sound of TG was very London.

CFT: Yes but it was also a product of the 1970s. A product of what was going on because it was a shit time. I mean it was a great time for us in a lot of respects but what I mean was it was a difficult time and there was a lot of negative stuff going on [in society].

CC: But I think our best music was done in Norfolk.

CFT: Some of it yeah.

Well I certainly thought of CTV as urban music until this morning when I listened to it on the train on the way down here and then I realised that no, it was actually perfect for this kind of landscape.

NV: It’s the proximity to nature. You look out of the window and the first thing you see is roadkill.

CFT: CTV’s music is more concerned with human nature which is why it travels from the urban to the rural environment so easily. The music is a mirror that reflects how you’re feeling and what you’re looking at quite well.

CC: I think when we record together we are in a bubble… we do get in the zone… and I don’t think really it matters where we are. We could be in a studio anywhere.

NV: The bubble is the thing I need in this point of my life in order to learn and go forwards. I felt like I’d learned what I needed to learn from London. I felt I needed some peace and no distractions.

CFT: It seemed to me that by a certain stage in London for me there was a lot of anti-energy going around in London and it was hampering any kind of creativity.

CC: There’s a pressure you feel in London.

CFT: There’s a lot of negative energy going on in London… more so now than there used to be. We couldn’t function there now – and you don’t have to because of the internet. You don’t have to be near venues, labels and distribution points.

NV: I think change is also a big factor in things. Change inspires people to work in different ways. If you stay stuck in the same place sometimes it won’t work out well.

Something quite contentious maybe, but I feel that if someone were to come to this album biographically blind, they could be forgiven for thinking that this album was a, made by people on drugs and b, made for people who like taking drugs.

CFT: [LONG PAUSE] Yeah, I can see that. I stopped taking recreational drugs when I was seventeen and a half. My drug of choice now is creating art and music and through that I want to feel that abandonment and confusion of the senses that you can get with different kinds of drugs. Having said that, it’s probably because I took drugs in the first place that I know how to get into that mindset. I suppose I’m trying to enter that kind of world where my senses are important and nothing else. So I can understand why you would think that and why I got the feeling we were summoning up something quite strange when we made this record.

I got quite a torrid rave rush when I first listened to this album and my hands were shaking during it, so I can only thank you for that.

CC: It does sound better louder and it does sound good on headphones. It is supposed to be played loud.

CFT: It’s meant to be immersive for sure. It’s not meant to be put on in the background while you’re cooking the tea.

One last thing… Cosey, were you really in the video to ‘Mighty Real’ by Sylvester?

CFT: Yeah.

I love that song….

CFT: It’s a great song. I was with a stripping agency because I was stripping at the time and for whatever reason, whoever was filming the video for him wanted to have dancers. So they got some dancers from Pineapple Studios in London. So they had orthodox dancers and they also wanted people that just danced. And not just disco dancers but people who were used to dancing in front of an audience or in front of cameras so they rang our agency. Three of us went down to the shoot (one of them was French Jane who used to do go-go dancing for The Who). All of us were given white satin shorts because it was at the Embassy Club and all of the male waiters there used to wear white satin shorts. Sylvester wanted the men in the shorts but he was stuck with these ten dancing girls instead. So the director said, ‘Will you dance to the music?’ Like you said, it’s a fantastic song but these Pineapple Studio girls were going, ‘…2, 3, 4, 5 ,6 ,7, 8, 9, 10…’ [mines intricate but stiff dance routine] And I was thinking, ‘Fuck me, it’s so regimented – why don’t you just listen to the record and dance?’ I think the director ended up using us and one or two of the girls from Pineapple who could let loose a little bit. But Sylvester got the boys in at the end. I think you can see them at the end of the video. He did get his way. I kept my shorts and I made a pattern off them so I could make some more pairs. They were really good for stripping in.

f(x) is out now on Industrial records

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