We introduced Charlotte Hatherley's new EP a few weeks ago and since then have been dancing round London listening to her 2nd album The Deep Blue. Lead single I Want You To Know is out in late February but until then myspace has a couple of things to keep you going. A Chiswick girl, we spoke to Charlotte about her music and good ol' London.
You quit Ash last year, why did you want to go completely solo?
Well I sat down with Tim to talk about how I was going to do a new album. The rest of the band had moved to New York to write and that wasn’t really something I wanted to do. It was a decision I made on my own but I knew I had to do it if I wanted to make a really good second album.
And how does The Deep Blue differ from your last album?
It's more expensive sounding. I had more time to work on instrumentation so it's got great arrangements - strings, brass, pianot - everything going on. So it's not really so much a pop punk guitar record. It’s a bit more ambitious sounding.
The NME cool list was quite girl heavy this year. Were you miffed not to be in it?
Ha, no not really. Maybe in 2008 I’ll make a brief appearance. I like Lily Allen, and specially like Amy Winehouse, Beth from The Gossip and stuff. It’s not like there’s lots of girls out there, there’s still too many skinny indie boys. There’s plenty of room for lots more women.
You worked with another female icon, Kim Wilde, last year and had a song about her on Grey WIll Fade. Are you obsessed?
Ha, actually I was never like a massive fan, Kim Wilde the song was actually just a working title because I thought it sounded a bit like Kids in America. Then Kim got in touch with me to say hi and I asked her to come to Reading Festival with me. From there we we became really good friends bizarrely. She asked me to play guitar and sing with her on the new version of Kids In America produced by the Scandavian Simon Cowell that she released in 2006 so I ended up being a big fan of hers rather than an original Kim Wilde obsessive. Although I am now! I’m stalking her.
Was Chiswick a cool place to be growing up?
I wouldn’t say that Chiswick was particularly ‘cool’ but I used to have to walk through a park to get to school and it was the park all the early Beatles videos were filmed in. I used to think that was really cool, but that’s it as far as cool and Chiswick go.
So were you one of those lucky teenagers who spent all their time in the West End?
Well I remember we used to go down to Portobello and Camden a lot. When I was 15/16 everything was Britpop. I was a massive Blur fan, into Definitely Maybe and loved Pulp too so I would hang out in Camden - Britpop capital - thinking I was really cool. You really had to leave West London to get to anything cool.
What’s your all time favourite thing about the city?
I love walking down the South Bank, it’s absolutely beautiful. When I was a kid my mum was an actress and we used to go down to the National Theatre to see her and have lunch and I just remember walking along the South Bank with my dad thinking it was the coolest place ever. And it still is, everytime I cross the bridge I just think 'Wow!'. I love it. I think all of London is lovely at this time of year, particularly when it’s foggy. It’s romantic.
And the worst bit of London?
I used to think Camden was a complete shit hole but they’ve made it look nice now. There are certain areas of Stoke Newington that I wouldn’t mind disappearing but I don’t think I’d want to get rid of any of it. It’s all pretty shitty but I love it! It’s its charm.
Do you have a favourite gig venue to play at?
I’ve played the Astoria so many times that I love it. I hope it doesn’t get turned into office blocks. That would be a travesty. I really like ULU and Koko too though. Hammersmith Apollo is a really amazing venue – it’s great for comedy as well as music there. I saw Dylan Moran and The Mighty Boosh there and they were great.
What advice would you give to Ken Livingstone?
Sort out the fucking tube! It’s just a nightmare. Travelling round London and getting stuck on the Northern Line is just a joke. And the prices! Gah. The worse it gets, the more expensive it becomes.
And finally any top tips or secret things to do?
There’s a great karaoke bar on Dean Street. You have to go downstairs and have a special knock. It’s really really cool, they give you saki all night and it’s just ace. Plus I really recommend The Afghan Kitchen on Upper Street. They do awesome curries.