Interview: Saint Etienne

I had the chance to talk to the lovely Sarah Cracknell from Saint Etienne, who play Kilkenny’s Set Theatre on 11th of December. We spoke about playing live, sticking together after 20 years, and their upcoming new album.

You’ve been together since 1990, what keeps you touring?
SC  I think the main reason is because we don’t do really long tours, I think the longest we’ve been away from home is about 3 weeks. We don’t like being away from the studio for too long, either.Touring can be a bit of a grimey business, it really isn’t that glamorous. We’re not a sweaty rock band !!
Do you still have the same influences now that you did 20 years ago?SC  We still like the things we did 20 years ago, we’ve just added a few more along the way. Sometimes I think our influences are more subliminal and we don’t notice them ourselves. At the moment I find myself liking people like Tinie Tempah and Willow. Not sure whether the boys would agree with me!!

London Conversations didn’t sell as well as you might have hoped. Are the charts important any more?
SC  London Conversations actually sold very well. Obviously we’d love a number 1 album but I’m not sure how realistic that is after a career of 20 years

What was it like returning to the road an playing Foxbase Alpha in its entirety?
SC  It was great fun playing Foxbase Alpha live, I really enjoyed it. Having one or two instrumentals was good, Debsey and I managed to have a couple of games of poker on stage. Although I lost a lot of money, she whooped my ass !!
And which is the truer album, Foxbase Alpha or Beta?
SC They are both of their time.
Would you like the Misadventures to finally get a UK release? Or does it work apart from the film?
SC Misadventures came out in Japan, I think. Sometimes we get an opportunity to put out material in other countries. The time has past now so I don’t think it would be a good idea to put it out now.
Was it a huge disappointment that your songs were cut from the film?
SC  to be honest I was a little disappointed.

How do you keep your live shows fresh?
SC We try and change the set wherever possible, especially if we have a new song or two.
And what should we expect to hear/see at the Kilkenny show next month?
SC In Kilkenny we’ll be playing a new song and a couple of Christmas songs from our Christmas album plus all the hits!. The whole atmosphere should be quite festive, we have some great visuals and lights.
What’s next for Saint Etienne?
SC  We’ve started work on a new album, so watch this space !
Saint Etienne play their only Irish date at Set Theatre, Kilkenny Saturday 11 December 2010. Donal Dineen will follow Saint Etienne with a full live music and visual show. Log onto for full details.

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