Legendary footwear brand Converse have once again brought together a mix of talent as part of their year-long campaign to represent the thriving British music industry. Popstress Paloma Faith, Blur’s Graham Coxon and former Coral guitarist Bill Ryder-Jones, are the latest recruits to front the project with their track ‘Desire’. The single is the second release from Converse following ‘Didn’t Know What Love Was’ – the house track from 80s music legend Bernard Sumner, electro/synthpop group Hot Chip and dance duo Hot City. Dazed Digital talks to Paloma about the collaboration…
Dazed Digital: How did you get involved with the campaign?
Paloma Faith: I think it was Graham Coxon that said he'd like to work with a female vocalist and Converse approached my management who then approached me.
DD: Where did the idea for ‘Desire’ come from and what were your influences?
Paloma Faith: Desire was the word Graham sent me when he sent me the track idea. Then I just wrote lyrics around it. Graham said "red manic loony desire" and I was like "right then, ok, I get it"... I guess it was all about uncontrollably wanting something from another person, whether it be physical or mental. If you are an intense person you can get overwhelmed by that want and need, like a drug, an obsession for a person.
In the middle 8 there is a harmony that builds and builds, that was inspired by a song called Itty Bitty Pretty One that was a 50's song. It does that, just builds to a climax like that. I played it to Graham and Bill and said, I'd like to do this!
DD: What was it like collaborating with Graham and Bill?
Paloma Faith: It was fun. They are both wonderful people. I think Graham has an incredible mind. You don't often meet people like that in the music industry that actually have a story and are interesting and always thinking laterally. I admire him. I think he's a sound poet. And then Bill was great too. Bill has the brooding artist about him. He says little and is exceptionally modest. But we ended up getting on really well too.
DD: What is it that makes the British music industry so unique to you? How has it changed in the past few years?
Paloma Faith: I think the women of Britain are flying the flag internationally for us now which is an incredibly empowering message for women across the world. Britain is producing a lot of "real" unaffected music at the moment and the world seems to love it. I guess the homogenisation of pop music in recent years is in decline and I'm glad about it. Morrisey once said "never underestimate the intelligence of your public" and I think pop music has been doing that for too long! I'm happy about this slow but fantastic change.
DD: How has your music, and music in general, enabled you to connect to others?
Paloma Faith: Well obviously it’s amazing when you write a song and people come up to you after gigs crying and say it moved them. There is a song on my debut album called "my legs are weak" which was about when a childhood friend of mine died. People seem to find that song helpful when coping with death. Also I am always on the social networking sites writing to fans so I get a very direct relationship with them. Sometimes this is positive, other times its hard because people can be quite abusive on there too. They forget you are a human being and say hurtful things.
The anonymity gives people power I suppose. I have also through my music been able to collaborate with some incredible people. There's a long list but aside from Graham and Bill I have also worked with Ray Davis, Annie Lennox, Ceelo Green, Tom Jones and many more. It’s very exciting!
Click here to listen and download Desire from the Converse website for free