Photo Credit: Autumn de Wilde
For the first time ever, Polly Scattergood is reissuing her debut album on vinyl. Why? It’s what the people want and deserve. She admittingly doesn’t typically go back and listen to things she’d done in the past. Honestly, not many creatives tend to but with some encouragement and the fans yearning for it, she decided it was time. We kicked this back and forth off with that decision, and then talked more about what went into ‘Polly Scattergood’ the first time around, what’s next, and more.
Kendra: With a handful of records under your belt, what made you want to dive back into 2009 and release your debut on vinyl?
Polly Scattergood: Mute suggested the re-release, as a lot of people had been asking for it on vinyl. I tend not to listen back to my records once released, but the debut album was such a moment in time – it was the last album to be made in the Mute Studio on the Harrow Road, and I wrote so much of it when I was a teenager – so to put it onto vinyl felt really super special and really lovely end to that chapter.
Kendra: You’ve obviously changed as a person and artist since then, but revisiting ‘Polly Scattergood,’ what track would you say is still a great representation of who you are as a songwriter and why?
Polly Scattergood: Probably “Untitled 27.” I feel that track took me down a more beat-driven path, and perhaps a more lyrically abstract path but I would also say that ‘Nitrogen Pink’ has all the sonic and lyrical exploration that I still very much enjoy when I’m writing. It builds, is dynamic, and tells a story whilst experimenting with sounds – things I still like to do as a writer.
Kendra: Being that we live in such a visual time, the look of vinyl is sometimes just as crucial as what’s on it. With that, was there a lot of thought put into the color and overall sparkling pink aesthetic of the record?
Polly Scattergood: Yes I spoke at length with Paul A. Taylor at Mute about it all. Paul was instrumental in the debut album’s artwork, the front cover was shot by Autumn de Wilde (who recently directed the 2020 adaptation of ‘Emma’), and the polaroids were by my friend Tom Jones, but Paul made it all come together in the way it finally did. I trust his eye and creative brain completely so when he suggested a nitrogen pink vinyl I was super interested. He had seen a sample of it and said it was beautiful. I then thought about the lyric in “Nitrogen Pink”: ‘I thought you said these streets were paved with gold’, so we put a little bit of sparkle in each vinyl to represent the gold in that line.
Kendra: Lizzo was recently asked on Hot Ones about the importance and thought process of picking that intro song. To me, you hit it out of the park with “I Hate the Way.” Do you remember when it was time to sort of construct the album, and what went into choosing the track order? Was that always going to be the song that kicked things off?
Polly Scattergood: I procrastinated for months over the order. I knew I wanted it to have an ebb and flow, to tell a story, and move seamlessly between songs. I landed on ‘I Hate The Way’ as that began life in a little bedsit, played on a tiny Casio keyboard and it was kind of the start of the journey into what became the album. It also has the long outro which I felt helped the transition into the album. I also had the thought that if people can get through that track, which is so long and pretty dark in places, then the rest of the album will be a breeze!
Kendra: Again, you’ve released a lot of music since then, but fans probably want to know if they will be getting any new music before the end of the year?
Polly Scattergood: I put two bonus tracks on the debut that weren’t on the original, I’ve also just finished making an EP for my patrons called “The Night,” so if anyone would like a copy of that, they can sign up to my Patreon page on any tier and I’ll send a signed EP in the post. I also played Jools Holland with William Orbit in June, performing his reworking of “Colour Colliding” (that’s on his new album ‘The Painter,’ out at the end of August) which I am excited for. In terms of totally new music, I’m starting work on another full-length album but I’m at the early writing stage at the moment, so stick with me!
Kendra: Side note time – with September being a Back 2 School month, I’d love to know your favorite field trip or just school memory.
Polly Scattergood: I did a project in primary school about the painter John Constable, we studied his paintings, and then we were taken to Flatford Mill and stayed the night in the cottage he painted. It was such an immersive experience for me in my early years. We had a wonderful and very inspirational teacher who was really into her art and I remember I found it wild to be walking in the scenes from paintings, so I’d say that was one of my most memorable school trips.
Kendra: Lastly, with the ‘Polly Scattergood’ vinyl dropping on September 16th, what’s waiting for you ahead?
Polly Scattergood: I hope lots of new sounds, adventures in music land, following my ears, learning, and hopefully some interesting collaborations. I try to be in the moment and not look too far into the future, but I would hope that all of the above will end with a new album being made.