A Sneaky Chat with Miss Connie.
Last week I was lucky enough to have a chat with Sneaky Sound System legend/Australian pop/fashion icon, Miss Connie Mitchell. We discussed everything from the state of pop music in Australia, to fashion, to Barbeque’s, album number three, and even working with Stuart Price. Here is a transcript…
Hello Miss Connie, how are you??
Good, very busy but good!
So you guys have just embarked on your Poptronica tour… any new tricks up your sleeves you want to share??
(Laughs) I think we always have to have new tricks because, members of the audience would be getting bored. We like to keep it fresh and new. Come and see what tricks we’ve got for you though…
(Laughter) I will definitely be doing so… You just recently returned from Overseas, in America! How was that?
Oh that was crazy, it was off the hook!
Yeah, it was just bloody amazing. Um, yeah, I think the difference in America is that the crowds come along because they’re excited to be seeing you anyway. There’s a certain level that you kind of have to be over there… I mean, can you imagine the kind of amazing things they’re exposed to over there?
Yeah, and it’s every week at their local venue (laughs). I mean, one of the places we’d played was used by Rhianna the week before for a gig, so that’s the standard you know.
How are things shaping up for a US release??
Very good indeed, we’ve actually had to push it forward because of the demand.
Yeah, well that’s definitely want you want.
You’ve got a show coming up soon with Lady Gaga… how did that come about?
I have no idea! (Laughs) I’ve been asking the same question myself. I think it will be safe to say though that my crotch will not be seeing any airtime.
(Rapturous Laughter ensues)
Speaking of all things overseas, that’s a very saucy new video clip for “I Love It”…
I know isn’t it just? But you know, it’s not as saucy as I would have liked! If you’re gonna do saucy, you have to do it properly, and the men were supposed to be topless but they wouldn’t get their shirts off. And they’ve all done Playboy and Penthouse shoots!
Tsk tsk tsk… unbelievable.
Isn’t it?! “Oh no, I don’t want to take my clothes off because it’s for a video clip!” Well you did Penthouse just last week!
“Oh but that’s different, it’s not moving picture” – was that their excuse?
(Rapturous Laughter) Oh of course!!
How are things going in the UK?
Really good as well, it’s nice to see that funny feeling between Australia and the UK has dissipated. There’s no such thing as “you’re a convict” anymore (laughs). It’s the complete opposite, I found England really refreshing.
You’ve got the remix EP out there which will be followed by the album, yes? When’s that happening?
Um, I think we’ve got the album coming out next month.
Quite soon then.
Yeah. Same release date as America actually.
Where do you think Australia sits when it comes to cutting edge pop music?
I think Australia’s pretty on for cutting edge pop at the moment, in terms of the rest of the world. You’ve gotta remember that a lot of these festivals which have cutting edge pop acts, they’re Australian. We’re just innovators, and they’re the… deliverers (laughs).
You’ve just released “16” as the new single here in Oz, any word on a follow up choice to that?
Well we were lucky enough to get the Thin White Duke to remix one of our tracks.
Yeah! Well he’s done Madonna, The Killers, and he had one of our songs on his hard drive but he didn’t know what it was or who it was by. He then spent about a month tracking it down, and it happened to be “It’s Not My Problem”, which he then went and did a mix of it for, we were like, my God, wow, thank you…
Yeah so we’re probably going to go out with that remix.
That’s a bloody good story…
Isn’t it Adem?! It was in his iTunes folder as “Track 1”. It just came up as “Track 1” (Laughs). So here’s a little tip guys… send out your demos but don’t label them properly! Just assign “Track 1” to every track…
And make them do the hard work.
You guys put together a tour montage video for the release of “16”… does that mean there might be a tour DVD at some stage down the line?
You know, that’s a really good idea and I think what we’re trying to do is break the mould when it comes to merchandise and DVD’s. So, we might even do some chairs… some Lego Chairs… Lego pendants, maybe some 8MM film, who knows?! Barbeques… I’m sick of just seeing T-Shirts at the merchandise stand! You know, I’m sick of it.
Good idea, give the fans something unique, something they can cook a kebab on even.
Exactly (laughs). BMX Bikes…
(Laughs) With “SSS” carved into them.
You’ve taken more of a drivers-seat position with the recent album, lead vocals on all the tracks, co-writing… did it make you a little nervous working on the new album, particularly after the success of the first?
Of course, there was a bit of a benchmark there you know?! I was like “oh babes, it’s terrible!” But, it wasn’t! I guess there are some people that go around being incredibly cocky about it, saying “Oh, it’s unbelievable, it’s fantastic”, like that guy from PNAU, but I just can’t do that. I’m the one going “Oh nahhhhh, it’s terrible!” (Laughs) But that’s how I operate, and I’d be a little bit concerned if I didn’t to be honest.
Has discussion about album number 3 come up at all?
Well we’ve been working on Number 3, well, immediately. There’s nothing as stupid as waiting around two years to come out with another release, you know you need to strike while the iron is hot, while everything is firing, get it out. Get working.
Do many people bring up your days with Primary?
Yeah quite a lot of people do. Which is really nice because it’s apart of Australian music history too.
I was a fan and thought I recognised the voice when I first heard ‘I Love It’.
Oh hooray! That’s good, I always hoped I had a distinctive voice.
Is it true Damon and Angus discovered you singing in a park, or is that a bit of a fib?
No it’s completely true!
Yup, Hyde Park. I was in the park with a girlfriend just being an idiot, pretending to be one of those female singer-songwriters, you know those ones?
(Laughter) Yes, I know those ones…
(Laughs) I live in Newtown and I’m a female singer-songwriter (laughs), um, and they just walked past. They came up and said they had a song, they were in a band and they had a studio, and I was all “yeah right!” Two guys (laughs)…
(Laughs) Come and par-tay back down at our studio! But I sussed it out with a friend and it turned out they were legit, so I went down there and the first song we recorded was “I Love It.”
Look, I must say Connie, you’re one of the best dressed pop stars in the world; where does your couture all come from??
Oh thank you Adem! Couple of people around me have really good eyes for fashion, but at the end of the day you also yourself have to have good eyes for what you want to wear, what’s going to fit your body the right way. So usually I have a lovely sewing girl who I say ‘I want this, this and this’ to, and then give it to her and she’ll make it up. I also have a really good stylist, who’s been so good, I can go off around the world and come back with stuff and she’ll go “Oh my God, where did you get that?, you don’t need me anymore!” So it’s a mixture of the three, a holy trinity of style. But at the end of the day, the boys are viciously good at saying yes or no to a costume. Like, NO, or THAT’S AMAZING. I’ve had “Get that off. Now” as well.
That’s never been offensive?
No, that’s how you know who your real friends are! They’ll tell you if you’re going to look hideous in something (laughs).
I’m hoping you’re still holding onto that incredible black & white ARIAs dress…
I am indeed! That was pretty amazing, and he’s a really great designer, that was designed by a guy named Daniel Varquian, who was actually a truck driver who decided he wanted to be a fashion designer instead. And thank God he did, I’m not sure how that actually came about, but thank God it did (laughs). I’d like him to do some more stuff in the future but, I can’t seem to find him.
I’ll get back to you on that! Maybe I’ll hire a detective (laughs). But it might be one of those dresses that never gets topped. I’m not saying it’s the greatest dress of all time (laughs) but, look, it might just be the one that goes into the glass cabinet (laughs).
By now everyone’s heard the Kylie Minogue story relating to “I Want Everything” – are you guys still being asked to do work with other artists?
Yeah we are, surprisingly we have other artists wanting to do collaborations with us as well. We’ve actually got a couple up our sleeve which I’m really excited about but I can’t say anything about them… But I think you’ve got to pick the right thing to do. Plus, we’ve got the third album to look at and there’s really a whole lifetime to write songs for other people.
Thank you so much for the chat Miss Connie.
Oh thank you, thank you, I’ll see you soon!