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PopDash Meets... I Blame Coco

We catch up with the husky voiced singer...

By Sophie Wilkinson on Friday 5th November 2010 Photo by Alex Lake

While I Blame Coco’s failed to trouble the charts with singles such as 'Caesar' and 'Self Machine', Coco Sumner's raspy vocals and juddering electropop are getting both wider critical acclaim and a larger fanbase with every day. Allegedly awkward in interviews, when PopDash meets her at an east London bar, she is smiley and can actually hold eye contact. It becomes very clear that any awkwardness is just because she isn't as self-obsessed as we might expect an 80's icon's kid to be. Check out our interview with the ever so slightly hungover Coco below:

PopDash: We've noticed you frowning quite a lot when you perform, do you need to wear glasses?

Coco: Frown? I do need glasses, but I never really wear them anymore. My eyes are too small to put contacts in [she jabs her eye as she says this] The frown's mainly a concentration thing.

PD: Do you do it to block out the fans flailing about at the front during your performances?

C: Usually, but I quite like catching people's eyes and making them feel uncomfortable.   

PD: We love your cover of 'A Message To You, Rudy' by The Specials. Any plans to record it?

C: Maybe I'd make an electronic version of it, but then all the people who like reggae will hate me.

PD: Do you think your move to electropop from reggae means you're less likely to get a grime artist rapping over your material in the name of 'crossover appeal'?

C: I think every crossover, if it's done well, is how new music comes about.

PD: Do you think the novelty of rap and pop crossovers is wearing off?

C: Rap these days, well it's just pop. It's just pop singers with a bit of swagger. 

PD: Swagger! Have you been watching any of The X Factor?

C: No! I've only watched the funny ones on YouTube, like where that girl whacked her friend in the face. [She means 'Ablisa']

PD: Did you see her topless spread in the Daily Star?

C: Oh. My. God.


PD: Did you sing at school? We can imagine your gravelly voice might not have done so well in that environment.

C: I never sang at school. I never wanted to be a singer, really. I thought singing was naff. Singers are naff. I just wanted to write music and play music. I'm not sure when the switch went off and I decided "Oh I'm going to sing"; I think it was after a pint.

PD: How much Swedish can you speak?

C: A leetle Svensk. I can get around.

PD: How much time have you spent over there?

C: I was there for six months, on and off and we released the album from Friday there and it's going down quite well…

PD: What number is it?

C: It's…at number 2

PD: Who's at number one?

C: Robyn! I'm in a Robyn sandwich. Robyn's number one and number three. 

PD: Does it feel bad to compete against a friend?

C: I don't really have a competitive streak in me. I'm proud of the record and what I've done. It's not about the numbers.

PD: You've said before that your subconscious drives your songs. But as a serious pop star, are your lyrics politically motivated?

C: What, with politics?

PD: Basically, in the 80's, with Thatcher around, all of these musicians came out of that and would sing about struggle. Do you see yourself becoming politically motivated like that now we've got a Tory prime minister?

C: I'm not sure. I kind of live in a little world of my own. A bubble of my own thoughts. My songs aren't trying to say anything, I write songs to make sense of things. It's the head becoming voice. But you never know, I might write a political record one day.

PD: Who are you listening to?

C: I'm listening to lots of Fleetwood Mac, but I always have been. The Hurts record, I really really like. Trentemoller. He's one of my favourites. Although there's no singing, it's just so emotional. It's good thinking music. 

PD: If you could get Hurts to cover any cheesy 90's ballad with you which would it be?

C: Talk Talk, 'Today' 

PD: If you could collaborate with anyone who could you collaborate with?

C: Living or dead…Ian Drury, because he's my favourite. But then I'd be quite scared to be on stage with him, because he is amazing. Or, well...was amazing.

PD: Do you enjoy the whole tweeting and vlogging ‘thing’?

C: I never really know what to say on Twitter. I always half write it, then delete it. But I think it's good to have a relationship with your… [she says this quietly] fans. Not an intimate one [she smirks] but to make them feel like they're part of a movement or a group.

PD:You've lost your sense of smell. Which smells do you miss the most?

C: Bacon and petrol. It's a brilliant combo.

PD: Have you ever tried to smell either of those things really really hard?

C: No I haven't….I'm sure I have, I probably shouldn't, it would give me a headache. It's brilliant for festivals and my dog, though. 


PD: Your style is quite individual, who influences your sartorial choices?

C: I don't really know much about fashion or anything like that. I got this [she brushes down her brown fur jacket] from a shoot I did yesterday because it was cold and the coat looked warm and I look snazzy in it. My dress sense is practical.

PD: What was working with Arthur Baker like?

C: Arthur's awesome, he's a music legend, so he was amazing to work with.

PD: Do you ever get starstruck around people?

C: Yeah, I was starstruck when I met Ian Brown, he's the nicest, most down to earth human being in the world. 

PD: You've got quite an androgynous look, and it's proved really successful amongst lesbians and straight girls, have you had any ladies throw bras at you on stage yet?

C: No, I haven't, uh, Elly has though, Elly Jackson [of La Roux fame, who Coco toured with this year]. That's not happened to me yet, I doubt it will ever happen.

PD: Have you had any weird interactions with obsessive fans?

C: When I go into the crowd, it's not like an "Oh, hello", they just sort of scream at you and don't know what to do and I don't know whether they're frightened or what.

Coco's debut album, The Constant, will be released this coming Monday (November 8th), and 'In Spirit Golden' is out now.


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