Q&A: Buzzy chanteuse Candice Gordon on BFF Shane Macgowan, an African childhood and running away with the circus
Hello Candice. The internet says Shane Macgowan produced your new album. Who knew Shane Macgowan produced albums?
I met Shane years ago. We became friends and he suggested one day that he might set up a label. I said, ‘if you're going to, why not work with me?' The label never got set up. But we went into the studio and he produced.
People will find it easier to visualise Shane Macgowan down the pub than at a mixing desk.
Everyone loves to simplify. He's become a cartoon character. It's like his life is a script. In reality, he's a very deep man. Deep in the sense that he has lots of facets.
So he doesn’t spend his days lofting vodka and swearing at passersby?
For a start, he's into a far wider range of music than people imagine. The Pogues is a very set ‘thing', a mix of punk and trad. He listens to a lot more than that. The fact that he was into my music tells you that.
Your songs are woozy and slow-burn. Do you have Pogues fans turning up for shows expecting to see you nutting the mic-stand and throwing up on the soundboard?
You do have Pogues fans coming to my concerts in Germany. I get a lot of mentions on Pogues fansites and on Twitter. And from Pogues fans in Japan for some reason.
You live in Berlin . . . a) because it’s a Europe’s artistic hub b)the rents are dirt cheap . . .?
It's a great city in which to be creative. And yes, it is famously cheap. It is very liberal. You can drink anywhere — basically you can do whatever you want as long as you're not messing with anyone else. That said, there's no money around, so it's not a very good place to work. I like the fact there's no rush, no stress.
You’re Irish but spent the first six years of your life in Namibia and Botswana. Relocating to Kilbarrack must have been like going to be moon — if it always rained on the moon.
It was wild in Africa. There were ostriches. They would grab the bread from your hand, just like swans do here. It was an absolute culture shock coming to Ireland. Where we lived in Kilbarrack you had horses in the fields. It was such a total contrast.
Then, upon finishing school, you joined a circus.
I was into dancing: the Lindy Hop, Harlem Swing from the 20s, that sort of thing. I met an English guy in Barcelona who wanted to dance with me and invited me to join a circus. It turned out he was kind of chancing his arm with the dancing thing. I learned that the time he dropped me on my head. But they were an amazing group of people.
Totally countercultural. We'd scavenge from skips. stuff like that. I was just 18. I found it incredibly romantic.
Candice Gordon’s debut album, Before the Sunset Ends is out now. She plays Body and Soul Festival , Ballinlough Castle, Westmeath, tomorrow