Altered Images

Altered Images


Hello Clare. I hope you don’t mind that I start by asking some questions about the past. The very early days of Altered Images were marked by Siouxsie & The Banshees. How did you get in touch with them?
I don’t mind at all…We were huge fans, so when we heard they were doing some dates in Scotland. We sent our demo to the fanclub who passed it on to the band – they loved it and let us open for them.

The first album was produced by Steven Severin. Many people would have expect you to be something similar to The Banshees, but Altered Images were more like the missing link between new wave and pop. How would you describe it yourself?
A bit of an experiment really – we were finding our feet as a very young band.  Also there was no real pressure on us which gave us a freedom to explore all sorts of musical influences. We loved working with Steve, he simply encouraged us to be ourselves in amongst it all.

Your first single was quite controversial as Dead Pop Stars appeared some weeks after John Lennon was shot. Was it meant to be controversial?
I’ve only recently introduced it back in to our set… It was tough at the time because we were super excited about our first single coming out and of course the timing ended up being disastrous. I love singing it now and I really think John Lennon wouldn’t mind.

Your first hit was your biggest: Happy Birthday. I guess from then on you were under a lot of pressure? Did you expect things to become so huge?
It was extraordinary – also around that time the movie Gregory’s Girl that I was, in came out and won a BAFTA! It was a little crazy…

Be honest if you organize a birthday party, would you play the birthday song by Altered Images or the one by Stevie Wonder?
Its become a bit of a family tradition for me to sing my version at every birthday – it’s actually a bit of a family joke… Stevie who?!

I’m really glad that I finally got the change to ask you this one. In my humble opinion Bite must be one of the finest pop albums of all time, and eventually one of the most underrated ones. What’s your opinion about that one?
Thank you, I love Bite…working with Mike Chapman who produced Blondie was a career highlite… so many funny memories of recording in LA.

Was the failure of Bite the reason why Altered Images decided to split? 
I don’t view it as a failure… it certainly didn’t do as well as our previous albums but it wasn’t a disaster. We learnt so much making that record… I think we probably just needed a holiday from each other as we had lived in each others pockets for 5 years… but when you’re young its all a bit all or nothing.

Apart from your acting career, you played a lot of solo shows afterwards. How were the reactions?
Honestly, the enthusiasm I’m still on the receiving end of, is really touching… I love performing so as long as people want me I’ll turn up.

You soon will be at W-Fest in Belgium. I looked for some information, but as far as I’m aware Altered Images never played in Belgium. How come or is it just my fault?
Well you may be surprised to know that we played some of our first shows in Brussels – we were invited over by Les Disques Du Crepucsule.  I loved the frites and mayonnaise after the gigs…

What can we expect from your show at W-Festival?
My all girl version of Altered Images…we are loud, proud and love to impress.

Any acts you want to see yourself?
Lots….hoping to hang out…

What do you prefer on a festival: ice cream, beer or French fries?
Mmm… a back stage glass of fizz please!

What is your favourite record of all times and please state why?
Impossible to answer – there are so many genius records out there.

With who would you want to be alone in an elevator for 8 hours and what would you do then? 
Myself…being a busy working mum I don’t get much time to myself…I’d probably just stare in to space – let’s call it meditate.

The last words are yours…
See You at W-Fest!

Interview by Didier Becu - Luminous Dash
Copyright pictures : Altered Images/Getty Images