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Isobel Campbell and Mark Lanegan

Campbell on Lanegan

Isobel reveals all on her new album with Mark Lanegan
11 June 2008 - Ahead of their gig at the Shepherds Bush Empire on 10 June, Isobel Campbell spoke exclusively to 6 Music about her ‘business’ relationship with collaborator and Screaming Trees singer Mark Lanegan.

Their debut album Ballad of the Broken Seas was the first fruit of their partnership and was well received - nominated for the Mercury Music Prize.

Unlikely Pairing

The duo’s pairing has often been illustrated by oxymorons such as references to Beauty and the Beast and more.

Campbell, also the Belle & Sebastian vocalist, told 6 Music: “People always say that we’re like chalk and cheese but we are both really stubborn - we’re arguing about the set list right now.”

Describing him as, ‘the international man of mystery,’ she revealed that their relationship does not extend beyond making music together.

She said: “Our love of music bonds us and we do get on in some very unusual way. We get on well but we don’t really hang out, but then I don’t really hang out with anyone and he doesn’t really, not that I’m aware of.”

However, when it comes to the music, their bond is very much alive: “The thing that brings us together is that we really love singing together.”

The Decision To Make A Second Album

Initially the prospect of making a second record was not obvious to Campbell.

She said: “It was because he kinda disappeared for a year but in my heart I wanted to do another one because as soon as we’d finished Ballad of the Broken Seas I was writing new songs and I was like; ‘Oh God, I’ve got to get Mark to sing these.’”

Campbell also revealed that it was after Lanegan toured with her in January 2007 that she asked him if he would consider doing another record - and his response was, ‘in a heartbeat.’
“People always say that we’re like chalk and cheese but we are both really stubborn."
Isobel Campbell

The New Album

Lanegan flew to Glasgow at the end of March for 9 days to record the tracks that Campbell had written.

Campbell revealed that it is his classic, effortless American voice that she loves.

She went on to tell 6 Music what to expect from their new material: “When I work with Mark, because he is low and I’m squeaking along up in the Gods - it’s a very masculine/feminine approach.

“I think I was playing about with that a lot so there’s a few of what Mark would call raunchy songs and a few ballads too.”

An Unlikely Meeting

During the interview Campbell also looked back at how they came to work with each other.

She told 6 Music: “I’d never heard of him in my life and a friend of mine played me a couple of tracks off his solo record and I just sent him my music.

“He said he had heard of my music and was a fan of some of my solo records, so he knew who I was and then he called me up.”

“It’s just two people that probably shouldn’t have met as I just missed the Grunge scene by being too young and a bit too square,” she said, about their unlikely meeting; “So it came about through a friend who happened to be a Screaming Trees fan.”

Despite this, she had only positive feelings for their collaboration, saying:

“I’m sure if I hadn’t worked with him someone else would have turned up but I’m very happy that we did run into each other because I just love writing for that voice and it brings my songs to life.

“It helps to tell the story and paint the picture that I’m trying to express.”

Georgie Rogers

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