Founding member of Siouxsie & the Banshees, label owner,
composer and inveterate collaborator, Steven Severin, has, at one time or another, been
all of the above and this month sees the re-release of an overlooked little gem of a
collaborative effort, The Glove, created with Robert Smith and Jeanette Landray. Originally
released in 1983 Blue Sunshine would point the way forward for Severin who was
already finding the restrictive practices of working within a band stifling. Twenty odd
years after the albums original release we tracked the man who almost called himself
Steve Spunker - but happily settled for a far less dating Velvet Underground reference - down
for an e-chat with TM-O's Andy Basire.
TotalMusic-Online: Do you still remain in contact with any of the Bromley Contingent??
Steven Severin: I see Bertie Marshall occasionally (I just supplied him with the cover shot for his autobiography Berlin Bromley) and email Simon (Six) Barker now and then. Apart from Little Debbie, who has vanished, I know how to reach them all, should I need to..
TotalMusic-Online: Although the Glove album had stylistic nods towards both the Banshees and the Cure it was actually a far more adventurous project than you and Robert were initially given credit for. Was this project an opportunity for you both to do things you couldn’t in your day jobs?
Steven Severin: It wasn’t as calculated as that. The Glove (as a group) had a mind of it’s own. Whilst we were recording we just simply forgot about the other two groups and invented something with it’s own idiosyncrasies.
TotalMusic-Online: How important was Jeanette Landray to the project, and how did she get involved?
Steven Severin: Robert was prevented from singing on any of the Glove material by Chris Parry (Head of Fiction records) although we eventually struck a deal were he could sing two tracks under the proviso that they weren’t to be released as singles. Therefore we had to audition for a singer. Neither of us wanted another male involved and after some aborted sessions I was pestered by Budgie’s then girlfriend, Landray in to giving her a go. As she says herself she was in a strange position because it was clearly our project. She did a good job under awkward conditions, really.
TotalMusic-Online: Any plans to work with Robert again?
Steven Severin: We have been talking about it. Robert is very keen. Revisiting all the tapes has rekindled all the memories and made us realise what fun we had. He’s in a much better position contractually now he’s parted company with Fiction. We’ll talk again once he finishes the latest Cure album.
TotalMusic-Online: It must have been immensely frustrating having worked so hard on the Visions of Ecstasy soundtrack for Saint Teresa of Avila, when the film was refused a certificate on the grounds of blasphemy, what prompted you to revisit and rework it almost a decade later?
Steven Severin: Not frustrating really just baffling and ultimately very amusing that the film was considered so dangerous it had to be banned. The director, Nigel Wingrove requested I prepare a full-length album back in 1996 as he was convinced that he would win his appeal at the Human Rights commission and was getting ready to launch the film commercially. The British Government flew out the big guns and he lost so I was left with a solo album with no home. Back then interest in anything to do with “The Banshees” was at an all time low so I launched my own label, RE: .
TotalMusic-Online: A lot of your post Banshees work has been soundtracks or with dance companies, do you prefer the solitary work dynamic (and how collaborative is your dance composition work)?
Steven Severin: Everything I’ve done since the Banshee split has been a collaboration of some kind especially recently as I work almost exclusively with my wife, Arban. I like the dynamic of a duo be it with Arban, Robert, Siouxsie, Jarboe, Shakti etc. More than two and you get involved in a hierarchy. That’s less stimulating and a lot of time is wasted keeping everybody “in the loop”, as it were. The Banshees were a democracy as long as everyone agreed with myself & Siouxsie.
TotalMusic-Online: Ah, the infamous dark Severin humour surfaces, so will there be any more Banshees records or tours?
Steven Severin: No chance. Bridges have been incinerated, the moat has been drained and I have a squadron of trusty Orcs patrolling the perimeter fence. If an Olive branch was offered, I’d wee on it
The expanded Deluxe Edition of Blue Sunshine is out this month on Polydor Records. More info on Steven can be found at...