Interviews :: Sister Vanilla

Sister Vanilla AKA Linda Reid has just released the long awaited “Little Pop Rock” (Chemikal Underground, UK) featuring her famous brothers Jim and William Reid of The Jesus And Mary Chain – with longtime JAMC/Freeheat guitarist Ben Lurie, and Stephen Pastel.

P&S: Linda, thanks for taking the time to speak with us, we really appreciate it!
For those out there who maybe don’t know, how did the name “Sister Vanilla”come to be?

LR: It was William’s idea. He said I have the palest skin he’s ever seen – same colour as vanilla. and i’m his sister. So Sister Vanilla.

P&S: In researching information, you stated in an interview with Trev of LostMusic that you designed the cover sleeves for The Jesus And Mary Chain’s “Happy When It Rains” and “April Skies” single – Was that your earliest involvement with your brothers’ band?

LR: Yes it was. I’m a bit younger than William and Jim so I’d be in the background just watching them make records and do what they do. It was a big thrill to actually work with them properly though.

P&S: When did you really consciously decide you wanted to record and play music?

LR: It was never something that I had thought about to be honest. Jim had originally asked me while they were recording “Stoned And Dethroned” if I wanted to sing one of their songs for a b-side to a single and I said yes right away. Nothing happened until they were recording “Munki” and it was then that I recorded “Mo Tucker”. The intention was still to use it as a b-side, but then when everyone heard it, they all thought it was good enough to put on the album. It was then that William and Jim asked me if I wanted to record my own album – but working with them. They encouraged me to write my own lyrics, which I had never done until then. Basically, this opportunity was given to me and I took it and I’m very glad I did.

P&S: Who are your influences? Besides your brothers music, who did you listen to growing up?

LR: I listened to my brothers and what they were listening to. I had a really good musical education because of them. There was always good music playing in our house. So bands like the Velvet Underground/ The Beatles/The Pastels/Dusty Springfield were things that I was listening to from an early age. I think I’ve been influenced a lot by bands from Glasgow – particularly The Pastels/ Teenage Fanclub/Belle And Sebastian/Altered Images. I also love Blur – I adore Blur actually!

P&S: How did the deal with Chemikal Underground to release “Little Pop Rock” come about? Did you shop the LP to a lot of indie/major labels?

LR: To be honest, we didnt actively shop this record around and that’s probably down to the fact that we’re all so lazy! Part of me didnt really think anyone would be that interested in buy ing a record of the sister of The Jesus And Mary Chain. But our friend Stephen Pastel (from The Pastels) introduced us to Chemikal Underground and we realised pretty quickly that it would be a good idea to work with them. They are really professional about everything but they also really love the album and are big fans of William and Jim’s music.

P&S: How did the songwriting process for the album work? We know some of the songs were written prior to the project, but for the songs you contributed lyrics to, did you write them with Jim, William, and Ben or was the music and lyrics a collaborative effort?

LR: William was very encouraging when it came to songwriting for me. He said that I should at least have a go at writing lyrics and it’s worked out pretty good so far. I added some of my own lyrics to “K To Be Lost”, “Pastel Blue”, “TOTP”, “Can’t Stop The Rock”. The music side of things I left to William, Jim and Ben.

P&S: Since The “Little Pop Rock” LP was recorded through the course of 10 or so years, are there any plans for a follow up release in the near future?

LR: I’m not really thinking about a follow up to “Little Pop Rock” right now. As you say, this record has taken so long to record – so I want to just focus on this right now and maybe in the future I can think about doing more stuff.

P&S: We all know how Jim and William have had their differences…have You ever butted heads with either one (or both) of them (either literally or figuratively) or has your role always been primarily that of the “mediator”?

LR: I just play the role that any sister would when her brothers arent getting along. I guess I have been a mediator between them but there have also been times when I’ve backed off and let them sort things out for themselves. I love them both equally and would never take sides. They are both friends now so thankfully I don’t need to mediate too much now.

P&S: What bands or artists are you currently listening to?

LR: I’m currently listening to the Arctic Monkeys, Lily Allen, Jarvis Cocker, Beck, Graham Coxon, Blur. I never tire of The Beatles and I play “Abbey Road” constantly.

P&S: What would you call your five all-time favorite LPs?

LR: I wont mention The JAMC here because I love all their records so i’d say….The Beatles – “Abbey Road”, The Velvet Underground And Nico, The Pastels – “Mobile Safari”, Beck – “Odelay”, Blur – “13”

P&S: What are your thoughts on the current Jesus And Mary Chain reunion? And do you plan on joining them onstage for any of the upcoming festival appearances?

LR: I think it’s great. I never thought it would ever happen but now it has, I’m all for it. I went to see them rehearse last month when they were both in london and it made me feel a bit emotional! They sounded really brilliant as well. My husband James and I are going to see them play in july in Spain so I’m looking froward to that.

P&S: Well Linda best of luck with the worldwide release of “Little Pop Rock’again thanks so much for taking the time to spend with us – looking forwardto more in the future!

LR: thanks for your support!!!!

For more information on Sister Vanilla please visit:
www.sistervanilla.com
and check out the very cool Sister Vanilla minisite:
www.chemikal.co.uk/littlepoprock/

Sister Vanilla photos courtesy of Chemikal Underground; Special thanks to Niina Talikka.

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