They’ve ditched their starched, polka dot dresses and Phil Spector girl group sound that made them a hit with their top ten debut, but Brighton, England’s perfect pop act The Pipettes are back, with a twist. The main ladies have been paired down to two, now centered around Gwenno Saunders and her sister, Ani, and their latest album, Earth Vs. the Pipettes, has taken a bold leap forward, combining space-aged themes, disco beats, 70′s NYC funk and sparkly glam. Their quest to create the perfect pop song will surge ahead.

After all your lineup changes that happened in the past year or so, your first show out with the “new” band was opening for Mark Ronson.  Is there any special way you had to overcome any nervousness for that gig or does the idea that “practice makes perfect” actually work and gets you ready for such big events?

It was all pretty last minute, and the last time we’d played with Mark it was just Becki and I. We essentially chose the most high profile gigs to play whilst still going through line-up changes. Probably not the wisest idea we’ve had, but, the chance was there so we took it. I think we were a little more nervous the second time around, Ani hadn’t even played a gig with the band at that point! It went okay though, I think. Apart from the fact that Mark had this Alice in Wonderland theme thing going on for the night and we wore rabbit ears, and you know, out of context that was taken wrong and was probably the wrong thing to do at the time, and one I sort of regret a little bit. I should’ve been more on the ball, but Playboy was the last thing on my mind as it was our very first outing.

I saw you at SXSW in 2007 or so and we very impressed with how fun your shows are.  Besides the outfits and songs, what else have you added into your performances?

Just new moves really. And the chemistry is different obviously, as it’s just Ani and I and we’re siblings. We can probably pull fun at each other far more now actually as we know each other so well.

 

Your new album delves into a lot more genre territory than your 60′s-esque debut (We Are The Pipettes, 2005), with disco, glam, funk touches and lots of modern twists.  Are you the types that will always want to do something new with each album so you’ll keep challenging yourselves?

Absolutely. I think that it’s the one thing that people don’t ‘get’. You have to evolve as a band, and especially one like ours who’s main purpose is to explore all music and draw from as wide as possible a pool of influences to create a pop song. Why just recreate your past? Where is the excitement and risk involved in that? The whole of the Western world still has a massive soft spot for 60′s music, all those bloody baby boomers keeping it going, but we’re not that interested in keeping it forever ’64.

Are you pretty democratic about bringing different ideas and inspirations into your music during the writing stage?

Completely. The more outrageous the idea, the better.

Has the addition of Ani’s great vocals made it easier to open your music up to new ideas as well?

It has. She has a pure love of Pop music, and as she’s just started making it herself she doesn’t have that self-consciousness that one develops over the years. I think it bought new energy to the band, and is unique to her.

Does it help the band now that the two main girls in the group are sisters, since you obviously know each other so well?

It does and it doesn’t. We can argue more as we’re closer, we know what the other’s thinking but I think that we can stick together in a way that three strangers never could. It’s a delicate balance; I think and there are pros and cons to both and I actually wouldn’t even rate on higher than the other.

Of course, Blondie had a hit called “Call Me”, and one of your first singles from this album has the same name.  Was this at all a nod to Deborah Harry and her perfect pop or was the name and similar idea behind the song a coincidence?

It was a coincidence but I think it’s a nice one. I’m obviously a massive fan, along with everyone else, so I’d like to see it as a nod to her even though it wasn’t meant that way!

Do you have another new Christmas tune coming out for the holiday season this year?

We might do… I’m not sure. We’ve got a Christmas song in the bag, it sounds like eating a whole box of Quality Street in one sitting!

Take care. See you when you play the U.S. again!

Yes please!

thepipettes.org

Top photo by Bob Stuart