Music Q&A:
Salad Undressed

Salad Undressed are singer Marijne van der Vlugt and guitarist Paul Kennedy from nineties band Salad. The pair have reformed, released single Being Human, and play the O2 Ritz, Manchester, 19 Aug

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What informs your music and songwriting?
Marijne: The strife of my life, which is mostly my love life.
Paul: Anything and/or everything. Overheard conversations, flights of fancy, personal observations. But quite often it’s a bit of a mystery – song ideas just arrive out of the blue. Musically, I flit around from branch to branch like a jackdaw.

How have you evolved as a band over the years?

Marijne: Well, we went from a bedroom two-piece writing songs that made us laugh to a more serous, Pixies-inspired indie rock band with a sizeable cult following after many years on the gig circuit honing our craft. After releasing our own records and then signing to Island we morphed into a charting act. After 19 years in the wilderness doing that thing called life it is completely awesome and feels really natural to be back on the scene and doing it our way.
Paul: Our heyday with Salad was 1992-98, then we went into hibernation for 19 years, so our evolution was put into cold storage. Obviously we all did our own thing over the years. I started doing occasional solo gigs a couple of years back, Marijne came to one, liked what she saw and heard, and Salad Undressed were born, or re-born if you prefer. It’s exactly the same as it ever was and totally different too.

What are you up to at the moment artistically?

Marijne: Writing and recording our Salad Undressed album, Good Love Bad Love (out at the end of 2017, including our current single Being Human). We’re also gathering and writing new songs for the Salad album we would like to record in 2018.
Paul: With Good Love Bad Love (available through Pledge Music), I want to emulate The Beatles’ White Album and make every track different from every other track – a big ask, I know. The concept is love, good and bad, hence the title. Some of it is intimate and acoustic, some bits are full on rocking and others are a bit skew-whiff, but it hangs together.

What’s on your rider?
Marijne: Sensible food and drink, non-sensible food and drink, Lego.
Paul: A tiny bit of beer.

Tell us your most embarrassing or surreal experience.
Marijne: I have trained myself to no longer get embarrassed, as most of my life has included many embarrassing moments. My Dutchness has led to many an occasion when I have been found to be too tactless for the British types. I am also particularly clumsy, so plenty of tripping up in front of the guy I fancy. I once walked backwards into a lamp post as I was chatting up a boy from school.
Paul: My whole life is an embarrassing and surreal experience, but these days I choose to embrace it. What’s the alternative – live inside a huge hermit crab shell?

What song do you wish you’d written?
Marijne: Cigarettes and Chocolate Milk by Rufus Wainwright. It works on so many levels. His singing style is perfect for this song. There are no breaths between lines, it’s a non-stop wave of gorgeous melody and words. And we can all relate to it. Brilliant.
Paul: Great songs make me cry. Marijne will attest to this. An off-the-cuff grab bag: Dirty Back Road, The B52s; Number 13 Baby, Pixies; Things We Said Today, The Beatles; Good Times, Chic; SOS, Abba; Happy, Pharrell.

What’s your worst lyric?
Marijne: “Feet are feet.”
Paul: Marijne and I were The Merry Babes before we got Salad together, and we’re releasing an album of MBs material through Pledge Music this autumn, which we’re very proud of, but I know Marijne’s not keen on the line “You’re so cold, when I touch your arm, it’s like I’m touching frozen fish in a fish farm” from the song Danger. I can’t think why. I think it’s rather poetic.

Salad Undressed play the O2 Ritz, Manchester, 19 Aug and York Fibbers, 8 Dec. Photo: Tim Topple

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