Chain D.L.K.: The first time I listened to your playing was with Marc Almond. Can you tell me what you were doing done before that experience? From what I can tell you are a trained keyboard player…
Anni Hogan: Yeah I did all my grades and then went to Leeds University in 1979 to do politics. I met Marc and Dave (Soft Cell) in a local music venue. I took a year out and just started Djing and doing promotion in some clubs in Leeds. My first bookings were Soft Cell, Depeche Mode, Human League and A Certain Ratio 🙂 this was 1980.Marc and Dave did not even know I played piano. I met Matt Johnson in London in 1980 and he introduced me to Simon Fisher Turner. My first ever recording was with Simon, Matt and various other people on an album called “Deux Filles”. After that I played Marc the results and he was shocked and happy I could playand asked me to be a collaborator on his solo material. My first ever concert was Theatre Royal Drury Lane with Marc and the Mambas, which was Marc me and Matt Johnson (THETHE).
Chain D.L.K.: How was it, as a young girl, to experience the punk period and have the opportunity to play these gigs? What were your feelings?
Anni Hogan: The 80s were bad in the UK. Margaret Thatcher was in power, no jobs, terrible years. Politically a disaster. Musically it was great for me. I just did it to be honest. I only realize now how ground breaking the Mambas were and how radical it was to be a woman DJ back then. Hardly any in the UK in 1980.
Chain D.L.K.: Nowadays people think about the 80s like the yuppies’ years, but I think that the first half were really important musically and something really changed. Do you think today’s music is still influenced by that of those days?
Anni Hogan: I just heard the new Muse single… pure 80s! I agree the early 80s was an amazing time, innovative interesting fantastically experimental. From La Roux to Lady Gaga, the 80s are the core of their influence. So yes I hear it all around me always. But that also goes for the 50s 60s 70s 90s and so on. But yes I think that the late 70s, early 80s were a very interesting time due to technological advances.
Chain D.L.K.: What were your musical influences back then and what about now?
Anni Hogan: John Barry, Ennio Morricone, Nina Simone, Petula Clark, Walker Bros the biggest influences from when I was young, now it’s really “nature” or particular people I don’t know… Not really other musicians so much nowadays.I used to listen to tons of movie soundtracks when I was a kid, that was my biggest… films ad their soundtracks, I usually liked the films because of their soundtracks.I still am the same…its great scores…great films and the world around us.
Chain D.L.K.: When you played with Marc, you also wrote music. What was your method of sharing ideas with him?
Anni Hogan: I would give him pieces and he would add lyrics and vocal melody or the vocal would follow a piano line. I co-wrote “Mother Fist” and “Stars We Are” and the two Mambas albums. I also did all the song arrangements and co-produced. I was also the MD for the various live set ups.
Chain D.L.K.: What about that great Spanish flavor of many “Torment and Toreros”‘ tracks?
Anni Hogan: From both of us. I wrote “Black Heart” in the basement of our house in Leeds (Marc and I lived together for a few years). I had my upright grande down in the basement. I love Spanish music. “Torment and Toreros” was very Spanish influenced. I think Marc was going out with a half Spanish boy from York so that encouraged…
Chain D.L.K.: Is that also why that music was sounding so passionate and intense and reflecting your personalities?
Anni Hogan: Not for me. I love flamenco the melodies and rhythms. Maybe for Marc you are right. I had never thought of that really. It was just happening you know… I was young and living my life without taking much notice. Same with Marc.
Chain D.L.K.: Was it hard to do live gigs with the Mambas, having so many people performing?
Anni Hogan: We didn’t really do a lot of gigs. The first Mambas gigs were just us three. Then the Venomettes joined, Matt left and a load of people came on board for Torment. Then it was a mess. But I think we only did a few gigs. The Willing Sinners were much much better. That was a real band for a short while.
Chain D.L.K.: What brought you to record your first solo MLP “Kickabye”? Did you feel the urge to do something on your own?
Anni Hogan: Yes very much so. I had moved down to London and wanted to do my own thing a bit. Plus I was really close with Siouxsie, Budgie, Steve and also Nick Cave, Anita Lane, Blixa Bargeld… they were all encouraging me like mad to do some solo stuff. Those were great times, I have fantastic memories of this period in my life. I remember feeling happy and free! Plus Jessamy had shown me her lyrical poetry and that really inspired me.
Chain D.L.K.: Have you ever toured to promote that release?
Anni Hogan: No. However this time hopefully I will. I am playing Edinburgh on September the 13th as part of the Cocoon festival. Really I just want to play my new album out: “Cine Mountain”.
Chain D.L.K.: If I remember correctly, “Burning Boats” was also included on one of Marc’s 12″. Is that right?
Anni Hogan: Marc asked me if he could… I said yes.
Chain D.L.K.: On that record there’s a lot of people you collaborated with. Can tell me something about how that came about?
Anni Hogan: They were my friends. Siouxsie and Budgie took care of me a lot at that time. They brought down a drink etc and Budgie listened to what I was doing and said he would like to play… he is my favorite drummer, so I was VERY happy. Jessamy and Nick were good friends and we all hung out quite a bit. I stayed with Nick and Anita a few times. Nick and I decided to write something together. “Vixo” was the result. I loved Foetus like mad and met him at Some Bizarre and we wrote a track together with Marc for Some Bizarre compilation album (I noticed my name had been left out of the re-issue. Stevo… groan). Anyway Jim (Foetus) and I wanted to work together again and he offered to produce for me. Again… great!! “Love Amongst The Ruined” was the first track Jim, Marc and I wrote together.
Chain D.L.K.: At that time you had a lot of people you were bonding with and collaborating with. Is that happening also today?
Anni Hogan: Very much so.
Chain D.L.K.: Can you give us any examples and maybe tell us about your current activities?
Anni Hogan: For “Cine Mountain” guests include Simon Fisher Turner, Jarboe, Itchy Ear and Rob Strachan. I am also recording a new album with my new producer and good friend Tom Gandey aka Cagebaby. Guest vocals include Kid Congo Powers (an old friend from back in the day), Thomas Lang, Jennifer John and Kate Smith (DNA Orchestra) Siobhan Fahey is also doing a song with me for the album when she gets back. Tom Gandey is also going to sing and a couple of surprises. Plus I have written a track for dance diva Rachel McFarlane and have a couple of Italian dance collaborations coming out next year. I like to do lots of different projects. Love working with talentedpeople of course. I am also doing an EP for punk post punk label Antipop. I work with producer/label owner/member of the Drellas… Phil Hartley fairly regularly. He is based up here in Liverpool so really handy and really good. He recorded the new piano versions of Marc and co-writes on “Kickabye”’s new release. I am also working on thetrans-Atlantic womens project AEAEA with jarboe and Julia Kent (amazing Julia!)
Chain D.L.K.: So there’s “Cine Mountain” which will be released by Cold Spring under your name AND then there’s another one that you are preparing?
Anni Hogan: Yes. It’s a double album and I am really excited about it. It’s a soundtrack. The new one I am recording, which is produced by Tom Gandey, will not be on Cold Spring. But I will be always releasing albums with Cold Spring too.Sorry I know its a bit confusing. I just wrote so much material it has all gradually come together on various projects.
Chain D.L.K.: Why did your collaboration with Marc end and what did you do after that, besides the “Each Day” 12″?
Anni Hogan: Was just the right time. I had a big solo recording deal with Virgin and released an album under the name Cactus Rain. Just did the one album then of course got dropped. I moved from London to the North and built my own studio and wrote for a while. I had been writing pretty much 18 hour days 7 days a week for 10 years. I needed to write freely and just chill out for a bit, you know? I still did some DJing and dipped into a few little projects along the way, but writing was my main goal.
Chain D.L.K.: What did you think when Justin asked you to re-issue your old stuff? Were you surprised?
Anni Hogan: Yeah… he emailed me wanting my “darker” stuff. I was flattered and a bit surprised but I had been thinking it was time to re-issue “Kickabye”. So it was good timing. Justin is an immense support to me as an artist. Its really great to have a label’s full support again. It’s ben a while. We are both keen to release “Cine Mountain”. Represents me now as opposed to 20 plus years ago. However, I realize the importance of both.
Chain D.L.K.: What about all those bonus tracks we can find on the double CD release of “Kickabye”? Have they been difficult to find?
Anni Hogan: Yeah, it was a bit of a journey, but we got there in the end.
Chain D.L.K.: Thinking about you in your early days and today, how do you feel? Did you have something you wanted to achieve? Do you feel like you succeeded?
Anni Hogan: Not really. I wanted to be writing scores for movies. I still want to do this. I hope I can develop my talent more. I feel I should have done a lot more and just hoping there is time.
Visit Anni Hogan on the web at:
[interviewed by Maurizio Pustianaz] [proofreading by Marc Urselli]