Thursday, September 14, 2006


Louise Rutkowski was part of Ivo Watts-Russells' groundbreaking project This Mortal Coil. She performed (along with a slew of others) on Filigree & Shadow (1986), Blood (1991) and the spin-off project titled The Hope Blister (1998) in which she performed all vocals. I had the surprising treat of interviewing her recently. The air is filled with Vanilla and a touch of Bourbon. With roses just outside the window she speaks to me about keeping the wolf away...

MF: It is so lovely outside at the moment, I'll have to take a walk around the pond before I leave. So, what has been
happening in your professional life since The Hope Blister?

LR: Well, I moved to London in 1995 and did The Hope Blister record in 97', I think! The reason for that was to do live
performance. Most of my career seems to have been studio based projects. I worked with a fabulous pianist, Roland
Perrin, and together with a drummer and bass player, put together a show called Short Stories – The Songs of Randy
Newman. I played in small theatres and art centres and also did Edinburgh Festival, very hard work and very
expensive! I put together another show after that, featuring songs by Bobbie Gentry, Bessie Smith and various obscure
but kitsch country singers. I left London last year to return home to Scotland to focus on songwriting and learning a
musical instrument, the guitar was the item of choice and I am loving it. I do not read or write music so it’s a whole
new journey for me. I have begun to write with someone and the early signs are good. Sorry, it’s a bit of a Kate Bush
time scale.

MF: Regarding Kate Bush, do you have any comments on her recent return to the public eye? Are you a fan?

LR: One of my happiest moments was seeing her face on MOJO magazine. It was like a dream come true, plus an
interview! I adore her and she is a huge benchmark for me. I have always thought if I could write as well as that.
She is truly amazing. As for the album (Aerial), I think it will take me a while to get into it but that’s okay. I was only
just revisiting The Sensual World (1989) recently. I just didn’t hear it at the time and I’m thinking this is awesome!
Great music is like that. It has its time and it keeps on surprising you.

MF: How was day to day living in London?

LR: I am glad to say I am now not living in London! It was hideous towards the end, not least because of bombs and things.
It’s too overcrowded and I just couldn’t think anymore. Scotland is welcome escape.

MF: Are your musical tastes pretty eclectic? I mean, are they a mixture of commercial and not so?

LR: Yes, I’d say they are a healthy mix and reflect someone who truly loves music. I listen to virtually every genre I suppose.
Commercial music maybe not so much but I do like 'boy bands' because I do think there is craft in the writing and the
production of these records. More so than people realize and appreciate. But in terms of what I listen to, massive fan of
Rage Against the Machine, Audioslave...and I am a massive fan of Led Zeppelin! They are the top ones. I also love Dusty
Springfield, Gerry Rafferty, a superb songwriter and arranger. Also, Frankie Miller a Scottish blues rock artist. I was
initially blown away by the Sex Pistols and loved the Buzzcocks, Stranglers, Blondie and Public Image Ltd. I also love
Frank Sinatra. Who I consider one of the best singers ever, along with Dusty. I love Michael Buble he is an amazing live
performer... Bobbie Gentry, Free, John Martyn. Their is a classical pianist called Emile Gilels, now dead but there is an
amazing DVD of him, rock and roll! Some great Classical singers are Andreas Scholl and Cecilia Bartoli.

MF: What was the last CD you purchased?

LR: It was Dogs in the Traffic by a Scottish band called Love and Money, who I did backing vocals for on it and somehow,
had lost my copy! It features the amazing songwriting talents of its frontman, James Grant. Check him out. He has a
website so just find him that way.

MF: Has a professional career as a singer given you some moments of financial freedom?

LR: Many moons ago! That’s a hard question, especially at the moment when I certainly gain no financial input at all from
it. The last time was when I was signed as part of The Kindness of Strangers (Craig Armstrong) to Interscope. The joy of
such a thing, not needing a day job, is a distant but hopefully not dim in the future memory. Got to keep the wolf from
the door. But, the aim is to secure a publishing deal with new material so I can get out of that scenario.

MF: What would you like to see happen in your musical life, if it hasn't already?

LR: Now there’s a question. Well, my aim at present is in my own songwriting. I haven’t touched that since very early in
my music life. An album under my own name and who knows, including my guitar playing! This is the goal for next

MF: What vocalists or musicians would you next like to work with?

LR: One's that love music and support my own vision so we can create something really special. I’ll send that thought out
into the ether.

MF: What about a collaboration with your sister Deirdre Rutkowski (Blood)?

LR: Possible, we’ve been doing our own things for years and it’s never really came up. We’ll see.

MF: Were you encouraged as a child to seek out music?

LR: Absolutely. My sister, brother and I were all into music and were in a church related musical show every summer! My
parents love music and we were surrounded by it. One of my earliest memories is watching Top of the Pops. I had loads
of my parents’ records to play too, as well as what my brother and sister were buying. I was also greatly encouraged to
follow a career in music. Never once did I hear “get a proper job”. Thank the good Lord.

MF: Did you ever think of pursuing acting in addition to music?

LR: Yes, many times. I took a short course last year and quite enjoyed it. It was very interesting in that it was an entirely
new creative discipline, very mentally stimulating. So I’ll try that again I suspect.
MF: Do you think the THIS MORTAL COIL recordings will be remembered as golden remnants of music history?

LR: I believe they already are. I’m astonished at the amount and varying types of people over the years who have spoken to
me about how much they loved This Mortal Coil and how much it meant to them. That’s absolutely priceless. Also,
things come round don’t they, so I’m sure it will surface again at some point when I’m an old lady. (we laugh)

MF: Do you think there will ever be a fourth This Mortal Coil? If so, is it possible that you would return along with Caroline
Seaman, Lisa Gerrard, Alison Limerick and Elizabeth Frasier?

LR: No. It was of its time and in any case, Ivo would never do it.

MF: So, Ivo has, to quote Shakespeare "...shufflel'd off this mortall coile..."?

LR: Ivo just wanted to move on and do other things and lives happily in the US! I'm sure he will return to music at some
stage, my personal view. I hope he does, we need people like him.

MF: Yes we certainly do. As far as working with other masters, if approached by Rhys Fulber of Conjure One, would you
perform as a guest vocalist?

LR: No idea who Fulber is, gulp! Enlighten me.

MF: I'm sorry I should have said Delerium, that name is more accessible. He (along with his partner Bill Leeb) is a fantastic
musician and producer. Sarah Mclachlan, Poe and a host of other vocalists have worked with Delerium and Conjure One.

LR: Yeah. In a word.

MF: Do you appreciate antiques and fine candles?

LR: Is this a metaphorical question? Antiques yes, my parents collect so. Fine candles no. Better to be happy within than
worry about your surroundings.

MF: But, you know This Mortal Coil requires candles and incense for optimum listening! I'm going for that walk now, you've
got some fairies out there don't ya? (maniacal laughing follows us - picture James Whale's Dr. Frankenstein) PLEASE VISIT MS. RUTKOWSKI'S WEBSITE
Photos by Brian O'Connor, visit him at


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have fond memories of This Mortal Coil as a soundtrack to driving through the Blue Ridge Mountains on snowy nights. Thanks for the interview and the chance to get to know LR better!


6:13 AM  
Blogger Robert Motyka said...

Louise Rutkowski will release her solo album in the end of Feb 2014!

4:32 PM  

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