New record should bring lots of money

Written by Kalle Dixelius for Dagens Nyheter newspaper, published on July 8, 1998.
Click here for the original Swedish article, a picture and .au samples
Translated by Martina Tallqvist
With thanks to Raf Toninato (osm10@siemens.be).

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Economy is the subject. Selling platinum records is vital for The Sisters of Mercy to survive, says Andrew Eldritch.

The singer of The Sisters of Mercy, Andrew Eldritch, speaks in a way that implies that he's slightly mad. The voice trembles almost unnoticeably as if he was on the edge of bursting out in either laughter or crying all the time. Some words are proceded by a small pause and stressed almost teasingly happy.

"The usual good news is that it's summer and the Sisters are going on tour. The special good news is that we've got rid of our record contract and can do just as we please", says Andrew in the way described above.

During the whole phone interview his receiver is squeaking, as if he was squeezing it with his white knuckles all the time.

The Sisters of Mercy, the model for all dark rockers, had to put up with a lot during the past few years. The reason was a very usual one: troubles with their record company. The fact that the past two records of the band were compillations is not a coincidence.

"We don't think it's interesting to work with a record company which doesn't want to market us, or even to sell a lot of our records. We have a few golden records, but it's platinum that we want. When I see how many CDs REM sell, I know we can sell just as many."

So now they have released themselves from the contract. But to do that they used quite drastical things. A record was made under "SSV" name, with Andrew's voice used in parts of it. He says he didn't do it, and that he hasn't even written any material for it. But he managed to get Warners to buy the record without even hearing it first. And the price was Sisters' release from their record contract.

The record was made by some friends of Andrew in Hamburg. It will probably never be released - it's simply too bad.

"I can only confirm that I had absolutely nothing to do with SSV, and that it's a very bad record. It's a pile of shit, to be honest. But it made us free.

"We're making a new album, which we will sell for a huge sum of money to some record company. But since it's difficult to sell things to record companies for a huge sum of money, we will be realeasing independent singles in the meantime."

Andrew constantly returns to the subject of money. People do have a good reason to call him 'the world's greediest rock star'. But he doesn't consider himself greedy.

"If I was a greedy person I would not be in this business. I was over 30 before I could afford to take my driving license. To call me something like that is just stupid, my main goal had always been to make sure that the band survives. This task takes a lot of money. And that's why I want to sell CDs at platinum amounts. Not because I need more swimming pools."

Another, not that famous aspect of Andrew's personality is the fact that he's extremely talanted with languages. He speaks fluent German, French and Italian. Also a quite good Chinese.

"I think that the fact that I'm a polyglot has helped my songwriting, because I don't know anything about music theory. You have to hold on to a kind of musical naivety. And besides it makes me better at writing lyrics.

"Recently I read a book about the king Beowulf, who wrote poems about 1500 years ago. His poems are the only texts I've read which work just like mine. We use the same pattern of rhythm within the alliteration. But it is very complicated and I can't really explain it.

"I just became fascinated by the fact that lyrics of someone writing about sex, drugs and world politics does it using rythms which hasn't been used since the 5th century."