Transcription of
Channel4 teletext interview

Interview by John Earls, published on UK's Channel4 teletext on January 18, 2001.
Transcribed by George Carless.


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According to their website, they are a rock and roll band, and sometimes a pop band. What The Sisters of Mercy are not, repeat NOT, are goths.

They've not had an album out since 90, and went on a strike for seven years against the way they were handled by East West.

But with a tour next month marking the 20th anniversary of their first gig, Andrew Eldritch reveals they're in no hurry to return just yet.

JE: How close to completion is a new album?
AE: We regularly work on tracks, but we've had no compelling reason to focus on finishing them. There's been a lot of interest from major labels, but the industry's in a complete mess. Not just the usual short-termism of Britain, but globally due to MP3 and corporate takeovers. Everybody is so scared for their jobs that they're reluctant to "risk" large sums of cash. Luckily, the Sisters are capable of thriving outside the circus.

JE: Given the East West strike, would you work with a major label again?
AE: Yes. I've always said I don't mind being exploited, so long as I'm exploited competently. If I'm exploited competently, everybody wins.

JE: How would you describe your new songs?
AE: The ones we play live are stonking. We're saving a few less gung-ho numbers for the album. They're maybe not the best think to play in our current live stonkathon. We'll play as many new ones as we can get away with on the tour.

JE: How commercially successful do you think the Sisters would be today?
AE: Our material's good enough. I can't vouch for the efficiency of record companies. The ones I've spoken to seem very enthusiastic about us, but aren't very self-confident when push comes to shove. And I've spoken to all of them in the last couple of years.

JE: Is commercial success important to you?
AE: It would be nice for the songs to find a suitably wide audience. but I don't need the money. Or the grief.

JE: What are your thoughts on current bands, like Marilyn Manson, regarded as goth?
AE: I don't have any thoughts on them. The last albums I bought were At The Drive-In, Destiny's Child, The Fall, and Monster Magnet.

JE: How difficult is it to appeal to new fans, rather than the same die-hards?
AE: Not difficult at all, even where the press is determined not to let it happen. Time Out gave us and our fans a fabulous slagging off for the last gigs before we'd even played them.

JE: What was the low point during the seven year strike against East West?
AE: No low points at all, other than not having resources to correct the media's mischaracterisations of the band, resources East West never gave us anyway. I don't need a record company to help me make records. And I absolutely don't need the circus and the grief that goes with releasing records to a wider audience. Or the frustration of trying to reach a wider audience via duffers like East West.

JE: How long did you think the Sisters would last as a band?
AE: I honestly don't remember thinking about it. Maybe that's why we're still here.

JE: Having covered Jolene and Confide In Me by Kylie, what other unexpected covers are you planning for this tour?
AE: We thought it more appropriate for the tour not to pull our usual stunt of warping something outrageously unlikely. So we'll be paying our respects less obliquely than usual.

JE: As your dispute with East West ended in '97, were you tempted to rush-release an album to celebrate?
AE: No, but I did plan to bring out a few indie singles. Our guitarist Adam spent a year not recording one called Summer, as he'd gone off the idea. He's since seen the light, but by the time he 'fessed up it was too late.

JE: What is it with the people involved that makes the current line-up one of the longest in Sisters history?
AE: They haven't quit.