PJ Harvey: ‘Somerset House will fuel me and help tap into a different level of consciousness’

Michael Morris of collaborators ArtAngel confirms name of new song 'Throwing Nothing'

PJ Harvey has said that she thinks the history of Somerset House in London, where she is recording her new album, will “help tap into a different level of consciousness”.

Harvey has opened up the recording sessions for her ninth album to fans. Members of the public are able to watch in 45-minute windows as she and her band record the album at the venue.

Those who attend the public sessions are given a programme, which includes an interview between Harvey and Michael Morris of collaborators ArtAngel. In the interview Harvey answers questions on her songwriting process, as well as how she records in the studio and her history with art and poetry.


Asked what drew her to Somesert House, Harvey explained that the central London location suited her for a number of reasons.

“Somerset House feels right because of its resonance,” she said. “It’s that word again. Acoustically that room sounds right to me, the journey to the room has a particular atmosphere too – you have to walk through the Inland Revenue’s old rifle range to get to their former staff gymnasium.”

She continued: “All that history will fuel me and help tap into a different level of consciousness. When you’re making music with other people in a space, you connect on a very primal level in a musical conversation, communicating emotionally and musically. There’s very little barrier and you’re not only letting in the other musicians and the music, but also the surroundings and being open to everything that’s ever gone on in and around the space.”

Elsewhere in the interview Morris reveals that one of Harvey’s new songs is set in Washington and has the title ‘Throwing Nothing’. Meanwhile, one NME writer who attended one of the public sessions noted the following song titles written on the wall of the studio Harvey is recording in.

‘River Anacostia’
‘Homo Sappy Blues’
‘Imagine This’
‘Chain Of Keys’
‘The Ministry Of Defence’
‘Near The Memorials To Vietnam & Lincoln’
‘The Boy’
‘A Dog Called Money’
‘A Line In The Sand’
‘The Ministry Of Social Affairs’
‘Dollar Dollar’
‘The Age Of The Dollar’
‘I’ll Be Waiting’
‘The Community Of Hope’
‘The Orange Monkey’
‘The Wheel’

The album will be Harvey’s first since ‘Let England Shake’, which was released in 2011. She is also working on her first poetry book, The Hollow Of The Hand, which is due out this autumn.


The exhibition runs until February 14.