Sugababes have shared the new Blood Orange remix of their classic ‘Same Old Story’ from the upcoming 20th anniversary reissue of their debut album ‘One Touch’. Check it out below along with part two of our exclusive interview Siobhán Donaghy and Keisha Buchanan.
Last month saw the iconic girl group announce their return to release an expanded reissue of ‘One Touch’ coming this October – featuring demos, rarities and re-workings from the likes of Metronomy and the recent MNEK dance remix of ‘Run For Cover‘. Today, they have shared the Blood Orange (aka Dev Hynes) take on ‘Same Old Story’, following on from his work on their 2013 comeback single as MKS, ‘Flatline‘.
“Dev’s music has become the soundtrack to my life in recent years,” said Siobhan Donaghy. “For me it was a no brainer to ask him to be involved in our anniversary project given the amazing experience of working with him previously with the girls and also knowing that he grew up with ‘One Touch’ and understood the record.
“The brief was simple: pick whatever track you want and do whatever you like with it. For me he has delivered the perfect 2021 update to our sound and I’ve had it on repeat ever since.”
In the first part of our interview, Sugababes’ Siobhan and Keisha Buchanan told NME about their memories of making ‘One Touch’, as well as mental health, fighting racism and bullying in the music industry, plus their plans to record “fresh” music. Below they open up about the band’s shifting artistic direction, sexism and the importance of creative control.
‘One Touch’ is the only album the original Sugababes line-up made, before Siobhan left in 2001. If Siobhan had stayed, do you think Sugbabes would have progressed in a similar way?
Siobhan: “I’ve always loved [second Sugababes album] ‘Angels with Dirty Faces’ and felt like the direction you went in after I left was beautiful. It felt like a natural progression.”
Keisha: “I believe we would have made a completely different record to ‘Angels With Dirty Faces’, but it was a different line-up. When another person joins the band, it changes the creativity. I don’t know what direction we’d have gone in. I know it would have been cool, but it would definitely have been different.”
Would you let your kids go into pop music at the age you started recording ‘One Touch’?
Siobhan: “For me, no. The emotional weight of it is too heavy. I see people who started five years later and they’re better equipped to deal with it. We were grown up and street-smart for our ages, but all three of us have a story about how it’s had a lasting effect on us.”
Keisha: “Outside of the profound emotional effect it leaves on you, we could tell you quite a few crazy stories about inappropriate situations we were put into as kids. By the grace of god, nothing too crazy happened. But then again, it depends on the kid. I remember us then and we didn’t want to play out with other children – all we wanted to do was sing. I would have been heartbroken if my mum didn’t let me in the Sugababes.”
Siobhan: “It wouldn’t have been an option. I remember my mum and dad saying: ‘Maybe you’re too young’, and I was forthright I would be doing it. We had an inner-strength and just wanted to sing. Although inappropriate stuff happened around us, the craziest we ever got was me and Mutya sneaking around the back of the studio to smoke!”
Listening back to ‘One Touch’ and the Sugababes’ production-line final albums, it’s fair to say the band ended up with a different vision to how it started. When did you feel it change?
Keisha: “For me, the Sugababes was about our harmonies and three voices put together. After Siobhan left, Mutya and I tried to continue our signature sound. When Mutya left, it became harder to maintain that. Every time someone leaves, it changes the dynamic. But there might be someone out there who loves the very last Sugababes line-up after I left.”
Keisha: “Siobhan! I’m just saying there might be people who actually like that, but for me, it changed and lost its essence. After Mutya left, it became about being sexy and not being allowed in the creative process. It became this machine – and it looked and sounded like that. I give Heidi [Range, who replaced Siobhan and remained until the end] props. She’s a big part of the Sugababes so I’m not shading her or the line-up she’s in. But it was mind-boggling and alien to be told: ‘Your album’s going to take two weeks. It’s already written for you’.”
What was it like to be a part of that?
Keisha: “I like to see the glass half-full so I’d turn up and do my routine, but I was embarrassed almost every single day. Siobhan, you would have died. During one session, a big name producer – who I won’t name – actually had someone come in and teach me, Heidi and Amelle about harmonies. I had to sit through that! Afterwards when I said that we really needed to be involved in the creative process, I was told: ‘OK, you’re being an issue now’, so I just shut up. And that album was disappointing.”
Siobhan: “But that’s the thing about being a woman. Some people can’t bear you having a voice, no matter how old you are. I found that in recent years with us. There are certain people who can’t bear that you have an opinion and I don’t know what to do in those instances because the easiest thing is to shut up, but I don’t have it in me to do it. You can’t be silenced.”
Is that something you’ve always worked towards?
Keisha: “Siobhan is good in that way whereas I go inwards, don’t say anything and end up falling in line and doing it. I look back at certain songs now and think: ‘Oh God, I hope my [future] children don’t see this!’”
Siobhan: “But you’re not like that with us three. That’s what’s positive about the three of us being back together again. It resets things to where they were in the beginning recording ‘One Touch’. We do all have a voice. And as grown women, we don’t let people divide and conquer – and we know exactly what we want.”
‘One Touch’ is released October 1 and be available on limited edition tri-colour vinyl, coloured vinyl, 2xCD and digital.