Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch on playing pop

Published in The Independent on Sunday on January 25, 2015

Stuart Murdoch’s muse has spoken. “She says be popular, play pop, and you will win my love,” he sings on “The Everlasting Muse”, a track from Belle & Sebastian’s new record, Girls in Peacetime Want to Dance. It’s the Glasgow-based indie outfit’s ninth – and their strongest in some time. And the rumours that the feyest band in Britain has embraced dance music weren’t entirely unfounded.

“I like to dance. We all like dance music,” says Murdoch, the band’s frontman and songwriter, when we meet for a cup of tea in Glasgow. “But we’ve probably been seriously incapable of expressing that before now. Now we’re just really relaxed – you just have to let your inner dance come out.” Continue reading “Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch on playing pop”

Can club dancing be an artform?

Published in The Independent on Sunday on March 1, 2015

Our understanding of dance is strangely segregated. There’s the dancing we do in clubs: for fun, with friends, after dark, to music that makes us unable to resist moving our bodies. Then there’s the dancing we see in theatres: professional, steeped in tradition, held at a distance. While both social dancing and performative dancing are the same at source – human bodies making meaning by moving to music – they remain walled off in practice.

One dance company is kicking down such distinctions, however. This week, Paris-based duo Cecilia Bengolea and François Chaignaud bring their work altered natives’ Say Yes to Another Excess – TWERK to Sadler’s Wells for its UK premiere. As its capitalised reference to that squatting, thrusting hip-hop dance craze du jour signals, it’s steeped in club culture, but gives its moves the same attention to form and line that you’d expect in a contemporary dance show. Continue reading “Can club dancing be an artform?”