An interview with Steve Kilbey by Kevin Carhart
originally ran in the _Daily Nexus_, January 26, 1995.

For years, one of the most distinctive-sounding groups producing nocturnal, transporting dreampop has been The Church. They had already released five fine albums when their 1988 release _Starfish_ and its first single, "Under the Milky Way", achieved overt acclaim.
Since the departure of two longtime mebers, the band has consisted of Steve Kilbey and Marty Willson-Piper. Kilbey's distinctive vocals are heard on most Church songs. In recent years, he has also been seen in the side project Jack Frost with former Go-Between Grant McLennan. The Church will play an acoustic show tomorrow night at the Ventura Theatre, conditions permitting. Artsweek caught up with Kilbey by phone recently, and what follow is an edited transcript.

Artsweek: How is the group different now that it's just you and Marty Willson-Piper?

Steve Kilbey: Well, we haven't got Peter's input anymore. It's made the album different.

AW: yeah, when I first heard Sometime Anywhere_, I thought, "Hmmm, this is a change," but then I noticed some of the things I usually enjoy about the group, like interesting couplets of lyrics and songs like "Dead Man's Dream".

SK: You like "Dead Man's Dream"? Yeah, that's one of my favorite tracks on the album. That's what I want to do with The Church, that's the direction I think we're going.

AW: I can't make out some of the things that are being listed off in that song. What are...

SK: If you can't hear them, you're not meant to hear them. That's why we don't print the lyrics on the albums.

AW: Ah! That's very good, very deliberate. If it's under the surface it's meant to be under the surface. How would you characterize the environments you create?

SK: You try to do things, and you only have a vague idea of what you do. When there's a sort of atmosphere or ambience you try to create, it's beyond words, it's something you can't always articulate. About all I know is that when I listen to it, it makes me feel good....

AW: There seem to be some songs that are these fantastic scenarios, and some that are about the modern world, like "Businesswoman," I suppose?

SK: Well, finding the fabulous in the ordinary and the ordinary in the fabulous, that's what The Church is all about. Mixing it all up.

AW: When you do have those songs that have that otherworldly feel, that are historical or mythological, is there something inherent at the core that makes you feel all the adventures? Is it difficult to keep the momentum up?

SK: That's what we set ourselves the task of doing. That's all we do, and we spend a lot of time doing it. I guess it's for others to judge if we're being successful. Even after all this time , we're learning about each other, we're taking it further all the time....

AW: Are you and Marty grounded in having learned about mythology and history?

SK: Well for me, the Roman, Norse, Celtic mythology... things like the Bible and the Koran,... all those things have interested me. It's not as if I'm trying to skim through and put it in a rock song, but anything that's happened to one in their life finds its way back to their stories and songs. And there's a lot of morals in Norse and Greek myths that are relevant to modern life. The basic conflicts - power, greed lust, -- haven't changed at all.

AW: I came in at the Starfish album. Was this a big dividing line for the new fans and the old fans?

SK: That's when we sold a lot of records and did lots of touring. It would be a lie to say it didn't change things.

AW: Your B-sides always seem really good , like "Warm Spell" and "Musk."

SK: Well, "Warm Spell" and "Musk" were just recorded on a four-track in my bedroom.

AW: Really? I can't make out any fidelity difference on those...

SK: Surely you must be able to!

AW: No, no! Of course, a lot of people wear their low fidelity on their sleeves these days.... How do you feel about that?

SK: Well, the studios are there, people should get whatever sound they're after ... Those early Beatles albums sound good because they were done in one day, and then you get sometihng like Pink Floyd that sounds like it was done in a studio and took four years. Everything's valid ... You could make a picture with a crayon or you could make one with oil paints. Whatever's appropriate.

AW: Do you have any favorite material from The Church?

SK: It changes all the time. I might name one today, and tomorrow I would think, "Why did I say that?" I think on this tour, with the acoustics, it's going to be the ones that are our favorites.

AW: How did you get hooked up with Grant McLennan [formerly of The Go-Betweens]?

SK: I met him hanging around in Sydney, and we just said, "Let's do some songs."

AW: How is the new Jack Frost different from you or Grant on your own?

SK: Jack Frost has really taken on a life of its own. On the new record, we make quite a few where we knew what it should sound like. All I know is, I had a bloody good time making it....

For more on Steve Kilbey and the Church, you can check Velvet's page.