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Interview

Reenie Hollis: The Bon Bon Club, Millipedes…

Article written by Ged M - Mar 8, 2009

Bon_Bon_Club_promo_shots_018_site.jpg
Reenie Hollis in The Bon Bon Club
You’ll know Kathryn “Reenie” Hollis as bassist in the much-missed Long Blondes but she’s on bass and vocals as one-third of the Bon Bon Club (as Sushi Quatro) and sings with the Millipedes (as Dolly Gripp). And she’s started yet another band… The Bon Bon Club’s incredible guitarless versions of Cure, Pulp and Death From Above 1979 songs are well worth seeking out on a Sheffield Phonographic Corporation 7”, still available from the SPCC site while The Millipedes have a track available on a Pushing Pussy Records compilation. Reenie is Sheffield-based and she’s going to stay especially active in Yorkshire for a while longer, which isn’t good news for us Londoners but it’s a good reminder that there is musical life beyond the M25. We spoke to the smart and funny Reenie, or maybe it was Sushi, or Dolly, in February 2009.

SXP: It was a great shame that the Long Blondes had to end in such a sudden way (and good that Dorian is recovering) but you've left a fine legacy. What were the best and worst things about being in the band? And is there anything left over to be released by Rough Trade?

Reenie: Thank you. I think it's fair to say there is nothing worth releasing left to release! A couple of shoddy demos maybe. Best thing - making music with people you like, and seeing that music do good things for you. Worst thing - dealing with some total fucking idiots along the way. It's good to be rid of them.

SXP: You seem to adopt a pseudonym for every project: does anyone still call you “Kathryn" these days?

Reenie: Sure. But sometimes I hesitate when someone asks me my name, which makes me look pretty stoopid.

SXP: And on that subject, why did you all choose spoof names for the Bon Bon Club and the Millipedes?

Reenie: To be honest, it never occurred to us to NOT choose pseudonyms. It amused us, briefly, and it's not like my name carries a lot of gravitas or anything...

SXP: One of the most satisfying things about the Bon Bon Club's 'Lullaby' single was that the drums and bass approach freed up something in those songs so they were much more than just guitarless pop. Are there other songs you'd consider for a similar treatment? And is the band becoming a bit more "conventional" now you've that added keyboards?

Reenie: There are loads of songs we wanna cover! Sometimes a song just lends itself to drums and bass, sometimes quite the opposite and that's what makes it interesting to try. The added synth has prettied things up slightly, but it's still fairly brutal sounding to be honest.

SXP: The music played by all the bands you've been in is very different - is that by chance or intentional?

Reenie: It's probably ‘cos I'm not the main songwriter in any of the bands... I guess the BBC is the sort of music I most like to play. I'm not fussed about writing my own songs for the Bon Bons, ‘cos there are so many ace songs out there we want to butcher.

SXP: Do you have long term plans for the Bon Bon Club and the Millipedes or is there something else in the offing?

Reenie: Neither band feature that heavily in my 5 year plan, they are just for fun. I've just started another band too... again, for fun. It's nice doing music for a larf again after a couple of years of music-as-occupation.

SXP: Even though you weren't originally from Sheffield, the Long Blondes were strongly identified with the city. You've maintained that link even though presumably you might have had other options elsewhere after your time with the Long Blondes. So what is it about the Steel City that keeps you there?

Reenie: I came for the pop lineage but I stayed for post-war architecture. Joke! I've been here nearly 10 years, and the longer I'm here the more interesting I find it...I have a lot of ace friends here, I'm never bored, and it feels like home.

SXP: Did you really find a bass guitar in your grandmother's attic, as the notes of the 'Singles' compilation suggest? And if so what was it doing there?

Reenie: Actually, that's an old lie that is so ingrained within me that I pretty much believe it myself, and can visualise finding it and everything. But in reality, I found it in my uncle's study. I wrote those notes, and thought it best to stick to the party line, one last time.

SXP: One of the interesting points the Long Blondes made in the early days was how your influences and reference points came from all fashion, films, books, not just music. Now that you're pursuing your own direction, is that still true of you – and if so, what are the key things that influence Reenie/ Sushi Quatro/ Dolly Grip?

Reenie: That's one ideology of the Blondes I don't particularly agree with. I'm fairly well read. I like to go to the pictures. Everybody's clever nowadays.

SXP: What are you doing next: any records in the pipeline or gigs – especially in London – planned?

Reenie: We've got gigs coming up but we're sticking close to home at the moment... Sheffield, Leeds - so we can get back and feed the cat. The Millipedes have amassed a collection of recordings, which remain un-mastered and on the virtual shelf. The Bon Bon Club have studio time booked to record our next single, to be released on 3" mini CD... something I've wanted to do for ages. They're cute!

Links:
www.myspace.com/themillipedes
http://www.theespc.com/
www.myspace.com/thebonbonclub

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