The Some Like It Scott Puppini Sisters Interview
I told Some Like It Scott pals last week about this group and imagine my surprise when they granted me an interview...learn more about these sassy gals and their amazing sound...
Dear Puppini Sisters,
I am writing this to you and I hope that you will read it so you'll know. My heart beats like a hammer and I stutter and I stammer...(you ladies get the idea, right?) But the truth is that you indeed made me love you.
Having grown up listening to the Andrews Sisters and watching Fred and Ginger movies when all my contemporaries were listening to The Police and watching Star Wars, to say I was excited about finding out about you is nothing less than the world's largest understatement. Thank you for taking some time to answer my questions and enlighten all the Some Like It Scott readers on the phenomenon that is The Puppini Sisters.
How exactly did a girl from Italy and two English girls get together to form the Puppini Sisters?
Marcella: We all went to the same music college in London, albeit at different times. I graduated in 2003, just as Stephanie was starting, and Kate and I were in the same Jazz choir. When I left College I really missed singing in harmony, so I rang Kate and asked her if she fancied getting together to do some singing. She suggested Steph as the third member because of her red hair (and soprano-singing abilities, of course!), and soon we were getting together at mine in front of huge bowls of pasta going through the whole Andrews Sisters repertoire. It wasn't long before we decided that we were going to be huge, put together a backing band with some fellow music college students and started getting gigs all around London. Our favorite haunts were the gay clubs (especially alternative cabaret heaven Duckie, the Saturday night legend of South London), and they LOVED us!!!!
What first attracted each of you to the sound of American swing music?
Marcella: I grew up watching Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers movies, and we all studied Jazz at Music College. We all had a passion for the early days of swing, and the idea of dressing up in 1930's/1940's garb was just too irresistible...
If the saying is true, "everything old is new again" do you hope that by bringing this style of music to the world now you can bring awareness of an era of music today's youth seems oblivious to or is it just about "swinging solid" as the "cats" used to say?
To be honest, when we started we were just thinking about having fun and doing something that nobody else was doing (certainly in the UK). However, it's been brilliant to see how many teenagers have responded to our music - to their parents utter surprise! Bringing swing to the youth wasn't something we set out to do, but it seems to have happened of its own accord, which is great. And it's not just the music that they've embraced: it's the whole lifestyle. Young people are fed up with today's trash culture, and they see old fashioned values such as politeness and success through hard work as being quite radical and innovative. And they love the Agony Aunt, Cooking advice and Make up tips sections on our website and MySpace page.
Your musical influences are undeniable with all the vintage swing pieces and contemporary songs in your repertoire but who chooses the songs, in essence what does it take to become a Puppini Sisters song?
We each choose a song to arrange, based on what we think is going to work best on stage. The first ever cover we did was Kate Bush's Wuthering Heights, which we first performed at Duckie (the gay alternative cabaret night we mentioned earlier). The reason we did that song was so we could get the gig, and when we arranged it we thought of the audience we were going to perform it for. As a result, it's a highly camp cover - quite like all of our covers, really!
The videos are all adorable and listening to the music on my Ipod is great. Which do you ladies prefer? Being in the recording studio, making videos or performing live?
Definitely performing live. It's exciting, fun, and can even be moving (when we get a standing ovation, or when the crowd sing along or do the dance moves with us). Being in the studio is a very creative and stimulating process too, but it doesn't give us the same heady feeling as being on stage.
What do audiences get in your live show that they can't get from the recordings and videos?
Our on stage banter is quite famous now, and on stage we also play instruments (accordion, violin, melodica and toy piano) and dance. Our stage show is full of energy and fun.
Marcella, you studied fashion design. So the real question is do you style yourself and the group or do you work with a stylist?
We started out with a stylist, but now we do it all ourselves. And my fashion world contacts, such as Vivienne Westwood, have helped a lot too.
Being part of the downloading generation I tried to get The Rise And Fall Of Ruby Woo but neither Amazon.com or Itunes carry it in the states, how can we Yanks get this album?
You can either wait until February, when it gets released in the States, or if you just have to have it now you can order it from Amazon.co.uk. We also have a Christmas single (our own wild swing version of Jingle Bells, plus a dark interpretation of Silent night based on the story of the little match seller), which will be out in the States this year.
According to a review I read, your second album (The Rise And Fall Of Ruby Woo) features more original material than your first album (Betcha Bottom Dollar), is this what we can expect from The Puppini Sisters, more originals and less classics?
Yes, our intention is to write more and more of our own material. That said, we will never stop doing timeless classics and camp covers of pop songs. It's too much fun.
You've created a sensation in Europe and you've had a successful tour of the US, what's next?
A movie perhaps? (Tim Burton, if you're reading this we're all yours!)
Thank you for taking the time to answer these questions. Know that there are many of us here in the States that adore you and can't get our fill of the phenomenon that is The Puppini Sisters.