Irish all-girl group, B*Witched started the worldwide craze of bubble gum pop, dance moves and double denim in the mid 90s. Coming off the success of the television series, The Big Reunion, which saw the band reunite after twelve years apart; B*Witched are set to return Australia, for the first time in 18 years, in February for a national tour, alongside Atomic Kitten, S Club 3, East 17 and Liberty X.
Last time B*Witched were here was in the late 90s on a promotional tour, but you never officially toured Australia. What are you most looking forward to seeing while you’re here?
I’m probably going to disappoint you with my answer because it’s a typical answer; I can’t wait to see Sydney Harbour, the Opera House, see a kangaroo [and] I want to hopefully hold a koala bear. We did do a lot of that last time we were here and had such an amazing time – but I didn’t know that I wouldn’t be back for almost 20 years, so I’m not sure I took it in like I want to take it in this time. I really want to be much more engaged with my trip all around this time. We’re absolutely delighted to finally come back and tour for you guys, so we’re very excited about doing the show!
You’re also a big from of the television soap, Home and Away – do you have plans to go to Bondi Beach and see where the show is filmed?
I love Home and Away! (laughs) I’m not sure how much time we have but I’d love to. My fiancé thinks I’d marry it [if I could] but I don’t get to watch it very often, because of the times on here, but on the days I do, he’s like, “you’re so funny – I love that you love that.”
The last time we were there we somehow ended up at a Home and Away party. I’m not sure how that happened but I remember meeting a lot of the old characters that I don’t think are in it anymore. There was one of those sticker photo booths and we were all jumping in and out with them. I’m sure I still have those stickers somewhere. My mum, bless her, has done scrapbooks from day one til now, and it’s probably in one of those.
I read the twitter feeds are one fan said he’s waited eighteen years to see you live. Are you surprised by this huge reaction and hype you’ve received regarding the upcoming tour?
It is insane. It’s a really nice surprise to know that the reaction is excitement and that people are buying tickets. We did plan on coming back and unfortunately we never got to go back, but amazingly someone has given the opportunity to do it again and we’re on our way so I can’t wait! People have waited 18 years and people actually really want to come and that’s absolutely fantastic!
In the late 90s, social media wasn’t as big as it is now, so you and the people involved in bringing you back to Australia, wouldn’t have known that there was such a demand for B*Witched to tour.
Exactly. That’s something that has hugely changed since the industry back in the day – the amount of social media, interaction you have with your fans and the knowledge of how much people love you, or hate you – and unfortunately the social media brings both. There’s a much more interactive scene there and there’s something really nice about that. It’s quite hard to keep up with at times, but it’s a great new part. Technology moved the world on in leaps and bounds and it’s done it in the entertainment industry as well, so we need to embrace that and I think we have.
Just as social media has changed, music is also quite different. What do you think it was about 90s music that makes it just as popular today?
It is different, isn’t it? The 90s music, it was somehow just very freeing and it was fun. There was something about that bubblegum pop that came in the 90s – it was a wave of really fun, engaging music. I think there’s a huge amount of music now that’s either very serious or very much sold on sex and that didn’t really happen in the 90s. It did in some ways, because people were in their own way sex symbols, but I don’t think the kind of advertising was pushed purposely in that direction a lot back then. It was very much about the music, the fun and the dancing, and there’s something light-hearted about that. I think that’s what people are really enjoying, embracing again and remembering how that felt back in the day.
You released an EP, Champagne or Guinness in 2014. The name suggests a more grown-up sound, yet it’s still very mild in terms of today’s lyrics. Can you talk a little bit about the EP?
The EP was really nice to do because we didn’t know we were going to end when we ended, so we didn’t get to make our last record, if that makes sense. We were half way through doing the third album and then we got dropped; so when we came back, we really wanted to write a new record because it was something that was left unfinished for us.
We also almost wanted to do it as a thank you to the fans who, like you mentioned already, have waited 18 years to see us. They’re still behind us, still supporting us – so Champagne or Guinness was an opportunity for us to really engage with our song writing again and get back in the studio together.
It was really really enjoyable, well received and you’re absolutely right in terms of the writing was a bit more grown up because we are grown up. We’re 18 years older than we were, so I think the lyrics reflect where we are now and some of the experiences that we’ve gone through in the last 18 years. We intend to write more, we’re back in the studio next year so looking forward to 2017 as well.
How far into pre-production are you on the new record?
We have literally only just started. We had our meetings and toing and froing about the style we want etc. We were hoping to get started before Christmas but we have so many preparations to make sure we’re ready for Australia. We were like, “let’s start it in the New Year. Let’s give the Australian Tour the respect it deserves and be totally ready.” So we’ve decided to wait until the New Year so [we’re] completely ready to embrace both.
Speaking of the tour – you’re going to be touring alongside Atomic Kitten, S Club 3, East 17 and Liberty X. Will it be as huge of a party as we all think it’ll be?
It will be an absolute party – whether anyone wants it to be or not, that’s just what’s going to happen. We’re all on the stage one after the other, after the other, [so] it’s going to be a fantastic, electric night of 90s pop music. I absolutely expect for the audiences, and for ourselves, to feel like it’s one big party night after night.
Will you be mostly performing songs from the C’est La Vie collection?
I think we would massively disappoint the audience if there wasn’t a huge amount of old B*Witched stuff, so we’re not going to disappoint. We are going to play a couple of tunes from Champagne or Guinness, because we’re very lucky in terms of our fans that they’re embracing that – it’s out there for people to buy, people have already downloaded it, and can listen to it on YouTube etc – so we’re very lucky that when we gig, there’s a huge amount of our fans that already have that music, know the words and enjoy that too. But predominately it will be about nostalgia and back to the 90s; we will definitely be playing a few tracks from Champagne or Guinness as well.
When performing, does it feel like old times or a new level of group dynamic?
It doesn’t feel like old times, no. When we came back, especially for Lindsay and I, it was really important we got to sing a bit more than we did last time. [And] I guess it feels a bit fresher, more exciting, and, for me, I’m much more in the here and now, just in myself, in general. I’m much more aware of being on stage, so it’s definitely more enjoyable and exciting in that way.
With the big reunion, when [the cameras] were following us around in our lives, that was all really alien to us and really new. We [had] to share our homes and what we’ve been up to – it was very intimate in that way and something we really took a while to get used to. But once they got us back in the studio, singing and dancing, we knew we made the right decision. I just think we’re supposed to be together as a band and there’s something that really works when we’re together.
How did you go at remembering the old dance moves?
It was hard (laughs). We didn’t remember a lot of it. Some of it is new; some of it’s old, so we had to scrub up on it from back in the day [while] other parts were too young or too dated, so we had to change up the routines. It did take a while to get back into it. Sinead took to it quicker than the rest of us because she runs a dance school. But for me, I hadn’t been to dance class in quite a while so the coordination took a while to come back (laughs). Luckily, it’s like riding a bike, and after a little while, [I understood] how to move my head, my hand, my arm, my leg and my ear at the same time again (laughs).
Will you be bringing back the double denim?
I was just about to say that to you – do you think people would accept it if we didn’t? I think people would be devastated if we didn’t! But I’m just going to say watch this space and hold your excitement and see what happens (laughs). I know when we did the big reunion that was one of the most anticipated things of the entire show months before anyone saw anything (laughs) so it’s actually quite exciting and quite funny that we have that as well as having our music.
Do fans dress up in double denim at your shows as well?
Yes, absolutely – we get that all the time! We have people turning up in double denim all the time. Which is great, fun and nice that people embrace that side of us and; we’re very lucky to have that because it’s, yet again, something that set us apart from everyone else. The Irish music was one of the things that did that and the Irish dancing, even though we’re partially good at it. I think we’re really lucky to have some really unique selling points that enables people to really remember us.
How does the band go juggling babies, careers, etc with touring?
Oh, it’s easy. Generally the getting on stage bit is probably the easiest bit. The hardest bit is having the meetings, phone calls and emails trying to actually set things up. Sometimes it might take us a day or two to have a discussion and answer one question about a possible gig, so it definitely is more of a challenge than it used to be – because back in the day there was one focus and it was the band. From the moment we woke up til the moment we went to sleep, we had time for everything that it entails. Now we’re juggling other careers, babies, marriages and it is tricky, but luckily somehow we’re managing to make it work.
You’re a qualified humanistic counselor by day. Do your client’s ever recognise you?
Some of them do and some of them don’t; some of them knew before I started my work and some of them figure it out somewhere through our journey. Before I started counseling I worried about how to deal with that and what that might be like; but now it’s so normal to me for someone to bring it into the room. And it’s not about me so we just explore what it means for them to have figured it out and then it moves back on to them again. It’s very easy. Luckily they both go together well and I’m very very pleased about that because I did worry about whether the two careers would go at the same time. I’m very lucky to say that it’s working (laughs).
Originally posted at [the AU Review]