Helen Marnie was studying classical piano in her native Glasgow before dropping out to take a degree in pop music at the University of Liverpool. There she met Daniel Hunt, Reuben Wu and Mira Aroyo forming Ladytron who have influenced a generation of British electronic acts.
With the band on hold Marnie is out on the road touring her solo album Crystal World and as she told Paul Clarke is playing two solo shows to promote it.
So what can people expect from these gigs?
I’ve been doing my solo project for a while now so the majority of songs are from my first solo album and I’ll throw in a couple of Ladytron songs to mix it up a bit. It’s a full band with three others, and we’ve done a few gigs lately which have gone really well.
So with Ladytron on hold it was the right time to go solo?
I wanted to keep making music so I thought it was just good timing. Now I’ve done the solo thing I really enjoyed it, and I am working on a second album right now, so I’m quite busy.
Will you be premiering any songs from the new album?
I’m afraid not because it’s not quite there yet, and the songs are all at the demo stage, so it would take too much time to get them to up to scratch.
What are the new songs sounding like?
My solo stuff is pretty different as it’s not as dancey as Ladytron, or as heavy in parts, so it’s a bit more of an electro folk thing as my voice has taken centre stage.
And you’ve got a drummer in the band?
The drums give it the energy it needs, I like live drums onstage, and it feels like a proper band when you have a drummer. I feel really lucky to have found them as they are all really amazing musicians so it’s really cool.
New Order legend Stephen Morris remixed your track The Hunter for Record Store Day.
That came about through the label that distributes my music as they have a connection to him so they got in touch and he was really up for it.
And were you pleased with the result?
It’s always interesting with remixs as sometimes they can transform a song, which is what he did, and it was cool he was into it. But other times it’s an odd situation as you’ve done the original so hearing it in another way can be hit and miss, but I was really happy with what Stephen did.
You grew up loving pop music so that is an influence on your solo stuff?
It’s very song based, but when I was writing Crystal World I really wanted to concentrate on choruses, and I think I managed it so in that respect it is quite pop. But it’s not commercial pop from a production point of view.
And your solo career isn’t the end for Ladytron?
I’m going to get the second album done by the end of the summer then I’ll be free to be work on Tron stuff. I don’t know how long that will take and what form it will take. People mistakenly keep saying I’m ex-Ladytron, which is not true, so it will be nice to put that right and get back with the guys to write. It’s a different beast from my solo stuff so it’ll be interesting to see what we come up with.
Marnie plays the Trades Club as part of Hebden Bridge Arts Festival on Saturday 27 June and Bristol Pride on Saturday July 11.