NHC favourite artist interviews are coming thick and fast the past few weeks, and this weekend is no different, as we are bloody excited to finally get Anna Secret Poet on the website for a chat! So without further ado, let's get into it;
Hello there Anna, it is bloody great to finally get you on the website for a chat, been trying to get this interview to you for two weeks now but life, and poor weather, has delayed us the past two weeks somewhat. Not to worry though, we are finally back on track! Well, start us off then by telling our readers a wee bit about the history of Anna Secret Poet.
Hello! I do like a chat me. I promise I’ll try my hardest not to ramble. Basically Anna Secret Poet is something I’ve been thinking about doing for many years. I’ve been in and out of bands since school and when my last one split up I was rather gutted and therefore wanted to try something different. The idea to finally marry my two hobbies – music and crossdressing – was a potent one and I figured I should just give it a go. Crossdressing doesn’t really get a good press and it’s generally derided or looked upon with confusion, disgust and a whole bunch of other negative words. Either that or it’s instantly lumped in with Monty Python or panto. I started a blog back in 2013 where I could write about it and maybe help myself feel better about it by sharing my experiences with others. The gigs have helped as well… I’m kind of annoyed I didn’t do it earlier! I’ve been lucky to have been embraced by a few different scenes in Glasgow; poetry/spoken word, comedy, cabaret and of course the vibrant music scene of which I’ve operated on the peripheries of for so long anyway. My eyes and ears have definitely been opened!
You music page has you mentioned as a drag poet, but you are so much more than that, as the wealth of different styles and abundance of mixed influences on your two releases shows. Was this intentional, did you aim for such a diverse mix on there, or did it just kind of happen as you were writing?
I started off just doing poetry but had always intended to involve music – I just didn’t know what songs! I kept the description of drag poet because I thought it had a ring to it and there aren’t many out there as far as I can ascertain. Even before the Secret Poet any album I’ve made has been a varied affair. I was brought up on a wide selection of popular music and was particularly influenced by the wide scope of styles displayed on most Queen albums. A lot of different moods are catered for there, even the ‘Greatest Hits’ is a fine example of this. Whenever I make an album I tend to want to cater for various tastes, I know as a listener I would get a little bored if all the songs sounded the same. Certainly there are one or two more abrasive songs than I would have liked but I guess I must have been a bit pissed off when I was making it haha! The first album on the other hand was made quickly to give away at gigs in my first year. It’s half poetry half song which is representative of my sets at the time.
The second album has so much punk influences that it literally excites our gonzo division! Does this mean you are a punk at heart then?
There’s a big place in my heart for punk and the variations thereof! When I was about 12 my uncle lent me a double cassette called ‘The Best Punk Album in the World…Ever!’ and it was awesome. It had Sex Pistols, The Stranglers, The Buzzcocks, Jilted John, Siouxsie & the Banshees and too many others to mention. No Clash though! But that was a great primer and definitely spoke to me as I started to question the world around me. It’s one of my default styles actually – songs shorter than 3 minutes with distorted guitar, chunky chords and a lot of energy.
So what was it like the first time you took to the stage as Anna? Could you tell us about it? First time I played keyboard in front of a crowd (many moons ago now) I was so bloody nervous I nearly ran away before our band took to the stage!
Oh man really? I can sympathise! By the time I debuted Anna on stage I was an old hand having been performing on stage since the age 7. That first time was terrifying though! I was supposed to recite a poem I’d learned but it took a lot of coaxing from my teacher to persuade me to get up and do it. Anna’s first gig was a bit scary as it was only the second time I’d been out dressed up but I was in good company and in a familiar place so it ended up going okay. I was just doing poetry and it was all over in a flash. I’d said yes to the gig before I’d actually worked out what I would do so most of my material was written specially. I’ve been making it all up as I go along ever since.
What other bands are you in, and do you have a favourite to play live with?
At the moment I play bass for The Well Happy Band. I’ve another band project in the works just now (an all girl comedy rock band) but we haven’t played live yet. Playing bass is great fun – my favourite thing about it is that I’m not in charge for once. Being the primary creative force and main focus of attention is okay for a wee while but I’m not equipped to handle the burden of responsibility that comes with it in the long term. It would be interesting to build a little band around the Secret Poet one time – a power trio! I’d probably like that. Well Happy are a lovely bunch!
What is your own favourite song from the two releases you have? Why that choice?
A favourite is difficult to choose – for me especially. Everyone else I’ve spoken to so far all have different favourite songs which is great. It means there’s been something for everyone on there. I might choose ‘Bonus Sausage’ from the first album as I was quite proud of it at the time. I recorded it in around 40 minutes and it’s kinda catchy, kinda funky and humourous too. Always goes down well live, in fact folk often shout for it when I announce I’ve time for one more.
The floor is now yours! What is next in 2018 for Anna Secret Poet then? Any new events coming up, or new releases you can talk about just now?
Scarily I don’t have a lot lined up so far! I’m hoping the diary will fill out a little more in the next wee while. So far I’m at an all day rock gig in the 13th Note on Saturday the 17th of March, an art class in Helensburgh on Sunday the 18th of March and a charity gig in Box on Thursday the 3rd of May. All this plus I’m working on some new material with the aim of having a new album out by the end of the year. I’ve also been trying to push the ‘Tits of Steel’ album as it is now available on a variety of digital platforms including; Spotify, Deezer, iTunes, Amazon, Google Play etc. I’d like to put it out there that I am pretty available for the remainder of 2018 if anyone is looking for a drag/punk/songstress. Here are a bunch of handy links…although if you google Anna Secret Poet a whole bunch of stuff comes up anyway haha!