about%20-%20jpg.jpg reviews%20-%20jpg.jpg gigs%20-%20jpg.jpg mediaevalbaebes_interview_2009_pt3001008.jpg
18th December 2009
mediaevalbaebes_interview_2009_pt3001006.jpg interviews%20head%20-%20jpg.jpg
(Katharine Blake on the band name)
"...it just stuck, even though it’s a bloody ridiculous name, isn’t it, and one that’s gonna get a bit hard to sustain when we’re all in our sixties!"
Katharine Blake and Sarah Kayte Foster in The Chapter House at Sheffield Cathedral, UK, 18th December 2009
Photograph copyright © 2009 Mark Holmes - www.metal-discovery.com
Interview and Photography by Mark Holmes
Official Mediaeval Baebes Website:
Official Mediaeval Baebes MySpace:
Thanks to Claire Lim at Peculiar Management for arranging the interview
Salva Nos (1997)
Worldes Blysse (1998)
Undrentide (2000)
The Rose (2002)
Mistletoe and Wine (2003)
Mirabilis (2005)
Live (2006)
Illumination (2009)
METAL DISCOVERY: You seem to have quite a dedicated and, at the same time, respectful fan base, but have you picked up any obsessive fans along the way?…one thing Tim said is that when ‘Illumination’ came out some of your more “scarily dedicated fans” got a bit funny on your forum.
KATHARINE BLAKE: Yeah, some of them are quite obsessive, I suppose. Like I said before, we are quite unique and quite out there on our own, so I think that does attract a few oddballs…[laughs]…shall we say, politely! [laughs]
MD: Is that just an internet thing, or do you ever meet any of them at the gigs?
KB: Oh, we meet them at the signings and stuff, you know, there’s all sorts.
SARAH KAYTE FOSTER: We had a guy yesterday who’d flown all the way from Cyprus to see us in London.
MD: Seriously?
SF: Yeah, so there’s certainly a level of dedication there. I’m not saying that he was a nutter; he was lovely! But, like Kath said, there’s only one group like us so people do…
MD: …travel far!
SF: …and they really commit.
KB: A lot of our fans have really sort of got to know each other and they’ve got a new social life as a result of being a Mediaeval Baebes fan. They’ve found like-minded individuals that maybe they wouldn’t have found otherwise, so I think it’s good for people in that way. There’s not that many people turning up to gigs wearing a suit of armour, is there?! [laughs]
SF: Our forum is where they commune.
MD: So you actually get people turning up in suits of armour?!
KB: There have been, yeah! [laughs]
MD: Is there security at cathedral venues?! You wouldn’t get away with that in Rock City or something! You could be concealing anything in your suit or armour…it’s like a weapon in itself!
KB: [laughs] In Salisbury, someone turned up in a suit of armour, but…[to Sarah]…that was just before you joined.
MD: How weird but, at the same time, I guess you have to say quite cool, because people are going to that much effort to come and see you…in armour!
SF: Again, very committed!
MD: A couple of random questions…what’s the strangest gift you’ve ever received from a fan?
SF: [To Katharine]…You’ve probably had stranger ones than I, in your many years.
KB: I’ve had a lot of jewellery, which is strange…
SF: Perfumes that a woman made. She made matching scents for us all.
KB: Yeah, but none of it’s really that unusual…oh no, I know…there’s this bloke called Pat Patrick and he gives us all Mediaeval teddy bears!
SF: Oh, he does! It’s like your initiation into the band when you get your teddy bear!
KB: Teddies wearing monk outfits! Because I’ve got two little girls he keeps giving me…he’s given me about five of them now and my older daughter, Ava, she loves matching things…
SF: A family of mediaeval teddies!
KB: She’s taken off all their monk outfits and she likes throwing them down the toilet! I told Pat the other day when I saw him and said “oh, she’s thrown them all down the toilet”, and he’s “do you want me to get you another one?”…[laughs]
SF: Do you think he makes all the little monk outfits?!
KB: That’s quite weird, isn’t it. Does that count as weird? Yeah!
SF: He wears a sort of friar/monk thing to the gigs.
MD: Not dressed as a giant teddy bear?!
SF: Not with a teddy, no!
MD: That would be weird!
SF: But my first gig, I was onstage doing a sound check and this teddy just arrived at my feet! He’d thrown it to me onstage! I thought I’ve really arrived now in the band - I’ve got my own teddy! [laughs]
KB: Yeah, you’re properly in now! [laughs]
MD: What’s the bizarrest thing a fan has asked you to sign?
KB: I’ve signed a baseball bat, that was quite weird.
SF: I’ve signed some very impressive breasts! They were shoehorned into this amazing mediaeval corset.
KB: I’ve signed a prosthetic limb before which is quite weird I suppose.
SF: What about that big musical…wasn’t there a big shaker stick we signed?
KB: A rain stick.
SF: A rain stick, yeah. That’s probably the largest thing I’ve signed, thus far.
MD: If you had to summarise Mediaeval Baebes in five adjectives to encourage people to check out your band who haven’t previously, what words would you choose?
KB: Romantic...playful…your turn Sarah…
SF: Magical…
KB: Enchanting…
SF: Passionate.
KB: Yeah, there we go, there’s five.
MD: Out of curiosity, where did the band name originally come from?
KB: I was on the phone to my friend who was, years ago…she actually left before we got a record deal…and I was just trying to persuade her to come round to sing some songs and get pissed with me, and I said “it will be great, we can be like the mediaeval babes”…and then it just stuck, even though it’s a bloody ridiculous name, isn’t it, and one that’s gonna get a bit hard to sustain when we’re all in our sixties! [laughs] But it kind of works, doesn’t it.
MD: So nothing to do with ‘Bill and Ted’s…’ then?
KB: No, they don’t actually say mediaeval babes in that; they say “historical babes”.
MD: Yeah, that’s right. Do you know what, I actually wrote that question then watched that bit of the DVD last night and heard “historical babes”, but then thought maybe they say “mediaeval babes” in the sequel because I’m sure I remember it from there.
KB: I don’t think they do, no, because I watched it with that in mind at some point.
MD: Yeah, in the first one they say “historical babes” and “mediaeval ugly dudes”.
SF: I’m glad we’re not called that! [laughs]
MD: Maybe you wouldn’t have sold so many records if you had been!
SF: No, it wouldn’t be quite so apt, would it! I think one thing that’s nice about the band name is that we were talking a couple of days ago about one of the features of the band - it’s perhaps quite unusual with this sort of music is that there is a big sense of humour and that comes across in our live shows. We don’t take ourselves too seriously and I think that’s nice the name alludes to that.
MD: Definitely. Finally, what plans lie ahead for the band in 2010?
SF: We’re working at the moment on some really exciting stuff with this fantastic man who’s come into the Mediaeval Baebes world…
KB: Our director…we call him “Sir”! [laughs]
SF: [laughs] Sir was there last night, we were all a bit nervous…“Sir’s in the audience taking notes!”
KB: “He’s got us all in a fluster, hasn’t he!” [laughs]
SF: There’s this great guy who’s coming in and doing a lot of work with us, just really exploring the songs in a new way and…
KB: …and trying to get more emotion out of us as well, very successfully.
SF: Yeah, and it’s just great to have a fresh pair of eyes really, coming at it from a completely new angle. Some of the songs that Kat and Emily have been doing for years…it’s bringing a completely new energy to it. And that’s with a view to creating a theatrical, quite spectacular show which an American agent is interested in. So there’s…
MD: …plans afoot!
SF: Yeah, plans afoot, and it will be very interesting to see how that evolves next year.
KB: I think musically, we’re more evolved than we are on the visual side of things. There’s a lot further we could go, you know, particularly into the realm of fantasy and stuff which we can’t really do unless we’ve got a bit of a budget. So we’re definitely trying to up the ante of the production values.
MD: Cool. Thank you very much for your time.
KB: Thank you very much.
SF: Thank you.