Behind the Scenes – PJ Harvey – BBC Sounds

Following PJ Harvey as she creates the score for a new production of All About Eve.

John Wilson follows PJ Harvey as she creates the score for a new West End theatre production of All About Eve. Singer songwriter Polly Jean Harvey is the only artist to have twice won the Mercury Prize for Album of the Year – for Stories from the City, Stories From the Sea in 2001 and Let England Shake a decade later. After 12 critically acclaimed albums and more than 25 years as an international touring artist, she is now focussing on her work as a soundtrack composer, having written scores for theatre and television for more than a decade. Starring Gillian Anderson (making her first return to the stage since her acclaimed 2014 performance in A Streetcar Named Desire) and Lily James (star of Downton Abbey and Mama Mia), All About Eve is one of the most anticipated theatrical events of 2019. Adapted from the 1950 film, which was nominated for 14 Oscars and won six including Best Actress for Bette Davis, it’s a story of an ageing Broadway star and a young fan who usurps her place in the spotlight. Over several weeks in the run up to opening night, Polly shows John how she works at home, writing and recording demos for the soundtrack to the play, and how one musical element of the original film – Liebestraume by Franz Liszt – has become the creative touchstone for her own compositions.

Presented and Produced by John Wilson. A Whistledown production for BBC Radio 4

LISTEN TO INTERVIEW AT: Behind the Scenes – PJ Harvey – BBC Sounds

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Let It Bleed: The Oral History of PJ Harvey’s ‘Rid of Me’ 

 

PJ Harvey has a walloping, 50-foot-tall legacy — musicially and emotionally raw when stadium angst was a boys club; opening the door for everyone from Alanis to Karen O. But in 1993, PJ Harvey was the name of a band: bassist Steve Vaughan, drummer Rob Ellis, and frontwoman Polly Jean Harvey, who would soon after come to be known as “PJ Harvey” regardless of whom she played with. Rid of Me was their second album, coming on the heels of their stark, remarkable 1992 debut, Dry, which had launched the trio from their modest beginnings playing forgettable gigs around England’s West Country (including one where they were famously paid to stop playing) into a major-label bidding war (won by Island Records) and on to an international stage.

A howling smash-up of blues, punk, and Beefheartian avant-garde stomp, Rid of Me felt like an expression of pure, unadulterated id — albeit an id with defiant post-feminist ideals and a sneaky sense of humor. Many heard the embittered snarl of the title track or the unhinged and anarchic “Legs” as autobiographical soundtracks to the nervous breakdown Harvey supposedly had during the album’s conception, but that sold her short as a writer. Rid of Mespawned no breakaway radio hits and garnered minimal MTV play, but tracks like the frenetic, thrashing “50 Ft. Queenie” and the harrowing howler, “Man-Size,” made quite an impact nonetheless — SPIN named it the fourth best album of 1993 and put her on the cover two years later.

 

In the album’s wake, Courtney Love said, “The one rock star that makes me know I’m shit is Polly Harvey. I’m nothing next to the purity that she experiences.” Similar accolades poured in from everyone from Kurt Cobain and Elvis Costello to Madonna and Jon Bon Jovi. Despite the widespread critical acclaim, Steve Albini, who recorded most of the album with the band at Pachyderm Studios outside Minneapolis, came in for his fair share of criticism for, among other things, the album’s rawer-than-raw sound and the walls of noise that sometimes obscured Harvey’s vocals. The controversy only seemed to gild the album’s legend, though, and with time it has become a definitive document of the 1990s.

SPIN spoke to Rid of Me’s primary architects to get the fraught story behind the album’s creation, and chronicle its messy aftermath.

Polly Jean Harvey, vocals/guitar: I’d done a foundation course in art school and was going to do a degree in sculpture, but instead of doing that, I’d signed a record deal and deferred my place. After making Dry, I thought, “I’ll make one more record.” Then I thought people will probably get bored of me. So I deferred my college course again to write Rid of Me.

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PJ Harvey Documentary A Dog Called Money Announced

The film about her 2016 album The Hope Six Demolition Project will premiere next year

PJ Harvey is the subject of a new documentary called A Dog Called Money, Stereogum reports. Directed by Irish photographer and filmmaker Seamus Murphy—who is a frequent Harvey collaborator—the documentary follows the creation of Harvey’s 2016 album The Hope Six Demolition Project. It features footage of the musician recording in London, as well as their travels to Kosovo, Afghanistan, and Washington D.C. A Dog Called Money is set to premiere at Berlinale 2019, the Berlin International Film Festival, in February.

Earlier this year, PJ Harvey shared her Dark River soundtrack song “An Acre of Land.” In September, she announced that she’ll be scoring the stage adaptation of the 1950 film All About Eve.

Source: PJ Harvey Documentary A Dog Called Money Announced

PJ Harvey Will Score Ivo Van Hove’s Stage Adaptation of All About Eve

“50 Ft. Queenie” should fit right in.

All About Eve will be adapted for the stage next year—and who better to score this tale of jealous rage and desperation than the musician Rolling Stone held responsible for “digging out her most twisted nightmares and setting them on fire”? (This review came in tribute to PJ Harvey’s 1993 album Rid of Me, a goth-punk album praised by Kurt Cobain and Elvis Costello.) More recently, Harvey scored two documentaries, Ukrajina and Towards Mathilde, and one play, The Nest, which premiered in 2016. An announcement released Monday morning on Harvey’s website confirmed that she will be scoring the stage rendition of the acclaimed film.

A 1950s classic and Best Picture Oscar–winner, All About Eve follows Bette Davis in the role of a fading Broadway star and Anne Baxter as the starry-eyed young fan threatening to replace her. The film is also famous for featuring the glowing charisma of Marilyn Monroe in a smaller part that manages to steal the spotlight.

The play will be directed by acclaimed Belgian theater director Ivo Van Hove and will run from February through May of 2019 at London’s Noël Coward Theatre. Gillian Anderson will take on Davis’ part and Lily James (from Baby Driver) will play Anne Baxter’s Eve.

Source: PJ Harvey Will Score Ivo Van Hove’s Stage Adaptation of All About Eve