We premiere Alice Ant’s remix of Ren Harvieu’s newest single, “Tonight” – released today – and speak to her about debut album, Through the Night.
Are you please with Through the Night’s reception?
Yeah, really pleased and quite surprised that it’s been accepted. Feedback has been stronger than I thought – not just from critics but from everyday people as well, which is just as important if not more.
It’s been roughly a year since your accident [Harvieu was injured at a party in Manchester, were she was born]. How have you gone about recovering from it, emotionally and physically?
I feel positive about it, but it’s been a year and I’m still not mended. I feel a little bit weird about it all, but it could have been worse, so I’ve just got to try and stick to the positive side. It’s really easy to start being bitter.
Johnny Marr offered his support – how and when did he get in touch?
It was through a mutual friend – he’d been listening to a singer called Lauren for ages and he didn’t know we were the same person. So he was like “you’re Ren, you’re Lauren?” He was a massive inspiration for me growing up, so it feels like you’re getting a pat on the shoulder. He was saying he’s been blasting my tunes in the studio.
How did you feel about Nas getting in contact with you, too?
He’s brilliant. My mum’s a big fan, which is a bit weird. I went to see him in Manchester and sat on the side of the stage next and I was dressed like a full goth. I went to his backstage area and there was all these women outside and I crept in, they were all like “who’s that?” It was surreal. I just accepted that it was a strange situation and had fun with it.
Any other celebrity reach-outs?
Andrea Bocelli, which was weird! Say what you want, but the guy’s got pipes. That was odd and I thought that was a massive compliment, because he’s so skilled as a singer. There have been other people down the pipeline.
Tell us about the video for “Tonight”. You worked with Olly Murray for it – did you conceptualise with him?
I’m quite a visual person, so when I initially had a conversation with him it was about colours. I wanted it to look rich. Like this old quote someone said about Marilyn Monroe – she was so radiant it was like you could reach out and touch
her face; you could feel it on the television.
What kind of reference points where you thinking of for it? Are you into films as much as music?
I like a lot of animation and things like that. So initially I wanted it to be a little more gothic, but I think things like that can come with time. At the beginning I said I’d quite like to play some kind of Tarantino villain, you know, “femme fatale”. A lot of women in music today are submissive and it really bugs me. Like, why can’t we have women who are strong and still sexy? But you have all these massive ideas. I was really happy with that, I had a lot of fun.
What are you working on project-wise?
I’ve got to do my next album. I’ve got a lot of ideas of what I want it to sound like, I’m very particular about what I like. I’m going to get better on the guitar and study different styles of singing – opera and things like that and just see how far I can take my voice. I’ve never had singing lessons, so I’d quite like to have singing lessons.
What kind of music are you listening to lately?
I bought The Roots of Goth a double CD recently. My friend is into Egyptian death metal some of it I quite enjoy, but most of it I’m like “get it off”.
Words: Jack Mills