Roisin Murphy’s telling me about the best party she’s ever been to: her very own recent set at Berlin’s infamously sticky Berghain. “The best club you’ve ever been to in your life.” I can’t confirm from personal experience, but when the legendary singer-songwriter champions anything nightlife related, you take her word as gospel.
Murphy grew up surrounded by live music – first in Ireland, where “every fucker sings” and her uncle was a famous musician, and later in Manchester, where she lived out her early teens and got into “really horrible music that [her] mother didn’t like”. At the age of 18 she moved to Sheffield, and became immersed in circles that would quickly begin orbiting around her, eventually leading to a record deal. “It was an incredible time to be anywhere near a nightclub,” she enthuses, falling uncharacteristically short for words to capture the early 90s music scene in the city. “Total mind expansion was going on everywhere you looked. I can’t explain it to you. It’s not like that now…”
Her most recent release, May’s “Incapable”, sees her collaborate with an old friend from that time, Richard Baratt – better known as DJ Parrot. Questioning her capacity for love, the dance track echoes the low, fuck-inflected elements of last year’s “World’s Crazy” and “Jacuzzi Rollercoaster”, released as part of a four 12” series with maverick producer Maurice Fulton and The Vinyl Factory. It’s these organic partnerships that have shaped her musical evolution, mapping out an expansive career that’s drawn from a variety of genres, that currently stretches through three decades (Murphy first rose to fame in 1995 as part of trip-hop duo Moloko alongside her ex-partner Mark Brydon, and released her debut solo album Ruby Blue in 2005). “I think the most creative thing I do is choose who I’m going to work with,” she says of the producers, beat-makers and muses who’ve brought out unexplored aspects of her persona over the years. “I’m glad I didn’t stay in a band forever, because I’ve got loads of freedom to create a whole new era. Every time I take on a collaborator, I’m a different me.”