Róisín Murphy has always been a restless spirit. Born in County Wicklow, Ireland, she moved to Manchester with her family at 12, and remained alone there from 16 before moving on to Sheffield where – still in her teens – she formed Moloko with the producer Mark Brydon, who also became her boyfriend. Artistically, everything she’s done has been a dazzling collision of theatre, performance art, fashion and disco delirium. Post-Moloko she has worked with musicians from Matthew Herbert to David Morales, Toddla T to David Byrne, and is now settled in London with her two children and boyfriend Sebastiano Properzi. She has just released her third solo album, Hairless Toys which she wrote and produced with long-time collaborator, Moloko keyboardist and musical director Eddie Stevens. I spoke to her on the phone as she walked her dog and prepared to tour Hairless Toys around Europe.
How did you see London as you grew up and started in music?
Obviously it’s quite an intimidating place if you come out of the provinces to here. It all seems quite mysterious and impenetrable, or that’s how it seemed for some years to me. It takes a long time to yield to you, you have to get your head around it, it takes a lot of processing to work out how to enjoy it. Just on the simplest level, it’s a totally different way of getting around to somewhere like Sheffield or Manchester where everything’s on your doorstep, circles are very tight-knit, you can more or less get a big picture of the place in your head all at once. London needs a lot more working out – but once you’ve worked it out, then it’s really true: you’re tired of London, you’re tired of life. There’s nowhere left to go after that. Anywhere else after London is a step down, an admission of failure... “Oh I’m going to live in Surrey”? I don’t care what anyone says, there’s an aspect of failure in that.