In the Summer of 1998 B*Witched burst on to the music scene with Irish charm and an infectious brand of pop music, becoming the first girl group to have four consecutive singles to enter the UK charts at Number One. As they performed on stages across the world, my friends and I performed as them in our school talent show. Fast forward a few years to early 2016 and B*Witched are back with new album ‘C’est La Vie – The Collection’ and back on stage once again. We sat down with Edele, Keavy, Sinead and Lindsay ahead of their pre St Patrick’s Day show in London to talk all things past, present, and future B*Witched in this exclusive Essentially Pop chat. And aIl of my fangirl dreams came true.
EP [Rachel]: You’ve got your greatest hits album out, how did it feel to have an album out again?
BW [KL]: Weird! The way it came about was a company approached us and said this what we’d like to do, and they were the ones who got the tracks cleared with Sony etc, so we got involved later on with it, and it was kinda weird, we were like “you want to do our greatest hits?? Wow!” Technically it’s not a greatest hits, it’s a “collection”, cos it’s a collection of lots of different songs, most of the songs that we’d done…
[LA]: pretty much all of it…
[EL]: apart from the newer stuff, there’s a lot of the newer stuff missing…
[KL]: most of the older stuff on it. So it’s nice to have a greatest hits style album out. The fans were delighted, because they’d totally worn out their old CDs, and you can only find them in a thrift shop, if you’re lucky, but I think people were excited to hold a CD again, because not many people do CDs anymore. So, having the two older albums collated and some newer stuff…
[EL]; I still prefer a CD!
[LA]: Me too!
[EL]: I still play the CDs in my kitchen. I never ever plug my phone in and play those.
[LA]: I’ve still got a big CD collection and I love it.
EP [Rachel]: Lisa bought me a copy of your first album…
EP [Lisa]: I might have picked it up…at a charity shop…
EP [Rachel]: How is it different performing together now than it was the first time around?
BW [SO’C]: Bit more relaxed. There’s a few more mistakes.
[EL]: Not true!
[SO’C]: Well, only the ones that we would know.
[EL]: Well back in the day we were military as well though, we’d be so annoyed if we weren’t pinpoint precision…
[KL]: Well it was all we did 24/7, so we had room for that to be true, now we have careers and babies…
[LA]: And now what’s nice about it this time around is that it’s just about the show, about the live aspect of it. Whereas back in the day it was actually quite a small part of it. We had to do a lot of promo, and interviews, and photoshoots.
[SO’C]: There’s a lot less pressure now, we come together to have a great time, have a girly weekend, put on a great show, which we enjoy doing and know we do well. We don’t have the pressure to have a number 1 record at the back of it.
EP [Rachel]: Yeah because there’s not so much record label pressure for you this time around.
BW: Big time!
– But you don’t realise it at the time!
EP [Rachel]: I remember reading all the magazines at the time, Smash Hits, Top Of The Pops Magazine, and you were everywhere – you were doing everything all the time, completely non stop.
BW: You’ve got to do all those interviews separately, we never sat still. Even in a car journey, we were on the phone to another venue, another radio, maybe another country, at night time we’d be on the phone to Australia, it’d never stop until we literally hit the pillow.
EP [Rachel]: Your EP you brought out in 2014…
BW: Champagne and Guinness!
EP [Rachel]: It’s got that really classic B*Witched sound, which I loved, it’s got a more sophisticated feel about it too, was there any question that was the kind of music that you wanted to come back with, or did you think about going off in a completely different direction?
BW: We had a play around with a few different styles…
– but ultimately the natural thing for us was to have a stamp of the B*Witched sound, but also make it current, have it more relevant to our age now.
– the heavy metal didn’t really work…
EP [Rachel]: It’s got a really fresh, modern feel about it! And you produced that through Pledge Music, so crowdfunding, which is obviously built so much on social media. How do you feel that has changed how you interact with people? I know 1998, 1999, 2000, you didn’t have that…
BW: Oh my gosh. Social media has really changed everything. In some ways it’s really nice to be able to talk to the fans, to react to them, and to have them react to us, and in other ways, it can be really hard as well, because you literally see and hear everything that’s ever said or done. And we didn’t have that years ago. Even if there was something written that you didn’t like, well if you didn’t read the paper or the magazine, you wouldn’t have seen it. But now, you’ve got people tweeting you twenty times a day going, “Look! Did you see this! You look awful! Here’s a terrible photo of you!”
EP [Rachel]: Do you find you have to ignore a lot of it?
BW: Yeah yeah! You ignore the bad stuff. You’d go crazy if you didn’t. It’s all so strange, because it brings it into own home, and into your private life, and after a while I need to think about when I look at it, because I only use twitter for work, and I used to check it all the time. Now I think about where I want to check it, and when, because otherwise it brings it into your personal life. When something is upsetting, it’s like, this is crazy, I feel awful because of something that was said on twitter!
Sometimes it makes me sad for the fans, because you can see if we’ve not managed to tweet them back, then they’re going crazy, “have I said something” “did I do something to offend you”. And that upsets me don’t want you to be upset by me, we just want you to enjoy it!
EP [Lisa]: It’s hard isn’t it, because you do have that personal relationship with your fans! I wrote a story about you guys for Essentially Pop, and your official twitter account tweeted the article, and it’s our article with the most hits for one day ever – we had 911 hits on that day – and it’s still going! So we’ll put this on and our stats will go through the roof!
BW: That’s the weird thing about the internet too. Because when we signed up for this job, we didn’t know that everything would be around – forever – it’s very different to what we thought it was going to be like at the time.
EP [Lisa]: And people pick it apart!
BW: Oh my gosh of course! I do myself! I never watch myself back on TV because I’d pick myself apart, but that’s okay. People are like, “Did you see it?” “No!”
EP [Rachel]: Is there anything you wish *was* on the internet? Because there’s a lot of the old TV shows that aren’t on anymore, sometimes you can find things on YouTube, but not necessarily. Is there anything, like performances, you’d like to see again?
BW: When you release a song in the UK, you have to do all that promo, and then the States, because we’d done the States as well, and you’d kinda disappear for a year, to do it over there. [Now] you’d go visit those places, but it’d just go worldwide.
EP [Rachel]: Everything’s much more accessible now.
BW: I think for me, the American stuff, I think that’s where we were going with this, and not a lot of the American stuff is online, and somehow our fans here have put almost everything we did here online – maybe it’s because they’d VHSd it themselves back in the day and then transferred it – but we never really get to see our American stuff.
– Something came up the other day about LFO, and I looked up when we did that gig, and there’s loads of stuff off Nickelodeon, 1998, but there’s none from LFO, I couldn’t find it.
– Is Jay Leno even up there?
– That’s what I was going to say! We did lots of really cool American shows, like Jay Leno, The Donny & Marie Show, Ricki Lake…it’d be nice to see those performances! The only thing up there is Disney, we did a concert with 5ive…
– It’d be nice to see those performances again.
EP [Rachel]: I think they might have been on the Disney channel at the time.
BW: Yeah over and over and over.
[EL] – I don’t know if there’s anything not up there that I’d like to see up.
[KL]: I’d like to see Jay Leno!
[LA]: I’d like to see Ricki Lake! Or Rosie O’Donnell!
EP [Rachel]: Get in touch with the production companies [BW: yeah!] they must have some of them archived.
BW [EL]: Oh you know what I want to see! On The Simpsons, where we were kind of featured when Bart writes on the blackboard in the beginning, that B*Witched do not support Satanism. I’d like to see that! I’ve never seen that, but a few people say it to me though.
[KL] Is it us though?
[EL]: Yeah it wouldn’t be the other ones!
[KL]: But they’re heavy metal and look sadistic a bit…
[EL]: But…they’re kids!
[SO’C after some time looking on Google] – No, it’s not our spelling.
EP [Rachel]: You were all working on quite different projects before coming back together. Do you find it difficult to reconcile these different parts of yourself, and going from doing the things you were doing, to suddenly being pop stars again?
BW [EL]: I know, it’s weird.
[LA]: It’s tricky sometimes, because they are very different, and it’s a very different world to step back into, the B*Witched thing, going back on stage, dealing with being identified with that again, and people recognising you, and you know, recognising your songs, and stepping back in time in a way. But it’s also nice that we get to do that, and as Edele said, we get together, do a show, have a girl’s night and catch up.
[EL]: I don’t find it hard at all! It’s like putting an old pair of jeans on!
EP [Lisa]: It’s all that training that you guys did before isn’t it! You were working 24/7 now you’re like ah hah!
BW [SO’C]: It is really exciting, when you see this gig coming, we’re like yayyy, and the relief of doing it…
[EL]: Because we’ve also done pantos…
[SO’C] …it’s so nice!
[KL]: I’m a counsellor now, so marrying those two worlds for a while was a little confusing for me to figure out, cos one’s so private and one’s so public, it was like, “Oh this is strange, is it going to work?”, but once I got used to having both I was like “Oh it does work it’s fine”.
EP [Rachel]: So you have, like, two different jobs.
[KL]: Yeah! Completely different!
EP [Lisa]: You don’t have people booking appointments with you and then saying, “could you sign this…”
[KL]: I don’t! I don’t actually!
EP [Lisa]: That’s very well done!
[KL]: The fans have been really respectful of my new career, because I do obviously have a phone number, and it’s all out there, they’ve been really respectful, I’ve had a couple of messages, but they’ve generally left me alone.
EP [Julia]: I guess that they realise you’re wearing different hats as well…
EP [Lisa]: And it also might be too, because your fans have come from, the pre-internet days, and they have that respect because you’re on the pages of the magazines, you’re not “real people” to go and touch.
EP [Rachel]: Is there anything you couldn’t do the first time around, that you’d like to do now, and is there anything that you’d love to do again?
BW [EL]: Party loads! If I was to talk to the younger me, I would definitely tell myself to let my hair down more, and enjoy socialising more, because it was all work and no play. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed myself, loved myself, it was all amazing….
[KL ]: loved myself awww
[EL]: I still love myself! It’s very important! I had a great time, and just loved what we did, but I’d just like to go back and party more!
[SO’C]: do you know what, in fairness though, one of the good things was actually taking time when we travelled, to see places, but we were so jetlagged that we really didn’t have that time to take it in, but if we were a bit more mindful at the time – to just stop and take it in.
[LA]: Potentially, if we could talk to ourselves now, you know, back then, I’d say stand your ground a little bit more with the record companies, because I think we were overworked, and I don’t think the hours we worked would be legal now. So I think I would say to our old selves, you know we actually need a day off, or we’re going to fall over.
EP [Julia]: Especially at such a young age! It’s important to have that balance…
BW [LA]: Absolutely! And you’re away from your family, your support…
[SO’C]: but you know what, it was a manic time though because it was magazines..there’s none of that now. There were so many tvs, and then you’re in at 1.30 and you’re up again to go to another place.
[KL]: It’s unfortunately the type of industry that doesn’t wait for anyone either, so you’ve got to ride that wave. You’re [not safe to take] a gap, you’ve got to keep going for as long as you can. I’d love to do our tour again, the arena tour we did here in the UK. It was just amazing!
EP [Rachel]: I never got to go! I got to go to the Big Reunion Tour, I saw it in Manchester.
BW [EL]: There were so many hits on that stage in the one night!
[SO’C]: Even when we were watching the dress rehearsals! Everybody was so excited because everyone loved the songs as well, we were sitting there, like “Oh My God!”
EP [Rachel]: It was such a great period for pure pop music, with all the different bands.
BW [KL]: It was all about just fun and happiness…
[LA]: and that’s missing from the new music industry now, it’s all very serious and very sexual.
EP [Rachel]: I definitely agree with you about that. There isn’t, in the same way you were, even The Spice Girls, there isn’t that kind of act now. I think Little Mix probably comes close to it.
[EL]: I have to say, I like Little Mix, and I like One Direction…
[LA]: I like The Saturdays!
EP [Rachel]: I think everything’s pushed a lot more, and corrupted.
EP [Julia]: Everything’s so sexualised now.
BW [LA]: And that’s what kids are listening to, and watching.
EP [Lisa]: When you did the Big Reunion Tour, did you know everyone there?
BW [SO’C]: No! We knew a handful of them, but not all of them.
[LA]: We didn’t know Liberty X at all.
[KL]: We’d not met them at all, because they were a couple of years after us…
[LA]: We knew everyone else though!
[SO’C]: We’d met Blue before…[discussion about who they’d known before]
[EL]: We didn’t really know anyone that much, we knew 911 quite well because we’d done their tour…
[KL]: And the Honeys…and Atomic Kitten…
[EL]: We didn’t know The Kittens well though! We’d met them once or twice.
[SO’C]: If we were a boy band we would be Blue.
[LA]: That’ll be the headline!
[EL]: They had the same work ethic, just work really hard, enjoy ourselves, and enjoy each other.
[LA]: They’ve also got a lovely bond between them, it’s not like anything I’ve seen in other bands. Very respectful and look out for each other.
[SO’C]: They’re just messers!
[LA]: They’re such good fun!
EP [Rachel]: That kind of leads into my next question. The idea of supergroups is really big at the moment…you’ve got McBusted…apparently Boyzone and Westlife…
[KL and EL] WHAT!!
EP [Rachel]: You probably know more about that than I do…
BW [KL ]: Nooo! We’ll let you know when we find out more about that…
EP [Rachel]: So, if you were to form a supergroup, who would you form it with, and what would your band name be?
BW [EL]: It would have to be from the 90s really, wouldn’t it?
EP [Rachel]: No! Anyone!
BW [EL]: Oh for goodness sakes…
EP [Rachel]: I’m going with Little Mix!
BW [together]: Ohhh yess!
[LA]: Little Witched!
EP [Rachel]: Little Witched! See, I’ve thought about this…
[EL]: I was going to say that, but we couldn’t! We’re like their Mams!
EP [Lisa]: Nooo! They’d probably be like, “Oh My God! B*Witched want to do a collab!!! Ahhh!!”
BW [KL]: We met the girls, and they were so lovely, and they were like, “we loved you guys!” and we were like “You guys are awesome ahh!”
LA: Do you mean someone from back then?
LA: Okay then we’ll go with them! Little Witched!
EP [Rachel]: I’m completely 100% for that!
EP [Lisa]: You could put a star in the “i” so it’d be L*ttle Witched!
[EL]: Who would go to the show though!
EP [all together] Me!!! There’s a great cross over.
BW [to Rachel]: Are you a Little Mix fan too?
EP [Rachel]: Yes I love Little Mix! Their performance on the BRITs was so good…
SO’C: They kinda got slated for not singing live…they know all the verses, but the chorus, there’s a track underneath…
[KL]: They’ve done some really good stuff, but I think people just like to shout a bit sometimes…
EP [Rachel]: And I think with a big performance like that, when it’s such an important performance, it’s live TV, it’s the BRIT awards, you want to have that back up, because you’re dancing as well!
BW [LA]: Absolutely! You want it to sound like the record!
[EL]: I do think if ourselves and Aqua did a tour, that would be awesome.
[KL]: If we teamed up with Aqua – what would we be? Waqua?
[KL]: We could team up with the Venga Boys too, and Aqua…so what would that be? Bevaqua Boys?
EP [Lisa]: Bevanquitched!
BW [KL]: Oooh!
EP [Rachel]: Edele and Keavy, at one point you looked like you were going to Eurovision…
BW [EL and KL]: Did we??? [EL]: I *wrote* a song for Eurovision!
EP: [Everyone]: Yess!
EP [Rachel]: It was differently rumoured! I thought you were doing something with Barbarellas?
BW [KL] : Was it! Can you imagine it? “And we’re representing Ireland…” “Are you? I thought you were representing SPACE!”
EP [Lisa]: The rumours were in 2012 before it came out that you [Edele] were writing for Maria McCool, that the Barbarellas were going to put a song in.
EP [Rachel]: But would you want to do something like that? As B*Witched?
BW [SO’C]: We were asked to try out for it, but we’d have to have taken part in a heat competition of six songs, and we said no. Nicky Byrne is doing it for Ireland this year without having to audition, there’s no heats, he’s just singing the song. If we were given that chance…
[LA]: But if we have to do auditions, no thanks!
BW [KL]: For years with the Eurovision, it used to be brilliant, and I think it’s quite political now, and I’m not sure England or Ireland would ever win again, they’re so far down now because all those other countries are kinda voting for each other, and the voting thing is different. It’s changed.
[EL]: If there’s something I’ve learned in my life is that never say never.
BW [SO’C]: If someone wrote us a great song, and we got to go away and hang out, why not!
EP [Rachel]: So if someone approached you and said, here you go…
BW [LA]: In fact you’ve given us an idea!
EP [Lisa]: That’ll be our headline! ‘B*Witched Say Never Say Never To Eurovision’!
BW [LA]: Actually make it, ‘Don’t Say Never’, because we’ve written a song called that! It’s on the ‘Collection’! Out now!
EP [Lisa]: I have one question I ask everyone I interview…
BW [KL]: We might not answer it…
EP [Lisa]: It’s this. What question do you wish someone would ask you in an interview, but no-one ever does?
BW [altogether]: Hmmm! That’s hard! We thought it was going to be, what question do you always get asked but you don’t like being asked…like, what’s your favourite colour?
BW [EL]: How about, “What celebrity do you have a crush on so I can sort you out?”
EP [Lisa]: We have connections!
BW [EL]: Okay!!
BW: Can we get back to you with that answer?
EP [Lisa] Of course! Thank you for talking to us!
You can buy ‘C’est La Vie – The Collection’ on Amazon. Follow B*Witched on Twitter, and Facebook. If you’re in Edinburgh tonight you can catch Edele Lynch performing at Three Sisters Bar, as part of their St Patrick’s Day festivities. You can also catch them at G-A-Y, London, this Saturday 19th March.