Debut being a success

Were you surprised at your success ?

B : Yeah, completely. When Derek Birkett (head of One Little Indian) first heard Debut he told me that it was going to be very much a niche album. I told him that I was aware of that but I didn’t mind because it’s music I can stand behind, I feel it’s mine. For the Sugarcubes I only wrote the lyrics. I was ready to go out and fight and defend something that I thought was mine.

Why do you think it connected with millions of people ?

B : I don’t know, it’s really hard for me to see myself from the outside like that. I’m probably the only person who can’t answer that question. I’m not sure. I’m the worst person to ask. I have no idea. But I suppose there was something about... I mean, maybe I’m wrong, because I’m not
really a musicologist or historian or anything like that, but there’s something about at that time, I think it was not only with me, but also with drum ’n bass, in a way it was one of the first times for the black influence, two or three generations down, the first voice that wasn’t English, it was something new, and it was the first time the Indian community was having a cultural impact on me and other people I was meeting, at that point.

I think there was one English person in my seven-piece band, and that wasn’t planned at all. It was sort of about a period of London being a cosmopolitan city and the only place for all of us to influence this other half, because it was open enough, and also feeling needed in England. I think there was something going on at that time, not only with me, but with London in general. I think Debut and Post for me are definitely my London albums, with collaborating with English people,
Debut only with Nellee, and with my marriage broken, of course, and Post with the other ones, I got the greatest hits of all the people I wrote music with.

The Times, 2 august 2001