recording Debut

When I started doing these recordings, I did it all on my own, and with all the people who got involved, like the engineers, brass students and Oliver Lake, I was like : ’Listen, there’s no budget yet, if you’re interested, you have to be interested for yourself and if it goes on record you will get paid.’

Oliver was interested and he arranged it, sent it back. I then got Derek Birkett (One Little Indian’s chief) on a good day and said : ’Listen Derek, I want to do an album, but it’s not going to be what you think it’s going to be, because I am in no mood to please anyone, and it’s not going to be your chanteuse, easy-to-sell album.’

Birkett, a former founder member of anarchoagit punk band Flux Of Pink Indians, remembers that "Björk had recorded some songs in Los Angeles with Franny Gold, which I thought were the most commercial things she’d ever written". They were not to appear on the album, though.

I played him the three songs so far with saxophone and voice. He liked it and said : `Fair enough, I’ll put money into it,’ and had complete faith. It was very surprising to me. I thought he’d want me to do hit songs, go commercial.

"I did want her to do that," Birkett confirms. "She played me ’Violently Happy’, which I hated, and still do. I told her she could do whatever she wanted, because that’s the way I work, but I didn’t think the album would do as well as The Sugarcubes’ first album, which did a million [worldwide]. I was wrong. It looks as if Debut will sell a million."

VOX, december 1993