Candida Doyle Interview
Words: Sian Pattenden, Photographer: Michael Gillette
Taken from Select Magazine, May 1996

Synth siren from tabloid-unfriendly Pulp, the one who persuaded Jarvis to take on Jacko at The Brits. She's been in the band for 13 years now, after being initially drafted in by her brother (who played drums at the time). She now lives in North London and enjoys an ongoing fascination with children's toys...

Were you in any bands before Pulp?

I never really wanted to be in a band. When I joined Pulp I didn't tell anyone, I kept it quiet. I never thought we'd be successful.

When did it get serious?

Four years ago, I had to pack my job in at a toy shop in Manchester and move back to Sheffield, because the band was taking up so much time. I had to live on the dole in Sheffield for a year. It was horrible.

Ever want to pack the band in?

I've had times when I thought I might. There was a time when Russell was going to leave, and I said to him, 'If you leave, then I don't want to stay.' Sometimes you ask, what's the point? It was hard to have a job and be in Pulp, and to be in Pulp you'd have to have a job to be able to afford to live.

What was the first thing you did when you signed to Island?

We all got a 200 allowance to spend on clothes. Russell and I went shopping in Sheffield. Then I went and spent 50 in Safeway - the most I've ever spent in a supermarket. I just bought daft food, Lapsang Souchong tea, loads of biscuits. I felt really sick after, because I'd got overexcited and eaten too much.

What input do you have in the music?

At first I found it difficult to do, because I was used to reading music. It took a long time to get round the fact that I had to improvise along with guitar-playing. I played really quietly at first, in case the band thought I was crap. We all come up with ideas now, and we tape everything we do. The money's split equally six ways as well.

Why did you move to London?

I went out with my boyfriend on a boat in Regent's Park. We were talking about buying a house, and I had presumed Sheffield, but he suggested London. I thought, 'Why not?'

Do you know many famous people?

The ones that are all right, I think. Cast are really nice. Vic Reeves comes to a lot of our shows, but I've not dared speak to him yet. I met Joe Strummer. Bjork was friendly. I think it's different if you're in a famous pop group, people are willing to be more friendly... at the Brits I'd never seen so many famous people in my life.

What's been the biggest change in your life?

Having money is the biggest change, it's the hardest thing to comprehend. I don't spend much, the most flamboyant thing I bought were these rugs from Harrods. This bloke came round and said he had two rugs and they were 2,500 each, but he was selling both for 900. So I bought them. I bought a house, but I can't drive, so I haven't bought a car.

Has fame changed the band?

Not really, we all get on OK still. Some people in the band are more into it... They just know more famous people. Some are not so into that. I could go out more and get my face around, but I'm not bothered.

Do you ever feel overshadowed?

Sometimes, but see how many requests Jarvis gets for interviews. He's got two this week and it's supposed to be our week off. I'm not jealous. Sometimes I get fed up if we do a TV programme and they don't film me. I go and have a word with the cameraman and say it's not fair. Last time I did that the presenter came to interview me at the keyboards, so that told me. I do get annoyed sometimes. We had big screens for our recent arena tour and I was concerned most of what they showed was Jarvis, but that changed towards the end of the tour. I wouldn't like to be recognised like Jarvis is. He stays in quite a bit more now. He's good at handling it.

Would you ever like to sing?

Yeah, I'd like to, but I haven't got the nerves. I'd hate to soundcheck my voice every night. I used to do a bit of singing on old songs like 'Little Girl With Blue Eyes' and 'Dogs Are Everywhere', but my voice isn't high enough to match Jarvis' range. I've always wanted to sing, but I just haven't got the guts. Anyway, it's safer on stage with the keyboard between you and the audience. Singing is just you and the microphone. It makes me squirm to think of it.

Do you get nervous on tour?

The first night in Brighton... I'd always thought, 'Yeah, I wanna be more famous!' But I walked on and thought, 'Oh! I don't want to be famous anymore!' I just thought, 'This is what The Rolling Stones do.'

Can you now fulfil your every whim?

I asked for some false eyelashes at our London date and I didn't get them - the runner said he'd been to three chemists. It's odd to go home after a tour and have to do things yourself. I didn't get dressed the first day I came back. It takes a long time to get it together to buy cat food as well.

Would you like to be more famous?

I always wanted to be on Top Of The Pops, and I would like to be more famous now. It's greed, the amount of money you can make being a pop star. But then I'm not prepared to sacrifice that much to do this. We were offered a three-month tour of America, but the most we'll do is 10 days because three months would be horrible.

Do you have your own Candida fans?

Yes, they're great. I got a 'survival kit' from someone, which had what I thought was this ace blow-up pillow to sleep on. But it wasn't, it was something you wrap glassware in when travelling. I get a lot of things a five-year-old would like, which is strange, I must give this impression out. I try to write back to all the letters I get. If I wrote to a popstar when I was younger and they didn't reply it was awful. I got a letter from U2's bass player once, because I wrote to them when they first started.

Do you go on the bus like normal people?

"Well, I would have today, but I was late and I had to go to the cashpoint on the way, so I got a taxi.

Do you get recognised in the street?

If I do, people don't come up to me. I think girls do it more with male popstars. Nick was spotted when he was walking his dog in Sheffield dressed in a kagoul. That would be awful. You've always got to make sure you look decent if that happens.

What would happen if you left Pulp?

They'd commit suicide! If Jarvis left, the group would split. If anyone else left we'd try and replace them. But, the band would lose something... I'm not thinking of leaving.

Is it ace being Candida from Pulp?

It's good being the only girl - I get noticed for that. I really like the group, I'm glad I'm not in a crap one. I'd no idea it would get like this, it was out of the blue, even though we'd been doing this for years. A lot of my friends and family are pleased, which is nice. It's really good, especially as I'm not the one in the limelight.

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