Jarvis Interview
Words: John Earls, Photographer: Eva Vermandel
Taken from Channel 4 Teletext, 13 April 2002

Anyone who hasn't seen the video to Pulp's new single Bad Cover Version is missing five minutes of joy. Recreating the Band Aid video, a host of lookalikes including Kylie, Craig David and Cher warble the song in true Do They Know It's Christmas? fashion. But how far were the band willing to take the Bad Cover Version idea? With Nick Cave and Moloko covering Pulp songs on the B-side, Jarvis tells us he isn't keen on tat after all...

Did the lookalikes throw proper celeb tantrums filming the Bad Cover video?
It was all remarkably calm, considering the number of superstars in there. The Kurt Cobain was a bit of a handful. But Kurt's dead, so he's entitled to be a little to be a little upset, isn't he?

You appear yourself, as Brian May...
It started when I went to a fancy dress party five years ago as Brian. I don't know why I started, I don't even look like him. I'd best stop playing him, else I'll get a reputation for it...

How did Roisin Murphy and Nick Cave cover Pulp songs on the new B-sides?
I said they could do any Pulp songs they wanted. I was surprised Nick chose Disco 2000, but the humour appeals to him apparently. Eels were going to do a song, but sadly couldn't do it in time. Roisin and Nick's versions aren't Bad Cover Versions, though, they're great. Quite right, too. There's enough bad music in the world without me adding to it. We chose people who'd do something different to our songs, not ruin them.

Speaking of Bad Covers: Pop Idol...
I feel like a grandad when I talk about Pop Idol, because I don't understand it at all. I've not seen much TV lately, as I've recently moved house. I didn't see Pop Idol and don't know who, if any, are meant to be any good. I've heard Gareth and Will's singles and they're awful. But I listen to them thinking 'Maybe if I'd sat through the whole series I'd see the appeal of these people and their dull songs.'

Why are Pulp touring forests in summer?
It was the Forestry Commission's idea, to appeal to young people more. Maybe they'd cottoned on to the nature feel of We Love Life. My worry is we might have to keep the noise down. Don't want to frighten the squirrels, do we?

How do you feel about the relatively bad sales of We Love Life?
We don't make music to get big sales, but I want more people to hear it. It's why we've made such an effort with the new video, to promote the album.

What did you learn from having Scott Walker produce We Love Life?
Personally, how to make my vocals much better. I'd always needed a drink to calm myself before I did my vocals. I don't think I've got a great voice, I felt a bit of a cheat doing vocals. It was doubly bad, singing to Scott, who has a great voice. But he'd make me compare vocal takes when I was sober and after a drink, and the sober ones were much better. Also, I learned what a good, sarky sense of humour he has.

Would you work with Scott Walker again?
He's making a solo album. He'll be busy doing that for five years, I suspect. Pulp won't be starting a new album 'til the end of the year, I've not thought about it yet.

What are your immediate plans?
I'm directing I Monster's new video. And I want to make a film. It's easy to get caught up talking about budgets, but I might film a script for no money at all. Film technology now means you could do something good on no cash.

Is the next Pulp album going to take as long as We Love Life to appear?
That is a regret, actually, that Pulp haven't made more albums. I look at our history and think 'Why have we only made seven albums in 20 years?' It's not like we're lazy, but there's a lot of faffing about with us. Once we started with Scott Walker, the last one was done in three months but we'd spent months with a different producer first, which hadn't worked out. I wish those kind of mistakes could stop.

Do you miss anything of the hysteria from the Britpop days?
If it hadn't happened, I'd have maybe wondered what it was like to be that famous. So, while I'm glad it happened, I don't miss the intrusion. And I'd be hopeless if I was sat here going 'Why aren't I famous anymore?'

What ambitions do you have left?
My best work's still ahead of me, but it might not be wtih Pulp, who knows? I do know I'll consider my life a failure if I never direct a film.

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