Three songs

PJ Har­vey, the English singer­song­writer, artist and poet, gives Vogue an ex­clu­sive in­sight into her cre­ative process via a pho­to­graph­icg mood board.

VOGUE Australia - - Vogue Music - By So­phie Ted­man­son.

Horses, a cliff, a beach, a tall ship, a burst of sun­shine. They are in­spi­ra­tion points that form a mood board for Polly Jean Har­vey. She calls it: “Three songs”: the Slow Drug, Horses, Hero­ine.” To delve into the mind of an artist is a fas­ci­nat­ing priv­i­lege, and here, the Bri­tish songstress who fa­mously de­nounces fem­i­nism but sings of love, hope and equal­ity (of the po­lit­i­cal, so­cial, eco­nomic and gen­der va­ri­ety), al­lows us in­side her cre­ative mind via these Po­laroids.

A mul­ti­ple-award-win­ning song­writer, Har­vey has cap­ti­vated and in­spired us with her raw and provoca­tive alt-rock since her de­but Dry in 1991 through to last year’s po­lit­i­cally en­hanced The Hope Six De­mo­li­tion Project, her ninth studio al­bum. The al­bum, and her po­etry book, The Hol­low of the Hand, was in­spired by jour­neys she made to Wash­ing­ton, Kosovo and Afghanistan with pho­tog­ra­pher/film-maker Seamus Mur­phy, and ac­com­pa­nied by videos the pair made on their trav­els. The mak­ing of the al­bum be­came a work of art in it­self, with the record­ing ses­sions held in public dur­ing a month-long res­i­dency in a pur­pose-built studio at Lon­don’s Som­er­set House in 2015.

This month Har­vey re­turns to tour Aus­tralia. Rolling Stone de­scribed Har­vey’s live show as: “a tour de force of beau­ti­ful and sav­age artistry. Her lat­est al­bum, The Hope Six De­mo­li­tion Project, reads like an elegy for im­pe­ri­al­ism, its songs be­come a dra­matic cel­e­bra­tion of hope live.”

Just like the women in these Po­laroids: strong, full of hope. PJ Har­vey tours Aus­tralia in Jan­uary. Her al­bum, The Hope Six De­mo­li­tion Project, is out now; www.pjhar­vey.net.

“At this time I was ex­per­i­ment­ing with photo mon­tages whilst work­ing on songs to­wards a new al­bum. I linked the two to­gether in this piece called Three Songs. The images used were images that were in­ter­est­ing me and in­form­ing my cre­ativ­ity at this time in my life. I find that any im­age that has ab­sorbed my con­cen­tra­tion for a pe­riod of time stays within me, and some­how in­forms the work I cre­ate as I move for­ward.” – PJ Har­vey

PJ Har­vey and, be­low, a se­lec­tion of her Po­laroids with po­etry and lyrics flow­ing over the images.

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