Skye Edwards of Morcheeba talks about the side project Skye & Ross

Photo by Daniela+Glunz

Best known as two-thirds of Morcheeba, Skye Edwards and Ross Godfrey have now launched a new collaboration known simply as Skye & Ross. It doesn’t represent the end of Morcheeba but rather a different type of collaboration. By working in their home studios without an outside producer, they allowed the songs on their self-titled debut to evolve organically without any pressure or constraints. In addition, Skye wrote her own lyrics, something she had previously done on her solo albums but not within Morcheeba. While the resulting music is sure to appeal to Morcheeba fans, it has a strong identity of its own. In a phone interview, Skye discussed the new project.

How did you and Ross come to start up this project outside of Morcheeba?

“It was kind of a natural progression. We’d been touring, the two of us without Paul [Godfrey], for 10 or 12 years, even before the breakup [and reformation]. So we said, ‘“Ok, let’s do a record, just the two of us.’ That’s how it started, really.”

Did you have a clear sense as to how you wanted it to sound, perhaps to set it apart from Morcheeba?

“Originally, we thought it would be mostly acoustic, and that’s how it began. The first thing we wrote was “Clear My Mind,” and we thought that would be the way forward and be the clear difference between this and a Morcheeba record. As we went on, we started introducing more musical elements, including live drums. That’s something different. We had done it once for ‘Fear and Love,’ but apart from that, all the drums on the Morcheeba records were programmed. For some of these songs, we’ve got live drums.”

I interviewed Ross years ago and he said that he generally had too many musical ideas. Was that an issue at all with this release?

“For this album, we have 10 songs on it and we probably wrote 11 or maybe 12. There wasn’t a load that we had to pick the best from. It was different because we were collaborating. I’ve written lyrics for my own records, but Paul usually writes them for Morcheeba. I was heavily pregnant and didn’t sleep very well, so the lyrics just came. I would lay in bed, unable to sleep, so I wrote lyrics and sent them to Ross, which he really loved. And then we said, ‘Well, let’s do another one; maybe we don’t need a producer—maybe we can do it all ourselves.’ So that is what we did, really. Ross produced it and wrote the music, and I wrote the lyrics. There was only one song where we collaborated with another producer, who is a member of Ross’s side project, Little Mountain.”

Returning to Morcheeba, did you feel that your solo career had changed anything in terms of how you work?

“When I came back, it wasn’t with the thought, ‘Well, if I come back, I’m going to write the lyrics.’ My role is the melody maker. But I had learned about songwriting from the solo records, so I did feel more confident in that environment, with melody.”

Was Skye & Ross always the obvious name for this collaboration?

“No! We thought maybe we’d name it Crossing the Rubicon, after the last track on the album. But it felt right to just call it Skye & Ross, as that’s who we are.”

Are you doing Morcheeba material when you perform live as Skye & Ross?

“We’re playing the classic Morcheeba songs and of course new songs from this album. It’s the same setup that I’ve been using myself, with me and Ross on bass, keys and drums. The difference is that there’s no scratcher, no DJ.”

Do you feel that your choice of Morcheeba songs to play is filtered at all through the music you’ve been doing as Skye & Ross?

“No, not really. It does fit, and it does work really well because it’s my voice and Ross’s guitar. It naturally does work. We just had to work out the running order and stuff like that. Some of the songs are quite up-tempo and we’re rocking away on stage. It’s a lot of fun and works really well.”

Do you see this as a long-term project? Are you planning on continuing your solo career as well?

“Yes, it seems like a long-term project. I haven’t really thought about the next solo album, but eventually I think I’ll make another one.”