Interview : Carol Decker
We chat to Carol Decker, the voice of 80s supergroup T’Pau. They chart-topping group are back with a fabulous new album ‘Pleasure & Pain’ and a tour of the UK.
The multi-platinum selling T’Pau return with a brand new album and UK tour for 2015. Original song-writers Carol Decker and Ron Rogers team up for the first time in nearly 25 years to re-ignite the spark that brought us massive chart toppers Heart & Soul and the seminal 80’s power ballad China In Your Hand. Five weeks on the UK No.1 spot, six months on the US Billboard chart, and a million-plus selling debut album started a journey that initially spawned a further two Top 10 albums and a raft of hit singles.
That all ended abruptly after four years amidst in fighting, dubious management and family stresses. Although remaining friends, Carol and Ron’s own personal relationship had run its course and each had to go their own way. Now here we are in 2015, with a new classic T’Pau album and a tour of the UK. We chatted to Carol about the new album ‘Pleasure & Pain’, the 80s and we even asked her a few questions submitted by Inclusive Networks followers. She was such a warm person and a delight to speak to.
How would you describe the new T’Pau album, ‘Pleasure & Pain’?
It’s classic T’Pau DNA with lots of big songs, big choruses, big vocals and big loop breaks. We feel it sounds contemporary. There’s also some tender moments on the album like the song ‘Thinking About You’ and the very unusual track called ‘Once In A Lifetime’ that’s almost a spoken vocal and a bid of a nod to a Kraftwerk vibe. It’s crazy but we love it.
Do you have any personal favourite tracks on the album?
It really depends what day you talk to me on. I’ve got to say ‘Nowhere’, that’s also our lead single. It’s fantastic. We knocked that song out in one night. It was just one of those magic moments where we just recorded something in the evening. We’d just finished work for the day, started jamming and a song was born. Another favourite is the song ‘Read My Mind’. It’s an excellent power-pop song. And then there’s ‘House of Love’ that’s a big soul balad, which I love. But if I had to pick a favourite I’d go with ‘Nowhere’. Only if I had to pick one.
Do you think these songs would sound out of place on your albums released in the 1980’s?
I think the sound is slightly new, we’ve moved on a little. I do think the new material is contemporary but it still sounds like us. In the way I and Ronnie like to write, and the way I sing. It’s perhaps a little more mature than early T’Pau. Ron’s done a great job on the production.
“When I was younger and struggling to make it and get there, she (my mum) never ever lost faith in me. If I ever lost faith in myself, she never did.”
Is there a song that means the most to you?
I guess the song ‘Demolition Man’ means a lot cause my mum loved it. My mum has just died, in October. She’d heard the demo of the song and just loved it. When she was in intensive care we got to play it to her. I played her ‘Nowhere’ which she loved too. I had my iPhone with me in intensive care, so played her a couple of rough mixes. And we played ‘Demolition Man’ at her funeral. Ron did a mix and the song sounded amazing. The crematorium had a great sound system. The song makes me think of my mum. The song ‘Think About You’ is a beautiful ballad and I love that song. It’s very emotional and very close to my heart.
What are your expectations for the new album?
I only have hopes and dreams, not expectations if that makes any sense. Last week we were No1 in the Amazon hot new releases pre-sale chart and we were over the moon with that. We’ll just have to wait and see. The album is released on February 2nd and we’ll also be selling it on our tour as well. I’ll be popping out to say hi and to sign a few copies too which will be nice. We were asked by so many of our fans on the 25th Anniversary tour, now Ronnie was back in the fold if we’d bring out some more new music, so we’ve done it. We’ve recorded this album from the warm response we got on that tour and fan requests. So I hope they flippin turn up and buy it (laughs).
It’s International Womens Day on 8th March. Do you have any female role models?
I’d have to say my mum. My father died a long time ago, in 1990, and she spent the rest of her life on her own, through her own choice. She had her ups and downs but despite a lot of ill health in her last ten years of life she was always such a positive and encouraging person and a wonderful mother and my number one fan. When I was younger and struggling to make it and get there, she never ever lost faith in me. If I ever lost faith in myself, she never did.
Then going back to my early life I would say my English teacher Mrs Pilkington at school. She was also my drama teacher and she would encourage me in English, I was good at English and I think that feeds in to my job as a lyricist, I’m a bit of a poet if you like. She encouraged me in drama as well and brought out my performance side. I went to a girls Grammar School and I wasn’t particularly academic and I would spend a lot of time focussing on what I was crap at, like maths and stuff, but she saw what I was good at and she made me feel good about myself.
What inspires you?
Question submitted by Natalie Price
Oooh, I would say lots of stupid things. Like a sunny day, my kids inspire me, talking with friends and family can be inspiring when you run ideas up the flag pole. And just a bit of good news, there’s so much bad news at the moment. I’ll tell you what’s inspiring, a lovely supper with a big, strong vintage red wine surrounded by good friends to talk to. That’s what I like.
What do you miss most about the 1980s?
Question submitted by Sue Oliver
My perm. But seriously, being young. I miss being young, I really do. I’ve reached that age where bits of me are creaking, my knees hurt going up stairs and I get tired. I miss being young.
Who were your favourite singers growing up?
Question submitted by Michael Keates
I tended to focus on the big voices. My father had a massive record collection as he was a huge music fan, both my parents were. And he’d play people like Sarah Vaughan, Barbra Streisand, Ella Fitzgerald, all the big voices of that day. As a young woman I loved Chrissie Hynde and Debbie Harry. I liked a really diverse range of people, ranging from big dramatic voices through to very cool ladies.
Who would your dream dinner date be?
Question submitted by Siobhan Corria
My dream dinner date would be my husband. Apart from the fact he’s the sexiest man alive, he’s also the most incredible chef so he could cook. I always end up doing the dishes though. He’s the perfect man. He’s an ex Paratrooper who cooks like an angel so he has it all.
New album ‘Pleasure & Pain’ and UK Tour
The new album is released in the UK on 2nd February. Check it out!
The ‘Pleasure & Pain’ tour kicks off on 22nd January at Camberley Theatre and ends on 14th March at Selkirk Town Hall. A full summary of tour dates and venues can be found at www.tpau.co.uk