PJ Harvey - BBC Radio One Studios (2000)


1. Intro [2:08]
2. This Is Love [4:11]
3. Good Fortune [3:29]
4. Interview [3:24]
5. Outro [0:46

The daughter of a stonemason and a sculptress, Harvey grew up on a small sheep farm in Dorset. At an early age her parents introduced her to the blues, jazz and art-rock music which would later influence her the most strongly: “I was brought up listening to John Lee Hooker, to Howlin' Wolf, to Robert Johnson, and a lot of Jimi Hendrix and Captain Beefheart. So I was exposed to all these very compassionate musicians at a very young age, and that's always remained in me and seems to surface more as I get older. I think the way we are as we get older is a result of what we knew when we were children,” she told Rolling Stone in 1995. She also went through a brief adolescent rebellion where she listened to poppier fare like U2, The Police, Soft Cell, Duran Duran and Spandau Ballet, and later in her teens she became a huge fan of the seminal US indie guitar bands Pixies, Television and Slint, though not, as many critics have suspected, Patti Smith (a frequent comparison that Harvey dismisses as “lazy journalism”). (More recently she has claimed inspiration from Russian folk music, Italian soundtrack composer Ennio Morricone and classical composers like Arvo Pärt, Samuel Barber and Henryk Górecki.)

She studied saxophone for about eight years, and contributed sax, guitar and backing vocals to her earliest Somerset bands Bologna, the Polekats, the Stoned Weaklings and Automatic Dlamini. At the age of 18 she began writing her own songs and in January 1991 she formed the original PJ Harvey three-piece band (herself on vocals and guitars, ex-Automatic Dlamini bandmate Rob Ellis on drums and Ian Olliver on bass, though Olliver was swiftly replaced by Steve Vaughan). The trio's debut gig – at a skittle alley in Sherborne's Antelope Hotel – was so disastrous that the proprietor begged the band to stop playing as nearly all his customers had fled the venue. By this stage Harvey had also completed a foundation art course at Yeovil Art College and was now studying sculpture at Central Saint Martins College of Art & Design in London, still undecided as to her future career.

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