T in the Park 2012: Ren Harvieu interview
The Salford singer discusses cats, weird eating habits and Michael Jackson
First record you ever bought
‘Stan’ by Eminem, on cassette, from Woolworths.
Last extravagant purchase you made
I don’t really make extravagant purchases. I guess it’d be my dog – I spent £300 on him. He looks like a little mutt – he’s got an adorable little squashed-up face. His name’s Ralph.
First film you saw that really moved you
Gone With the Wind. I don’t know why – I didn’t really like Scarlett O’Hara – but it’s the first one that popped into my head.
Last lie you told
Oh, I’m horrible at lying – I go bright red – so I tend not to do it.
First movie you ever went on a date to
Lemony Snicket – the one with Jim Carrey. I remember thinking, ‘This isn’t very romantic!’
Last time you cried
I’m an emotional wreck – I’m always crying. I think the last time, it was because I drank gin, and I hadn’t tried it before. Dunno why that made me cry though.
First thing you do when you’ve got time off work
I just de-Ren, basically, and just be a massive geek, which I am. Just take off all my make-up, hide in my flat, and watch loads of films.
Last great meal you cooked
I’m a bit weird with food, I have a ritual with certain things that I eat – not cos I wanna lose weight, I’m just a bit OCD. It’s probably chilli, with a baked potato … quite healthy, actually, it’s not bad.
Oh god … I think it was probably Michael Jackson. I saw him in ‘Earth Song’ when he was holding onto the trees and was all like, ‘Oooh, look at him!’ It was Michael Jackson. Which is weird.
Last book you read
The Gargoyle, I can’t remember who it’s by [it’s Andrew Davidson]. It’s a pretty dark book, it’s really, really good.
First great piece of advice you were given
Probably my mum saying to me, ‘Don’t compare yourself to others or you’ll become vain and bitter,’ and I think that’s quite poignant, especially in this job I’m in.
Last time you were star struck
I don’t know about star struck but meeting Tom Jones was amazing. It’s not like I’m a massive Tom Jones fan but he’s just got a presence. I sang with him and he’s just got an energy, this charisma about him, you know what I mean?
First thing you’d do if you ran the country
I’d probably try and make education better, because I didn’t know anything when I was at school. I’d probably make alcohol awareness a lot stronger and sex awareness, things like that.
Last meal on earth – what would it be
God I’m such a weirdo but I thought chopped tomatoes with toast. Which is such a weird thing to say, but I don’t like my food touching so it would be like chopped tomatoes in a bowl, with toast on the side and a cup of tea. (Laughs) I eat that about three times a week, it’s pretty weird.
First song you’ll sing at karaoke
It’s a bit of a horror cos my mum loves karaoke so it’s kind of embarrassing. When I was in America I did ‘These Boots are Made for Walking’, that went down quite well. So yeah I think I’d do that.
Last time you exploited your position to get something
I suppose the good thing at the moment is that I can get into free gigs with people that are on my label. Last year I got to see James Blake for free which was cool, so that’s a good perk I suppose.
First time you realised you were famous
I’m not! (laughs) I’m absolutely not. I just walk around Salford with no make-up on and no one recognises me. Sometimes I get the odd person if I’m made up and I look like Ren, and I don’t look like Lauren, but most of the time people don’t recognise me cos without my make-up on I look about 12. It’s a good disguise.
Last time someone criticised your work
I really like constructive criticism, I think it’s really helpful, but I decided quite recently that I’m gonna stop reading press and things like that. Just because when you get a negative review, no matter what anybody says, it really does hurt your feelings.
First three words your friends would use to describe you
I think they’d say I’m a very warm person, a bit scatty and a bit unpredictable. I can be really, really giddy; then really, really the opposite, depending on my mood. I’m very up and very down.
Last time you made an impulse buy and regretted it
All the time – I went shopping when I was hungover the other day and just bought a few things then got home and thought, ‘Why have I bought all this bullshit?’
First concert you ever attended
I think it was Stevie Wonder, I’m pretty sure, which is kinda amazing.
Last time you bought someone flowers
I bought some for my mate’s 21st about two days ago.
First object you’d save from your burning home
My house did burn down actually, but I didn’t have time to save anything. I’d probably run in and save my guitar and try and save my laptop and any kind of pictures, that would probably be it.
Last funny thing you saw online
Well I’m obviously one of those people that are into cats, so anything to do with cats. I think I saw a cat in a sink or something … anything to do with cats being funny, and being strange. I love cats.
I used to clean men’s toilets – I was a waitress and they used to make me clean out the men’s toilets. So that was fun.
Last person you fantasised about
I’m gonna go with my boyfriend, which is true.
First word you spoke
I think it was calling my mum greedy. My mum was eating and apparently I turned round to my sister and went, ‘Greedy ain’t she?’ I don’t know, I think it was something like that.
Last crime you committed
You know I’m from Salford don’t you? Not any proper crimes, probably just jumping the metro or something like that years ago. Yeah, I keep it all under wraps, me.
First song at your (potential) wedding
Maybe ‘The Best is Yet to Come’ by Frank Sinatra, that’d be nice.
Last song at your funeral
I’m not sure. My mum wants ‘Riding Dirty’ by Chamillionaire, but I don’t know if that would fit in my funeral. I don’t know, maybe just something really tragic and everyone would cry, all my enemies could sit at the front.
First thing you think of when you wake up in the morning
’I’m late! Overslept. Shit.’ Usually something like that.
Last thing you think of before you go to sleep
Usually something in the past that I’m dwelling on, you always think of mental things at night don’t you? Usually just some kind of frantic thought. I’m not that great at sleeping to be honest, I need to tell myself to calm down and I eventually fall asleep.
Ren plays T in the Park, Balado, Fri 6–Sun 8 Jul, and Oran Mor, Glasgow, Sun 7 Oct.