Ex-Cocteau Twin Robin Guthrie on his career so far and what's in store
The shoegazing dream-pop musician is currently touring with the Robin Guthrie Trio
‘To be honest there’s very little interest in me in the UK,’ says composer of haunting instrumental soundtracks, co-founder of the Bella Union label, Grangemouth man, prodigious swearer and yes, former Cocteau Twin Robin Guthrie. ‘You know what the media’s like, it’s very fickle, it’s all about young bands. So I go to where I do well. Tomorrow I’m off to Japan, then South America and back to the UK. The best thing is, I get salt‘n’sauce on my chips in Scotland at the end of it.'
We find the bit about ‘no interest’ hard to believe. After all, Guthrie’s legacy is as part of one of the seminal British groups of the last 30 years, trailblazers in the art of indie balladry and much copied ever since. ‘Don’t get me wrong,’ he says, ‘I feel very privileged to tour round and do this, but nobody comes to my shows and shouts for Cocteau Twins songs. I’ll pre-empt you asking me: we’ll never get back together, it’s in the past and doesn’t reflect the best part of my life. Drug problems, broken relationships, getting ripped off by fucking record companies … I don’t want to go back there and I don’t want to go through the motions for the money.’
Now based in France with his wife and family, Guthrie’s recent output is prodigious, taking in soundtracks, collaborations with Harold Budd and John Foxx, and five solo albums including last year’s Fortune. It’s a satisfying living, he says, and his live playing is better than ever. As for the recognition? ‘I don’t need the approval of some 20-year-old journalist saying I’m an old cunt,’ he laughs. ‘Who cares? I’m 51, why should I give a fuck?’
Electric Circus, Edinburgh, Thu 7 Feb; Mono, Glasgow, Sat 9 Feb.