Hepzibah Sessa FAITH Interview

The questions for this interview were drawn up by the members of FAITH, the Unofficial Alan Wilder/Recoil Mailing List, and then sent to Hep to answer.



You used to be in a band called Miranda Sex Garden. Were you ever in any other bands? Are you still a member of Miranda Sex Garden? Is the band even still together?

Miranda Sex Garden was actually the only band I was ever in. I left just after Alan finished the Devotional tour, partly because I didn't want to go off on the road when he'd just gotten back, and also because although I had a great time with the band, the music itself was never really my cup of tea. It was more interesting than indie-guitar rubbish but not really "groove based" enough for me.

After I left, they went through a series of different members and toured with various bands (Hole in the USA was one of the more well known) but then Mute dropped them.

They still exist even though they are unsigned and I think they're about to go off on a Norwegian tour.

How was the public reaction when Miranda Sex Garden opened for Depeche Mode on the last tour?

Opening for Depeche Mode in Europe was a privilege and a pleasure that would be hard to surpass. I can think of nothing more fulfilling for a musician than to play in front of 30,000 frenzied Mode fans screaming "De-peche-Mode" throughout the entire set. It filled one with a real sense of achievement trying to play the keyboard whilst dodging a variety of missiles, including, on one occasion, a bag of shit - which begs the question, do you bring it with you already prepared, or do it on site, spontaneously, as it were?

It was all worthwhile though because I always had the last laugh. For a start, I amassed a great collection of lighters which the angry mob would hurl at us with alarming regularity. Of course, the joke was always on them because you knew that they'd be even more pissed off later when they realised they didn't have one to wave while Martin sang one of his weepy numbers!

And of course, there was that small point about being on intimate terms with a particular Mode member - need I say more?

Have you seen or heard any exceptional female musicians, producers, etc. that are in a similar field to Alan? Do you feel there is a dearth of women involved in high-end musical production?

I can't think of one female producer. There are women with considerable creative experience in the business like Neneh Cherry and Bjork, but I'm not sure whether they would consider themselves producers. For all its liberal ideas, the music industry at studio level is still very much a male domain.

What advice can you share with female performers or performers in general based on your experiences in the music industry?

Retain your sense of humour at ALL times and never, ever show any signs of weakness - especially if you're around someone like Charlie - he'll eat you alive given half the chance!

You have a beautiful voice, would you ever do a solo album? Do you have any plans to record any material of your own in the near future?

I'd love to but I'm not allowed to touch any of the gear in the studio - apart from the cooker! ;-)

Would you consider contributing to other people's/artists' work in the way you did for Alan? If so, anyone in particular?

Depends what they wanted me to do. Offers on a postcard please...

Do you know which Curve song Alan remixed?

Yes, but I'm not telling you now. It will feature on the official Recoil website, coming soon.

Did Alan get at all obsessed while making Unsound Methods?

He had his moments of crisis, self doubt, boredom, etc., but I encouraged him by bringing him plenty of sandwiches and vodka.

What music do you listen to? What are your favourite bands besides Recoil? Are there any musical preferences that you and Alan share or don't share?

I listen to pretty much the same as Alan except that I think the bird from Portishead has an irritating voice and he can't stand Squeeze. In the same way he gets nostalgic for bands from his youth, I'm also rather partial to lots of embarrassing 80's stuff.

What instruments do you play?

Violin, viola, and piano.

What's your favourite Recoil track?

Can't answer that, too hard to make a distinction between them all. I have got a soft spot for "Last Breath" though.




When you had Paris, did Charlie help you with the 3 AM feedings or whatever time in the middle of the night Paris decided to wake up?

As Paris was breast-fed, there wasn't really much for him to do, but I always made sure I woke him up anyway because I knew he wouldn't want to miss a single moment in the development of our wonderful child (unless there's footy on the telly, of course!) ;-)

What sort of child rearing responsibilities does the Chaz-meister have? Is he a super 90's Dad or a 1950's Dud?

He's one of the super 90's variety I'm pleased to say. He's responsible for setting the video for Tubbies, drawing strange looking alien creatures for Paris's amusement and providing a warm chest for falling asleep on.

Do you let Paris watch the Teletubbies?

Absolutely. 10 am is Teletubby time and we all have to sit down and watch the antics of Tinky-winky, Dipsy, Laa Laa and the red one. We also have an hour long video which we plonk Paris in front of when we want her to shut up for a while. She watches it over and over again. Great parenting, eh?

Was Alan present at Paris's birth? Did he faint when you were in labour?

She was born at home in a water pool but he didn't faint. Believe me, he's seen far more unpleasant things in his life than someone giving birth - the man was in DM for 14 years, just imagine some of the things he's seen!

How is Paris doing? Has she caused much mischief lately?

At the moment she's sitting with Charlie watching the football and they both look pretty miffed. She wants to bounce all over him and he wants a bit of peace and quiet. I suspect there's a silent battle of wills going on!

What's Charlie's favourite bedtime story or song to Paris?

He plays the piano to her most mornings and she accompanies him. Their repertoire includes the theme from Teletubbies, Irish jigs, chopsticks and boogie woogie jazz. She's pretty good, actually.




A while back there was a lengthy discussion about men, women and underpants scattered in the living quarters. So what does Alan do?

A.) Toss them all over the place
B.) Puts them away
C.) Puts your black bra on his and screams "Long live men in black lingerie!"
D.) Other

How do you confront this problem mentioned above?

He rarely wears any so I don't have to contend with this kind of thing.

What household chores does Alan do best, provided he does any at all?

We have lots of oak floors and he's particularly good at polishing them. He's also D.I.Y. king.

What does Alan do that pisses you off regularly?

He hogs the computer.

Conversely, what are your favourite things about him?

His sense of humour, his incredible talent and his bulge (-ing bank account).

Does Charlie cook? If so, what is his favourite meal to cook? Is it any good?

He's actually a very good cook but I only get to sample his 'culinary delights' when there's no footy on. In other words, not very often. Of course, once he has created his master dish, I never hear the end of how wonderful it was.

He does make a great curry though.

Is Charlie ticklish? If so, where? (Hm, is that TOO nosey? ;)

He doesn't like having his neck touched. I think he's worried I might try to throttle him.

Does Charlie make his own bloody sammidges, or are you called upon to satisfy his hunger? When Alan has his sandwiches, vodka and non-stop football does he make his own sandwiches and pour his own vodka???

It all depends on how generous I'm feeling at the time.

When Charlie is ill, does he whine and whimper or keep to himself? [Your answer will resolve a bet I have going about the wimpiness and childishness of the sick man ;) ]. When YOU are ill, or when you were pregnant, does he put forth any effort to make you comfortable? Or does he shout things like, "Oi! Missus! Why ain't you done the dishes?"

He's pretty restrained actually. In fact, he's rarely ill. Could be something to do with the amount of vodka he drinks. (kills all known germs) He looked after me very well when I was pregnant although I was still expected to pull my weight. He had me sawing down trees in the garden at 8 and a half months!

Does he hate clothes shopping?

No, just the opposite. He is one of the only men I have ever met who loves to shop for women and himself. In fact, he has excellent taste and I only ever buy something if he has approved it.

Do you get thoughtful presents, or are you on your fifth ironing board?

When we were first together and he used to fly me out to see him on tour, he'd arrange the best hotel suite, the biggest limo, the finest restaurants, sexy underwear, dozens of red roses, incredibly expensive bottles of champagne, young Filipino boys, etc..... Now I'm lucky if I get a slap round the face and a take away pizza.

It's been alluded to, hinted at, but here goes nothing. Do you and Charlie have an open relationship, and if so, my fiance is very interested in meeting you, as he has this THING for red heads. ;)

I don't know how you'd describe our relationship - 'lucky' I suppose. We're exactly alike in most ways except that I'm better at 'Scrabble' but he can wire a plug faster than me. [Note: A heated debate has erupted as a result of this statement and he's just challenged me to prove it!]. One of the main things that helps us to get on so well, is that I think I'm a man trapped inside a woman's body - no, I don't have a bad facial hair problem, I mean that I have a very masculine attitude to relationships. We're never jealous or possessive with one another. As for your fiance, perhaps you should send a photo and explain to me all about his THING.....then we'll take it from there.

Charlie said in the interview that "er' indoors has" several names for him "at her disposal". Could you please share with us some of the names that you call him?

Unfortunately, he won't let me tell you!

Does Alan snore? Does he fart in bed? Does he do that "manly" thing of burping out a tune? (although I do admire any female who can do the same)!

He does one of them.

Is Alan a romantic type of person?

Yes, he's very romantic. Charlie believes that making love to a beautiful woman, is very much like playing golf. Firstly you have to clean your balls and make sure they can swing, unobstructed through the air. Then, check for wind and water-hazards. If you do land in the rough, remove any traces of bush from your club-head and aim for the hole.

How do you manage to distract him while he's watching the match for, um...other activities??? =)

It's not possible. A true Englishman would never allow sex to get in the way of his relationship with football.




Does it bother you that women want your man?

No, not at all. I was always brought up to share things.

We recently saw some studio shots in a magazine that accompanied an interview with Alan. Who was responsible for the very stylish decor that we saw in the studio and why did you go for this?

Charlie has a very good eye for minimalist design and he came up with the basic concept for the studio before we met. However, most of the fittings, etc., were chosen by both of us because we have the same taste in modern industrial furniture and 1930's styling. They work very well together and as you can see it's also very masculine - not a pot-plant in sight.

Sorry if this is too nosey but I'll ask anyway!! Where did you first meet Alan and did he have a chat up line? If so what was it!!?

We first met when Miranda Sex Garden was dispatched by Daniel Miller to take over from Spiritualized on the Devotional tour - they left because the Mode fans gave them a really hard time and they couldn't take it. Basically, from the moment Alan and I were introduced, we hit it off and seemed to have a lot in common, particularly our sense of humour. I think he also liked the fact that I was really brash because I'd never been a DM fan and I didn't actually know who he was until a few days into the tour!

Before I went on stage, I didn't like to drink because I needed to keep a clear head, playing keyboards etc. This wasn't the case for the rest of MSG, so as a result, by the time we finished the set and I got back to our dressing room, there'd be nothing left to drink. One night after DM had come off stage, I explained my predicament to Alan and asked very nicely if I could have some vodka. He growled "What are we, a fucking charity for the support band?" He had that twinkle in his eye and I knew instantly he fancied me and we spent the rest of the tour insulting each other - eh, mm amongst other things.

For example, when I'd come into a room, he'd say "Oh God, here it comes" and Dave would finish off the sentence with "like a bad rash" or words to that effect.

Do insults constitute chat up lines?

Alan is a popular man, do you ever feel smothered by his fans, or distant from him?

Not at all. Because we have such a close relationship, Alan's fans are as important to me as they are to him - Besides, I have to live with the bloke every day, you're welcome to him!

Astrological sign (optional)?

Scorpio. Of course you do realise that astrology's a load of old bollocks, don't you? Basically, the original mathematics behind Horoscopes were all flawed on account of the fact that people believed the earth was the centre of the universe. When the correct calculations are applied, you find that all the star signs are a month off, so I'm not really a Scorpio, I'm a Sagittarius. Tell that to a New Ager - it really winds them up.

Naturally, faithies tend to think that the sun shines out of Alan's arse but there is always a flip side to a man. What's Alan's?

Sorry, I can't offer anything more juicy (and without wishing to make you all jealous) but the sun DOES shine out of his arse. He is the most charming person I have ever met and better than you could ever imagine.

Moi, smug?

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