By Stephen CarlickIf you love UK art-pop songstress Bat for Lashes, you'd be well advised to catch her when she comes through your town supporting her new LP, The Haunted Man — it might be the last time she does so for a good while. In a recent Exclaim! interview, singer Natasha Khan discussed the possibility of taking a little time off from music when she's done promotion for her new album.
The industry, Khan asserts, "dilutes" artistry, and is only getting worse. "I released my last album three years ago, and even in those three years, a lot has changed. Every major radio station in England playlisted the songs [on 2009's Two Suns]; this time, they won't playlist me because I'm too old.
"I think the world's getting a bit tougher, and radio is sounding a bit more homogenized to me, and less interesting things are being played. I don't think it would ever change the type of album I make, but I do worry: Am I going to be able to afford the kind of tour I want to do, or make the kinds of videos I want to make? You need a budget to make creative work. There's a scarcity vibe around the industry. It doesn't deter me, though; I'm not going to change the kind of music I write because of that, but I do feel a little bit overwhelmed with the pressure sometimes."
However, despite Khan's negative view of the current music climate, it hasn't dampened the singer's love for her art.
"I absolutely love doing music, and couldn't think of a better way to express myself, but I feel like there are very narrow parameters within which you can express yourself in today's industry," she explains. "I feel like my creative ambitions are bigger than that in terms what I'd like to try: film music, writing films. I've done puppetry, writing children's stories, and illustration. I love doing all sorts of creative things, and sometimes I think the machine of the music industry can take over your life for two years at a time.
"Once I've done that three times, I'll be itching to expand my skill set. I want to learn new things, and always be pushing myself. I don't ever want to get bored with it, is what I feel. I'll keep doing it until it's hemming me in. I'd like to spend a bit more time on my personal life, as well. It can get overshadowed."
So, while Khan is still extremely happy about her work in music to date — "I feel really good about these three albums, they feel like a trilogy" — she still hints that a break might be in order.
"I'm not saying I'll give up music, but I might try something different for a while and then come back to it. I need to make sure I'm not just part of a machine that keeps going around, because that's what I've been avoiding all my life."
The Haunted Man is out now, via Parlophone. Listen to Khan's amazing "Laura" below and see all her international live dates here. You can also check out more of Exclaim!'s recent Bat for Lashes interview over here.