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Profile - Stuart Staples (Tindersticks)

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Tindersticks

Born Stuart Ashton Staples, 14 November 1965.

Background Staples is the lead singer of Tindersticks, an originally Nottingham-based band formed in late 1991. Initially called Asphalt Ribbons, the band changed their name after Staples found a box of German matches on a beach in Greece. Between them they’ve scored five Denis films, with Tindersticks doing Nénette and Boni, Trouble Every Day and 35 Shots of Rum, while Hinchliffe scored Vendredi Soir and Staples did The Intruder.

How did you meet Claire Denis? ‘She came along to one of our gigs in Paris and wanted to talk to us. We got on well, searched out some of her work and ended up watching her debut feature Chocolat. We then went on to provide the soundtrack for Nénette et Boni.’

What is it like working with the director? ‘She likes to include you in the process, but we don’t always talk much. I like the way she doesn’t spell everything out, and I think as she goes on, the more painterly and abstract she gets. This always makes working with her interesting because she’s always experimenting. You’ve got to find a way in, to find the music that reveals without being obvious. In Trouble Every Day it was about kissing, and so that became the basis for the music. In The Intruder I found it more difficult; I never quite found a melody for the film. 35 Shots of Rum was much easier. It was about the simplicity of the everyday.’

Do you see yourself as someone who will continue doing film scores? ‘I don’t think we have any real ambition to score films. Though my bandmate David [Boulter] was very much into film scores, from Ennio Morricone to John Barry, back in Nottingham, we’re a bit suspicious of most film music. Most film scores manipulate the viewer; they don’t allow the imagination to wander.’

Interesting fact Staples credits his croony voice to his mum, who played nothing but Neil Diamond for the first eight years of his life.

35 Shots of Rum is on selected release from Fri 10 Jul. See review

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