Kate Bush has given a rare interview to BBC Radio 4 following the surging success of "Running Up That Hill (A Deal With God)." In a conversation with Emma Barnett, Kate discusses the meaning of the song, its original title, its placement in Stranger Things, awareness of her music from a new generation, and the significance of her art. When asked about the song's meaning, she says, "I really like people to hear a song and take from it what they want, but originally it was written with the idea of swapping a man and a woman, swapping places with each other just to feel what it was like from the other side." The song was originally titled "A Deal With God," but Kate says, "The record company were worried that it wouldn't get played on the radio, that people would feel it was a sensitive title." She continues, "For me, this is still called 'A Deal With God.'"
Kate also added that the song's resurgence is "sort of shocking, isn't it? I mean, the whole world's gone mad."
Kate was a fan of Stranger Things well before they asked to use her song–she watches with her husband and son–and she appreciates the way the Duffer brothers have used "Running Up That Hill" to accompany a female character's struggle: "I think they've put it in a really special place. I mean the Duffer brothers created the series, and… I was actually already familiar with the series. I thought, what a lovely way for the song to be used, in such a positive way, as a sort of Talisman for Max. Yeah, I think it's very touching actually."
Barnett asked if Kate missed the time before some technological advancements, particularly cell phones. At a concert in 2014, a message before the show asked the audience to turn off their phones, and they obliged. On that show, Kate says, "That was really great that people respected that. The thing was, we were working in quite a small theatre, and I wanted there to be a really strong connection between the audience and everyone on stage. And phones are very distracting–it's a bit different in an open air concert, it's not quite the same. But we were trying to create an atmosphere with what we were doing. There was a lot of theatre and film involved. I think it did give a strong connection to the whole process, really."
"I have a really ancient phone… but I like that because I spend a lot of time on my laptop. And when I go out during the day, it means I don't have to deal with emails and everyone knows that. I just get texts and calls on my phone and it means that I have a bit of peace."
Kate may be smartphone-averse, but Emma Barnett asked if she was familiar with the TikTok trends inspired by her "Babooshka" music video, to which she laughed and replied, "It sounds ridiculous." You can listen to the whole interview on BBC.
These last few weeks have been major for Kate, an icon of British arty pop. Halsey covered "Running Up That Hill (A Deal With God)" in her recent Gov Ball set. "Running Up That Hill" is Bush's first single to have made the American top 10 of Billboard's Hot 100. She has broken records in the UK for longest interval between #1 singles ("Wuthering Heights" was in the top spot 44 years ago) and oldest woman to have a #1 single. The song's position also marks the longest journey–37 years–between release and #1.