Shereen Low catches up with Moloko's Roisin Murphy.
Moloko was an unlikely pairing. Mark Brydon was a Sunderland-born musician who had worked with a diverse range of artists from Yazz, Eric B & Rakim to Krush, while Roisin Murphy was a feisty Irish lass who had never written a song before, and did some "screaming" in an experimental Mancunian band.
Yet when they met each other in 1994, they made sweet music together - in and out of the recording studios. With timeless hits like Sing It Back and Time Is Now, Moloko sang their way into British musical history.
"It wasn't a bad start, was it? I'm very proud of Moloko - I think it's a daring creative endeavour on many levels," says frontwoman Roisin.
"I worked extremely hard - I don't let a day go by without being creative. That's because of Moloko and I'm so grateful that I've been given the chance to have a life like that."
The breakdown in Mark and Roisin's relationship in 2002, after eight years, spelled an end to the successful pairing, which saw two Top Ten hits and numerous music awards nominations.
While anyone else would have quit working on a new album together, the duo continued making their fourth - and possibly last - album, Statues.
"We had a difficult time in making Statues after Mark and I broke up. It was probably our best record, but it was also the most emotional as well," she admits.
"It was tricky getting back into the studio after we broke up. I don't know how I did it, but we did. I think perhaps we had that record to make - we really wanted to make it before we broke up.
"We were talking about it and the way we wanted to make it, with the production, and with lots of string arrangements.
"We had got into Northern soul in a big way so we wanted to bring more of that into the song writing... we had various creative issues we wanted to resolve," the 32-year-old adds.
"That was stronger than anything that would have stopped us doing it. It's not professionalism - it was a creative decision to do it because we had this record in us that we wanted to get out, so we made it possible so we could do it."
With every album, Moloko toured extensively and with Statues, the band made no exception, touring for a mammoth 18 months.
"When you're standing in front of several thousand people and you're having an amazing time at a great gig, that's the memory you're left with. You're left with the end result, and that's exactly what we wanted."
Many fans think this is the end of Moloko, but Roisin refuses to confirm this, saying: "It's something that I don't know at the moment, and I refuse to make a definitive answer to that to be honest."
Since then, both of them have been working on their solo careers. Roisin released her debut album, the well-received Ruby Blue, last year with producer Matthew Herbert. She's currently working on her next one, due next spring.
"This [working with Matthew] was a new challenge for me. I guess it's quite interesting for me to see how other collaborations will work," she says.
"I collaborated with one person for ten years and it was very scary going into the studio with Matthew on the first day. I was really frightened because the process had been so private between Mark and myself, but it worked out well."
The London-based singer adds: "I think I picked the right person to start with. Matthew was very gentle with me and was really interested in what I wanted to do and coaxed it out of me in a nice way. He would make a great teacher. It's purely a professional friendship.
"And because the record is mine, he built it around me and my life. It became very inward and very private between me and him, but in the process of making it, there was a lot of discovery about myself and who I was as a creative person. I learned more about myself than I did before."
She believes that she's doing a good job in making the tough transition from being seen as Moloko lead singer to a singer in her own right.
"I think the core fans, for sure, like Ruby Blue, but I think different people have liked me where they didn't like Moloko records. It's more avant garde and it's not a pop record in the same way, so I don't think there's any confusion in that sense.
"I've also been playing in different venues. I think people are starting to associate me with me. That takes a bit of time to establish particularly if you're not taking the most obvious route. I've had the best possible start for a career as Roisin Murphy because Moloko was so well-respected and so well-received."
She insists she and Mark are still on amicable terms, saying: "We're still friends and we still keep in touch. I haven't asked him what he thinks of Ruby Blue. We shouldn't go there, to be honest. I'm sure he'll think it's all right."
It's clear that her passion lies in music - the other love of her life is fashion. Lauded by newspapers and magazines as a fashion icon for her funky and daring outfits, Roisin can often be seen at fashion events.
"I don't know if I am a fashion icon," she says modestly. "People do think of clothes down the line when they think of me. I love clothes. I use clothes to make state-ments and get across my quite complex contradictory messages about myself, but I try to be as honest as possible.
"To me, it would be more a case of hiding if I only wore jeans and Tshirts, because I wouldn't be saying anything to people."
Fashion icon she may be, but despite her poor culinary skills, Roisin wants to be a domestic goddess.
"I haven't learned to cook yet," she reveals, laughing. "I bought a house back in Ireland and spend a lot of time there, but unfortunately, my mother tends to take over the cooking when I go home. There was an intention to learn to cook and garden, and normal things I've not done because I've spent my whole adult life doing this [music]. But I haven't really been given the respite from this yet. I have an intention for sure, but when, I don't know."
For now though, her goals are more realistic. "I want to make the best record I can possibly make. I want to have an happy life, and be creative. I don't want to let life move me away from my creativity - that's the most important thing."
Moloko's Catalogue - Best Of, and exclusive remix albums for digital download, are released today.