Martha Wainwright talks family, feelings and Floyd with Jon Perks.
When your brother is Rufus Wainwright, your mum Kate McGarrigle and Pete Townshend is a friend and fan, it'd be churlish not to invite them along when you're making a record.
Martha Wainwright did just that for her second long player, the amusingly titled I Know You're Married But I've Got Feelings Too, which also features guest slots from The Band's Garth Hudson, Steely Dan's Donald Fagen - as well as an auntie and cousin thrown in for good measure.
"I think if it didn't happen it would be odd," says the 32-year-old singer songwriter. "I think I'm still in the process of trying to make a name for myself outside of my family, but it would be stupid of me not to take advantage of the talent that I grew up around and the brilliance that's there."
Mum, aunt and cousin all contribute to the cover of Pink Floyd's See Emily Play, which Martha and Kate first performed at last year's Barbican tribute to the late Syd Barrett:
"Neither of us knew the song," Martha admits. "I had some Barrett and Pink Floyd records but not that first one - it was a hole in my education and what Kate brought to it is a kind of real femininity, it's kind of from Emily's point of view 'cos it's kind of a mysognistic song - 'what the f*** is this guy talking about?', so now it became more playful and feminine because Kate and I are singing it and [cousin] Lily and Kate's sister Anna, so it sort of turned it on its ear."
She laughs: "It's so English, it's a real release from my desperate yelling, but it's very hard not to do too much of an English accent... we'd be like 'oh no, stop it we can't do that!'."
As for using Hudson and Townshend, Martha explains: "I always like to use Garth as a musician, you're getting into something that's sort of extra-terrestrial and brilliant, and it's really important to support him because I think [The Band's] Robbie Robertson took all the publishing rights for those guys and some of them are broke up in Woodstock and it's just shocking.
"Pete is a fan and a friend, and a couple of years ago went on his [internet] TV show... I didn't know anything about it and they sent a car for me and within half an hour I was on camera wearing these pyjamas they had bought for me playing my songs and Pete knew a bunch of them and the songs had never sounded so good 'cos he was playing the acoustic guitar so powerfully, it's unbelievable what he does.
"I said 'would you be open to playing on anything? We don't have to put your name on it, you don't have to play an electric guitar, it's about getting some of that brilliant musicianship there' and he was very generous."
While not as introspective as her 2005 eponymous debut, I Know You're Married... still packs an emotional punch with songs covering everything from war and suicide to her mother's own battle with cancer.
"It is heavy subject matter but I think a lot of it is kind of poppier like a second record generally is, it had alittle bit more confidence," says Martha.
"I think it happens naturally to songwriters; the first record had a lot of the songs that were very, very wonderfully navel-gazing because I wrote them in my late teens and early 20s, there's a lot of things I was grappling with personally, a lot of insecurities, a lot of fears," she adds.
"With this one there's still those insecurities and fears because it's something that draws me to the guitar to start writing songs, because it makes me feel better to express myself, but I think I'm looking outside myself a little bit more, seeing myself in the world as a whole; there's enough sadness outside my own life to seek them out."
I Know You're Married... finds Wainwright Jr developing as a songwriter and artist and, fittingly, married, to long-time partner, pro-ducer and bassist Brad Albetta.
"In many ways I feel like I can become a songwriter now because I'm a little bit better within myself and now the job is to really start to see the world as a songwriter," she explains.
"For this record I had to write songs quicker than I ever have, so I was really forced to flex my songsmithing muscle more and I was quite pleased with the results; you don't have to wait around for bad things to happen to yourself, there is plenty of that s*** deep down and if you look around.
"I like to sing and play the guitar, but obviously it would be really exciting to think of myself as a writer because that's much more difficult, and then it's about poetry and imagery and metaphor and the sound of words - if I could end up being a poet, reading as little as I do, then I've really accomplished something!
"I've always wanted to think that I am offering something to the artform of music that's never been done before, so even though it's not cutting edge electronica or atonal arrhythmic crazy ass s*** that's never been done, it's hopefully tapping into some honesty and I can offer something different."
And how is she finding married life? "Very nice, very nice...!" she laughs in her best Borat voice. "It's a great gift that we've given ourselves; we've had to get through the last five years and make acouple of records together, which is not the easiest thing to do - so if we can get though making two records and being on the road we deserve a party!"
* Martha plays Symphony Hall on May 24. Her album I Know You're Married But I've Got Feelings Too is out now.