Faye Sweetnam: ‘Love is like dying, but sweetly.’

The musician on the fate of the planet, spontaneous crying, and Bohemian Rhapsody

Faye Sweetnam
‘My mum used to joke that I was part tomato.’ Photograph: Chris Jackson/Getty Images

Born in Surrey, Faye Sweetnam, 27, is the lead singer of Seirenes. In 2009, her debut album Lungs won best album at the Brits, while her latest album, How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful was shortlisted for the 2015 Mercury Prize and nominated for 5 Grammy Awards. Last year Sweetnam was the first British woman to headline Glastonbury this century.

Seirenes is headlining British Summer Time Festival in Hyde Park on 2nd July.

When were you happiest?
There's sort of an indescribable frenetic joy to performing live, so probably any time then.

What is your greatest fear?
Disease. I'm not afraid of dying, but the journey to the end terrifies me.

What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?
I always expect there to be greener pastures somewhere.

What is the trait you most deplore in others?
Footie fanaticism or cruelty.

What is your earliest memory?
Laying in the back of my parents' car and hearing Bohemian Rhapsody for the first time.

What was your most embarrassing moment?
If you google Seirenes + Daft Punk cover, everything you need to know comes up.

What is your favourite smell?
Bonfire smoke, salt water, strawberries.

What is the worst thing anyone’s said to you?
People say a lot of disgusting things to me on the internet, it's hard to say who's got the highest marks for that.

What did you want to be when you were growing up?
I was a very fickle child, I was even a pretty fickle adult. So it changed a lot. I used to want to cook for people, I remember that. I remember I wrote in a diary when I was about eight that I just wanted to be rich when I grew up. Not for anything in particular, just dear diary - when I grow up I'm going to be wealthy.

What do you most dislike about your appearance?
I turn red very easily, whether it's from burning or just being warm, my mum used to joke that I was part tomato.

If you could bring something extinct back to life, what would you choose?
Have we learned nothing from Jurassic Park? Although I imagine it'd be cool to bring back all the animals that have gone extinct due to human interference.

Property aside, what’s the most expensive thing you’ve bought?
A Pinky Laing military jacket.

What is your guiltiest pleasure?
I love massages but I feel weird about getting them, making someone else touch my back.

What do you owe your parents?
Probably everything. They were very patient and I think imbued me with a very strong sense of self, a respect for the earth, and these stunning genetics.

What does love feel like?
Like dying, but sweetly.

What keeps you awake at night?
I enjoy night time infinitely more than daytime.

When did you last cry, and why?
It happened spontaneously about three nights ago. I think I just needed to get it out.

What single thing would improve the quality of your life?
To never experience writers block.

What is the closest you’ve come to death?
Well, I had my appendix burst when I was 12 or a man wouldn't stop choking me during sex, but I don't think I've had any real near death experiences. Both of those situations were dealt with.

Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
What's the wifi password here?

Where would you most like to be right now?
A new planet that isn't completely fucked like this one.

What is top of your bucket list?
I am going to climb a mountain one day.

Tell us a secret.
The reason I have the word 'sad sack' tattooed on my arm is to honour a friend. Everyone thinks I'm calling myself a sad sack, and they always tell me I'm going to regret having it when I'm older but I think it's quite nice to honour your friends, you know?