“It was a little bit frustrating at first but eventually we found a way to communicate. You figure out a way. With music it’s so much about the vibe and the energy and you know when things are working and when they’re not.
“When you’re working with someone for the first time, there’s a kind of shyness that everybody has, so with Benny it was more challenging because of that but we figured it out and by the end I felt like I knew him very well.
“Martin is such good fun, I adore him. You have to feel like you can say ‘No, I don’t like that,’ and you’re not going to hurt their feelings. And vice versa.
“But he’s got just the right balance of seriousness and humor.
“He’s very organized and methodical in his thinking so I like his work process.”
The production on the album is slick, with some great touches.
On Gang Bang the noise of a spent cartridge from a gun hitting a concrete floor illustrates her “Kill Bill” fantasy for the track.
But the contrast of a huge pop track like Superstar, featuring her daughter Lourdes on backing vocals, is followed up with a song called Falling Free — one of her most stripped-back songs for years. She explained: “I have to be completely involved in the production. I like the contrast.
“I like to have something that is just slammed with noise and sound and bass and drum, sensory overload and then create something like Falling Free, which is stripped back and all you can really hear is my voice and the lyrics.
“Sometimes I sit down on a guitar and start strumming chords and things come out.
“Sometimes people bring a song to me that has a title, for instance, or an idea of a lyric and I take it and kind of re-shape it, re-word it and make it my own. It comes in so many different ways, it’s always been that way.”
The album features some big collaborations with strong female solo stars — M.I.A and rapper Nicki Minaj. Give Me All Your Luvin’ was the Superbowl song that ended up causing controversy when M.I.A decided to stick up her middle finger.
But that punk spirit is exactly why she got them on board.
She said: “I was looking to collaborate with women who I think have a strong sense of themselves.
“They were a lot of fun to be around in the studio, for sure.
“I think we were all shy of each other in the beginning, that’s just human nature.
“I think we got over that pretty quickly.
“They’re both very self-possessed people, especially M.I.A. I don’t think she’s impressed much by stars and celebrities, so we just got down to business. I loved her.”
And the key to keeping the music original? Don’t listen to chart music while you are writing.
She said: “I wasn’t listening to anything to tell you the truth, when I wrote this.
“I was working on the soundtrack to my movie W.E. So just classical music. I actually don’t like listening to pop music while I’m working on pop music — it doesn’t really work.
“You don’t want to hear other people’s stuff, you need a clean slate to work off.”
© The Sun Something For The Weekend