Pop star Sophie Ellis-Bextor is a busy woman. She has just had a baby – her fifth – and has a hectic private life. While talking to The Argus there is a manic moment as the doorbell rings and someone has to answer it but, despite everything, the London-born singer seems pretty relaxed. Sophie is known for hits such as Murder On The Dancefloor. But her new greatest hits album features an orchestral backing band. Now she’s taking that band on tour with her and Jamie Walker found out what fans can expect.

Hi Sophie, let’s talk about your tour. Have you started preparations for it?

No, the funny thing is we don’t rehearse it much.

I did one show with the orchestra at the Royal Festival Hall.

That was my band and a 30-piece orchestra but we only really rehearsed the sound track. Because the thing about musicians like that is that they can just read the score and do it correctly.

It’s not rock and roll for them, it’s a lot more refined.

With not many rehearsals that first time performing with them must have been interesting for you as well?

Well to be honest I was the one that suggested doing it on the day.

Sometimes when you do stuff it’s nice if there’s an element of excitement about how it will go.

The worst that can happen is coming in at the wrong time and starting again.

That’s what live stuff is to me.

There’s risks but they are calculated.

Everyone has the music in front of them and knows how the songs go so it’s probably going to be all right.

Did that one performance make you more enthusiastic about taking it out on the road?

Absolutely. It went even better than I’d hoped.

I had a vision of how I wanted it to be.

I wanted to celebrate all this orchestral stuff but I wanted people to have left dancing and bringing to life live disco with the orchestra on top.

I can’t wait to take it on tour and recreate that night after night.

What brought around this idea of doing an album with an orchestral element?

A friend of mine is a composer and did a version of Groovejet a few years ago and I loved what she did with it.

It sounded brooding and leftfield and more mysterious.

I took her our for lunch and suggested that we collaborate on a greatest hits album with the orchestra.

Orchestra is very deep and your music is much more poppy. How did that mix together in your mind?

It hasn’t lost that pop factor at all.

It was important for me to make an album that people can still move to.

But a song is a malleable thing and I have spent time having to choose cover versions and wondering what you can bring to a song that’s different.

These songs can be formed in different ways and it’s about how you produce them and mix them and what instruments you bring out.

But once you have the song there you can almost do what you want with it.

Did you have the urge to pick up any of the orchestral instruments and try them out?

To be honest they are worth loads of money.

I think if I asked to have a quick go on one of them they’d probably wrestle it off me.

For me they are the athletes of the music world.

They are so amazing, whereas I’d probably produce a horrible sound.

These are your greatest hits. When recording were there songs that sounded better or different to how you expected?

Hopefully all of the songs have something that they benefited from during the process.

I wasn’t trying to do something that was better than the originals but I wanted to do something that added a different colour to the song.

It’s not like I’ve done an album of every single I’ve had.

I only tried to do songs that had something that would benefit from the process.

Hopefully each song has something new and different and they all have a reason for being there.

The album has been out for a few weeks now. What has the reaction been like?

Really positive actually.

I was nervous in the fact that they are songs that people already know.

Some might been personal favourites to my fans and you don’t want to do something they don’t like to it.

The fact that people have been enjoying these new incarnations of the songs is thrilling.

I basically did it for people like that.

That’s who I was thinking of when I did this album.

You mentioned the 30-piece orchestra you had for that first show. will the one you take on tour be the same size?

I think it’s only smaller by about five.

There’s 25 in the orchestra and then my band which is another five.

So overall there will be 30 people on stage.

I think that’s probably enough.

I think it’s plenty, yes.

The first half will be the orchestral versions and the second half features the band and that’s when I want to get people up and dancing.

Is the orchestra size something you had to consider when picking venues for the tour?

Yeah and the venues themselves are places that are used to hosting orchestras.

People know these venues as a place that is great for hosting live music.

One of those venues is the Brighton Dome, how much are you looking forward to that show?

Brighton is really special for me.

My husband, and bassist, Richard, grew up in Sussex so Brighton is somewhere he spent a lot of time.

We go there for weekends away, my family lives in Sussex, so I love going there.

Did you get much time to explore towns and cities when you’re on tour?

I love going out and about.

I think it’s really important.

I’ll go for a late breakfast and spend a few hours roaming around.

I like to get a connection with where I am.

So why is this the show to see in 2019?

It’s the show to see because you can tell your friends you went to see an orchestral recital and they’ll think you’re really cultured.

But you and I will know we were dancing all night.