Sascha Osborn Interview

Interviews, Uncategorized

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We sat down with singer-songwriter Sascha Osborn, discussing everything from living life’s mystery, thriving on people and their stories to her hopes in making everyones eyes shiny with her music!

Overthinking comes naturally to many of us. But allowing ourselves to be vulnerable and wear our emotions, might not come as easy. And I suppose in that, you’re the fortunate ones if you don’t, since you prevent your emotions from taking control before your head can rationalise your actions.

We all have different ways of articulating inner expression and singer-songwriter Sascha Osborn hit home with her song: When Love Finds You. 

“…Sometimes it’s hard to say how you really feel; scared in case you get it wrong; you’ve got let fear go; who said you’ve got a choice, because it don’t work that way; love is gonna find you and turn your frown upside down.”

Sascha writes tender, reflective songs that dance between jazz and folk, and it wasn’t long since discovering her timeless music that we found ourselves sharing conversation, over chamomile tea at the homely hub – The Poetry Cafe.

“Sometimes I feel something but don’t know the reasons for the emotion and writing songs can help me articulate and express what I feel, what I want to say narratively and harmonically.  From the splurges, those that resonate strongly, I will then follow the idea, develop it and all being well create a soundscape to describe it. 

When I hear some music, I am so moved that giddy excitement fills my belly, or I will start to well up. I love the emotions music evokes, it can simply be a heartfelt performance, a beautiful tone, a melody, rich chords, syncopated rhythms or the beauty of words, so many things that resonate. I love doodling and creating, it is soothing, energising and fulfilling. I find it magical every time when something is created from nothing.”

In-between conversation and sipping tea, the man sharing our table gets up, before saying a heartfelt goodbye to Sascha, scribbling away in a book, I later learn, is an open poetry book. Just in that moment, I notice how easy it is for Sascha to leave an impression on the people around her.

“Being mindful and present with my thoughts, feelings, observing, drawing on all my senses is important to me, it fuels my creativity and engages me with my surroundings. Living life’s mystery, I like to connect and share in our human commonality and embrace the world around me.”

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While it’s innately human to drift into our own worlds, loose ourselves to our imagination, narrate and tell stories through any shape or form, our electronic devices are something entirely estranged that we have become so accustomed to, and adapted to similarly loose ourselves to.

“Mobile devices are hugely informative and have many benefits, they also offer a deluge of distractions. It can be so easy to get lost in the virtual world and lose connection with the physical world, people around you, and in turn, the art of conversation can diminish.

I saw a series of photographs created by an American photographer Eric Pickersgill, called ‘Removed’ where he had photoshopped out the devices which I found really poignant. His portrayal really illustrated our addiction to modern technology, online connectivity, social media etc and isolation from our surroundings.”

Sometimes it’s a struggle to articulate, and still we don’t realise what we otherwise take for granted, until it’s completely inaccessible. I learn that for Sascha it was through loosing her voice when a cyst developed on one of her vocal folds in 2012, that she was forced into a six-month lapse from singing. During this time she found her ‘inner voice’.  

“It was a challenging time and I became a bit of a hermit, but I listened to mountains of music and started focusing on writing songs on the guitar, singing the melodies in my head. Having something taken away from me, made me realise how important it was to me to musically communicate, find and express my voice. 

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3 months of speech therapy didn’t resolve the issue and so I had surgery in January 2013 and after one week of complete voice rest, I started gradually speaking again 5 minutes every hour to start. Then after further speech therapy I was referred to a fantastic vocal coach, who I still see, and by Easter I was singing again. 

During this time, I had also started studying jazz harmony and engaged further in songwriting which helped build my confidence and enabled me to connect my love of jazz harmony, soulful melody and descriptive lyric to create my voice.”

There’s plenty of musicians who’s hometown hasn’t always been London and finding their own feet and keeping their idiosyncrasy, is what intrigues and inspires me the most. Creating music that is true to themselves and not written to fit a particular scene/trend for the sake of art. 

Moving from Leicester to Sheffield in Sascha’s early twenties was where she experienced people “playing folk music together typically in a pub where there was no divide between the musicians and the audience. Everyone sat together informally often with a pint or two, sang along as they wished, and enjoyed simple good music.”

London has been Sascha’s home for the past 10 years and it’s her solid friendships that have made her experience as a musician an enduring one. It’s clear just how much Sascha thrives on people. When she arrived in the city, knowing no one, it was her local contemporary choir that enabled her to make friends and fuel her musical career.

“It is quite magical singing in harmony with others and with the resonance it is quite physical. The same director also set up a small gospel choir which I really enjoyed, lovely way to discover more music. It was one of the women in the contemporary choir who said ‘you like jazz’ who told me about a jazz summer school in France, she didn’t go in the end but I did. It was a brilliant intensive week of music, and I returned for a number of years, and from both these worlds, I have created many musical connections.”

Speaking to Sascha is like listening to her music; it’s warm and soothing, and feels like being hugged. There is so much life and energy as we begin to touch upon performance, and her favourite gig to date. Her album launch last year at St Pancras Old Church tops them all, even days afterwards there were ‘did that really just happen?!’ moments.

“It was very exciting to play such a legendary intimate venue and hear my songs resonate inside the church walls, as thousands have before and thousands more will. The audience was a beautiful crowd of around 70 people, friends, family and more, sat snug in rows on the dark wooden church chairs either side of the aisle, I could definitely feel the love. 

A good friend of mine Michael Russoff opened the evening sharing his stunning songs on piano. I had Andy Hamill on double/electric bass and harmonica, Justin Woodward on drums, percussion and vibes and Patrick Wood who produced the album on Wurlitzer and electric guitar. It was fabulous to play with such amazing musicians and people and create new live arrangements of the songs; we started with an extended version of ‘Looking Out And After’ and thereafter it was like a slow-motion dream.”

It seems fitting to tend on a note of poetic inspiration, and how the imagination can run free with “different combinations of words to create such evocative beautiful language.”

Agreeably there really is nothing like the physical book; it’s the complete experience  from the touch, to the smell of the pages. And yes, bookshops are seductive, Sascha rocks forward: “Bookshops can seduce me to explore and purchase, whether it’s Oxfam or Foyles, I just need to try not to have too many on the ‘to read’ pile rather than ‘have read!’

“When I was younger, I enjoyed discovering Keats and Rossetti and in recent times I have enjoyed Rupi Kaur’s poetry. My song ‘Could It Be You’ was in fact inspired by Frank O’Hara’s book: ’Lunch Poems’ a pocket-sized book of poems which I understand he wrote in his lunch hour. The lyrics to my song were written sat on a park bench one lunch time, overlooking the River Thames.

At the moment I feel a little like a painter with an endless supply of beautiful colours to paint with! I am taking the original guitar-based songs and calling them ‘experiments’ as I find that frees the song from anything, and simply let it follow the idea, naturally. As everything ought be. Without overthought…”

Follow Sascha Osborn on: Facebook // Twitter // Instagram

Words: Rachael Crabtree (@eccentric_eejit)

Jeremy Tuplin Interview

Interviews, Uncategorized
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Jeremy Tuplin’s headline show at St Pancras Old Church 19/09/19 – Photography: Mathew Fleming

Worldwide action to protect our planet, our home, has never been so momentous. No doubt sparked by the broadcaster, conservationist and vice-president at Fauna & Flora International, Sir David Attenborough and the environmentalist activist, Greta Thunberg, and giving voice to this responsibility has never been easier, nor more powerful, you only have to follow the daily development of the worldwide Extinction Rebellion campaign.

Our planet is our concern, our responsibility and musicians have always been at the forefront, voicing passionate opinions and shaping our thinking about our human responsibilities. And singer-songwriter, Jeremy Tuplin is no exception to the rule.

Off the beaten track down the Hackney high street, in an eccentric tearoom, Palm Vaults, hanging baskets loom above our heads. Sitting in this perfect patch of pinkness, from pink velvet sofas, tables with vases of pink roses and pink satin curtains decorating the walls, I sit with Pink Mirror album creator, Mr Jeremy Tuplin, talking topical; everything from his passion for Earth to his concern for elusive human connection.

Just as we begin to talk about how it has become commonplace to share our lives through the phone, and therefore a privilege to spend time in company, holding an ‘actual conversation’, sitting beside us are two friends, who are ironically bereft of words for one another, and are instead posing for selfies.

For some of us though, thankfully, it’s far easier to loose yourself to the world around you, and I could see how I was, on the odd occasion, loosing Tuplin, to people watching. The cafe was beginning to swell with so many stories. And I realised that I was watching an inspired singer-songwriter, a natural observer of people, with a keen eye and ear to create and tell stories.

Curiosity leads us to explore and come to new understandings and findings. It can also have a shadow side, as with most things, and can lead us to dark dangerous places, like Pandora’s Box. Which is the title one of Tuplin’s favourite songs off his latest album, he shares with me. As we contemplate whether curiosity is a blessing or curse, the deeper psyche is awakened.

“It’s a blessing and a curse I suppose. Part of the beauty of life and consciousness is its desire to continually explore and learn. And I guess that’s never-ending, or would there theoretically be a point where we reach the end of all learning, and everything would be known, and what then? What would omniscience entail? Godliness? It’s impossible to say what the percentage of overall knowledge we’ve come to at this point, but I imagine it’s incredibly small.  But sure, not all discoveries are going to be positive – like Dark Energy driving the space between solar systems and galaxies apart at an ever increasing rate, or, you know, aliens – that could go one way or the other, if they exist, (they do).”

When we return to Earth, we reach burning issues close to his heart. On his latest album: Pink Mirror, as if addressing the Earth herself, Tuplin personifies mother nature on track: ‘Gaia’ giving a shared conversation between Earth and humanity that conveys how temperate Earth is to our abuse: “Oh I am a goddess and you are a fool, dare to mistreat me mere mortal, you do not know what you do…you act like you own me but I’ll still be here long after time’s through with you.”

It seems only natural to give something back to mother nature, after all she has done so much for us, and testament to his devotion to Earth, Tuplin partnered with two environmental charities for his recent singles: Friends of The Earth for ‘Long Hot Summer’ and One Tree Planted for ‘Gaia’.

“Yeah, I mean, the abject failure of my campaign to get people to contribute to One Tree Planted, and thus plant a tree as a free aspect of downloading my latest single Gaia, has burnt my fingers a little bit. I don’t know if it says something about how people feel about my music or about how people feel about planting trees.”

Having seen Jeremy Tuplin and his band (Ultimate Power Assembly) live on several occasions now, most recently at the exquisite St Pancras Old Church, Tuplin and his sardonic wit never fails to touch his audience. There’s also a calm and considered warmth between band members which transmits onto us – which Tuplin adds might be down his band “exceeding any normal levels of relaxation applicable to any given situation.”

Pink Mirror’s ironic social commentary encourages you to reflect, and agree that we are indeed living in a strange, often disconnected age, which is becoming less human, thanks to our devices. Encouragingly though, a growing number of us are feeling the need to appreciate and connect more with our fellow human beings, and our beautiful Earth…the times, they are a changin’.

Pink Mirror in out now via Trapped Animal Records

Jeremy Tuplin: Website // Twitter // Facebook // Spotify

WORDS: RACHAEL CRABTREE (@ECCENTRIC_EEJIT)

Flood For The Famine Interview

Interviews, Uncategorized

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The creative mind has no doubt a natural gravitas to the cinematic quality of life; there is something altogether romantic that we cannot help but crave.

Inspired by timeless theatricality is singer-songwriter, Alex Lindner of Flood For The Famine, who, akin to Tom Waits, places himself in the dark corners of society for his art; writing and narrating stories from the underbelly of city nightlife. And it’s impossible not to be yielded by the vocally arresting quality of ‘Nine in the Morning’, and taken in by the layered depth of ‘Why We Fall’.

It was almost as though we had stepped back in time to the 20s at the Booking Office, St Pancras. Two dishes were placed in front of us, we glanced at one another, and back to the slightly apprehensive waiter. “Are these not for you?” “If they’re complementary?” jested Lindner.

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He’s the charismatic character you could picture he would be off stage, with that balance of burning childlike curiosity. Lindner took a Maths and Music degree at the University of Edinburgh, and occasionally tutors A Level and GCSE students in Maths, not music, he adds, as “teaching and hearing someone play the same scale over and over again pretty much sucks all the life that music holds for me”. Maths just comes easy, and always has done for him, and as opposing as I thought the subject pairing would be, Lindner explains that it’s “all just patterns, either on paper or in the air, music and maths work in perfect harmony.”

He grew up in Malvern via South Africa to classical music teacher parents who encouraged his chorister upbringing. And as we begin to talk over his influences, it’s the classic American novel and it’s noir characters inspiration that interestingly comes full circle; Waits is his greatest influence, who in turn was inspired by Ginsburg, and Lindner himself has written a great deal of poetry inspired by the Beat poets.

His drive to write music is a compelling one, and I cannot help but be intrigued by his writing process and the literary connotations and connections with life as a performance, just as he references in his title track of his Waiting To Happen EP: “…And it was just waiting to happen. Sometimes we’re just actors in a play. And they tell us what to think. And they tell us what to say. Just let it play…”

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He tells me: “I’m really interested in the forces that compel us to do what we do. We can fight with them, hide them, or learn to accept and embrace them. They’ll come out one way or another.”

And just as the Pre-Raphaelite painters observed the fallen women and their awakening, Alex looks to the fallen men who have hit rock bottom and are looking for their redemption and seeks out the excess “bringing out the neon of life, that is tragic, yet comic.”

There’s philosophical elements too, that we begin to tap into, and it’s not long before things go deep. It’s true how the pace of life we all lead has robbed so many of us the opportunity of seeing the beauty in not just the smallest of things, but everything. Less of us have the time to pause, think, and appreciate life. Suffice to say it is only through writing, especially poetry and music, that we are able to fully realise ourselves, and life itself. When you get there, you too, might find yourself taken in by the romance of it all.

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Flood For The Famine’s debut EP: ‘Waiting to Happen’ is out next month.

Follow Flood For The Famine on:  Spotify // Twitter // Facebook // Instagram

Words: Rachael Crabtree (@eccentric_eejit)

Ten Fé Interview

Interviews, Uncategorized
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Ten Fé; Photo Credit; Abi Raymaker

Leo Duncan, who shares lead singer-songwriter duties with Ben Moorhouse of Ten Fé, spoke to us about the recording of their second album, the evolution of their sound, and positivity in the face of increasingly declining physical record sales.

It’s obvious when you speak to a musician that music goes beyond their occupation, or satisfying self indulgence of project ‘cool’. As Keith Richards once said: “Music is a language that doesn’t speak in particular words. It speaks in emotions, and if it’s in the bones, it’s in the bones.” Discussing the bands origins almost feels an insult in the face of Ten Fé, who clearly have music in their “bones”.

The band wear hearts, not pride, on their sleeves. The follow up to their ‘Hit The Light’ debut, ‘Future Perfect, Present Tense’, that coincides it’s release (March 8 via Some Kinda Love) with a second American tour, certainly cements how they have really come into their own both personally, and musically.

Originally starting out as a busking duo, Duncan and Moorhouse naturally gravitated towards a five-piece to include childhood mates from Birmingham. And it’s on this second record that you will notice how they have really honed into their sound, doing away with the electronics stylistically, and recording the album mostly live as a five-piece band. Subsequently, the material is more raw and honest and was a reaction to the reception when touring their debut album. “Being honest as performers and the more we’ve cut down on, the backing track, the PA, the electronics, I feel the easier it’s got. And on this album, everyone is playing their instruments, we’ve harnessed raw energy – there’s a real magic passing from one another.”

The first album was not only recorded as a duo, with both Duncan and Moorhouse alternating instruments in the Berlin studio with Ewan Pearson (The Rapture, M83, Jagwar Ma) but had electronic leanings and 90s influence (Primal Scream, Happy Mondays). ‘Future Perfect, Present Tense’ ramps up the Americana elements coming through on the last record; Bruce Springsteen, Fleetwood Mac and The War On Drugs. “Our listening became more concentrated and particularly The War on Drugs – but also Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Rumours’, R.E.M’s ‘Automatic For The People’ – we kept it pretty tight, it wasn’t a conscious thing, it’s just what we were listening to at the time. Obviously our beloved Stones and Beatles too and a touch of The Lighting Seeds at the end.”

Lyrically speaking, poetry retains a large component and privilege as the listener, almost as though the material wasn’t meant for prying ears. “In terms of this album, the lyrics are deeper, there’s less word play and wit in the lyric. It’s more concentrated on being honest – on speaking and not wanting to shout, there’s a softness to the lyrics.”

People may be keen to associate them with their hard grafting roots; London buskers on the District Line at 5:30pm, but it’s coming through that is more significant. Music is expression, an art that Duncan says they are fortunate to have avoided the down trodden routes for, and having been a musician over in Dublin, Ireland for a year in his early twenties this was where he learnt how to hold an audience.

When Duncan shares with me his stories of working over in Dublin, there’s an underling and unflinching self confidence to his worth as a performer that I cannot help but admire. “I would play lots of pretty tough pubs along East Wall and on the Northside, where I lived saying, ‘Listen do you mind if I play for you tonight, I’ll play for free, if you give me drinks all evening?’ ‘Right, well, we’ll put you in front of the TV and the football is on at the moment, but if you can distract the people from the football then we’ll let you have the gig.” And I loved that, because you know, if you can make people turn their attention from the football onto you, then you know you are onto something.”

It wasn’t just learning how to hold an audience, but the Irish culture and attitude towards music in turn, took a hold on Duncan: “There’s a very interesting attitude to music in Ireland, you know, there’s a very inclusive attitude to performance – if someone has a guitar, they’re expected to play, and that’s just the given.”

Ireland’s very different, inclusive attitude towards music is the mentality that continues to drive the band forward and is taking them places. Inclusivity is pivotal to their music. “In London the attitude is a stark contrast – if you have a guitar then you have to perform – it’s not an intimate or inclusive thing, because there’s so many people striving to do the same thing, it’s a lot harder. I’ve always connected more to the Irish ways. It happens in Birmingham too – it’s not about networking or showing off, everyone can enjoy these songs, that’s my mission. It’s got very clear roots for me with Birmingham and Dublin.”

While their attitude towards music is rooted in Ireland, they have a greater kinship with American music stylistically. “America is such an important place for us musically. Kurt Vile, War on Drugs, Mac De Marco, Twin Peaks, Whitney is the music that inspires us – when we get up in the mornings, that’s what we put on. Not British bands, apart from Idles and solo acts – I’m excited by Westerman and King Krule, but in terms of bands, America is where it’s at right now”.

When questioning his thoughts on the British music industry, Duncan is positively optimistic about the future of not only the industry itself, but the band’s ambition to sustain a positive headspace. “Yeah, I’m not gonna lie, it’s a struggle sometimes – but if you surround yourself with good people, its always positive. Not just between us as a band, but our management and label are our best mates and they’re always there to support us.”

“You really have to go for it as it’s so competitive right now, but at the same time, the quality of music isn’t dampening, people are making just as good of music as ever, and the people listening aren’t going deaf, shows are being attended and playing shows are as good as it’s ever been.”

Over the phone this afternoon, it seems only topical to bring into conversation todays closure of HMV. I question insofar how Spotify is helping bands, which Duncan enlightens me, helped fund Ten Fé’s last tour of America.  “Things are changing, yes, HMV shut down but when was the last time you bought something in there? (Very true). Lets work out the next way to ingest music – people don’t pay for music now, that’s just the reality – that’s had an enormous impact thing on music – the way to get around it is not to think about it too much. Make sure you’re singing songs you believe in and work with a team you believe and trust.”

There is no room to feel precious on the District Line, you have to hold your own, on a stage of your own making, there’s no gap between the audience and artist. So when it comes to their shows, that are growing in size, the last was in support of Adam Ant at Camden’s Roundhouse, it’s rewarding to see how deep their music is connecting with people.

Keen to learn of Ten Fe’s proudest moment to date, Duncan modestly responds. “I always try and avoid feeling proud, maybe its the Irish in me, but I’m always really happy when we finish a recording – finishing this album was the best feeling, it wasn’t easy to make either. When you play in a band, this might sound cheesy, I don’t care if it does – but if you have a connection when you’re playing with someone overtime you play, and we do, it feels wicked. There’s also a point where it feels amazing. We’ve all known each other for over 10 years and have a deep connection with one another so yeah it’s like being in a pub with your best mates and you’re drinking and you have this moment when you think “ahhh this is f***ing wicked” it only last five seconds when you’re in a pub at Christmas – or you’re at a gig and there’s a point where you just feel it. That’s why I know we’re on the right track – that’s all the Beatles had and that’s what the War On Drugs have, a chemistry on record.”

Chemistry is something you cannot forge, and just like music, you either have it “in the bones” or you don’t, and as more people are noticing, Ten Fé are gifted with both.

‘Future Perfect, Present Tense’ is released March 8 via Some Kinda Love Records

Follow Ten Fé on: Spotify // Twitter // Instagram // Facebook

Words: Rachael Crabtree (@eccentric_eejit)

 

The False And The Fair Interview

Interviews, Uncategorized

The False and the Fair press shot 1 2018 - photo credit Joanna O'Malley

We spoke to The False And The Fair who were in the heart of Hell Fire Studios recording their latest single: ‘The Space In-between’ lifted from their eponymous EP (released 16th Nov) ahead of what will be an epic headline show at Whelans tomorrow (18th Nov).

The lads have a great way of volarising nature and romanticising the otherwise mundane band origins, inspiration and recording processes, and are proud to be belong to Dublin’s thriving music scene. For us, their record is an exquisite slow prog-rock burner with warm harmonies and transfixing layers of psychedelic guitar lines that just narrate the EP so well.

Rachael: I was gutted to narrowly miss you playing The Crow Bar when I was last over in Dublin – how did the night go, and generally speaking, how do you find the local music scene – where’s your favourite haunt to play?

Jacob: The crowbar gig was great. We stripped back all the songs, took away the drum kit and rearranged some of them to suit the more acoustic vibe we were going for. The crowd were really attentive and respectful too which is nice when you’re trying something new.

There are times when it can feel like parts of the songs, such as the harmonies, can get lost during gigs so it was nice to expose those a bit more and put the songs in a new context. I got to play a wooden box that Adam found in a warehouse so I enjoyed the challenge of playing the same songs in a different way on a different instrument.

The music scene here is booming. There are so many new bands being born every day and they’re all so different. No matter what type of music you play everyone just seems really supportive and encouraging. Having colleges such as BIMM Dublin and Newpark jazz has made people realise that they can actually have a career in this industry and it’s very encouraging to see you friends succeed at doing what they love.

Tommy: In terms of venues, we’ve had fun playing all over. Workmans, Sin E and the Grand Social are all great spots, as well as Whelan’s where we’re launching this new EP. The Harbour Bar in Bray also has a special place in our hearts. We’ve got roots in Bray as well as Dublin so it’s always nice to come back to that home crowd.

Your origins of the band sound awfully romantic…atop the Wicklow Mountains at dawn, which feed seamlessly into the outdoors themes of this EP. I suppose coming from such a beautiful country it’s inevitable that you become consumed by it’s natural beauty – can you continue the story as romantically as possible please, haha…

T: I can try, although the songs on the EP might do a better job of it! There is something about being out in nature, isn’t there? You just feel so big and small and lost and hopeful and peaceful all at the same time, and it’s nice to have space to breathe and think. There’s something about the headspace of writing songs that I always connect with the outdoors, even though I’m usually inside when I write. I think looking out at something bigger than yourself is one of the major themes with this collection of songs, so hopefully some of that energy comes through. You’re not just yourself; you’re part of a living, breathing world and it’s too easy to get stuck inside your head sometimes. I hope people will be able to put this EP on and let their minds wander a bit.

You dropped a reference to Townes Van Zandt – I’d love for you to share with us more what this American artist means to you as a band?

T: Townes is the man. Listening to him up in the mountains that morning definitely helped spark the creative energy that ultimately led to this EP coming together. There’s such an aching beauty to his writing, a real rawness and a yearning quality that I find utterly breathtaking. A lot of it’s really sad actually, but whatever way his voice hit me that morning just made me appreciate what I’ve got and where I was at.

Psychedelia seems the compass of TFATF’s sound – are there many likeminded souls that you’ve collaborated with/do you find yourself part of a scene, inspiring, jamming and gigging together?

Adam: I think we’ve been really lucky with the people we’ve gotten to collaborate with over the years.  We’ve all been huge Vernon Jane fans since seeing their first show, so getting Emily-Jane O’Connor to lend her voice to Bald Apes made us all a bit giddy. Having been a part of the BIMM scene, we got a chance to mingle with tonnes of unbelievable musicians. Through the college we met Laura O’Sullivan and Claire Z, who provided vocals for the last half of The Space In Between and have really promising projects of their own.

Ultimately though, I think we’re still trying to find our place in the broader Dublin music scene. No one here wants to be pigeonholed, which is amazing because you end up getting some really incredible genre-bending acts like Wastefellow and Fehdah, but it can also be a bit of a pain when you’re trying to put a show together! Ultimately I think it becomes more about quality over genre at a certain point though.

Cormac: When I joined the band, there seemed to be an established sound that I felt was very organic yet unprotected. Knowing that we had mutual interests, I felt that as we progressed we would be comfortable exploring each of our individual personalities as musicians. I think it’s evident that we all like psychedelic music to one degree or another, but we aren’t psych rockers. We enjoy much more of the genre’s soft, playful nature but you’ll get the occasional freak-out. Collaborations are always fun, Emily’s vocal on ‘Bald Apes’ is amazing. That section would have suffered without her. We’re currently taking on a lot more as individuals when it comes to the recordings. Rather than feature a new musician, we might try out something new ourselves. We like to experiment with different instruments and effects because it’s a lot of fun.

Have you ever heard of TAU – only discovered the artist myself recently (Shaun Mulroney is the mastermind behind the project) and they’re actually heading over to Dublin next month, I could really see your soundscapes sitting well together! 🙂

A: I hadn’t, I can definitely see what you mean though! Myself and Cormac are big fans of a Swedish psychedelic band called Goat and there are a lot of similarities there. We might have to shoot him a message!

The False and the Fair Space EP artwork by Grace Ryan

‘The Space In Between’ EP artwork by Grace Ryan

The guitar work is exquisite, I have to say, it’s warm progressive rock that just seems to narrate the EP so well – how do you each approach songwriting?

A: Tommy will come into our rehearsal room with the bones of a song and we’ll all sit around feeling out the track and throwing melodies about until we find something we like and the vibe sits right. Once we all have an idea for our main parts, we’ll start arranging it and adding little flourishes and accents – we’re basically just kids with crayons and a colouring book at that stage.

J: We’ve all played together for so long that when we work on new material it all comes quite naturally. We know what we like and we know what to expect from each other from a musical standpoint. We’re at a stage where we can trust each other and nobody is afraid to try something to see if it works.

C: When writing guitar parts I usually try to hear what the music is telling me. I hear how the lads gravitate to it and I find a way to make my own emotional tie to the sound. That said, we’ve all had a hand in writing the main riffs on this EP. I tend to become very attached to the sounds that I develop in the early stages of an arrangement. If it works I usually don’t try to push it too much, but there’s always room to explore new ideas.

T: I spend a lot of time writing by myself so it’s always a joy to get together with the guys and play. The more they contribute creatively the better, as far as I’m concerned. We’ve had a lot of fun writing together in the same room recently, so I hope some of those songs take shape and find their way onto future projects.

You’ve included ‘Gone’ on this EP which you previously released as a single, this song must bear a particular weighting – what does this song mean to you? 

T: Gone Tomorrow’s one of those songs that’s been with us forever, must have been the second or third song we ever worked on as a group and it’s certainly the oldest song remaining in our set these days. I think we’ve all got a certain fondness for it and it helped define our sound early on, to some extent. We released it last year but it was out on its own, and since it was just one track we only did an online release for it. We decided we’d like to have it on this collection for the blessed souls who want to buy our CDs and listen to the tracks that way, and when we realised that it worked nicely leading directly on from our new song ‘Psychedelic Psmile’ we knew that was the perfect place for it.

Would it be fair to say that you’re recognised by your most popular track: Bald Apes, which is very different sound to where you’re at with this EP, two years on, would you agree, not least in reference to the vocals (screamed to gentle-vocal hooks)? Can you talk us through this journey?

A: I think Bald Apes has always felt like a bit of an outlier for us tonally. It was written around the same time as Gone Tomorrow and In The Shade of the Mountain, yet it has this totally different perspective and scope. We’ve always been open to experimentation and I think back then we were still very much crafting our collective voice. I’m really proud of what we came up with, considering we actually recorded it 2 years prior to releasing it. This last year has really helped me to understand our dynamic and the direction we’re going in together, but I think that our recent musical development has had a lot to do with the shedding of pretense, a new level of openness, and a mutual acceptance of our individual voices and talents.

T: For me, I just thought Apes was one of our strongest songs at the time. As Adam says, we didn’t necessarily know what direction things were going for us musically. We decided to just go for it with a tune we were all excited about, and that seemed to have a great impact and energy when we played it live. I also won’t rule out more shouting in the future.

Even the location you chose to record your EP was in the heart of the Dublin Mountains – Hellfire Studios, where some Dublin legends like Hozier and David Keenan have recorded – how was the experience?

A: We got really lucky actually, I was studying Music Production in Bray and it turned out one of my lecturers Ivan Jackman is heavily involved with the studio. We ended up recording In the Shade Of the Mountain, Gone Tomorrow and The Space In Between with his students as part of one of their assignments, then once we realised that we wanted to make this EP, we booked in another few days to lay down Another Life and Psychedelic Psmile. It’s not your typical stuffy studio and the distance from the city gives you an opportunity to really focus on what you’re doing. It’s amazing up there – totally secluded with this amazing view of the city and the sea! I think we all fell in love with the place. Besides, their gear is delish!

What elements of an era do you hear in your songs – whether they are conscious choices made or unconscious results?

J: As far as the drums are concerned I grew up listening to a lot of Nirvana, Tool and The Smashing Pumpkins. It may not come across in the songs too much but there are definitely elements of that mid-late 90’s angst in the drums. Another Life is the best example of that, I really let loose on that song.

T: In terms of a broad influence the most obvious reference is probably a late ‘60s, early ‘70s kind of vibe. The likes of Love, Pink Floyd and Neil Young would be touchstones for me, but we’ve got such varied musical interests within the group that I hope we’ve come up with something reasonably unique that stands on its own two legs. We recently put together a Spotify playlist featuring some of the tracks that influenced us on this EP and I’ve really enjoyed listening back over them and reflecting on where we’re coming from.

Check out their latest single: ‘The Space In-Between’, recorded live by Ivan Jackman at Hell Fire Studios:

Catch them live at Whelans tomorrow (18th Nov) €8.50 (Adv) €10

Follow The False and The Fair on: Spotify // Twitter // Facebook // Instagram

WORDS: RACHAEL CRABTREE (@ECCENTRIC_EEJIT)

Exhauster Interview

Interviews, Uncategorized
Stay Out_Cover_Low

Emerging South London-based Artist, Exhauster

We can’t keep it to ourselves when we discover artists we love, and this week we’re delighted to share with you an emerging artist, Exhauster. We caught up with the mastermind behind the project, Elliot, to discuss his latest single: ‘Stay Out’, a glimpse into his musical background and his attraction to the disparate elements of music.

Having been involved in many previous projects, the South London-based artist (via the US and Yorkshire) now finds himself in his first foray into singing and arranging his own songs. “I have been in bands as a drummer and general tradesman for ages but I started writing material for myself over the last couple of years which got some nice reactions from friends, so decided to keep going with it. My initial plan was to surround myself with sublime voices to paper over any cracks and we just kept papering on sounds until it became Exhauster.”

Speaking of his latest single, he reveals how it changed direction entirely, organically, for the better. “It was originally supposed to be a pretty relaxed, motorik little ditty, but somewhere down the line it started to get really frenetic and I’m still not 100% sure how the ending happened. We were originally only going to use some subtle drum machines, but I played around with the track in the studio when we were recording something else and accidentally recorded the drum parts”. Elliot goes on to jest: “I like assembling music in a kinda patchwork way. Actually I can only assemble music in a patchwork way.”

Just as we begin to speak of influences it becomes apparent that the style of his musical legends match that of where he wants to be with Exhauster. The ways boundaries of electronic and organic elements are pushed together in “really beautiful ways. I also love music that is obviously tooled to make disparate elements fit. You’re going to get a lot of that with Exhauster. We’re ultimately trying for something ecstatic, even if it’s a little sad.”

When tasked with the question of influences, Elliot intelligently lists many obscure almost esoteric bands, so niche, we love it! “Recently I have had the latest Serengeti album on repeat, which was produced by Andrew Broder from Fog, who are one of my favourite bands. The Daniel Brandt album “Eternal Something” that was released last month is also amazing. I’ve been really enjoying the latest album from the Declining Winter too.”

Keen to know when we might expect an EP to drop, satisfyingly it’s all recorded and he will be sharing things regularly every few weeks over the coming months, plus live dates are coming soon. “We have the personnel and I’m remembering how to play drums and guitar in front of people again. I’m really looking forward to that.”

The EP was produced by the multi-talented Nick Trepka (Emmy The Great) who, as he beams has “known and loved since we were very young lads. He brings much needed musicianship and discipline to the process. He is also useful in that he knows when I’m being objectionably out of tune. We have a lot of fun”. Nick, also plays guitars, bass and keys and sings backing vocals alongside, he adds, “another producer and musician of note, Grace Banks, who everyone should check out.”

As we begin to wrap things up, Elliot speaks fondly of his current home town, South London, and it’s local music scene. “But I’m a bit of a hermit working on my own thing at the moment and I don’t really know what is happening around me. The Windmill is the local place where you are likely to see interesting music though. Listen to OD Davey, I think he’s somewhere around here and he’s great.”

Follow Exhauster on: Spotify // Twitter // Facebook // Instagram 

WORDS: RACHAEL CRABTREE (@ECCENTRIC_EEJIT)

 

 

Carmody Interview

Interviews, Uncategorized
Carmody FB Profile; Create Often (copyright)

Carmody (photo credit: Create Often)

When we’re in conversation with musicians, instead of chasing that ‘behind the scenes’ glimpse, we go ‘beyond the surface’ allowing you and us, as readers, writers, fans and musicians alike, achieve a familiarity and reassurance that we’re all in this together! 

Sharing and opening up more will continue to create a more accepting world, and within the music industry particularly, progression in this direction hasn’t been more imminent. Getting to the root of everything universal, London-based singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, Carmody, discusses matters of mental health, feminism and the language of the heart.

Rachael: I think it’s really important, particularly as of late, where growing concerns of treatment within the music industry have been brought under spotlight – what are your thoughts on the support available to musicians? If you don’t mind sharing – what support, maybe a network or community initiative helps you creatively and socially. And financially, are there any trusts or bursaries that are worth knowing about for any musicians reading? 

Carmody: I think mental health awareness, particularly in the music industry, is really improving, Help Musicians UK have recently set up a 24/7 helpline just for artists. Personally, I find that when I speak to other artists in sessions about how I’ve been feeling, they are usually having similar experiences and it’s nice to speak openly about it. I also find that the women involved in the ‘Time of the Month’ Podcast are like a lifeline to me and, when we do manage to organise a meet up, it feels very therapeutic. 

Financially I’ve had funding support from The Arts Council when I supported Tom Misch on tour in 2016, PRS also have some incredible funding options available. Digital distributors, like AWAL and Believe Digital, will also support some record projects, so it’s worth contacting them too. 

How do you keep that momentum going during dark days, maybe you’re under pressure writing, recording even booking shows? We all experience moments of self-doubt – what gives you the fuel to bypass it all?

I don’t think I ever manage to bypass those feelings. The music industry is a really tough place and I sometimes question why I put myself through it, as it takes a type of strength I don’t always feel that I have. But, when I am feeling low, I often reach out to others, or do something else creative, my friend recently bought me a ‘vagina colouring book’ and I’m finding that really entertaining and calming at the moment. Failing all these, there is always Pinot. 

Do you find your style of delivery, because of it’s very raw, heart-on-the-sleeve material, that it connects and unites people? In particular, has any connection provided you the motivation to write a song?

I think all my songs are motivated by connections and relationships. They nearly always stems from something I’ve experienced. Songs are like diaries to songwriters, they catalogue our lives, I’m always motivated by what I’m currently living through. 

At the moment I’m in a place where I’m writing about my family a lot, but previously it’s been mainly about past lovers, in an attempt to get over them. 

Funnily enough, a few people have messaged me saying that they got married to ‘Skin’ or ‘The Ways of Your Love’, neither of these are love songs in my eyes, but I think it’s beautiful that they have found new meaning with others.

What drew me personally to your music, was not only your vocal talents, but the way you write about love – like Kate Bush and love experienced through a woman’s eyes – you touch on unrequited, lost and never quite made it love. You have a very intimate songwriting style – how do you judge what to release to the public? Are there any moments of vulnerability in the face of an audience and how best do you conquer these?

Thank you, that’s really nice of you to say, and it’s much appreciated. I’ve generally always been an open person and I think this comes across in my lyrics. I don’t think I’ve ever kept anything back, there’s a great Nayyirah Waheed quote, ‘the thing you are most afraid to write, write that’, I try to keep that as my mantra. 

When I’m performing my technique is to expose myself even more, telling anecdotes about each song, which I guess makes me more vulnerable, but it feels like it helps in a way.

Women’s perspective in music is really important to express, especially when the industry is so male dominated. It’s also unique to look to the male as a muse and objectify men for a change, tell us more…

Are we talking ‘Singing Your Love’ here? Ha! I guess that song came from a conversation I had with the ‘Are We Live’ guys in their podcast. I was speaking to Barney about how men are never objectified in songs and they’re never (to my knowledge) washing cars in videos. So I wanted to appreciate the male form, because some men are beautiful and they’re just not mused-over enough, but also flip things around and objectify them for a change. It was a fun exercise, one that I don’t think I managed for the whole song, but I’m proud of the first line.

Which female musicians do you admire, maybe ones you’re been lucky enough to collaborate with? And who would you like to work with in the future?

Laura Misch and Marie Dahlstrom have both been big inspirations to me, their dedication to their craft is incredible, they release beautiful music and we all support each other along the way, it feels like a good team. A dream collaboration would be with someone like Grimes, or possibly M.I.A, after seeing her incredible documentary.

What music are you currently listening to and who should we go check out?

Yes! I’m really loving Hayley Heynderickx, she has an incredible called ‘I Need to Start a Garden’. Also really into Big Thief’s record ‘Capacity’. I’ve also always been a big fan of Charlotte Day Wilson and a band called IDER. I’ve got a playlist of songs I love on my Spotify profile called ‘Carmody Loves’ (cheeky plug) if you do feel like checking anything else out, I’m proud of that playlist.

You often put pages of poetry up on your Instagram stories – what particular writers have inspired and encouraged you to take a leaf out of their book?

My three favourites are – Kim Addonizio, Mary Oliver and Leonard Cohen. They’ve inspired my work so much and constantly encourage me to push myself to the edges of my lyrical abilities. 

Have you considered publishing a book of poems one day – do you have any sideline projects we can look forward to?

Funnily enough I am working with my friend Alicia Mitchell, who was responsible for a great deal of the artwork on my previous records, to create a book of poems and songs for my next project, I think I’m going to call it ‘Flotsam’.

Currently enjoying your latest single: ‘Summer Rain’, which looks to the first stages of falling in love coinciding with a love of rain – which I discovered the other day is a pluviophile! 🙂 (love words, haha) – all I can picture right now is that Breakfast At Tiffany’s end scene… 

Thank you! LOVE that word. I am a word fiend too, I think we should be friends ha!

There’s a very sensual, distinctly unafraid and empowering quality to your music. What did you learn about yourself when writing this upcoming EP?

I guess the most important thing I learnt about myself was that I could write about more than love, although I realise these last two singles are about love, I’ve covered a lot of new ground, subjects that I never imagined I would be singing about. Such as dementia, depression and the way we struggle to talk to each other about death. It’s actually pretty dark, but was a very therapeutic lyrical challenge. 

Outside of music what hobbies help you to unwind? You’ve been part of a monthly podcast series (up on Soundcloud) – Time Of The Month, which I’ve been enjoying a lot recently – for those who don’t know, could you go into a little detail about the project? 

I enjoy writing poetry and go to a poetry course in London. I’ve also just started getting into photography, and I’m on the lookout for a dance class, after trying out some moves in my video for ‘Summer Rain’.  

The Time of the Month podcast is one of my favourite things I’ve been involved in to date. It started because we wanted to create a counter group to the ‘Are We Live?’ guys. Everytime we manage to record a podcast I leave feeling cleansed, but everyone is so busy at the moment it’s been tricky to find the time, but we’ll get there soon. 

Before you go, what gigs can we look forward to from you in the near future and when can we expect your EP?

I’m still hoping that the EP will emerge before the end of this year, it’s very nearly there. I have a gig on the 21st October at the Sebright Arms alongside some other very talented, female performers and it’s free, so come down if you fancy!

Follow Carmody on: Spotify // Twitter // Facebook // Instagram

WORDS: RACHAEL CRABTREE (@ECCENTRIC_EEJIT)

Jeremy Tuplin Interview

Interviews, Single, EP and Album Reviews, Uncategorized

Jeremy Tuplin Profle ShotThere’s a lot to be said for good humour – and Somerset born singer-songwriter Jeremy Tuplin certainly hits the spot with a balance of poignant delivery on his latest single: ‘Long Hot Summer’.

Perhaps it’s the upbeat melody supporting his dark lyrics, but parallels can definitely be drawn with the legends, Belle and Sebastian.

Intrigued to learn more about the great initiative of partnering and sharing all proceeds of his latest single with the environmental charity; Friends of the Earth, we caught up with Jeremy to discover more.

Your new single hits on global warming, an issue that universally affects us, but in all reality, not enough of us are actively resolving – do you think many convince themselves almost into believing our damage to the planet is unrepairable and don’t consider beyond their lifetime? — What are your thoughts on the issue? 

I don’t see the downside in taking measures to be kind to the planet. No matter what school of thought you adopt on the issue – why take the risk in not being environmentally considerate? It doesn’t impinge on your freedoms as it’s a choice, but it will make you feel more connected to nature and therefore better about yourself. Seems ok to me. Plus Earth is by far the best planet out of all the planets we’ve come across. The idea of living on Mars might sound cool but the reality would be s**t. Kepler 452b could be ok, but that’s quite far away.

The charity you’re collaborating with: Friends of the Earth is a great initiative – how did this come about? — Do you work/volunteer with them or an Environmental charity? 

I think it’s a good thing to be a friend of Earth, and because the song touches on that in its own way I thought it would make me feel good about myself to donate some of the proceeds to that cause. All purchases of the track on Bandcamp will go to that.

Having a good sense of humour sure is an asset to life – your style of delivery, particularly on this track, has poignant humour — what books, films, plays or comedies do you enjoy? 

I like a lot of different stuff… a lot of absurdist humour of late, Toast Of London recently for example. Most things seem fairly absurd and ridiculous to me so I tend to be drawn to art that emphasises that. I’m reading The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath at the moment and I like her style.

Would it be fair to say that space and science fuel your musical inspiration – so you watched a lot of space documentaries during the production of your debut album: ‘I Dreamt I Was An Astronaut’ — tell us more…

It’s fair to say that I went through a space phase when writing and recording that album. I guess with the new stuff I’m going through more of an Earth phase. I will definitely return to space at some point though, creatively speaking.

How has country and city life compared as a musician – do you ever find London is so saturated with music that it’s maybe difficult to gain enough support – how is the music scene back home in Somerset?

I’ve been living in London for coming up to 9 years I think, so my only experience of the music scene in Somerset was when I was just starting out at open mic nights and small folk clubs. Haven’t really played there since but I would like to – if any Somerset promoters want to book me then please get in touch. I play a lot of gigs in London though, there are loads of good venues and gig nights. Possibly true that people are more receptive and up for buying merch in other towns and on the continent, but London is still pretty great.

Jeremy Tuplin’s latest single, Long Hot Summer is out now and available on all platforms.

Join us at their next full band gig on 20th September at The Victoria, Dalston – a double headliner with Jemma Freeman & The Cosmic Something, full details here!

Jeremy TuplinWebsite // Twitter // Facebook // Spotify

WORDS: RACHAEL CRABTREE (@ECCENTRIC_EEJIT)

Introducing // Shaky Shack

Single, EP and Album Reviews, Uncategorized
Shaky Shack; Josh Byrne (copyright)

Shaky Shack (Alex Winter & Mateusz Kosnik) – Photo credit: Josh Byrne

You cannot beat the feeling of discovering new artists with incredible potential. The instant we discovered Dublin duo, Shaky Shack, we were mesmerised. Their home-recorded and produced debut single: “Selfish Fever” is a shimmery slice of electronica-jazz paired with harmonies that would melt butter, and lyrics of palatable sweetness.

The track is a perfect lead into their smooth and super-chilled genre-bending aesthetic. Having only emerged officially as a band a few months ago, everything is still very fresh.

We spoke to one half of the band, Alex Winter, who went onto explain: “We’ve been together the last year, but we wanted to get things right before we put ourselves out there. We met through friends involved in the Dublin music scene over a year ago and have been writing together ever since. We have a strangely unique creative chemistry that works so well and we both instantly felt that creative click. We definitely bring the best out of each other.”

They are currently rehearsing ahead of gigging across Ireland: “We are mainly focusing on the release of our upcoming single ‘Pavement’ from our upcoming E.P ‘Flaked’ that is set for release in the next 2 months.”

We could definitely see their acoustics thriving in a Sofar Sounds setting!

Their debut single: “Selfish Fever” is out now and available on all platforms.

Shaky Shack: Spotify // Twitter // Facebook // Instagram

Words: Rachael Crabtree (@eccentric_eejit)

Ten Fé // Interview

Interviews, Uncategorized
Ten Fe; Press Shot; Abi Raymaker

Ten Fé; Photographer: Abi Raymaker

The thing with ‘new music’ is that there’s always ‘another’ band to discover (surprisingly) but like everything fresh, a new song begins with a wave of excitement, the thing is, you can often end up spiralling off from one artist to the next like a Radio DJ (forgetting a few along the way), it’s only the exceptional that stand testament to this, consistently nailing both that ‘excitement’ and ‘freshness’ with every listen – for us, over the past year now, Ten Fé have been that constant force. They play an unmissable homecoming show at Camden’s Dingwalls in less than a week (Thursday 23rd Nov).

Ahead of next weeks show we were keen to chat them on a personal level, discussing everything from living up to their namesake ‘to have faith’ (as it translates from Spanish), to conquering America this summer and capping off their manic year by recording their second album in depths of winter in (one hour of daylight) Norway next month. They stand true to themselves and are content from standing devoid from ‘coolness’ and ‘scenes’. These are romantics at heart, but in head, real, deep and inclusive – once you’re into Ten Fé, you’re in for good! 

We have an inkling that we’ve caught you at a very exciting time – not only have you just released a new song: ‘Single, No Return’ but ultimately, a teaser to your second album. To be honest, there is such an infectious buzz surrounding you at the minute, we’re literally counting the days until your London show next Thursday (23/11). Tell us more about recent events for you – what have you been up to as of late, festival-wise this summer, any touring stories to share from your experiences of Europe and America?

Yes, good times on Planet Fé at the moment. These last few months, and the whole of the last year really has been wicked. Things feel like they’ve been building and falling into place for a wee while now, so we’re just cracking on. The US tho – being able to go there and find people are into what we’re doing was a mad mad trip. We’re all hopeless romantics, so starting off the first US tour in Manhattan, and playing our way across the country and reaching the Golden Gate at sunset for the final show, was heavy.

You said in the past that you have a lot of strong American music in your veins, and that America remains a romantic place for you? Do you think there’s any fear we might loose you (hopefully not, please God) to the States one day?

Ha, well you can only go where you’re loved … so if they want us over there it’d be rude to say no! America is just mad fun really; and yeah, course, on a deeper level it’s a romantic place for us; all those artists and places that are so clear in your imagination when you’re sitting in a bedroom in Birmingham or London. But going there this year, it’s allowed us to see that there’s a reality behind that too. You get a tangible feeling that there’s an attitude towards music and playing live which is different to here – in some ways it feels a lot more solid, less ‘flavour of the month’ than it is England, or London in particular. That definitely chimes with us, and we want more of it!

Would everyone in Ten Fé associate London as home now or is there a closer bond to the north of England – Birmingham, where a few of you were born and reared?

Ah, if you’re not from London in the first place, it’s always hard to call it home. So, I’m not sure. We couldn’t have been born anywhere else as a band, we clearly ended up here cos we were hungry for something other than Brum, and we’ve got a lot of love for London. But there’s something pretty Midlands about us no doubt. No one in this band tries to sh*t higher than their own arse, which is a Brummie way of saying, everyone’s got their feet on the ground.

I have to ask – you mentioned you busked in Dublin via Twitter recently and I was intrigued – can you share with us details? What’s your thoughts on their approach to music over there? I love the city myself (Rachael) and go back and forth to family a lot. Have any of you any Irish relatives, possibly even involved in music back home?

Glad you asked 🙂 yeah I (Leo) have a lot of family over there – my dad’s from Dublin … I used to live in there myself for a time. It’s a deep, deep city. Especially the music side of things – like I was taking about with the US – there’s a tradition of music, performance, song which is just under the surface. It’s not necessarily a ‘folk music’ thing, but it just seems to be there – everyone has a song to sing, a poem to say. My family are no different to everyone else’s in that regard I guess – once the guitar comes out, everyone gets involved.

It’s funny, it’s not as though your music can be pinned to a particular country, I wouldn’t necessary say your music is distinctly English, (or Irish as it stands) – is it something that you’re proud to say doesn’t shoehorn into a particular style, scene or modern wave?

Yep, I think you’re right. We don’t come from a scene or a sound that could be associated with a particular place; and we try to ignore the pressure to fit in to one. Because that’s an outside pressure – from press, peer pressure, or social media. As a band, you shouldn’t be worrying about what scene you fit into, or band you sound like. You should just be making music you like the sound of. And we do; so in that sense we’re proud of not fitting in. That’s where you’ve gotta have your faith, stick to your guns.

You recently supported the Music Venue Trust campaign, performing a set for them for part of their series of gigs at the Ultralounge, Selfridges – the cause felt something close to your heart, can you explain why?

There’s a lot of pressure these days to appear as the finished article when you’re starting out as a band. And I’d say we just think that’s not very helpful: you need time to develop playing live, and being a bit sh*t for a while, and find things out about how you want to sound. The more small venues close, the less bands are able to do that; and the more you get these one-off, stacked, industry ‘events’ / showcases – which aren’t good for the music. Just makes everything tense and spontaneity gets swept under the carpet.

But ultimately, we’re not into fighting the rising tide on a point of principle; if venues are getting shut down, so be it, that’s the way of the world and it’s up to bands to put on their own shows in venues they’ve found. As we did.

For those unfamiliar with your music and background, can you take us way back in the day, where playing bongo’s at a house party spiralled off into this brotherly bond and busking duo – how much have you overcome to get to where you are today?

Yes, it’s fair to say much ball-ache has flowed under the bridge since that fateful Night of the Bongo. I’m not sure ‘overcome’ would be the right word tho; we’re no martyrs – we love what we do. For a long time we were just having fun, busking around the place before we decided to do this band. Since then, the things that have taken time and effort are the things every band has to do – writing good songs, finding good people to play them with and the money to record them with; and finding the right people to manage you and work with you on your dream. Like I’m saying above, plenty of people think you can short-cut those things – us included – but you can’t, dammit.

Busking has been an important element to your band right from the start. Has performing in this way helped build confidence in both your delivery and style of playing? It takes a lot of guts to put yourself on a stage of your own making, would you say that this has encouraged you to pursue/realise the potential between you, Ben and Leo?

Busking is very intense. Certainly the way we do it: jumping on the trains, playing to everyone sardine-d in a rush hour, and running from the BTP, and all that (not the CARLING sponsored, sanitised buskers-corner nonsense, with amps, lighting rig, etc) – so yeah, it’s gonna have an effect on how we perform in general. You get a good sense on how to hold someone’s attention with a song, and how you have to be inclusive – and that is definitely something we have in our live shows. We hate the way some of these style bands act like they’re cooler than the audience.

Busking is brutal though, and we’ve definitely paid our dues on the District Line, not to miss it if we never did it again. We’d have formed the band with or without busking, it was always a way to make money first and foremost…pimp or die.

As a five piece now the live shows have taken on a new dimension – you seem to understand each other live really well, like you’ve always been together. How long have you known Johnny, Alex and Rob, and at what point did you decide to pool them into the band (willingly or under duress, haha)?

Well, if we’ve learnt anything its that you CANNOT form a band with an iron rod – believe us – we’ve tried! We’ve know everyone in the band a long long time – either directly or through other people. And when it’s your best mates you can’t bullsh*t them, or start twisting arms – think everyone can see is that the five of us together has something deep going on, and long may that continue.

When you think you have a decent song what’s the process you go through in deciding if it’s recording material? Who’s opinion do you value the most, as individuals, and collectively as a band?

We play everything we write to our managers, Russ and Clare (Some Kinda Love – give me some looove) are the best in the biz. They’re f**king amazing and we sound everything off them.

A sublime and timeless album hits that perfect chiaroscuro of light and dark, it’s all about the emotion created, how did you go about achieving this with ‘Hit The Light’ – would you say the choice of songs was consciously crafted to deliver this bittersweet pathos, tell us more?

Kind words indeed, thank you. I think that light and dark you’re talking about comes from the way Ben and I are as songwriters. We’re really quite different from each other; definitely not in the way that one of us is ‘light’, and the other is ‘dark’ … more that we compliment each other – so when he’s light, I’m darker, and vice verse – we naturally balance each other. That’s not a conscious thing at all though, and if we started to try and engineer that we’d be curtains.

The way both the band’s name and music captures a mood, a feeling, almost a guiding light for us listeners, ‘to have faith’ as it translates from Spanish – how do you keep this binding and driving faith as musicians?

Tough question! Not too sure, how does anyone keep their faith? By not questioning it I guess. Surrounding yourself by good people; “be nice, not cool” is another old Brummie aphorism that can’t really be argued with. A bowl of porridge every morning certainly helps.

Instead of attempting to categorise your music, because to be honest, who likes being put in a box, reminds me of that scene in The Mighty Boosh, (are you fans?) that conversation between Howard and Vince: “People are always trying to put people in boxes”. (Haha, miss that show big time!) Instead, let’s talk about what musicians you look up to in terms of their style of playing and songwriting?

Ha – yes – love that show! The Moon has provided much spiritual guidance over the years.

Around now, we’ve lot of time for War on Drugs; saw them at Ally pally a couple nights ago. F**king Amazing. Feels like he doesn’t give a sh*t about what people think – just does his own thing. Others, for the same reason: Kurt Vile, Kevin Morby, Khruangbin, Twin Peaks, Mac D, Delicate Steve, Courtney Barnett, Angel O, King Krule …

So your debut album was recorded in Berlin and you’re heading off to Norway for the second album – do you choose to purposely record abroad, (escapism from home and routine) or does it just happen to be where the best producers reside?

Yes we do purposefully escape. We’ve noticed that we’re not really into how things end up sounding when we’ve recorded them in London. We are buzzin to get over to Norway too – there’s an hour of daylight there in December, so we shouldn’t get too distracted by whats going on outside the studio. We’ve heard its £15 for a 1/2 a shandy over there too, so light relief may be at a premium. Can’t wait.

Do you feel at peace with who you are as people and artists, content and know exactly what you want to achieve at this stage in your careers, if so what do you think has helped this?

 Ooof, too big. Ask us when we come back from Norway.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given, and also, if you was to give any advice to musicians starting out, what would it be?

‘Stick to thy guns, lad’…and I’d say the same to any wide eyed and bushy tailed ones starting out.

Not long now until you headline Dingwalls, Camden, have you thought through the set-list and any covers that you might play – you recorded (and often encore with) a sublime cover of Born Slippy (Underworld) – is there another cover that you feel as passionate about sharing with your fans?

Ah, cheers – yeah we loved doing that Born Slippy 🙂 I reckon we’ll be up to a few tricks at Dingwalls, but which ones, I don’t know – we’ll be in the lap of the Gods by then.

And finally, any updates that you can give us on your (hotly anticipated) second album?

We’re rehearsing the new tunes every night in bunker below Oxford Circus. They’re sounding goood: deep and upbeat.

Ten Fé headline Dingwalls,  Camden Thursday 23rd November // Tickets are available here – we’ll see you there!

In the meanwhile enjoy their debut album, ‘Hit The Light’ here (released Feb 2017) and their latest single, below.

Ten Fé  // Website // Twitter // Facebook

Words: RACHAEL CRABTREE (@ECCENTRIC_EEJIT)