Sascha Osborn Interview

Interviews, Uncategorized

Sascha Osborn Interview (3)

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. 

Sascha Osborn Interview (1)

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)

Carmody: ‘Catching Blue’ EP Preview

Single, EP and Album Reviews, Uncategorized

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We have been following Carmody for a little while now and ran a really engaging feature with her recently. We talked everything topical, from mental health, feminism, full-circling back to songwriting and poetry and confession that (like myself) she too is a word fiend! 🙂

Carmody’s songs are motivated by connections and relationships – they nearly always stem from personal experience, and I was personally taken in, not least her stunning vocals, and 70s dreamy folk quality, but the way Carmody writes about love – akin to Kate Bush; love is narrated through a woman’s eye’s, her songwriting is sensual, distinctly unafraid and empowering. And you cannot help but be motivated by the mantra she writes by; a Nayyirah Waheed quote: “the thing you are most afraid to write, write that.”

When writing this new material, she learnt one of the most important things about herself. “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.”

The first new single: ‘Dreamweaver’ is, in Carmody’s words, about the life of a  songwriter. “Spending countless hours weaving stories from a multitude of sources and putting every piece of feeling we can into them in the hope they might bloom. When we send songs out into the world, it sometimes hard to know where they came from, I think some writers believe they’re channelling deities, others (like myself) can only really write about things they’ve personally experienced. But I guess there’s always a hope that they will resonate in someway, but you never really know what journey or life the song will take after it’s been written.

When I went to Nashville last year I met so many songwriters all with their own stories, creating out of conversations, making art from their days and listening very intently to each other in the hope of finding their next song. It was an interesting place to write in and when I met Kevin Dailey (who I wrote the track with) ‘Dreamweaver’ felt like a song that had always been swimming around in my lungs, but for years I hadn’t known how to let it out. I remember after I wrote it I text my friend in London and said ‘this feels like the song I’ve been thinking about and trying to write my whole songwriting life’. And that is the wonderful sorcery of songs, you never quite know when they’re going to appear.”

The second and latest single, ‘Being Without You’ that will also be on the much anticipated EP: Catching Blue, marks a new musical territory for Carmody.

“I read that grief is what love becomes when someone dies,” says Carmody. “It really got me thinking about death — how words feel completely inadequate when you try to comfort someone and how after a while, there is an idea that you should move on. In my music people are often saying to me to write something happier; and although I have done, I’m just more comfortable writing in my ‘blue’ territory. This song is kind of my resistance.”

Catching Blue’ is released early September!

Follow Carmody 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)

Hanging Valleys // Fortaleza Single Review

Single, EP and Album Reviews, Uncategorized
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Heart warming ambient trio, Hanging Valleys

There is something altogether calming and comforting about Hanging Valleys – one song lends itself to the next seamlessly. The London-based three-piece first caught our ear a little over a year ago at the beginning of their formation in 2016 and have since gone on to release a successful debut EP (10th March 2017) and attain an unprecedented 1.2 million streams on Spotify – that pools in fans of Bon Iver and Sigor Ros to James Vincent McMorrow, continues to grow.

Thom Byles, began as a solo artist but quickly realised the ambitious project at stake needed more than one musician and subsequently recruited Mike Phillips (guitar, vocals) and Alexis Meridol (beats, synthesiser) to produce his complete work of art.

Their choice of geographical reference follows through from their band name, Hanging Valleys (an erosional landform) to their style of playing, which in itself, mirrors nature; it is serene, delicate and enduring, swelling and shifting in it’s ambient patterns and a reassuring accompaniment to your minds path as you journey through day-to-day life.

Just as a river runs through Hanging Valleys, leading to a tremendous waterfall – the band’s music is a voyage that opens your mind to adventurous opportunities – you feel genuinely motivated to abandon plans and instead, go travelling – even it that means a long hike across dense woodland and the moors!

Fortaleza (or fortitude, as it translates from Spanish) is the first single to be lifted from Hanging Valleys’ forthcoming second EP. The song is about staying strong, weathering storms and having courage in the face of adversity. You cannot resist pairing their filmic sound with a moving picture of cliffs and costal plains – their layered harmonies surround you in a protective aura, just like the sun as it hits your closed eyes, instant warmth and positivity rivers through your veins.

Check out their accompanying video for their latest single released today (9th February 2018), below…live dates to follow!

HANGING VALLEYS // WEBSITE // TWITTER // FACEBOOK //

INSTAGRAM

WORDS: RACHAEL CRABTREE (@ECCENTRIC_EEJIT)

Nocturnes Interview // Introducing

Interviews, Uncategorized

Nocturnes Band Pic

We have been following this mystical, ambient Irish band, Nocturnes, since Dublin’s Hard Working Class Heroes Festival last year, only we discovered (sadly too late) that they were playing a different venue altogether! Considered “our favourite Irish record of the year” by RTÉ Culture, for us, their recent album has been on repeat since HWCH and the intrigue of their back catalogue of songs and the magic behind them, recently got the better of us, so we caught up for chat. Get to know the band ahead of their headlining slot at the Workman’s, Dublin (Nov 16th) where we discuss their coinage of a new musical genre: Electronic Chamber Music, the magic of songwriting and the ethereal, otherworldliness of Ireland.

The first thing that struck me was that were born in Sligo, Pearse, where we tend to connect the legend that is W.B Yeats to (even though he was born in Dublin) – how much would you say his legacy is firmly ingrained in the people and the place? 

Sligo has a pride about Yeats and his poetry. But I think that it’s a loose sort of a feeling. Maybe his poems come to mind for Sligonians when they’re in a particular place.

‘I went out to the hazel wood, Because a fire was in my head’. That kind of thing.

There’s the Yeats Building in the town, a statue, paintings and quotations and the annual festival. In that way Yeats is ingrained in present day Sligo.

At any points (if any) has Yeats ever had an influence upon your life and work? 

I read lots of Yeats at college. I like going out to Lisadell House and imagining a young Yeats swaning about. But in truth he hasn’t really inspired my writing. Maybe the idea of Yeats has; all that ghostliness and otherworldliness.

Maybe the idea of Yeats as this eloquent ethereal character has inspired me. Not the reality of Yeats. Which is quite a Yeatsian idea in itself. 

Ireland is connected to so many literary and musical ‘greats’ so much inspiration can be drawn from the historic, poetic and wildly romantic land alone. But I was reading that it was during your time spent in France and Montreal that you became ‘hooked on songwriting’ – what drew you towards this aspect of writing?

Essentially singing a melody is what got me ‘hooked on songwriting’. It’s quite simple really and not an intellectual thing at all. I love to sing. I love putting shape on thoughts and words. Too often in my life I say the wrong thing or say things in the wrong way. I think lots of us are like that. With a lyric you get a little while to frame things in the way you want. 

You can lean on melody and harmony, draw connections between things. It’s a lovely art form, songwriting. There’s a sort of magic in it.

Though my songs are generally inspired by a specific feeling or sometimes a specific event, that’s often only the catalyst. They end up somewhere else. I used to think that was vague or pointless. But a song’s not a thing you measure. It’s just a song. An insubstantial thing. But it can be very meaningful.

You spent a great deal of time away from home, living and working within various bands and as a solo artist in France, Canada, Norway and England – what is the project you are most proud of and why?

Maybe Idiot Songs, my collaboration with Justin Grounds. I think that was a great record; artful, rich, poetic, lots of compelling use of instrumentation, it had depth. It was contemporary and as good as anything released in 2013. But I am proud of all the records I’ve released. 

I’m really keen to know more about is this concept album – Idiot Songs – inspired by/based on the Russian novelist, Fyodor Dostoevsky’s: The Idiot – can you describe the process, it’s outcome and resulting new musical genre you coined: electronic chamber music?

Good question. Well, Justin and I had done some shows together and we always ended up talking about different novels or thinkers we both loved. He recommended reading ‘Idiot Songs’. So, I did and then I wrote the first song for it, ‘Nastasya’s Tears’. It’s such a good book. About an innocent and awkward character called Prince Myshkin. He’s the kind of character who points out the simple truths in society, the kind of person people fear in a strange way. Me and Justin loved this and just kept writing songs about different situations from ‘The Idiot’. The process was really cool. We were using Dropbox to exchange files. It’s an excellent way to collaborate. You get to hone in on your own little approach without being influenced by someone else in the room. We just passed files back and forth. We did some studio recording. Justin is a very fine violin player and is interested in chamber music and as we had some electronic beats in there we called it ‘electronic chamber songs’. 

How have you evolved into the band you are in today, Nocturnes, and how different is today’s live set-up?

Different from Idiot Songs? Hmm. Well Idiot Songs is a pretty visceral experience. But I hope Nocturnes is moving too. I really enjoy playing live. Music is transient. The song comes and then it disappears. It’s gone and the moment can never be recaptured. I love that. In Nocturnes I have some musicians I love playing with me who get what I want to create. Or maybe who want to create the same thing as me, would be a less egotistical way of saying that. I’m lucky to have lots of incredible collaborators: Justin, Billy Donohue, Christophe Capewell, Enda Roche, Sweeney Lee, Christian Volkmann. The live set up can vary but at its core its myself, Enda and Billy. 

You have talked about Nocturnes’ latest album drawing a lot upon childhood through to parenthood experiences – can you tell us more about this collection? 

I wrote a lot of it after the birth of my daughter. I guess that’s a wide open time, a time of growth. Many, many emotions. So, some of the tracks deal a little in that. Like ‘Whale Song’ is about parenting in some way but it’s also about wanting to be strong for someone else, to be noble. And it’s about this strange little life cycle we have. 

Your brother, Kevin McGloughlin who’s a Videographer/Filmmaker on the rise in Ireland has worked with you on several videos now – how was this process, perhaps you can talk about this latest release: ‘Humans’? 

Kevin is a wonderful filmmaker. The attention he pays to his work is so impressive. He is the real deal, as artists go. He’s true to his vision. Not too many people have that. So it’s cool when we work together. The process is interesting. I sometimes have a few ideas and Kevin warps them. Often too he’ll already have an idea he wants to work on regardless of the song. 

The latest release ‘Humans’ was quite straight forward. It was just a live take of a song we were rehearsing. Looks great and gives a little bit of the character of Nocturnes. Kevin and another of my brothers, Eoin shot it. 

How are your live shows going? You have a headline show at The Workmans next month which is pretty exciting! Would you say the live show is a really important factor in giving the band its identity? 

Ha! I think we are really good live. And I love playing live. It takes a good while to get the hang of a live show. It’s a funny thing. 

I would say that the live show helps to give us our identity, yeah. One of my friends says when you see us we look like we should be in a band together which I find quite funny. Hairy weirdos. 

And lastly, what Irish music are you enjoying at the moment – have you seen any good gigs recently, any artists that we ought to check out? 

I like lots of Irish acts. We did a show at Nighthawks recently with Little Green Cars and they were just phenomenal. Their third album is going to be great. I like the new Fionn Regan record. I actually think our opening acts in The Workman’s are going to do great stuff over the next few years. Arch Motors and Aural Air are quite new to the scene but both have something special. 

Nocturnes play The Workman’s Club, Dublin on November 16th with support from Aural Air and Arch Motors.

Nocturnes: Spotify // Website // Twitter // Facebook

WORDS: RACHAEL CRABTREE (@ECCENTRIC_EEJIT)

Riley Pearce Interview // Introducing

Interviews, Uncategorized
Riley Pearce; Tashi Hall copyright

Hotly tipped talent, Riley Pearce

We caught up with a very special and unassuming alt-folk singer-songwriter, Riley Pearce, who’s on the rise, not least in his Australian homeland, but across the waters over here in Europe. It becomes evident that Pearce measures his true success through the people he is able to reach and their connection to his music as we discuss how significant busking is alongside maintaining a digital presence to both gain new followers of his music and push him on creatively.

Ahead of the release of his new EP, Pearce is touring his home country for the month of October before heading to the studio to finalise his record and launch into a full European and UK tour, Spring 2018.

So Riley, would you mind introducing us to your music – we read that you was once studying for a business degree, at what point did you feel the musical path was for you? 

Suppose that would be a good way to start things hey, my music is a bit of a collection of reflective alt-folk songs, or as my mum says “too many sad songs for my liking”. Yeah, that is true… I did a commerce degree out of school and just started getting more and more involved and interested in my music by the end of it all.

How is the music scene over in Perth, where you’re currently based? There’s a bit of an epidemic with so many small venues closing down over here in the UK. These venues are momentous to bands starting out. Would you say there’s a decent enough gig circuit in Perth? 

Perth is a great place besides the fact it’s so far away from everything. But even that has its positives sometimes. The scene here is like a massive family, everyone’s super supportive and the bands that break it are always so deserving because they’ve honed their craft here for so long. I know the East Coast has had a lot of that venue closing down nonsense. We’ve had a few but also a few new ones pop up. 

What outlet would you say gains you the biggest amount of interest when it comes to sharing your music/gaining a following – busking, gigs, social media, streaming services?

I always love busking… It’s such a terrific way to interact with people and try new things. I suppose it’s a combination of it all. I got lucky early on with some Spotify playlist love but I think nowadays its important to have somewhat of a presence everywhere…. As annoying as that is to maintain. 

So many bands start out busking and a few stay true to themselves, even when signed, keeping it real by continuing to perform in this way. How has this helped you and do you know of any local musicians that have gained success from putting their music out there in this way?

Yeh I started out busking at farmers markets on the weekend during high school, or the local fairs that came around each summer. I don’t do it as regularly as I’d like nowadays but still a couple of times a year. Melbourne’s busking scene is amazing, Perth has a bit of a stricter licensing system and there’s not as many places to play. Pierce Brothers and Tash Sultana are two of the big busking success stories out of there.

Tell us more about your latest single: ‘Misplaced’ – it certainly hooked us from first listen, hinting to bigger things, can we expect a debut album to soon follow?

Yeh, ‘Misplaced’ I wrote early on in a new relationship. I was unsure if anything was going to come from it because there we were such different people. I’m looking to have an EP out midway through next year.

What’s been the biggest inspiration to your musical style, I can definitely hear nuances of Bon Iver on ‘Misplaced’ and a little bit of Daughter on ‘Brave’… and Ben Howard definitely coming through your style of guitar playing.

I think there’s probably too many to list. I used to listen to The Fray on repeat when I was a kid because I loved his voice. The Jezabels are probably my favourite Australian band of all time and their influence probably comes through at times. Ben Howard and Bon Iver too (good pick) are also two of my faves. 

Where do you feel most inspired to write and record your music?

I don’t know if I have one particular place. I love a good balcony/porch songwriting session. At the moment it’s mostly in my garage or on my bed that I end up writing and recording. Being on the road and seeing new things always helps to get them ideas flowing.

What do you like to do outside of music?

I love my food…. My girlfriend runs a small little bagel stall at markets some weekends so you might find me chowing one down. Love a bit of basketball and footy too, so that often takes up a bit of my time. 

Have you travelled much both within and outside of Australia? If so, what places, situations, people, if any experiences, have fed into your writing? 

I was born in Melbourne, then lived in Holland for a few years when I was little. Moved to Perth when I was 8 and have lived there since. I did a semester studying in Montana and definitely caught the travel bug since. Being in new places and seeing the world with fresh eyes is hugely impactful on my writing. 

Have you been to/played/do you have any plans to tour Europe and the UK? 

I was lucky enough to head to London earlier this year and played two shows there. Things went really well so I’ll be back there in April next year for an extended period and will hopefully play some shows around Europe too. 

What are you currently working on?

I’m currently working on a new EP which I aim to put out next year, I’m also prepping my live set for tours around Australia in October.

And finally, do you have any new music recommendations from Australia that we ought to check out?

Was hoping you’d ask this…. Australia has so many great artists. 

  • Alexander Biggs
  • Neighbourhood Youth  
  • Gordi
  • Didirri

For you lucky Australian’s, be sure to catch Riley Pearce on tour next month, details/tickets here

Riley Pearce Oct Tour 17 Poster 123 Agency.jpg

For the rest of us, hold tight, kick back to Riley’s music and keep tabs on his European/UK Spring 2018 tour dates here!

Riley Pearce: Website // Twitter // Facebook

 

WORDS: RACHAEL CRABTREE (@ECCENTRIC_EEJIT)

Band of the Week // Introducing // Hanging Valleys

Uncategorized

hanging-valleys-artwork

Hanging Valleys, a recent project founded by English-Mexican Singer-Songwriter, Thom Byles, are immediately heart-warming. Previous solo artist, Byles, has distinct falsetto vocals that draw instant parallels with the hushed atmospheric quality of Bon Iver and James Vincent McMorrow.

Accompanied by Mike Philips on acoustic guitar and Alexis Meridol on percussion, the three-piece create low, lulling arrangements that give contour and light to darkness.

The peaceful cycle to their songs reciprocate natures rhythm and provide a fitting companion to the autumnal sweeping movement of present.

Tune in below for your perfect headphones companion this weekend:

 

By the time Monday arrives, you’ll be itching to join us at The Slaughtered Lamb, where Hanging Valleys will be supporting the dreamy Celtic harp, Dublin-based duo, Saint Sister: https://dice.fm/event/saint-sister-19th-sep-the-slaughtered-lamb-london-tickets

 

Hanging Valleys // Website // Twitter // Facebook // Instagram

 

Slow Dancer and Jack Robert Hardman, Live Review // The Lock Tavern, Camden

Live Reviews, Uncategorized

(Jack Robert Hardman and Slow Dancer at The Lock Tavern; 25/05/16)

Literally as we arrived, Benedict Benjamin was packing away his guitar. Although I had seen him the night before, my friend tonight, had missed the opportunity. His upcoming show at The Finsbury: 13/06/16 however, is not to be missed.

The second act for tonight’s support came from London based singer-songwriter, Jack Robert Hardman, who had a really lively wit about him. Wry in person and song. Each song goaded by a sharpness of wisdom and yet helplessly romantic.

Opening with a song that he laughed off humbly as being: “…more stylish than it actually is”. Prior to playing, came personal tokens of dedication. A special moment arrived when his friend, Nick, joined him in a duet of The Rosettes’ ‘Be My Baby’; “This is to my favourite musical psychopath”. The harmonies between them, effortless.

Reincarnating a presence of 60’s song-songwriters, it seemed only a natural to give Roy Orbison a nod along the way: “…This next song is inspired by Roy Orbison’s ‘Crying’, and if you don’t know who he is, then you’re dense” Jack taunted us, mockingly.

The night felt wonderfully homely, as though we had gathered in a family attic. Softly encased by the warm glow of red tea lights and fairy lights, circling a close knit gathering of us about the sofas and stools. Each us, silenced by the raspy vocals and acoustic guitar.

It was during the tuning of the last song which allowed for a greater interaction. “So this next song was written during the year of the olympics”. To which an audience member replied: “So what year was that then?” Jack’s sharp witted response had us all laughing: “I used to be a good kid, it went a bit downhill during the teenage years…” ‘Famous’ was a beautiful signature to his set. Understated and entirely memorable. I only wished I had tickets to see him at Glastonbury.

From the moment Slow Dancer began, we all just fell into a trance like state. Taken far out and beyond our daily monotony, we had to almost pinch ourselves to remind us it was still a Wednesday, and we was soon to go outside to British weather. Each track allotted together as though a jigsaw of past memorabilia of our own making.

Slow Dancer, a solo project of Simon Okely, from Western Australia, embodies this mediative warmth, unlocking and entering the minds of all, to provide a near out-of-body experience. Reaching emotional depth through slow, graceful affected guitar melodies. With the occasional songs of a “Nick Drake tuning” combined with the hypnotic breathy horse vocals, it made for an enchanting summery evening. It was one of those rare opportunities of setting out to see an artist you know but find yourself walking away elated by the discovery of another two, and very different, artists.

LET US GIVE YOU A LITTLE INSIGHT INTO THE NIGHT…

Photographer and Videographer: Elizabeth Andrade 

Writer: Rachael Crabtree

Benedict Benjamin

Website: http://www.benedictbenjamin.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/benedictsongs
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/benedictbenjaminsongs

Jack Robert Hardman

Website: http://www.jackroberthardman.co.uk
Twitter: https://twitter.com/jrhardman
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jackroberthardman

Slow Dancer

Website: http://www.slowdancer.net
Twitter: https://twitter.com/SlowDancerBand
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SlowDancerBand/

 

Jesse Mac Cormack and Benedict Benjamin Live Review // The Shacklewell Arms, London

Live Reviews, Uncategorized
Benedict Benjamin

Benedict Benjamin at The Shacklewell Arms; 24/05/16

Stepping into a dimly lit room, I entered into a transfixed crowd, that was soon moved by my creaking of the door. The night’s support came from solo musician: Benedict Benjamin (formally from bands: Peggy Sue and The Mariners Children), who has a way with the audience that is both self-assured and yet unassuming; an interesting dichotomy as a performer. His remarkably dry sense of humour occasionally fell short on a few in the room: “That was a joke by the way” meeting greater laughter, “Exactly…”. Undercut by his affability, laughing off slip of the tongue errors as he continued: “Well thank you all for coming down early to see me and feel free to say hel lie – hel lie? Well, you can say that, as well as hello and other things over there, where I have some records for sale”.

Benedict Benjamin’s alternative folk triggered pensive meanderings as the mirror ball rotated it’s radiance about the room. A singer-songwriter, unabashed about his character, and at once lyrically relatable. His versatile vocals often take you by surprise, especially to the attentive audience that he commands. Ranging from the quiet to an impassioned pitch, as experienced on ‘Had What You had’. His voice is unlike anything I’ve heard before. Having walked into the gig with a late discovery of the night’s support I left knowing how tempting a consecutive night would be. (The Lock Tavern: 25/05/16).

By the arrival of Jesse Mac Cormack, the audience’s noise levels had arisen. Plucking away at his acoustic guitar, driven without vocals, to an audience near oblivious that he had started, he continued and broke into ‘He Knows’. It was not until the third song that the band joined. The set was organic to both watch and hear. With an almost a Pink Floyd aura about them at times. Mac Cormack has an ear for textures. There was coherence to timings and tonality; from the minimalist raw acoustics to a developed ascent of a full-bodied band; leading to the pivotal highlight; latest single; ‘Repeat’, with it’s constantly alternating tempo and gritty guitar hooks. The raw transcendence from record to stage was a delight mirrored upon the faces of all.

In-between songs Mac Cormack’s dialogue, although brief, was humbling and warming: “So lovely to see so many beautiful faces, so far away from home”. As the haunting echoes of ‘Far Too Into’ found shape as a set finale we were in plea for an ‘After The Glow’ encore. Disappointingly, it never arrived. We could have selfishly done with another London date, though I doubt the Montreal musicians will leave us anticipating a return for too long…

 

Benedict Benjamin:
Website: http://www.benedictbenjamin.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/benedictsongs
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/benedictbenjaminsongs/

Jesse Mac Cormack:
Website: http://www.jessemaccormack.com/#jessemaccormack
Twitter: https://twitter.com/JesseMacCormack
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jessemaccormackm