Which life experiences have influenced your songs the most?
i don’t know if I could identify any isolated experiences that have influenced my music… i think just being allowed to take the time to explore my emotions whilst simultaneously dealing with the struggle of learning an instrument. moving to london earlier this year was good as it gave me my own space to write, but having said that, being in the countryside with my parents seems to inspire a certain nature based darkness in my lyrics.
What aspect of making music excites you the most right now?
making records is always the most enjoyable part for me, but right now, with the record done, i’m really excited about getting it out in to the world and hearing what everyone thinks. it’s going to be fun touring a whole batch of new songs as well, it keeps it fresh and exciting for us. of course album number 2 is already in the back of my mind and I’m starting to write for that already.
What has been the biggest influence on your new album “We Slept at Last” ?
i can’t pin point one big influence if I’m honest. theres a couple of references to debussy on there, in animal fear and claude’s girl.. i used a fragment by one of my favourite poems by robert frost – ‘stopping by the woods on a snowy evening’ which the title ‘before i sleep’ comes from. i also reference the story of ophelia from Hamlet, where she goes mad and drowns herself in the river. apart from that the songs are just my musings on the world on whetevers going on in my brain, sometimes i can’t even identify what that is.
Whats the meaning behind the title ?
the title is a lyric i lifted from the last track on the album. i had a few title ideas kicking around, and a few artwork ideas at the same time. i went into a meeting with my label and we were discussing which ones i should choose and then i saw the cover image of the girl on the bed and knew immediately that i wanted it.. as soon as i’d seen that picture, the title We Slept At Last seemed to fit perfectly, so i chose it. i think the title represents the end of the journey of making a record, and also giving in to all of the emotions expired throughout. i think the title lends itself well to the undercurrent of dark, melancholy and sexual themes present throughout the album.
Why did this feel like the right time to make your debut album ?
well i was always going to have to sit down and make a full length record at some point. i think having had a couple of years experimenting with sound and learning more about the record making process, i felt confident going in to make an album. i didn’t want to rush into making such an important album and potentially do things that i would grow to regret further down the line.. its good to have some time to make pressure-less music and fuck around a bit, you learn a lot about what works and what doesn’t.
How would you describe your music on the new album?
its got my trademark darkness going on, but i think that melodically and lyrically its a bit more fluid than my previous work. the guitar parts are more advanced and i think that the songs just feel a lot more mature to me. i’ve taken all of my favourite techniques from the last few eps and applied them to a few of the songs, and also kept it all quite stripped back. i think that i’ve played with a lot of genres so it’s quite a diverse record, but hopefully it all sits together well.
What are the biggest challenges making an album ?
i didn’t feel like there were any challenges in particular, making records is my favourite part of this career so generally it was just exciting and a lot of fun. i get on so well with charlie so its always a chilled atmosphere in the studio. there were a few songs which we had been working on for a day or so and then had to strip back completely and start again, but thats just part of the process so it never felt like a struggle.
Your single “Drown” and the video is kind of minimalistic and melancholic in its expression, what inspired you to go this way?
i always think that simplicity is key, so when it came to the video i thought we should just stick with a simple idea – such as a performance video underwater, and do it really well. we threw in some darkness too, to reflect the lyrics, which are actually quite violent. i just wanted to make something eerie and beautiful which wouldn’t distract from the music.
Who or what do you have in mind when you write your songs?
i tend to try and clear my mind when writing, songs always seem to strike when i’m not really concentrating. i never sit down with an idea of what I’m going to write about or anything like that.. i just sit down and play around, and if i hear something i like i’ll start working on it from there. sometimes I’ve used stories or fragments of poem to inspire lyrics, but most of the time they’re reflecting some sort of internal struggle.
What is the most important lesson you’ve learned?
that as much as you might feel like a dick at the time, its always good to stand your ground and make sure that your ideas aren’t warped or that you’re presented in a way that you don’t feel comfortable with. the people you work with will forget about you sticking up for yourself, but the music and imagery that you put out there will hopefully be remembered for a long time.
Is there any artist you would like to work with in the future?
i’d love to play a show with warpaint, that’s the dream as it stands… apart from that it would be awesome to continue working with all the wonderful people that i’ve met over the last few years.
Where in the world have you performed live? and what’s the best event you’ve played at ?
i’ve mainly played around the UK, but i’ve done a few european support tours and an Australian support too. It was amazing to go to Australia as it felt like such an adventure because its so far away. i was supporting Laura Marling which was awesome as the crowds were all really attentive, and we were playing in these amazing churches around the country. that was the first time i’d played a tour abroad so it felt like a bit of a stepping stone in my career.
Fashion plays a big part in music nowadays, any favorite brands?
i’m not particularly fashion conscious but i do think its important to smell nice, so perfume is the only thing i splash out on. i wear jo malone’s pomegranate noir every day. apart from that i just wear simple comfortable clothes.
If you could only listen to 3 songs for the rest of your life, which songs would it be?
well they would all start to get irritating after a while… i think i’d pick The Lark Ascending by Vaughan Williams because thats the song i would miss most if i went deaf. i’d need something to dance to, so maybe dreams by fleetwood mac… and then something to make me feel suitably miserable if i wanted to… errrr so maybe roads by portishead.
it would be a shame to ruin all of those songs though.