Tell us about yourself?
I’m 31 years old from the North West of England; I’ve been writing and producing music on and off for the past ten years. About four years ago, I was on a train between Krakow and Warsaw in Poland and was reflecting on what I was doing with my life and the direction in which I was headed.
I realised that I’d never truly committed to making music and the idea that I could ‘become’ a musician or an artist and that was the start of a long journey that brought me to here and my debut EP release.
What is your songwriting process?
It varies wildly, although I think over the years I’ve become more refined and it’s easier now to more accurately communicate the emotion I want. Generally, I start with a melody or a chord on a piano and then grow the idea from there.
Sometimes the process can take a matter of hours to go from that initial idea to a basic demo version of a song; in other cases, the process can take a few months.
I like to work from an overall, top-down kind of approach and then work into detail. For example, it’s more important to me to start with the overall structure of a song and then start adding more instruments rather than creating a very specific sound for a section and then writing the rest of the arrangement from there.
Tell us about your latest release?
The title of the EP’ Kiss Politics’ comes from a phrase I came up with that I felt explained the sort of games that are played when dating/in the early phases of a relationship.
At some point when you’re messaging back and forth with someone, you fancy someone takes that first step and puts an x on the end of a message to represent a kiss and sometimes it’s reciprocated and sometimes it isn’t. It’s like a game of poker in some ways where you don’t want to fully reveal your hand to someone too soon, and I personally have always found it a bit tedious. Like, if you’re into someone just say it? I don’t think playing all those games helps.
So the EP as a whole focuses on a lot of relationships and times in my early twenties where I found myself in those situations and in some ways it’s a way of getting those stories/emotions off my chest.
What message do you think your music conveys to your fans?
I’m not sure it’s for me to say how someone should interpret my music, everyone approaches music from their own subjective point of view and how I interpret the message of a song might be very different to how you interpret it. That being said, what I do hope is that it creates an emotional response from listeners.
I remember being 17/18 years old and a bit lost and often turning to music really helped like there were certain songs that really resonated with me, and when you hear something like that it’s really powerful.
If I knew that my music was able to create that emotional connection with someone and help them in some way, then I would feel like I’d done a pretty good job.
Who are your musical influences?
Blink-182 was the band for me that made me start listening to music and really made me go ‘oh I like that, and it means something to me’ so they’ll always hold a special place for me even if my music isn’t sonically similar to theirs.
Recently I’ve been gravitating towards bands like The 1975, who I think are just so far ahead of others at the moment in terms of their arrangements and their ability to write pop music but in an interesting and alternative way.
I also love artists like The Chain Gang of 1974 and Miami Horror; I’ve definitely got a lot of my synth-based sonics from listening to their work.
Who are your non-musical influences?
Family and friends mostly, I know that sounds like a cop-out but whereas when I was younger, I looked up to a lotto sports/rock stars etc. now I’ve come to really value those close to me, and I look up to them.
What’s the best gig that you have ever played?
Given the COVID-19 situation, I’ve not had the chance to perform my new material yet to a live audience which is really frustrating, so I’d probably say my first ever gig with my post-rock project called ‘Sonic Delay Line’.
It was at a university art show, and we had video projection going on whilst we were playing, and generally it just went really well. Given it was the first time I’d ever played live I thought I would be terrified but weirdly the moment I was really calm and we nailed it. Beginners luck, I guess?
What do you think are the biggest obstacles for bands/artists today?
Exposure. And as a by-product of that making any sort of reasonable living. There’s a hell of a lot of good music in the world being made by artists you’ve never heard of, and personally, I think that’s frustrating.
Fortunately, we have access to the internet, and it’s through the great work of people like yourselves, who take the time to nurture and cultivate the independent music scene that gives talented artists a chance to shine. Also, something that’s kind of ridiculous is the very low premium we put on music these days monetarily.
A lot of people won’t think twice about spending £3.50 on a coffee from Starbucks that they’ll have forgotten about a few hours later and yet begrudge spending £7 on an album that will stick with them for the rest of their lives.
What advice would you give to other bands/artists starting out?
Just do it. Going back to that train journey in Poland the one think that really hit me was that I didn’t want to look back on my life and ask myself ‘what if?’, I realised I needed to find out for myself if I could do it.
There’s going to be really tough times, times where you ask yourself why you even bother, but that’s ultimately all part of the fun. If it was easy it would be boring, so just understand that there are tough times, you will play gigs basically for the benefit of the sound desk but stick with it, if you enjoy it just keep enjoying it, I think that will ultimately show through, and people will vibe off that.
What are your hopes for the next two years?
I’ve got roughly eight tracks at the demo stage at the moment so figuring out the best way of releasing them going forwards is my short term goal. I’d really like to play a few festivals and go on a proper tour. Those are the kind of experiences that you’ll never forget.
FV Music Blog July 2020