What got you into music, and if you had not gotten into music what would you be doing today?
I was brought up musically, my Dad played in bands when I was little and the house always had instruments in it or music playing- I can’t imagine not having it in my life! But if I hadn’t of started down the road myself with piano lessons at a young age I may have ventured solely into a visual arts career rather than both.
What do you like to do when you are not playing music and how does that influence your creativity?
I love nature so I spend a lot of time outside which I feel is the source of most of my inspiration. I also keep amphibians and reptiles as pets and love to read fiction and comics- all of these subjects and narratives like fantasy, horror and animals are present in my work even though they’re things I do to relax. Because I’m a visual artist too I’m usually either making art or music and each in turn influences each other.
How long has your band been around?
I’ve been making music solo, performing and writing since I was a teenager, but I focused mainly on my visual arts career for the past ten years, which is why I’m just starting to release properly now and move forward with my music.
Where are you based out of and how did that influence your music?
I’m Manchester based and have been for many years now although I’m originally from Sheffield. Living in places between the city and the countryside has a huge impact on my music. I’ve always needed both environments to function and draw inspiration from. Because I record and use a lot of natural sound, the places I live and work from audibly exist in my music.
How did you come up with the name of your band and what does it mean to you?
It’s my real name! Although understandably people always think it’s a stage name!
Tell me about your most memorable shows.
I’m half of electronic act Dirty Freud and we played two stages at Glastonbury in 2019- that was incredible!! I’ve also performed in some strange locations- huge churches in Berlin, outside galleries through the streets of Hull, in historic settings like Chetham’s Library and Manchester Museum- I love creating memorable and visually interesting performances in unusual settings- it brings something else to the music for me and hopefully audiences too.
What is your favorite venue to play at, and do you have any places you want to play that you have not already?
When playing with Dirty Freud we always love returning to Gullivers in Manchester as it’s a special place for us, where we originally met and have had many pub talk sessions that have snowballed into new ventures for us. I have a few outdoor locations that I always have in mind- some to be announced soon in Manchester that will be very special and been on my bucket list for a while! You’ll have to wait and see!
If you could play any show with any lineup, who would be on the ticket?
I’d love to support Fever Ray, Aurora and Bjork too. Somewhere beautiful and interesting like her Edden project shows.
What is some advice that you would give to someone who is just getting into playing in a band and some advice that you would give to your younger self?
Just keep making work and collaborate with as many people as possible- it keeps ideas moving and stops you being precious about your work, and also helps you build a network so you can all support each other.
If you could go back in time and give yourselves advice, what would it be?
Don’t try and separate your creative practices even though they might exist in different industries. Once we see our work as one cohesive outlet it frees up the way we produce and work with others.
Of your songs which one means the most to you and why?
The single Flood from the EP is really important to me- There was a particular period of time early last year where after nights out I’d take a shortcut across a field to get home- because it was so muddy I’d just take off my heels and wade through it! It was freezing and flooded but it was starlit and beautiful- I really enjoyed those moments dancing about by myself and it just felt really freeing, even though it had a loneliness and melancholy to it, it’s nice to have these memories preserved in the song.
Which songs are your favorite to play and which get requested the most?
Probably Glasshouse, I can really get lost in the mood of it while performing that one.
What is the creative process for the band, and what inspires you to write your music?
I usually start with lyrics, i’ll pick up little words or phrases from books or tv programmes or from being in nature then start to build from that. I collaborate alot with other artists so there’s usually a to and fro of natural sound recording and other ideas which then become a structure to build on with further instrumentation and vocally. I’m driven to tell stories, through art and music, and writing songs for me is a way of creating myths, half set in fantasy and half taken from my own real life events.
What kinds of messages do you like to get across in your music?
A sense of nature and romance; an awareness of our dream states and how these can connect with and influence daily life. I’ve always seen my work as love songs, I’m just speaking about love and romance that’s rooted in both fantasy and reality.
Do you ever have disagreements in your band, and how do you get past them?
I probably have more disagreements working alone than I do with others- but I’m quite hard on myself when I’m creating! Which I think is a good thing in the end as it makes me push myself.
What are your plans for the future, and do you have anything that you want to spotlight that is coming up?
My solo exhibition Lagoons (which the EP is a part of) opens on April 7th at Warrington Museum and Art Gallery, It’s a multi sensory exhibition with performance, installation, film, scent and sound- it’s my most ambitious project yet and I’m really excited about it! Then I have some very special performances coming up in May in Manchester which I can reveal more about soon. My next single will be release in Summer too so it’s a busy year! But a year full of creative work so I feel very lucky and excited about what’s next.