It’s an exciting time for you with your EP, The Pioneer and The Thief being release TODAY! How are you feeling about the release and what has inspired the EP?
It is indeed! I always get very nervous before a new release. As an artist yourself, you would know just how much of your heart and soul goes into a project like this. We would all like to say that it doesn’t matter what people think, but at the end of the day we would all love people to see beauty in it. I know I would! Nevertheless, I believe in it, so I am proud to put it out there! I was inspired by many things – each track as you will hear is inherently different in every way, yet all autobiographical in nature.
Secrets was inspired by my fascination with peoples levels of secrecy. We all try and hide our perceived flaws from the world, lest we be judged, but we often forget that the person opposite us has their own equivalent. You Don’t Owe Me (No More) was a song of empowerment for me. I was holding on to hurt and anger from a past situation. However, taking a closer look at this person and their life made me realise that the consequences of their choices and actions were more than enough punishment, and there was no reason for me to carry around that feeling of them owing me something. They had nothing to give and everything to pay for, haha.
Your Shadow’s No Liar was written about a friend of mine, who I believed had such potential for greatness, but would deny their power because they believed it was easier to be a victim of circumstance, especially when the going got tough. I got to a point where I couldn’t stand for it anymore. I wasn’t fighting against them, but for them. The Black Behind My Eyes was written for a previous flame – I was missing them quite deeply while they were away, but that feeling of missing someone also brought up emotions of people in my life who I have lost, but who I know are always with me.
Foxes and Hounds was inspired by wanting to let people know that it’s ok to be different and follow your own path, despite others trying to tell you it’s wrong or ‘not the done thing’. I have found that when you make a life choice that is in direct opposition to others, some feel their identity and choices have been threatened and so they try and convince you that you’re wrong – when in actual fact, you’re just different, and that’s a good thing!
As a violinist and a vocalist how do you create your song ideas?
I usually start out with piano and vocals actually – occasionally guitar and vocals, but I have more of an affinity with the piano. However, Secrets and You Don’t Owe Me (No More) were exceptions to the rule. They started out with violin improvisation in the studio and the layers built up from there.
When did you know your songs were ready to take to the studio and who did you work with to bring the songs into production?
I knew Secrets was ready from a long way back, which is why I chose it. I had wanted to record it properly for a while. The others came together after this point. I had never intended to do another EP. I had intended to do a single. However, after recording Secrets, Michael (of Vienna People Records) suggested it and I was on board. There was then a long decision process. I compose constantly, so I had so many tracks to choose from, but couldn’t decide which ones would work best as a group. Michael was really integral in this process and I basically diverted to him. Sometimes it’s difficult to be objective about the songs you write. Michael was my Producer on the EP and his influence is quite clear in the way all the tracks came together, which I think is fantastic. I really think he is such a clever producer and musician and I trust his judgment implicitly, so working with him on the EP was a dream. I will also add that it was hilariously funny too, because Michael has a wicked sense of humour.
What was the journey like for your songs as you went through the production process? Did they grow, build or change shape as you worked on them?
Absolutely they did. I think what helped is that working with Michael, you are never rushed. It’s not just a job to him. If something isn’t working, you don’t feel compelled to simply MAKE it work. You take a break and get a donut. Haha. I think working with a producer, well, a good producer of course, always results in a track growing and changing – of course some stay relatively true to the demo and others are wildly different, but that’s part of the fun of the creative process, you never know where you’re going to end up. I think the key is working with a producer you trust. Then, even when it goes off into a wildly different direction, you still trust the course!
You’ve released the single Secrets and its videoclip which even before release had received heaps of love! What can you tell us about the song, the clip and the gold it’s collected along the way?
Secrets has done so well as a music video and for this I am so thankful to Michael who was the ideas man and the director behind the clip, as well as to Simon Adams who edited it into what you see today! Winning Best Music Video in the UK Songwriting Contest 2017 and taking out 2nd place in the International Songwriting Competition was a real honour. The song is quite special to me because it was created in such an in-the-moment, improvisational way, and the bones of it which are the string layers have stayed true to their original creation. The looping was something quite different with regards to my compositional methods and Michael decided it would be a great idea to use videos of this process as the music video. It really was an ingenious idea. The small squares of activity draw you in and keep you watching. I also think the strange percussive sounds we used, such as gaff, a mini ornamental drum kit, fingernails, paper bags etc. make for really interesting watching, as you can finally match the sound to the origin.
Watch the Secrets videoclip below:
What’s the best thing you learnt in the process of making your EP?
I think it was regarding lyrics – to not be so quick to settle on a lyric, but to give it time to grow and potentially change – even if the message won’t. Michael was the catalyst for me reviewing at a lot of what I had written and finding more visual ways of saying it, in order to draw people in.
What’s on the musical horizon for you?
I have another single ready to rock-n-roll and it’s a reallllly different style for me, so I am excited to shock people a little, haha. Apart from that, I’ll have my head down in my Doctorate until March 2019 where I am working on some really interesting, international projects, so stay tuned for that! After this, I am potentially planning a run of gigs in the US based on their support of my music, but we shall see!
ORDER YOUR COPY OF THE PIONEER AND THE THIEF HERE.
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The Pioneer and The Thief was produced at Vienna People Records (@viennapeoplerecords, viennapeople.com).