When these guys popped up on Spotify, I fell instantly in love with the vocalists voice and the lyrics he sang. I’ve been playing it on loop ever since. I find myself putting on when I sit down to write.
So last night I was lucky enough to see them perform live in a pub in Birmingham. I like small intimate gigs and have always stayed away from the big arena type events. It’s so much nicer when you can see the faces of the band in real life as opposed to a large screen.
They were superb, energetic, charismatic and even better live than the recorded tracks I have come to know so well.
They are on tour until the 19th November (see dates at the end of this post). If, like me, you love intimate gigs where you get to chat to the band afterwards, then I urge you to book your tickets…..you won’t be disappointed.
Sam (lead vocals and guitar) was a lovely guy and shares with us his thoughts on being a songwriter.
What form does your writing take? If I’m being a good boy and putting in my 9-5 then I’m sitting in front of a piano with a laptop on top, with an electric guitar plugged in to my right and an acoustic to my left. I steal notes from the ‘Notes’ on my laptop and phone and mix them with other ideas I’ve collected in my notebook, and vice versa, to try to spark something, or I’ll listen through various Voice Memos and Garageband projects to find a starting point. Basically I’m a modern slave to consumerism, especially Apple products. Aching for an endorsement.
How often do you write? I try to give myself a Monday – Friday 9-5 but our gigging schedule makes that difficult and I’m a lazy bastard so, depending on the week, I’ll give myself the excuse that the artist has to sit and wait for inspiration to come to him. This is becoming more and more apparent that it is total bollocks, however, as if an idea does spring to mind and I’m miles from the nearest musical instrument or notepad, sometimes that idea will have disappeared by the time I am ready to note it down. I’m making it my business to be readier when inspiration strikes.
How does your writing make you feel? I find writing very cathartic and treat it like free therapy: mostly because actual therapy is very expensive, but also because it looks like there’s a chance I can turn this self-therapy into a mildly lucrative career. When I stumble across a lyric which is totally true, and feels inspired, however, it can teach me more about myself than I’d ever say aloud, or know about myself. That’s the joy of writing for me, I guess – exploring the subconscious. That seems to be where the best ideas come from too.
Where and when do you write? We have a studio just outside York where there’s a piano and lots of geese and not many people at all, and it means I can write there whenever really. I tend to write best between about 10-3, but sometimes nothing comes so I just end up sitting outside smoking, drinking excessive amounts of coffee and talking to the geese. They know a surprising amount
What do you write about? I guess the songs I’m most comfortable writing are drawn from experience, but I do love creating characters born from people I’ve met or emotions I’ve not quite come to terms with yet. We have a new song called The Only Boy Racer Left on the Island about a boy racer we saw on Orkney, but when I finished it it had become an exploration of masculinity through youth and loneliness. The rest of the songs are about girls, I guess.
What is the best thing about writing? For me, it’s the cathartic nature, and the feeling you get when all the music fits with the words and you’ve created an atmosphere, but I think the most satisfied I’ve ever felt is when creating something that doesn’t quite make sense, even to me – when you’re left with questions about your work even as the author. Recently I’ve been trying to write a lot more open-endedly, with the hope that the song doesn’t wrap itself up completely.
How long have you been writing for? My first great work was aged four when I wrote a story about my lost balloon visiting my grandmother in heaven. Still have yet to top this.
02.10.19 | London | Scala
10.10.19 | Cardiff | SWN Festival
13.11.19 | Liverpool | Jimmy’s
14.11.19 | Dublin | Workman’s Club
16.11.19 | Stockton-On-Tees | Songs From Northern Britain
17.11.19 | Hull | The Adelphi
19.11.19 | Bristol | The Exchange
Tickets available from Ticketmaster and gigsandtours.com
Twitter: @ howlandhum