Busy. The album release is drawing ever nearer and there still feels like a hundred and one things to do. But we’re enjoying the process.
Can you talk to us more about your single “The Beggar’s Song”?
We wanted to start with something strong.
Did any event in particular inspired you to write this song? I (Luke) guess it came about after a friend mentioned in conversation that our very small hometown now had a guy sleeping rough. It’s not really something you see often in a tiny little village in rural Somerset. I then just started plotting out this guy’s journey in my head. What was his situation? I guess that was the bases for it and then the song grew in to something slightly different from there.
How was the film experience?
After as close as it gets for us to ‘big budget’ for the Flowers video (our previous single), we decided to go in a totally different direction with The Beggar’s Song. We wanted it to be totally low-fi, to reflect the subject matter. So Nick and I (Angie) just spent a day crawling the streets and capturing bits of footage, we then put it together into a quasi-narrative, well Nick did mostly. It was good, interesting and we’re happy with the results. We had to be careful though with the first person perspective, there is of course a fine line between first person and Peep Show.
The single comes off your new album All That We Had, We Stole – what’s the story behind the title?
It’s taken from the last song on the album by the same name. We didn’t want to have that awkward moment in films where the lead Actor says the name of the film in conversation, so we deliberated over it for a bit. But it just encapsulates everything we’re trying to do and our journey. So we went with it. I guess it’s saying crudely that if all art is theft, then we’re ultimate jewel thieves!
How was the recording and writing process?
Some of these songs were written specifically for the album, some of them were written years ago and have been re-written and re-arranged many times. That’s the thing with a first album; it’s essentially always going to be a ‘best of’. One of the most remarkable parts about the recording process to follow the writing process though was being able to take a song which had been written 5 years ago and performed in countless different arrangements but still become something entirely new on the album. For me (Angie) A Local Man encapsulates this point best. There’s an old recording out there on a compilation that sounds totally different. In fact, there are more versions out there but we’re not telling you where, cause they’re crap.
Was the live recording an entire new experience?
Pretty much. We’ve done the odd bit of live recording before but not in the way that we did for this record. Nick (Trepka) was so adamant that we needed to do it live to get the best results and he was absolutely right. We’ve always responded so much to each other’s individual performances in order to give a full performance of a song and we needed to do this to really capture them in the way we wanted to. Had we all recorded separately and to a click track, a huge part of the essence will have just been lost. Recording live has its risks and it will never be as polished but the quirks of the recordings we came out with were all because of live slip ups or improvisations that wouldn’t have been there if we’d not recorded in the way we did. Plus in a sappy way, it meant we really well and truly in it together. That stuff is important, very important.
What was it like to work with Nick Trepka and how did that relationship develop?
Nick was the perfect producer. We spent a lot of time together in advance of the record, just getting to know each other so that he was sufficiently enough in our heads to be able to extract and make us perform it so that he could record it. This time together before heading into the studio also just meant we’d already built up a lot of trust. Nick (Harris), Derek, Gabriel and I (Angie) had already worked with Nick (yes, we know there are too many Nicks) so he was comfortable working with most of us in a studio environment and we already understood his working style and patterns.
How much did he influence the song?
Nick inspired us to be bold with it and as Luke said, we really wanted to start with something strong. We’ve been playing the song live for a few years but the version we’ve released has a whole new air to it, something a lot more primal. We love it. It’s more raw, more anthemic and a lot of that is attributable to Nick. He’s also an excellent musician and lent his voice and guitar skills to the song. The ethereal sound at the start of the song is Nick using an ebow on an acoustic guitar. These are the sorts of ideas that we just wouldn’t have without him.
What aspect of folklore music did you get to explore on this record?
Although we loosely fall in to the folk bracket we didn’t want to be confined to that. There’s always a danger of worrying that a certain song isn’t ‘folky’ enough. Or whether we might lose a certain demographic by introducing an electric guitar as opposed to a finger picked acoustic. But the moment we start thinking like that is the moment that our music will die. Naturally by virtue acoustic music will fall in to the folk category. And we’re more than happy with that. But also we were very adamant that we were going to have electric guitars and lots of drums. Although saying that we did get to record ‘A Local Man’ on an amazing old baritone mandolin. She was beautiful.
Where did you find the inspiration for the songs and lyrics?
Each song is different and the writing process was never the same. We would explore certain themes with in the writing and sometimes we found that we needed more than one song to fully explore them. So you will notice that certain songs will have similar references and ideas. Some songs are musically led and some lyrically led. We purposefully wanted to stretch our influences as far as we could while still maintaining our own style and sound.
Any plans to hit the road?
Absolutely. We have an album tour of the UK in February and then a month or two off before we return to the festival circuit. Then we’re planning our next trip to Europe. Watch this space!
What else is happening next in Patch and The Giant’s world?
We’re looking forward to trialing some new material and reaching new festival audiences this summer.
‘All That We Had, We Stole’ is out on Friday 10th February.