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INTERVIEW: Sophia Marshall

Hi Sophia, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?

Hello Vents! I’m a little exhausted but good overall. I’m currently mid-way through a busy summer of gigs and festivals leading up to my new album release on 6th October which I’m very excited about. I’m in negotiations now for a very special gig on the 6th opening for some very special friends of mine.  I can’t give anything away just yet but all will be revealed on my website/social media very soon.

Can you talk to us more about your singles “Bye Bye” & “Losing You”?

Losing You -The first single to be available for download, is actually an old song I wrote over 13 years ago with Liam Dullaghan when we were The HaveNots. I love the version he and I recorded together at Clava Studios in Chigago but I had a yearning to give the song an indie/pop make over.  So, as soon as I started adding a full band to my solo material, Losing You was the first song in the repertoire to adopt a bumping, driving new beat.

Did any event in particular inspire you to write these songs?

The events in mine and Liam’s teenage years, since we met in college and travelled as a duo played a part of inspiring Losing You.  Although I added the middle 8 more recently (the part about my first lonely Valentines day in 10 years – a heartbreaking series of events involving an ex long term partner followed by the rejection of the rebound affair, ouch ).  Anyway I forgot to run that idea by Liam. I do hope he approves!

Any plans to release a video for “Bye Bye”?

We have some live footage of myself and my five-piece band from a birthday gig I played in my hometown in June. My good friend Sean Graham is editing it together – fingers crossed ready for the album launch date. Just as a little bonus.

Why did you decide to name the album after this song in particular?

Deciding to use the song title Bye Bye for the album title caused a bit of a stir with people around me funnily enough. Everyone said it suggests it’s my last album.  Bye Bye isn’t a finale Goodbye – it like… see you later, I’m just off to do something else, but I’m still around…

The title track to the new album Bye Bye was inspired by a moment in my life when I decided to stop trying to make such an effort with a situation which felt very insincere and loaded with pending doubt. I may not have gone about winding up this situation the best way. But overall it feels a whole lot more balanced now that I don’t have to nurture a lost cause.  I’m not saying I give up on things easily, I can just tell when something doesn’t feel quite right.

How was the recording and writing process?

Recording Bye Bye was fun, I particularly enjoyed taking the song to my sister Sarah and the day we went in the studio to add her lines in the chorus.  I was sure I wanted her to singer her echoes of the main line with an angsty or angry tone – which she tried.  She always tries what I ask of her, she’s very obliging. So she went along with the idea I sold her -to imagine she’s some mean, moody, bitchy cheerleader girl.  But it didn’t sound quite like I wanted in my head. It didn’t suit her voice.  So she tried again in her own way. Which came out much softer but with a little crazy edge. Almost as if she took on the role of the mean, moody cheerleader’s loony side kick girlfriend instead.  It worked perfectly.

Would you call this a departure from your previous work?

I wouldn’t call this album a departure from my previous work. My songwriting methods are basically I’ll play around with ideas on my own until I come up with something I’m happy to take to my band mate Andy Jenkinson. Who will then whole heartily help me put flesh and blood to the bare skeleton of a song.  I feel like I have started writing better songs more recently but I’m not satisfied that I have finished refining the methods I use, not to mention the instrumental skills I feel I currently only half possess.

What aspect of 90s Trip Hop did you get to explore on this record?

I spent a lot of time with Ross Hillard a musician who loved Portishead and who writes beautiful music in that vein but more recently in a Jazz ensamble.  I co-wrote one or two tracks for a project he started called The Orchard years ago.  I hope one day we do this again. I suppose this style of music sunk into my subconscious as it was certainly not a conscious decision to drop a lazy 90 ‘s trip hop/rock sounding piece on the album.

Where did you find the inspiration for the lyrics?

Inspiration for Hey Al, Woah – the 90’s trip hop sounding track came to me after I had exhausted every tactic of trying to say “NO” politely to someone.  I found myself a little disturbed and worried about this person’s approach to females.  I was relieved to write a song where the focus was not on me, as songwriters are so self-indulged at times – which I admit to being guilty of. But I wanted to speak out, for possibly more than just myself.

Any plans to hit the road?

Gig negotiations for October are almost complete. Watch my gigs page over the next few weeks.  I do have confirmed UK dates with Peter Bruntnell, Case Hardin and The Sadies.  Opening for my peers is when I feel most inspired.  I can’t wait.

What else is happening next in Sophia Marshall’s world?

I’m plotting trips to Texas, Canada and Ireland next year. So after Octobers excitement the band I will regroup in the studio and finalize some plans.  Maybe start recording some new material. I’m eager to find out hoW Bye Bye will be received next month. I’m really pleased with it and proud to have worked with all the people who were involved.



About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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