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INTERVIEW: Reema

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

Good thanks! I live in Berlin and all the canals are frozen over so it’s been great fun walking on water.

Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Four Letter Words”?

‘Four Letter Words’ was recorded as a live performance on tape by the magical Ethan Johns at his home studio.

Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?

I wrote this song after a friend was going through couples counseling and a lot of what she said was happening in the sessions really resonated with me. The feeling that you can love each other deeply but still be damaging and destroying each other in the process was all too familiar. She asked me “How can both love and hate exist so easily together?” and we talked about how you can’t choose who you fall in love with. I find it interesting as these things are linked more into emotions that come from long-term relationships and the process of living together .

Any plans to release a video for the single?

I would love to! I’m hoping to get something done soon. Watch this space.

How was the recording and writing process?

The writing process for me is very personal. I like to be completely on my own- I don’t even like my cat staring at me. The song itself was written late at night and I have really sensitive neighbors so I wrote it whispering into my phone while playing an unplugged electric guitar. I liked the vibe of that early phone recording so much that it influenced my feeling when recording the song. When I came to record the song with Ethan, we decided to record to tape and to erase takes as we went along. This forces you to be really present and listen carefully while playing rather than doing a bunch of takes and picking through them later on. We kept things minimal and played everything ourselves. Just us- no extra sound engineer or anything. The intention was that feeling of intimacy.

What was it like to work with Ethan Johns and how did that relationship develop?

I was a huge fan of Ethan Johns, both his production work and his work as an artist. I just thought why not reach out to him and see if he answers. He liked the first demos we sent over and I met him at one of his shows in London. He then visited me in Berlin and we played a show together- I supported him. He’s a really wonderful person- calm and honest and we chatted a lot about music and how we feel about it. He’s really incredible at finding sounds and isn’t afraid to keep things minimal. He first and foremost listens to the song and the performance then gently adds little things to tell the story better.

How much did he influence the song?

I play the song with a finger-picking pattern live but he decided we should strip that out and start the song with single notes. It really opened up the space and allows you to think more about what’s being said.

How has Beth Orton and Natalie Merchant influences your music?

I saw Beth Orton play when I was really young at the Royal Albert Hall. She just blew me away! Such passion and strength but at the same time completely fragile. Natalie Merchant’s album ‘Ophelia’ was given to me as a birthday present and I fell in love with her atmospheres and story telling.

How’s your new album coming along?

I’m really enjoying putting songs together and I now have too many to record so that’s a great problem to have! I like to use playing live as my way of really mapping out and feeling how a song should be recorded. I thought I had my ultimate line-up of songs but I wrote a new one yesterday so that could all change.

Any tentative release date or title in mind?

I don’t want to say in case I don’t make it, but I would love for it to be Autumn. I’ll keep putting out little tracks until then. I don’t like hording music, I think it stops me from making more.

Any plans to hit the road?

Yes! Watch my facebook page events for new dates as I’m planning more UK gigs as soon as possible too. https://www.facebook.com/reema

At the moment I will be playing-

11th April, MIR, Oslo, Norway

12th April, Café Circa, Tromsø, Norway

26th April, Prachtwerk, Berlin

15th May, Bar Bobu, Berlin

What else is happening next in Reema’s world?

I’m writing lots of songs, playing as much as possible and hanging out with my cat, Gomez in between.  I’m also an illustrator and do my own artwork and I’m currently working on an album cover for a Berlin-based punk band.

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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