Hi Francesca, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?
I’ve been incredibly stressed getting this release prepared, but I’m sure it’ll all be worth it (laughs maniacally). How are you?
Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Shopfront”?
‘Shopfront’ is a lament against modern life, it’s basically 4 minutes of me whining that nobody can seem to fulfil their potential creatively speaking because of the myriad of barriers put in their way (financial, social etc).
Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?
I wrote it while I was on tour playing with BC Camplight, and realised that even when you get to fairly high level of music making it still seems to be incredibly difficult to make ends meet. It’s all about money really, but more than that it’s about worth and how artistic worth should be subjective but that it isn’t, that there are people who decide for you what is ‘good’ or ‘bad’ and more often than not that is all related to hype. It seems that once a band starts getting ‘hyped’ by the ‘right’ people they are suddenly deemed worthy of your time and i think a lot of the time it isn’t the right people making these calls. I hate the word ‘hype’, it’s right up there with ‘taste maker’ in my glossary of horrible music industry words. In any case, more often than not ‘taste makers’ are very reluctant to step outside of what is ‘cool’ and take a chance on something genuinely original why I find endlessly frustrating and also completely baffling. So, yeah basically it’s just me being very bitter.
Any plans to release a video for the single?
Nothing official has been put in motion but I did have some pretty crazy ideas involving a DanceMat© and whole load of CGI. Here’s hoping…
The single comes off your new album ‘Hatesongs’ – what’s the story behind the title?
I decided to call this one ‘Hatesongs’ because as I was going through potential tracks to put on I realised that almost everything I’d written in the past year had been born from some kind of hatred. It’s a deceptively complex emotion and I think I have much more hate for things than I do love, especially recently so it came easier. It’s certainly not a healthy record but people write love songs for a similar reasons to me writing these; there’s a lot of hate out there and I wanted to write songs that appealed to the many different kinds of hate that people are feeling, especially nowadays.
How was the recording and writing process?
Recording and writing was both easier and harder than I’ve ever found it. This is my first EP working with Chris Mulligan (of WH Lung/Team Picture/Actor/The Witch Hunt fame) who is a lovely and endlessly patient individual, and an excellent producer. In my previous musical incarnations I’ve often stopped working on music once it got to a decent point because I didn’t want to annoy anyone else I was working with, but I came into this one hoping to make each song as good it could possibly be within a reasonable amount of time and Chris really facilitated that. Although, that also meant that there wasn’t anyone stopping me when I recorded 50 new saxophone parts at the last minute so maybe I just need to reign that in myself. I’m prouder of this record than anything I’ve done previously but it also nearly killed me a few times.
What aspect of hate did you get to explore on this record?
I think I pretty much explored all the different kind of hate I’ve got in these songs – there’s a lot of material pertaining to the utter disdain I have for social media but I still use it so I’m basically a massive hypocrite. I think if anyone actually listens to my lyrics they’re going to think I’m a massive prick because a lot of what I’m saying contradicts what I do. But I guess I’ve just accepted that and hope that other people will too – I’m only human and when we’re angry we say a lot of things we don’t mean. I suppose this a collection of songs that should be listened to with that feeling in mind.
Where else did you find the inspiration for the songs and lyrics?
I pretty much only write autobiographically – I can totally understand why people would be inspired by fictional or imagined material but it’s just not something that I’d personally be able to keep singing and believing in. I’m a big fan of singing honest music in many ways and I think I need to really feel something in order to keep on caring about the song. In terms of what did inspire the music, there were a few keys events that got me writing. ‘(Cry For Me) John’ is a song about a man who spiked my drink on a night out in Manchester and took advantage of me, and the confusion that caused. I felt weirdly sorry for him because I don’t think he knew what he had done was wrong. Another similar one is ‘Hero’ which is about being assaulted by a coworker and then not telling anyone for fear of causing trouble. The man in question here also happened to end up getting badly physically assaulted a few months later and was hailed by both my other coworkers and various media outlets as a ‘hero’ so this song is basically 100% venom. Others like ‘Ugly Year’ and ‘Shopfront’ are more of a general hate for modern living, ‘Ironclad’ is about all those nasty ’tastemakers’ I was talking about earlier and ‘If I Was’ is all about self directed hate, which I certainly have a lot of. I think many people my age are in the same boat with me there. There’s also a strange little half song I wrote years ago about hating my then boss called ‘Broad Daylight’.
Any plans to hit the road?