JLTT: You’ve just done a little showcase of some of the songs on the new album. What made you choose the songs you did?
SK: Well like we were just saying actually, we shuffle the set quite a lot. But, we had a rehearsal a couple of weeks ago and these songs just really felt right. We set the set list up two weeks ago and it just felt good so we went with it.
Yeah. There’s a certain dynamic to your singing that actually infers that we’re listening to poetry set to music. Is that a fair comment about what you’re doing? Or is it music first words second?
No. That’s really cool actually. I think that’s really fair. It’s really weird, I quite often see that when people write they think that pop songs can’t be poetry and I’ve always tried to deliberately keep a sense of poetry. When I first started writing songs, the music did always come first but I find more now I want to ground the message in what I’m about to write before I put the music down. I quite often have a theme and to be perfectly honest, some songs can take two or three years to reach completion. I write really slowly and I do think you’re spot on as I do write very poetically. These days, the words are increasingly more important.
Ok. Now tonight you were playing with guitar, bass, drums and your own guitar. Presumably, the keyboards were through a DAT was it?
Basically, the drummer guy is a great techno-wizard so basically the keyboards are on a kind of a backing track. The reason being, I’m very particular as a lot of my songs start from the keyboards. Just me sat down at the keyboard. I’m really anal about keyboards sounds, keyboards patterns, rhythms and keyboard patterns. But it just doesn’t look dynamic for me to stand there and be stuck behind a keyboard when I am trying to convey a message through the music. So I have to really through necessity at this stage put the keyboards on a backing track.
There are songs on the record and if I had a favourite track on their apart from ‘Spaced Out Refugee’, There’s something about ‘Inside Your Heart’ that gets to me. I can’t quite figure it out. Explain this song to me.
‘Inside Your Heart’ is probably the only love song on that album. Although, none of my songs are… I deliberately try not to be ‘I love You Baby’. That’s one of those things but it’s the only song on the album that was co-written. I sat down with my oldest friend and we both sat down behind a keyboard. It was the first song I wrote for the album and we came up with three of the simplest chords in the world G F C all major chords. Which is strange for the album as most of it is in minor keys as well. It was at the end of a time when I had been listening to a lot of Brian Eno. Someone had introduced me to a lot of Brian Eno stuff.
What it is to be honest, you sound a bit like you are dropping your guard a bit on this one.
Ok. Yeah that could be true. I think it’s a really honest song. To me, it’s quite a stripped back song as there’s no pretention in there. I think you’re probably spot on.
Ok. There must be times when like most of us, you have a bout of anger.
That doesn’t seem to find its way into the music in this set. Presumably, other material you’ve written has that edge to it?
Yes. I know what you’re saying. The thing with this album, as a concept is I wanted from intro to close to be a space where people did lose themselves in some kind of reflective dream environment and for the lyrics to trigger some meaning in their own lives. I have written angry songs. There is anger in song four ‘Over the World’ which is a song about terrorism and the futility in the world.
The un-uniformed enemy.
Yeah. So there are moments of despair and anger on there but I guess musically on this particular album there isn’t. I just felt that when most of the album had been floaty and chilled and I was enjoying the concept. I guess it was finding the space for one song that would have stood out like a sore thumb in the end.
This what triggered of the mind echo I had about the Public Symphony record because that had a sort of blissed out sound to it but it wasn’t background music.
I do know one of the guys from Public Symphony and it did have a summery Zero 7 vibe to it.
What would be your ideal place to play this record? Halls, festivals?
Halls really. Don’t get me wrong, I’d like to play a lot of festivals. I think intimacy is the best, most fitting environment for the songs.
Ok. Are you familiar with the works of Al Stewart?
There are Al Stewart songs that actually might chime with you. It’s almost disguised bite, which I’m thinking is probably one of your trump cards. In other words, you could say something in the song ion a quiet-ish way but believe very strongly in what you’re saying. You’re not a shouter.
You’re spot on again. I am an incredibly shy person in life and music has always been my outlet.
I’m almost tempted to say if you weren’t doing this, maybe you’d be a painter.
That’s nice yeah.
It’s almost like a little art gallery of moods.
I’m quite surprised how spot on you are. Yes absolutely. That resonates completely with me.
Good luck with it and thanks for talking to me.
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