Hiya folks thanks for joining us in the virtual RGM lounge today, grab a brew and take a seat.

Thanks for having me! Brew in hand, I’m ready – hit me with the questions!

What made you decide that music is a thing for you?

Music is as essential to my life as breathing. I grew up in a house full of music and creativity, so I’ve always been surrounded and intrigued by it. I went through a phase of wondering whether to pursue it as a career, it can be really hard work, and very disheartening. But then realised that I would never be satisfied, and never be happy unless I’d at least tried to. I didn’t want to look back in twenty years and regret not giving it a go. 

Introduce us to you and your musical history.

I grew up in France, and this was where I first held a guitar when I was about 10 or 11; every place offering guitar lessons was full though, so I sat in on my friend’s lessons instead, and started picking it up from there. Once it started, my passion for music was like my passion for literature; voracious. The more I read, the more I listened to, and the more I learnt about playing guitar, the more I wanted to discover.

Upon moving back to the UK as a teenager, I formed & played in several bands, and although performing live was great fun and really increased my confidence, I didn’t have enough confidence to play my own material until I reached uni and started playing open mic nights. That also kick started a different way of writing; more mature lyrics, way more literary references, just better poetry in general. And this has only increased as I’ve focused on improving guitar playing and lyrics.

I started working with The Animal Farm last year, and released my first single, ‘Sink in Solitude’, back in June – the response has been fantastic! I’m looking forward to the next ones now!

What’s the one question you’re sick of being asked when interviewed?

Haha, good question. Probably ones along the line of ‘Which song do you wish you’d written?’, because that’s just impossible to answer, there’s so many! It’s like asking you which book or poem you wish you’d written, which masterpiece you wish you’d painted! How can you answer a question like that, choosing one, or a few, out of the vast and beautiful history of human creativity?

We set up RGM USA and many other countries in the world to share music with America and the UK, good idea?

Of course! How could it not be? It’s always great to have more platforms to share new and undiscovered music.  

Do you sign up to any conspiracy theories?

I find most conspiracy theories hilarious, and I don’t understand how people expend so much time on them. 

That said, I do believe that there is plenty of stuff we don’t understand, perhaps because we are trying to find rational explanations for things where there are none. And I prefer a world where there are still mysteries and unexplained phenomena, it would be so boring otherwise.  

I also like to think that Nessie and Big Foot and alike are real. I just hope no one ever actually finds them, because the poor creatures would probably be hounded to death before being stuffed and put in a museum.

Did you buy anything you don’t need in the pandemic?

I don’t think so. I was finishing uni when the pandemic was full blown so I was spending all my time on essays and my dissertation. The rest of that first lockdown summer I just spent lounging in the hammock at my parent’s house, cuddling the dog and reading historical fiction as a self-indulgent treat after three years of grappling with serious literature. 

I did however buy a set of Celtic Tarot Cards I’d been coveting for ages as a congratulations to myself for finishing my course. Technically not absolutely necessary, but certainly not useless in my mind. 

What useless party trick do you have?

I have perfected the sound of a cat. I have no idea how, since I’ve never owned one, and I generally don’t like them, but it’s so convincing that dogs have been known to bark at me when I do it, and cats either speak back or just stare in a very perplexing way. It’s completely pointless but it’s weirdly fun (though I should probably add that this is not the typical way that I entertain myself or others at parties!) 

What was the most fun you have had on stage?

I played a gig in a local pub, where I knew quite a few people, and everyone was in a great mood. I ended my set with a cover that I knew everyone there liked, they were all singing alone, and that set the tone for the rest of the evening. It pretty much turned into an all-night karaoke party!

To be honest, I have fun whenever I get up on stage. Initially, I’m nervous, but then when I’m playing it all melts away. 

What was the worst experience on stage?

I used to be in a band as a teenager, where I was the lead singer and rhythm guitar player. The lead guitar player had this idea that he was the next Jimi Hendrix, and wouldn’t listen to anyone who told him otherwise. Every song had to have a 4 bar guitar solo for him in it, and he would change it every time we played live, thinking he was improvising really well, even if it was totally out of key. And he also insisted on doing backing vocals; I think when someone in the audience remarked that “he sounds like a wounded wildebeest” he possibly should have realised it was time to stop. So yeah, whenever he did that it was pretty bad.

Tell us something about yourself that you think people would be surprised about.

I seem to be creating a mini-jungle in my house due to a recent/renewed interest in houseplants which has got slightly out of hand…

If you had to describe your music to an alien how would you describe it?

That might be the best question I’ve ever had. I’d say poetic and honest lyrics, often with a lot of literary influences, and an alt/indie-folk kinda sound. 

To be honest though, I’m more interested in playing it to the alien and seeing what they made of it!

What makes you stand out as an artist?

I’ve always said that I hope my lyrics make me stand out from the crowd; I try really hard to stay away from the banal, and the typical stuff you hear. And I read an awful lot of poetry, plays, novels, and I know they make their way into my lyrics. Literature is one of the backbones to my music; I studied English Literature at university, so it’s only natural. Sometimes that’s just snippets and phrases, and sometimes it’s full songs that are based on novels. But I have songs about all sorts of things, from Sylvia Plath to monogamy through to vegetarianism and the bombing of Dresden. So I hope that when hearing my music, people can stop and consider the lyrics for a moment; perhaps they’ll even recognize some of the literary allusions. 

Someone said to me that something happened when I started playing live. They said that people actually quietened down, and listened, and the emotion of the room shifted. They said that it was strange to watch because it was just me and an acoustic guitar; it wasn’t loud, but there was something that made them stop talking and take notice. I want that to be what people remember. I want my songs to have that power to silence a room, not through being louder than the room, but by subtly commanding attention, and demanding to be heard.

Right now, what’s pissing you off the most?

The fact that free speech and the right to protest have been under threat far too often recently. And the general abuse and misuse of the planet and animals. 

What’s your favourite song to play live and why?

I think it’s ‘Do You Miss Me Yet?’ – it’s full of energy and passion, and the lyrics always make people laugh. 

What can you tell us about Do You Miss Me Yet?

Everyone has one ex that they love to hate – it’s dedicated to all of them! I had nothing to go on but the title of this song, initially. And I was toying with ideas and lyrics, messing about on my guitar, when suddenly it all came together, and this song just poured out of me. My pen could barely keep up with my mind. It was pretty much finished about 10 minutes later. I played it through, left it to settle until the next day, made a few tweaks and it was done! It was pure and joyous word-vomit. 

Talk me through the thought process of creating it and your music in general.

I was listening to a lot of Bob Dylan songs, and particularly those which express his uniquely Dylanesque mixture of biting humour and poignant truth. Like ‘Positively 4th Street’ and ‘She’s Your Lover Now’ – I love lines like:

“Yes and you, you just sit around and ask for ashtrays, can’t you reach?
I see you kiss her on the cheek every time she gives a speech”

In general, when writing, I tend to start off with lyrics or ideas which I want to include. Then I’ll start on a melody, and then it sort of merges together. I don’t tend to sit down with the express intention of writing a song, more often than not ideas come to me at completely random – and occasionally incredibly inconvenient! – times. I write them down, think about them, and come back to them later.

What was the recording process like?

A lot of fun! I wasn’t sure we were going to have time to record this one, but we squeezed it in right at the end of the week. One of the best comments I’ve heard about it was from the producer. I played it through for him, so we could discuss some ideas, and once I finished he said: “Wow, that’s harsh! Surely no one is this bad?” – I told him he might be surprised! 

What was the biggest learning curve in writing the single?

I’m not sure there was one – it came so naturally. Some songs just do, it’s like they were waiting inside you, or in the ether, just waiting to be coaxed out. Otherwise, you have to yank out and wrestle with them for days or weeks until you eventually subdue them!

Would you change anything now that it’s finished?

I don’t think so, though I’m sure it will evolve and change as I play it live. That’s one of the things I love about music – songs have a life of their own, and they grow, they vary with time. You can have so many different versions of the same song.  

What are your plans for the year ahead?

I’m waiting to move back to Manchester in the next month or so, so that’s a big change from the Peak District where I’ve been for the past year. Once I’m there, I’m planning on gigging as much as possible. And I have some more songs ready to release! Stay tuned for the next one on the 2nd of December!

Is there anything else you would like to share with the world?

Plenty, but how much time have you got?!

I’d like to thank you for having me, and to those of you who have taken the time to read this. Any social media follows would be much appreciated (and you’ll find out that way what I want to share with the world!)

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