Review + Interview: When Worlds Collide ‘Sunrise’ – ‘A four-headed musical beast unleashed in all its glory’

WHEN WORLDS COLLIDE

When Worlds Collide is more than just a band – as their name denotes, they’re a four-headed musical hybrid creature. Genre is a word they don’t know the meaning of. They seamlessly blend blistering indie rock, slick funk, bruising hip-hop beats and stream-of consciousness rap – and treat them as if they are the same beast. On first listen of the band, it’s clear that each of the members originate from diverse corners of the musical realm and are individually masters of their own art. Together though, they create something truly distinctive, distant and distinguished from anything else they dare anyone to compare them too.

With their debut offering ‘Sunrise’ they unleash their Frankensteinian creation in all its beautifully demented glory into an unsuspecting audience. They couldn’t pick a more apt name for a tune with enough earth-shaking, toe-tapping melody and poetic attitude to ‘wake up’ the entire music scene around them and begin their own musical revolution against the current state of chart-manufactured drivel if they tried. ‘Sunrise’ weaves funky guitar melodies and relentless beats with the quickfire lyrics of frontman Kain Melo Heron. Think Red Hot Chili Pepper-style grooves crossed with Arctic Monkey-laced verve and swagger, complete with mind-tripping yet soul-awakening lyrics reminiscent of Finley Quaye.

I even got treated to my own private showing of the single’s accompanying video (directed by Lewis Edwards and Cara Elise of Baby Queens fame) at a casual after party in the band’s flat. It is with a degree of smugness that I can brag of my ‘I was there’ moment to countless other future WWC fans when the single and band eventually reach the lofty heights they are destined for, which I’m confident they will. Check out the official video for ‘Sunrise’ below:

On the eve of the release of the band debut video, where I got an exclusive premiere of the track, I took time out to do a casual interview with frontman Kain, joined by Cara and Vanity of Baby Queens and video director/self-appointed poet Lewis Edwards plus a few other friends. Here is the post-Swn Festival, mid-party interview from Kain in full (with a bit of input from the other three too):

Prior to this interview, I’ve just been given my own world exclusive of your new single ‘Sunrise’. Tell me more about the single, and details of the release of your upcoming EP.

KAIN (WWC): We’re releasing the video tomorrow (Oct 19th) and it will hopefully be available to download on iTunes by the end of the month. With the rest of the EP we’re releasing , we’re just going to work more on the tracks, and make sure we can get all the harmonies on each track as perfect as they can be. So far, we’ve recorded two of the tracks from the EP, and we still got another five to record.

The band have a very diverse range of influences in their sound. Are there any artists in particular that inspire you the most, or who maybe inspired you to take up music?

KAIN (WWC): Personally, Red Hot Chili Peppers are huge favourites of mine and Anthony Kiedis is an idol to me. As a lyricist, he speaks to my soul. All the artists I look up to, they write songs that speak on a ‘conscious’ level. As a band, we are very eclectic in our music taste and our influences come from many places whether it’s grime or rap or rock. Genres don’t exist to us; true music speaks to your heart, whatever shape or form it takes. We want to break down the barriers between perceived ‘genres’ of music, and we want our music to be a representation of us, rather than of what other people around us are doing. Like you said earlier, a lot of journalists tend to pigeonhole artists in one particular genre. I take it as a compliment that we’re not easy to categorise, because I want to be part of something groundbreaking or different from the norm.

So where do you go for inspiration when writing songs, and what is the process? Does the music come first, or the lyrics?

KAIN (WWC): We’re all close friends in the band and meet up as regularly as we can just to jam together. Often myself, Chris (our guitarist) and Rhys (our bassist) will come up with all these melodies and Dan (our drummer) will add a beat to them. I always have ideas for lyrics coming up in my head or things I want to express and as we’re jamming, they just pour out and these songs just come together. I wouldn’t say there’s a particular process; when you get this creative vibe going, sometimes they just come out of nowhere and the words, beats and melodies just flow together.

Do you all have any goals you want to achieve musically or professionally?

KAIN (WWC): We just want to be playing music for a living, and playing to as many places and people as we can. It would be great to take our music to an international stage and increase our following. I know we absolutely have the potential to be as big as we want to be, because we are doing something different from the rest of the pack, and like you said it is hard to pinpoint us to a certain genre. I want to make something that will last. It’s not just me saying that; we all work together, and there are no big egos here. We know where we want to be and how to get there. Everyone contributes to the formula that is at the core of our music; without one of us it wouldn’t work.

Can you tell me about how you all first met, and decided to form a band together?

KAIN (WWC): I was in school with Chris, Rhys and Dan from the band, plus all the people in this room. Even know we all knew other then, it wasn’t until a few years after we left school that we met up again and started getting very close. Three years ago, I was invited to go to Reading Festival with them. When I saw Chris play, I remember thinking how perfectly he just captured the sound I was going for. Eventually, all four of us formed WWC.

LEWIS: This is the best way I can describe When Worlds Collide. All the members of WWC all came from such different backgrounds to an extent that really they weren’t really meant to intertwine and it’s coincidence how they met, yet they work so well together. Music is a universal language.

VANITY (BQ): The ‘world’ isn’t just the earth we live on. Our world is also what we build up from our own ‘conscience’ and when we collide with other people and their own ‘worlds’, we create something beautiful together.

CARA (BQ): Obviously we know so many talented people in the scene who are all gifted in their own way and work hard at what they do, but some people naturally blend with your style and others don’t. All four members of WWC are completely in sync with each other musically; Chris is definitely the ‘John Frusciante’ of the band, he’s the perfect match for them.

Do you think there should be more festivals like Swn where there is so much diversity of music in each venue, rather than separate stages for particular genres of music?

CARA (BQ): I think it would be great to have more gigs and festivals where was more diversity of music on offer, rather than sticking within the same genre. It’s precisely the reason Swn Festival has been such a success and was especially brilliant today. The variety of artists was unbelievable, and it was particularly great to see so many acts that you wouldn’t hear of otherwise all brought together in one setting.

KAIN (WWC): When I was writing rap music, I reached a point where it actually started to bore me and it became repetitive. I didn’t want to write just generic rap music or what other people defined as rap; I wanted to write true ‘songs’. I think with my band, we’re making genuine ‘music’ in that we’re blending so many sounds together rather than just sticking to one, because that’s what music should be; making all these sweet harmonies from so many different elements.

Given you’re all from such different backgrounds, it’s pure chance in a way how you all came together. Inspired by this, have you ever come up with initiatives for bringing up-and-coming artists from diverse musical backgrounds together, creating a ‘network’ between artists and helping them open doors into the industry?

CARA (BQ): Myself and Kain always try to encourage collaborations with other artists in our local scene, and Kain has set up a lot of gigs in his local community.

KAIN (WWC): I’m all for helping people in my community and encouraging people to take up music as a way of expressing themselves, or finding a place for themselves within the music scene whether it’s being a performer or being a fan and being inspired themselves to create something.

CARA (BQ): I think we should do more to help the music scene grow, in Cardiff and in Wales. A lot of the heart and soul has been dragged out of the current music industry but as we saw earlier at Swn today, there are so many talented musicians out there who are all doing it for the love of music.

KAIN (WWC): I think in the current scene of chart manufactured dross, we’d be a great band to lead the forefront of other musicians because our music comes from the heart and speaks to the heart.

So what does the next year hold?

KAIN (WWC): On December 8th, we’re doing a radio interview and then doing a show in Brewhouse with Baby Queens. We’re currently planning a tour and there’s a lot of places we’re currently considering, so keep your eyes and ears out for further updates in the future; we’re even flirting with the idea of playing in Cornwall! We want to get the EP out as soon as possible, plus we have lot of ideas for videos and possible singles, along with the small matter of finishing our eventual album. What else can you expect from us? Positivity, love, laughs, great music. We have a vision of where we’re going, and know we’re good enough to get there.

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Review: DimSwn Festival 2014

Published on Cardiff AfterDark (Oct 22 2014)

If you were out in Cardiff last Saturday, you will have surely been in ear-shot distance of some quality music reverberating from some of the city’s stylish venues (not least on Womanby Street which became a street party for its music-loving residents). It could only mean the musical wagon that was Swn Festival had rolled into town once again for one day only. Yes, this year we weren’t treated to the usual four day extravaganza that we have come to expect and love, which would have been a source of disappointment for some. However, it didn’t stop people from flooding the city in force for their annual Swn fix.

The quality of the line-up certainly hadn’t deterred in any way. They may have been no big household names in the vein of the likes of Mr Scruff, Temples and Alt-J, but this only gave more room to shine for some of the more exciting, promising, up-and-coming artists circulating on the Welsh scene. The newly branded ‘DimSwn’ more than anything was a glimpse into the future stars of tomorrow, with an array of artists all destined to go on to bigger things and gracing Swn’s stage on the way. So allow AfterDark to recapture the magic of another memorable year of Swn…

Four Bars at Dempsey’s was the venue with the honour of opening the curtain on DimSwn this year, and it was Alice Jemima who had the duty of getting the ball rolling. She did so with her usual class, reducing the venue to a tranquil silence as her sugar sweet, delightfully quirky vocals and soft-as-silk melodies filled the air like a scented candle in a dimly lit room. Her voice at times can be a little too softly spoken for the ears of the audience –probably why she politely invited some of the audience to ‘get a little closer’, hence a line of people bringing their beers and sitting in a cross legged stance on the floor (myself included). Her music is an odd mix of melancholic yet youthfully optimistic, and ultimately endearing. You can never underestimate the power of just a sweet voice and a guitar to completely own a room, and that rare ability which Alice possesses is testament to the unique charm that Swn has.

Just after, Clwb opened its doors to the growing numbers gathering on Womanby Street and it only took a mere of seconds before dozens huddled themselves into the downstairs bar. Hardly surprising as Baby Queens, one of the artists selected for the Horizons scheme this year (indeed many of its artists would grace the Clwb stage and elsewhere throughout the day), were about to kick off the Clwb festivities. For many, the Queens were the highlight of the festival last year, and the sheer enormity of the crowd that greeted them this time seemed to take them by surprise. Clearly they made a good first impression. It was easy to see why so many people have hyped them to go on to bigger success, as soon as they delved into their ultra-sassy blend of R’n’B, hip-hop, reggae and pop, all delivered with just the right touch of sexiness and soul. There’s surely plenty of room in the current scene for a girlband with guitars, and their unique sound is sure to be the soundtrack of next year.

Then a trip to next door as Gabrielle Murphy gets ready to bless the fairy-light adorned stage in the Cardiff Fashion Quarter –the first of THREE sets across the day for the young songstress (clearly the poster girl for this year’s Swn). It was a family affair as, without her usual guitarist, her father joined her on stage on guitar duties. Her sound seems to weave in and out of genres resulting in a silky spider-web mix that falls somewhere between Zeppelin-style folk, 60’s adorned soul and R’n’B-embellished pop. The foundations for her sound lie in the warm, autumnal melodies, an her stripped-back acoustic set allowed both her melodies and her mature-beyond-her-years voice to shine as bright as the lights glittering the ceiling of the stage. An enjoyable performance, and there’d be more two more chances to enjoy it later.

Back upstairs in Moon Club, Merthyr Tydfil’s own Delyth McLean’s warm, honey-dipped vocals fill the intimate setting with ease. Her sound combines jazz-infused rhythms with an ear for catchy, breezy folk melodies. Having flied solo until now, this was her very first performance with her full band, including her sister sharing co-vocalist duties. It’s hard to believe this is only their debut performance because the band’s harmonies are super-tight –individually dynamic yet a force as a collective – and Delyth more than holds her own as a frontwoman thanks to her assured stage presence.

Climbing Trees bring a touch of Americana-infused blues with a Welsh flavour – which they describe with their own coined label ‘Cymrucana’ – to the ground stage of Clwb. The band creates a wall of noise with their anthemic, sweeping, melody folk which brings the crowd on its feet – a sound both soothing and rousing in equal measure, full of gospel-style harmonies and catchy guitar hooks, plus more beards on one stage than your typical barber shop. It’s a confident assumption that you can expect bigger things from Climbing Trees in the future.

Just after Climbing Trees exit the stage, The People The Poet take their place in the ground setting of Clwb which is gradually overflowing with people with each exciting artist. After the gentle folk of the Trees, The People The Poet turn proceedings up a notch with their catalogue of soaring, guitar-heavy melodic rock, which manages the similar trick of revving the crowd up, complete with the fierce grittily soulful vocals of Leon Stanford. Lyrics about cancer, body image and fatherhood are not the usual choice of topics for an arena-ready rock band, yet T.P.T.P. somehow turn these subjects into bona fide anthems that stir the heart and soul.

Across to the other side of town in the upstairs of Buffalo Bar, Rag n Bone Man adds a dash of blues to the colourful Swn rock ‘n’ roll circus. There is little accompanying him on stage other than a drummer, a backing track and a cooler of beer, which is exactly all that is needed for the brand of stripped-back, DIY, dirty blues that Rag n Bone Man has become well known for. His gritty, bourbon-soaked voice is an instrument in itself that seeps with every ounce of pain and raw machismo.

Back across town, London’s own Jagaara fill the Four Bars stage. Despite the increasingly humid temperature, Jagarra still manage to attract a huge crowd into the room. The band is fronted by three sisters – Jane (vocals/guitar), Ruth (vocals/guitar) and Cat Edmondson (vocals/synths) , accompanied by Tom on bass and Glyn on drums – and their vocal harmonies stick together like fine glue, gliding effortlessly over the wall of sound generated by their powerful, grandiose synth-laden rock-pop. This was their first time in Cardiff, and after their white-hot performance on Saturday they are surely welcomed back to the Welsh capital.

As the sun begins to set on the festival, Kizzy Crawford provides a fitting soundtrack to the setting autumnal sun with her funky cocktail of soul, folk and jazz. It’s pretty much to sum up Kizzy’s sound in one sentence or compare any artist to her. Her sound refuses to be nailed to one genre, instead taking and mixing them until such comparisons are distinguished. Utilising sun-drenched guitar melodies, finger-tapping percussion and her own soul-infused vocals in her set, she is met with a seal of approval from every member of the crowd in the cosy setting of CFQ.

In the equally cosy upstairs of Buffalo Bar, Golden Fable gently cool the audience down with their elegant, dreamy pop which somehow manages to string together folky guitar and strings with trip-hop imbued synths in perfect harmony. In doing so, they create a sound that, when your eyes are closed, can whisk you away to another universe. It is obvious that the band are inspired by their surroundings in the north Welsh mountains, as their music overflows with beauty and heart, topped by the haunting vocals of lead singer Rebecca Palin.

By the time we get back to Clwb, the entire downstairs is pretty much rammed to full capacity. Houdini Dax are about to perform on stage. The band deliver a full throttle set from start to finish performing one slice of blistering punk-rock after another without even pausing between each number and barely stopping for breathe. Frontman, singer, lead guitarist and all-round rock icon in-waiting Jack Butler makes every of the stage and taking time to pose in front of the photographers. It’s fair to say that he is a photographer’s dream. You know a band is truly good when the audience demand an encore and clearly the band know how good they are, as they briefly tease the audience by taking a quick break (more likely just to get some much-needed breath) before launching into not one but TWO encores. The final careering riffs of ‘Our Boy Billy’ bring an end to the trio’s set and Clwb’s coverage of Swn.

Once again, Swn never failed to disappoint with the sheer quality of its line-up, the only downside being that we could only be treated to one day instead of four (though perhaps this meant less hungover people in the audience which can often result from a four-day musical binge). Once again, a plethora of yet-to-be-unearthed talent was on show, and this was the perfect chance for many to watch these artists in their rawest form before their ascent to their peak. Another successful outing and hopefully not the last we see of Swn for some time.

An interview with… Kimberly Anne – ‘Artists shouldn’t be afraid to be individual, and not just follow the trend’

KIMBERLY ANNE

Published on Cardiff AfterDark (Oct 14 2014)

The definition of ‘artist’ has arguably become blurred in the current landscape of homogenous dance-orientated music and die-hard attention seekers. Yet South London-based Kimberly Anne is genuinely an artist and true musician in every sense of the word. Her route into music is certainly different from many of her peers, as she actually started out on the poetry circuit before putting words to melodies. So too is her approach to producing songs. She self-produced much of her early demos from the comfort of her own bedroom using any furniture she could lay her hands on as an instrument – the ability to make sweet music out of anything including an Ikea table is something to be admired.

This DIY approach adds to the raw atmosphere of her songs and enriches the intimate, personal vibe of the lyrics. Her distinctive brand of electronic-infused, trip-hop inspired folk and her bittersweet, husky vocals combine to produce a catalogue of songs both haunting and playful in equal measure.

Currently supporting Ella Eyre on her first headline tour (though unfortunately Cardiff on this occasion misses out on Kimberly’s presence), I managed to get a quick chat with the rising starlet about her route into music, her thoughts on collaborations, and her upcoming debut album…

How did you first get into music?

I started off writing poetry and performing them at spoken word nights in South London. I was always into music and loved singing, but hadn’t really connected the dots up by then. Plus, I felt that because I didn’t really know how to play an instrument, I couldn’t go into a career as a musician because you’re taught from a young age you have to be able to play one to play music professionally. I could play the keyboard though, so I started merging poetry with music and practiced reciting my poems over the melodies. Eventually, it clicked that I could turn my poems into songs and that marked my transition from poet to songwriter. Plus, I received a few odd looks at the poetry nights I performed at whenever I brought an instrument onstage!

Has growing up around the music scene in London had a big influence on you as an artist?

The great thing about London is the diversity of acts you see performing around the city and it doesn’t matter what age you are, you can still come to all these open mic nights and just do your thing. I think London is a great place to be surrounded by live music that hasn’t got any age restrictions. It’s played a massive part in my musical upbringing, being exposed to different types of music and being encouraged to do my own thing.

A lot of artists who go to London often say how difficult it is to break into the music scene there. What would your advice be to other musicians, either based in London or anywhere, who are looking to get themselves noticed?

The best advice I can give is to just be yourself and be as innovative with your music as possible. Don’t be afraid to be individualistic as an artist, and don’t just follow the latest trends or what everyone else is doing. Being someone you’re not is both exhausting and frankly boring! I love artists who are genuine and true to themselves, and I think if you want to get somewhere, you want to get there on your own merit rather than being a second-rate version of someone else. You can be influenced by certain artists and still be able to refine your influences into your own sound.

You’ve released a lot of EP’s in the past year. Is this all leading up to a debut album release potentially within the next year?

The album is actually on the way early next year. We’ve got plans to put a single out next year and follow it with the album, before the festival season. It’s going to be a very exciting year for me.

Obviously you like having your own unique sound and your own approach to making music. When you’re working on the album, have producers allowed you to have complete creative control?

I’m a ‘hands-on’ artist which I find works really well for me, but I do like collaborating with other musicians and producers. If I just took complete control all the time, all my music would probably end up sounding similar, and wouldn’t be as exciting if I wasn’t working with someone else who was challenging me. When I work with the producers that I’ve chosen to work with, I want them to bring to the table plenty of experience with producing. I’ve produced music myself in the past, but it’s great to have other people sprinkle their own ideas and creativity, and take your tracks to a place you never imagined it could go. For me, collaborating helps create an extra energy that comes across in my music.

A lot of artists like Ella Eyre have got their breakthrough by collaborating with other artists. You’ve collaborated with a lot of artists in the past. Would you be open to doing other collaborations in the future, or are you focusing mainly on your solo material and releasing your album?

There are a lot of artists I’d like to work with, though maybe they wouldn’t be suited to me or I wouldn’t be suited to them. With collaborations though, you have to find an interesting balance between artists. There’s a difference between liking someone and knowing your art could go well together. You also have to be open minded enough to the idea that the end result may be not what you expected, and from that being able to learn what worked or what didn’t work.

If I had one artist in mind I’d like to collaborate with, it would be Imogen Heap. She has a very innovative, self-taught approach towards songwriting and champions the production side of music which I admire.

You’re currently supporting Ella Eyre on tour and have played five dates so far. How has the experience been so far?

The experience had been brilliant, and very different to what I’m used to. There have been so many outfit changes at each gig it feels like an expensive shopping trip! I I’ve loved being on tour with Ella because she brings such a passion and energy to her performances, and it’s great to see an artist that puts so much into their craft. I really look up to her and it inspires me as a fellow artist. Plus, Joel Baker who is supporting as well is really sound and very talented. He actually joined me on stage at the Manchester gig which was a great moment.

Even though you’re not playing the Cardiff date of Ella Eyre’s tour, you did play here last year with Lewis Watson and Saint Raymond. Did you enjoy playing in Cardiff and would you considering touring in Cardiff again?

I did play Cardiff before and probably should play here more often. It’s a wonderful place and the scene there has so much potential. I’d love to get the chance to perform here again as long as people want me here! I’m currently focusing on finishing the album and planning a headline tour, and have thought about holding a vote with my fans about where I should perform. So if I get enough people from Cardiff willing to put up with me, then I shall definitely make a return soon!

Check out the video for the title track of Kimberly Anne’s latest EP ‘Liar’ below:

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An interview with…Joel Baker – ‘I want my music to come from the heart’

JOEL BAKER

Published on Cardiff AfterDark (Oct 14 2014).

If you were one of the lucky few at Ella Eyre’s Cardiff leg of her tour in the packed venue of Y Plas, a lasting memory from the gig will be the name – and the music – of Joel Baker. Despite being in such starry company, the young singer-songwriter from Nottingham managed to astound the Welsh crowd on his own merit as he treated them to a setlist of warm, heartfelt folk-pop which was the perfect antidote to the freezing Welsh autumn weather outside. For once, a support act that can actually fully command the entire attention of the audience long enough that people even waited longer than usual to get a drink at the bar (hence the bar area being strangely more vacant than usual during a support slot).

For those still unfamiliar (though not for much longer surely), the best way to describe his sound is mellow folk crossed with seductive R’n’B tinged vocals. Add introspective lyrics that capture the soul and sun-soaked melodies that arrest the mind. The result is a truly sincere sound carved straight from the heart and one that sets him apart from the countless other guitar-wielding male singer-songwriters currently dominating the music scene.

Armed with a back catalogue of songs that demand to be played at full volume on the radio, it is a strong but assured claim that he will become a much bigger presence within the next year. I was lucky enough to meet and interview the Nottingham crooner in the union’s local drinking den The Taf before his support set. Here, he opens up about his music influences, his across-the-pond ambitions, his political background and working in Parliament…

How has touring with Ella Eyre been like so far?

It’s been a really positive vibe all the way through. How good a tour is depends a lot on the people who you’re playing with. Ella Eyre has been fantastic towards all of us. I really get on with Kimberly Anne and got to join her on stage at the Manchester gig to perform a cover with her. Seinabo Sey has just joined us on tour now and she is absolutely incredible, and so nice as well. A highlight of the tour was playing at Shepherd’s Bush which has long been a boyhood dream of mine.

You played Cardiff earlier this year at the Full Moon in support of Ryan Keen. What do you make of Cardiff and do you enjoy playing here?

The first time I played in Cardiff seems like ages ago now! I love coming back here though, because the atmosphere in Cardiff is so friendly and positive. I feel like I haven’t quite seen the city yet unfortunately. My first time here, I literally went straight to the venue, did my set and then was gone again. This time, I’m actually staying in a hotel just a few yards from the venue. I’d love to experience the city properly one day – I’d have to go for a night out here at some point.

Earlier this year, you performed at the Radar showcase for unsigned and newly signed acts. Do you think those type of showcase events are good for getting up-and-coming artists noticed?

It was actually a hard show to play and these type of industry-focused events usually are. The people in the music industry who tend to go to those events are people who specialise more in the ‘business’ side of the industry rather than the musical side. Therefore, it’s a very different atmosphere compared to playing a gig in front of lots of people who just enjoy live music. But I certainly think those type of events are good for meeting and connecting with fellow artists who are at a similar stage to you.

Who are the biggest influences on you musically, or perhaps the artists that first got you into music?

When I was at school, I used to listen to artists like Jimi Hendrix, Pink Floyd and Bob Dylan. Those artists have really formed the foundation for everything I’ve liked and listened to since. I was really into hip-hop too and when I was growing up, grime was starting to get bigger so that sound tracked my musical tastes during that period. I’m particularly into the conscious side of hip-hop and artists that talk about relevant or personal themes in their music, such as Drake and Kanye West.

When I write songs, lyrically I take inspiration from artists that are open and honest about themselves and their life experiences in their music. Musically, for me it has to sound raw, organic and real.

You’re from Nottingham originally and relocated to London. Do you think having a base in London is the best route for artists to further recognition?

I don’t think it’s the only route you can take, but it’s great to be surrounded and inspired by the current UK scene there. Everyone is just doing their own thing, there’s gigs on every doorstep and you always bump into someone with a connection to the music industry – whether it’s fellow artists, record labels, managers. I never originally went to London thinking I was going to be doing music as a living in a million years. Until then, music for me was purely a hobby. I remember having a conversation just before I left for London about whether I would continue doing music

What did you want to do before music?

I studied politics at university in Leeds, and was originally going to chase a career in that. I’m very much led by what I believe in. Music for me wasn’t something to believe in – I just doing it for the love of doing it. I worked in Parliament when I was in London, but being surrounded by the music scene in London and meeting so many talented musicians who would later become good friends, gave me this spark of inspiration to go into songwriting. All my goals when I was in Parliament – expressing myself, being able to travel – weren’t being fulfilled, and songwriting seemed to offer me that. That’s when my passion for music became much more serious.

You’ve released two EPs so far – Long Sleeves and Every Vessel. Will a debut album materialise soon, possibly in the next year?

I’d love to do an album and have so many songs written now so I definitely have enough to make one. I want to make sure that before I record an album, I know the type of sound that will work for me and which is more expressive of who I am at an artist, while making me accessible at the same time. We’re definitely at the bridge now where we’re starting to consider what songs to put on the album when we get round to recording and mixing it, and I’m very excited about that.

In a similar fashion to Ella Eyre and other current artists, would you ever be open to collaborations?

I’d absolutely love to work with Seinabo Sey. Her voice reminds me of a Swedish Adele. I’m really good friends with Nick Brewer who is a rapper from London, and used to work with him a lot so would definitely like the chance to resume working with him in the future. It would be great to sit in a room with artists like Hozier and Ben Howard as well and get to see their approach to writing songs.

There’s lots of people I’d like to write with but not necessarily perform on a track with. Collaborations are tough and sometimes they can feel almost unnecessary, unless the chemistry is absoloutely perfect.

A lot of UK artists are crossing over successfully to America lately. Would touring in America be a possible goal for you?

America would absoloutely be a dream for me. I think my musical vision is actually orientated towards crossing over the pond. In the UK, the route to getting onto radio seems to be having a sound that is on-trend and edgier than anybody else. I don’t like following trends. When I write music, I just want it to come from the heart and to express how I feel.

I went to America recently and they seem to prefer that approach to songwriting more, and value music that is timeless rather than being the hottest thing now. I feel I’d be appreciated more over there, and most of my musical influences are American too. I can’t wait to do some gigs over there and hopefully can start planning them soon.

Check out the video for ‘Every Vessel, Every Vein’, from his latest EP ‘Every Vessel’, below:

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