How is life treating you in the music business this week?
Very good, I seem to be riding a creative wave at the moment, busy writing songs for a new album as well as a collection of obscure covers for a possible album or e.p. including songs by Sandy Denny, Mickey Newbury and Bob Carpenter. At the same time I'm also working in collaboration with another local musician Neil Campbell (he released an album under the title of The Professor Campbell Explosion in 2011) who is re-working some of my old songs which should be interesting.
22+ Albums and EPs, you must have been long overdue a retrospective release. 'From The Fleet To The Medlock - A Collection (1997-2014)' is being released on 12th May – How did you go about selecting the must to use?
As opposed to my personal favourites, the selections have been based on critical feedback and popularity through downloads, streams, etc, so hopefully it serves as some kind of varied introduction to my music.
What were your ambitions for album No.1 and have they changed with this latest release?
Looking back I used to sweat blood over my early records and then just hand them out to a few mates so I wasn't very ambitious in that sense although I used to put heart and soul into every release. It was only by 2007's The Julius Work Calendar that I decided to market my music to a wider audience.
How would you describe your music to people that have not heard any of you music so far?
It's difficult to pigeonhole, but I would say it's essentially singer-songwriter with an experimental edge. My love of folk, drone, krautrock, synths and psychedelia colour the music too.
A lot of solo artists play under different names to their own. Did you ever consider that and if you did so now, what would be you’re 'also known as'?
I actually did release my music under the pseudonym of Rhubarb from 1998 to 2010. I've also released more experimental music as G For Gnome. However, it felt like the right time in 2010 when I released Safety In Movement to use my own name and draw a line under the whole ‘Rhubarb’ period.
How do you approach getting your music heard and making an income and what are you feelings about Social networking as a means to musical recognition?
I'm afraid I'm a bit of Luddite when it comes to social networking - I did have a Facebook page at one point but I do like a distance between the artist and listeners and keeping a bit of mystery in there. A lot of musicians I admire like Bonnie 'Prince' Billy, Bill Callahan, Joanna Newsom, etc have no Facebook or Twitter pages, not even a website and I definitely agree with Will Oldham's point that he likes to people to search out his music or to stumble across it.
I realise in my case of course that this is not commercially advantageous, especially when, unlike the aforementioned artists, I don't have the weight of a record label behind me. However my goal has only ever been to create good music and if that touches or moves a handful of people then that is success to me.
What was the most satisfying record you recorded?
It's a tie between 2007's The Julius Work Calendar where an especially strong set of songs came together or 2010's Safety In Movement which seems to be the album that resonated with most people.
Would you recommend Bandcamp as to tool to distributing your music to other artists?
I think it is a great tool and would definitely recommend it. For the fans it’s a great way of supporting the artist directly.
What was the music you listened to back in School/College days, that you still draw inspiration from today?
I read somewhere once that the music you listen to between the ages of 15-19 will be the music you love forever and that has proved true in my case - my early loves were U2 (from The Unforgettable Fire through to Pop), Marillion (the Fish era), early Simple Minds (especially the period from Real to Real Cacophony to New Gold Dream, although I did love the Live in the City Of Light album as a teenager!) and although later discoveries like Nick Drake, Will Oldham, Pink Floyd, Neu!, Townes, etc were to have a greater impact on my own music you can still hear the influence of those bands in my songs, especially Fish' lyrics on those early Marillion albums, very poetic.
What is your preference for listening, Vinyl, CD, Cassette, Download etc and have you heard of the new PONO portable player championed by Neil Young that allows listeners to hear studio quality sound?
Unquestionably it is vinyl. I've tried to obtain a copy of every album I love on vinyl although I am running out of space! I do use Spotify and other digital media to discover new music which is great, like a 'fast food' consumption of music. However I do like to sit down to a 'proper meal' with the vinyl. I have read about the PONO player which is interesting - it seems that we have gone backwards in many ways, sacrificing quality for convenience and I think the recent growth in the popularity of vinyl reflects the backlash against that.