Q + A at thecmuwebsite.com
Q1 How did you start out making music? I started making music much like most people do, I guess; cobbling ideas together with friends in rehearsal rooms and community centres. Anywhere that would let us make a racket, basically. A major factor was that my parents unflinchingly supported the direction me and my brother (very early on) decided to take. They saw a passion for this thing emerging, and made a decision to support that. Without that sort of support, I think a lot of young bands would never come to be.
Q2 What inspired your latest album? Many things inspired the new record. Something that has always been there, but on this album has come to the fore, is my hometown of Brighton. It may sound obvious, but this time it has had a profound influence, both musically and lyrically.
Q3 What process do you go through in creating a track? Generally I’ll start off with a skeletal idea, which I’ll take as far as I can on one instrument, perhaps vocals too. Then I’ll go to some kind of recording console – four-track/eight-track/laptop – where I’ll sketch out the arrangement, quite often improvising whole passages to fill up any gaps. I then overdub, thus turning these improvised sections into seemingly deliberate ‘bridges’, ‘middle eights’ or ‘choruses’.
Q4 Which artists influence your work? Musically, the work of Broadcast, Saint Etienne, Joni Mitchell and The Dandy Warhols has informed what I do massively in recent years. Likewise, Mission Of Burma continue to influence me in a big way, though I think their work is all about the detail, and therefore it’s a lot harder to spot in what I do.
Q5 What would you say to someone experiencing your music for the first time? I make and mix my records to be listened to on headphones. You’re right – it should be an experience. Sit back, close your eyes, and let it all unfold.
Q6 What are your ambitions for your latest album, and for the future? I feel stupid talking about ambitions for something as insignificant as a record, but I guess it’d be lovely if a bunch of people got into this record, and I was afforded the opportunity to grow and better myself as a solo artist and a musician in general. As for the future, I want to establish myself as someone associated with making consistently interesting records that push the boundaries of what we call pop music. The way the industry’s going, to still be making records five years from now will be seen as a major achievement for most musicians.