Good Kind Of Froze reflects your most abrasive release to date, what’s influenced this latest change in sound?
I’d say just timing as much as anything. I think if I were to make another Brief Introduction or Red Tide Opal that wouldn’t be treating my artistry with any conviction. I’ve always wanted to push myself forward, I don’t want to keep repeating myself and so by divorcing myself and departing from those records it was kind of a way that I could try on a new musical skin.
How have you go about evolving yourself as an artist, what’s the process for you as you continue to progress?
From day one I’ve always presented myself with certain limitations, using a finite amount of tools to make these records. Usually I restrict myself to acoustic instruments whereas this time I’ve been a lot freer with effects pedals and synthesisers and naturally its evolved around that. The process is virtually the same, it’s just that I’m giving myself different limitations.
As a result of this would say now that despite only being 3 years old that A Brief Introduction feels like a distant memory in some ways?
I actually made that record quite some time before Howling Owl approached me about putting the record out and the same kind of goes for Red Tide Opal. The records are still relevant to me, I still have feelings attached to them but I feel differently about things now, certainly with what I’ve been doing recently, it’s a lot less self-aware and introverted. This new record is slightly more traditional in that its more observations, taking inspiration more from things outside of myself.
Are these changes in sound therefore more reflective of where you are personally rather than conscious decisions to reinvent yourself?
I’m not sure I’d use the word reinvention, it’s all very much natural, I don’t put and pressure on myself to be different, that happens naturally. I don’t have to be strict with myself, it’s just what I crave, I crave new sounds and this record is a new set of sounds that I’ve found and I’ve arranged them in this way. It’s hard for me to explain but it’s very much a natural thing.
The latest single has some of the most experimental features of anything you’ve release this far. Is this what we can expect from the new album?
Very much so, the record that I’m going to put out early next year is definitely the most experimental I’ve been with creating atmospheres and soundscapes. It’s a different, more abrasive pallet but I wouldn’t say it’s a radical departure. There’s still plenty of the pallets and sounds I used on the previous records, I’ve just introduced some new ones and hopefully progress the other ones as well. I’m not going to alienate anyone.
You spoke before about having some mixed feelings with the last LP you put out, was it a difficult process for you to start writing again?
It was very difficult. Long Hold Star was a failed attempt at an album and due to mental and physical health issues I was unable to do it really. I let the label put out the LP but it doesn’t feel like my statement or my piece of work so I don’t feel very attached to it. I appreciate that other people like it and it’s not like I hate it; I just don’t consider it to be mine.
Do you feel a lot more attachment to this new LP?
Very much so, me and Connor, who’s my bassist, has helped me through a lot of shit over the last couple of years and very much babysat me through the studio process and got me to do it. I had skeletons and embryonic versions of the songs ready to go and he helped motivate me and fleshed them out with his own ideas. This record is more the way I do things, I’ve come to a point now where I trust my own judgement and my own instinct and I’m not going to turn my back on it again.
Can you describe the sound of the album?
Its more intense, there’s a lot more epic soundscapes and the atmospheres are a lot more vibrant, although there are many dark moments there’s lots of moments of light and clarity. I’ve played around with the clichés and traditions of pop music and pop form and just fucked them up a bit, making them ugly and a caricature of themselves in a way. There’s epic 7 minute songs and there’s 3-minute pop songs. I would say if anyone liked the previous records they’ll love this one, if they’re willing to give me the chance to try something new then I think they’re really going to like it.
Is this LP about pushing the boundaries then?
Yeah I think so, the music I made for the previous LPs I’d made before I’d even considered putting them out so this is the first time where I’ve thought: if I were a fan of myself what would I want to hear? I wouldn’t want another ‘Brief Introduction’, I wouldn’t want another ‘Red Tide Opal’ and that’s how I feel about all the bands I listen to. I thought about what direction I’d like to go in and it got to the point where I stopped thinking about it and trying and it just came naturally.
You worked on the collection of Oro Swimming Hour tracks released earlier this year, was this your first experience of being part of a project aside from your own?
Yeah it was, Nicholas is a really old friend of mine, we’ve known each other for years. I’m not very good at collaborating with people on my projects as its obviously very personal and part of the very fabric of my being. A lot of my friends in Bristol have something on the side apart from their main work as a way of exercising their artistic muscles so to speak. Naturally they’re intrinsically linked and they only complement each other in ways that they couldn’t do if they didn’t exist. Oro Swimming Hour was just a way for me and Nick to exercise and try experiment with the craft of song writing. In Bristol the sonic feel is moving a lot more to electronic music and techno and I absolutely love that but it doesn’t come naturally to me whereas song writing does and it’s not a craft that I want to see lost. What song writing needs is a bit of freshening up and what we’re doing and the concepts we’re building are quite fresh and interesting. We’re going to release a full length album in January and it’s going to be 20/25 songs long, and we’re just going to experiment with language and writing in the same way that we would if we were using a bunch of effects pedals.
You mentioned finding it difficult to collaborate with other musicians on your own projects, did anyone feature in the creation of your forthcoming LP?
I have some good collaborations on this new one, some things that I’m really happy with. I’ve worked with Fenne Lily, a girl called Emily Isherwood who’s the lead singer of a band called Rink, Bristol noise band Spectres, Giant Swan, The Naturals and Something Anorak who’re another great Bristol duo. The thing with collaborations is that I’d never just do it for the sake of it, it has to be something they do that I can fit into my world somehow. I wouldn’t feel right doing it just because they were my friend, I don’t want their sound on my record, but if I place a limitation on myself and their creative overcoming of that limitation is something I want to capture in my music, that’s the best way of explaining it.
A special thanks to Oliver Wilde. His new album is out early next year, and you can stream his latest single below.
(Words: Joe Austin)