TrueHeights – Interview

Wednesday 21st March 2018

Acclaimed young alt-rockers TrueHeights are back with a bang, announcing their new EP “Days We Found”, and their signing to We Are Triumphant. Hailing from the Midlands, the band have quickly picked up a huge amount of momentum from their debut EP “TH15”, and secured themselves a well-established fan base from their time on the road, supporting the likes of Freeze The AtlanticDEAD!Lonely The Brave, and Fatherson. Armed with the addition of guitarist Alex, and a brand new EP which is due for release on the 6th April, TrueHeights are hoping to put some serious heart and meaning back in to the UK’s rock scene.  I catch a moment with lead vocalist Zakk Poland ahead of the release to find out what we can expect from their new material.

Please could you tell me a bit more about yourselves? Have you been in bands previously, and what has driven you to form TrueHeights?


We are a 6 piece rock band from the Midlands. We have all come from very different backgrounds which I think makes our song-writing process very interesting. Myself and my brother Luke have come from a post-hardcore/punk background then we have the Maugham brothers and Kris who have come from a dance/electronic metal background and then Alex who has been a solo singer songwriter for many years – so our ideas are very diverse in the rehearsal studio to say the least! We formed TH because we wanted to unify a few of our favourite things from the genres we all love and create a sound that was accessible to more than the very niche sub-genre’s we were all a part of before.

Your debut mini album release “TH15” received quite a lot of momentum. How have you found the response to your music so far?

Thank you! “TH15” was received better than we could have ever imagined. Its mesmerising being able to travel the country and have crowds singing your songs back to you – it’s very moving.

You’ll be releasing your new EP “Days We Found” on the 6th April. How are you feeling about getting new music out there, and are there any tracks in particular that you’re excited about being heard?

We are SO excited to release “Days We Found”. Some of these songs have been sat behind the curtains for nearly 2 years and now we can finally unveil them to you guys! The response to the singles so far have been mind-blowing and we are so lucky to have such a loyal fanbase that are happy to stick with us for 3 years without releasing any music. We are so excited for the two songs which aren’t due to be released as singles, because the first time anyone will hear them is when they buy the full record. Keep your ears open for “No Tomorrow” and “Maybe”.

How would you say this compares to your previous material, and how do you feel you’ve developed as a band over the past 3 years?

It pushes the boundaries a lot more than “TH15”, in the way that we have collectively tried to diversify our writing style – making 5 very different sounding songs, with the idea that different people will have different favourites. As a band we have played a hell of a lot of shows over the last 3 years and learned a hell of a lot about each other and about our writing style and what works best for us – especially with the addition of Alex. We have become more of a team and everyone brings their own ideas and interpretations on each others work – I feel the sound has matured a great deal.

What’s your writing process and how do you work together to create the final track? Being a 6-piece band, how do you make sure you all have a creative input?

So, normally one of us will bring an idea to the studio and then we will all build on it. Depending on which instrumental idea is presented as a melody core, that is USUALLY what defines the overall sound and feel of the track, i.e “Stay” was written around a synth hook, giving it a more dancy feel. Whereas “Exit Route” was written around a riff idea I had written in my bedroom on an acoustic guitar! When I write on an acoustic guitar I always imagine I’m playing to a huge festival crowd with a huge wall of amplifiers behind me… 9 times out of 10 I’m sat in my room and I can hear my mum hoovering the stairs…SO rock and roll. We usually write a song in a few phases to make sure everyone is 100% happy with their parts, before our producer rips them to shit and makes us re-write them anyway!

Who did you work with for the video to your latest single “Still Moving Colour”, and how does it feel when you get to see the finished videos for your singles?


We worked with a good friend of ours Jay Hillyer (Cabin Boy Jump Ship). His work is awesome! He’s pretty much done most of our videos. He lets us have a lot of creative input on them which is great. We write and direct all of our videos ourselves.

You released an acoustic version of “City Lies” to raise money for Bedfordshire & Northamptonshire Multiple Sclerosis Therapy Centre. Could you tell me why this charity is so close to your hearts, and how the donations helped the centre?

This charity is especially close to our drummer Kris, who’s uncle is an MS sufferer. The whole charity release was conducted by Kris himself. It was such an honour to have such amazing, iconic people on board with us such as Connor Ball (The Vamps), Nothing But Theives, Madina Lake, BBC Introducing etc.

You’re on the last few dates of your current tour, but thinking about all the live dates you’ve ever played, which has been the most memorable and why?

We always tell the story of how I broke Ash’s leg on stage, but that was honestly one of the best moments of my life. I think on a serious note, one of the most memorable ones was MOM Fest in Eindhoven, ND. We got to play our first show overseas to thousands of people and it was mind-blowing. Not only that, but that was Alex’s first ever TH show.

How do you find the music scene in the Midlands? Being a music blogger/gig-goer from the area too I’m interested to hear your thoughts on the local scene and venues.

Yeah we love our local scene. I’m in the firm belief that we wouldn’t be anywhere right now had it not been for that. There’s not an AWFUL lot in the Midlands but that’s what makes events so special. We have so much love for Zephyr Lounge (Leamington), The Phoenix (Coventry), The Kasbah, and pretty much all of the venues in Birmingham. It’s a close-knit scene and we love it!

What are your plans for 2018, and what do you hope to have achieved by the end of the year?

We would love to have another big tour in place and hopefully some more new music! Keep your eyes peeled…

Connect with TrueHeights via their Website, Facebook and Twitter.

Marie Naffah – Interview

Monday 19th March 2018

Winning MTV’s Unsigned Artist Of The Year, selling out London’s The Lexington, giving TED Talks regarding the stigma behind disability in the music industry and all before releasing any music. With industry experts tipping her for big things, soulful singer-songwriter Marie Naffah finally releases her debut single “Let Me Wilt”, showing that “being yourself has never been cooler”. It all started in 2014 after Marie uploaded a YouTube video, leading to her being titled MTV’s Unsigned Artist Of The Year, putting her with the likes of Sam Smith, George Ezra and Ella Eyre. Soon Marie released ‘Blindfold’, the project where she delved into the stigma surrounding disability in the music industry and how we should tackle it, in response to her Grandmother losing her sight. The passion project led to Naffah giving TedTalks, making a documentary and gaining national coverage. Through the ‘Blindfold’ project, Marie met Kevin Satizabal, a blind pianist with whom she collaborates and plays live with at all gigs.

Please could you tell me about how it all started for you? Has there been anyone in particular that has inspired you to take the step in to music, and at what point did you know you wanted to make a career out of it?

I taught myself how to play the guitar when I was about 14 years old. From then, I started writing songs – albeit badly. Any occasion – birthday, christmas – you name it, there’d be a tune that my family would have to endure. When I was 18, I opened my eyes to the world of the London music scene, gigging everywhere and anywhere to audiences big and small. From then I was hooked I suppose. It was when I was awarded MTV’s Unsigned Artist of the Year a few years back I suddenly became much more serious about the whole thing.

Your latest single “Let Me Wilt” is due for release on the 23rd March. Could you tell me about the single, and how are you feeling about getting new music out there? 

I can’t wait for everyone to hear the new music. Last summer was one of the most intense of my life – I got on a Greyhound bus from New York to Pittsburgh (after a series of Sofar Sounds shows) which led me to my new US manager, who introduced me to Tyler Watkins and the team at Postal recording in Indianapolis. I think the music we made together captures some of that Americana feel. We wanted something timeless – as most artists do I suppose. The guys at Postal were magicians. ‘Let me Wilt’, the first single, serves as a heading to the next chapter and I could not be more excited to be putting it out there with complete creative control.

Could you tell me about your writing process, and how you know when a song is ready? Being a solo artist do you have anyone to bounce ideas from?

My writing process tends to be rather private. It’s an unsatisfying answer but you do just sort of ‘know’ when a song is ready. The good ones tend to come out all at once. Sometimes I will play around with lyrics afterwards, but normally when it’s done you’ll feel it. My manager is great at providing advice without stepping on my toes. It’s a real skill and I’m really thankful for his input.

Who are your biggest musical influences, and how have they encouraged and helped you to develop your sound?

I started off as a lyric-driven, acoustic singer-songwriter, back when Laura Marling and Ed Sheeran were the king and queen of the cutting-edge music scene. Recently, things have moved forward and I’ve looked back – looking at old souls like Aretha Franklin, Carly Simon, Janis Joplin. Influences from my generation include those who will never fail to stand out in a crowd, the girls who went against the grain – Florence Welch, Amy Winehouse.

Are you looking to release an EP or an album in the near future?

I’m playing the single game at the moment. It seems right considering the music industry currently with curated playlisting ruling the show. I plan to go back to Indianapolis to finish the LP. My goal is to have an album full of single-worthy songs.

How does the single compare to your previous material, and how do you feel you’ve grown as an artist?

I feel much stronger as an artist. I feel more sure about the sound I want to make and I felt a confidence in the studio that I’d never felt before. The result is bigger, more mature and the variety of weird and wonderful instruments make for that fuller, brighter sound. However had I not written the previous material, I wouldn’t have got to here.

How did it feel winning the MTV Unsigned Artist of the Year award back in 2014, and how has it since helped you with your music career? 

Being awarded MTV’s Unsigned Artist of the Year will be something that I will cherish forever. It led me to experience some great opportunities and connect with some great personalities who have stuck by me and offered me true advice. Having such a powerhouse choose me will always be something I am grateful for.

Your project ‘Blindfold’ is about raising awareness of the stigma behind disability in the music industry. Could you tell more about why this is something you feel passionately about, and what you feel the music industry should be doing about this?

The ‘Blindfold’ project has also been a highlight of my music career thus far. I started the project originally with a song I’d written about my grandmother who had lost her sight. The song explored the concept of blindness and the documentary is built around that song. Having teamed up with six visually impaired musicians and hearing their stories, I started to realise how discriminative and close-minded the music industry can be, especially to those with disability. I gave a TED talk about this very matter – I don’t have a big, ground breaking solution but I do want to help raise awareness and help the music industry become a more inclusive place. If a few more people are talking about it then maybe, slowly, things will change. It’s 2018, it’s ridiculous that someone who is blind should be turned down from playing a gig.

I’ve recently discovered Sofar Sounds and noticed you did a performance a little while back. How did the opportunity come about, and how was the experience?

Lucky you for being introduced to Sofar Sounds! I was approached by Rafe Offer, the co-founder of Sofar Sounds, while I was in session at Soho Radio. He told me about the concept. I have now played shows around the world with Sofar. London, Oxford, Brussels, Berlin, San Francisco, Boston, New York… so many. The initiative is flawless and I am so pleased they are gleaning more attention in the global press. It really is a special thing. Every time I walk into a Sofar, wherever it is in the world, it feels like coming home.

You’ll be performing your biggest gig to date on the 9th April at the Omeara in London. How are you feeling about the show and are there any songs in particular you’re looking forward to performing live?

There is no greater feeling for me than playing live. It really is my favourite thing to do. So yes, I am giddy with excitement to play my biggest gig to date. We had such a blast at the Lexington in January and I’m ready to get back on stage again. As for songs… I love playing all of them, but my band is particularly breathtaking in our new cover of Sam Cooke’s ‘A Change is Gonna Come’. They are just so cool. So yes, come dance with me.

Connect with Marie Naffah via her Website, Facebook and Twitter.

Tom Lumley set to release new single “Skyhigh” on March 15th

Wednesday 14th March 2018

Penned as one of my artists to watch back in the Autumn of 2017, Cambridge born singer/songwriter Tom Lumley has wasted no time in putting the finishing touches together on his next release.  Last year put a solid stake in Tom’s music career, after being awarded the Best Male Solo Artist at the NMG awards, and also being picked up by the likes of BBC Introducing. Fresh off the back of the success of his previous single “Just Like The Light”, which really gave Tom and his band another well-earnt peg up, and riding high after a year of performing a string of live dates, tomorrow sees the release of his next single “Skyhigh”.

Speaking with Tom last year about his plans for an upcoming EP or album release, he explained that “At the moment I’m going to stick with singles. I have a locker full of songs but I don’t want to rush it and just chuck them out there. I’m going to try and keep building the fan base whilst releasing singles until I think it’s the right time for an album”.  

Being fortunate enough to grab an advance copy of the latest single, it was pleasing to hear that “Skyhigh” continues to live up to expectations. Uplifting with it’s indie-pop vibes, and catchy with its lyrics that talk of a one-sided relationship, the track is very catchy and vocally pleasing.  Tom has a great voice with a harmonious tone, which often becomes more strident.

Alongside the release, tomorrow is also the final day of the current tour, which will also be a launch show for the single taking place in Tom’s hometown of Cambridge at the Portland Arms. If you fancy heading out and supporting new music, then grab yourself one of the remaining few tickets here.

Connect with Tom Lumley via his Facebook and Twitter.

The Anchor – Interview

Saturday 3rd March 2018

Formed in the Spring of 2014, Denver quintet The Anchor have earned their reputation with a series of explosive releases. The band stakes their reputation with an emotive, impactful and ambitious sound, balancing thunderous breakdowns with majestic melodies and a heartfelt delivery riveting metalcore sound and high-octane live shows.  In addition to the band’s debut LP, “The World Ahead” debuting at #7 on the iTunes Metal Chart, the female-fronted outfit have also made a name for themselves since the viral explosion of their YouTube series, Metal Kitchen, which sees Linzey Rae cook with some of the genre’s leading names.  This week has seen the release of their current EP “Make It Last” so I caught up with the band to discover how they formed, what they hope from their latest release, and what we can expect next.

Hello! Please could you tell me some more about the history of the band; where and how did you meet, have you been in bands previously, and what made you decide to form The Anchor?

We all met in an old band, called Of Ashes. Cory and Ryan started the band playing in Ryan’s apartment back in 2012 and I joined them on bass in early 2013. We played a few shows but it sort of tapered off. After really thinking about what we wanted out of music and a band, we started over and formed The Anchor. Later down the road we found Keenan and met Adam, who was a studio drummer at the time. We’re basically the oddest pack of weirdos out there and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Your new EP “Make It Last” is due for release on the 23rd February.  How are you feeling about getting new music out there?

We’re honestly really excited to hear about what people’s new favorite songs are. On our last album, fans would tell us about their favorite songs and why it was their favorite. They would share with us these amazing stories and we were able to connect with them on a very personal level. We can’t wait to hear new stories and connect with old and new fans alike!

Your previous release debuted at #7 on the iTunes Metal Chart, but how does your latest material compare, and are you hoping for bigger things?

An album is like a snapshot about how we felt at that point in time and trying to compare it to what we wrote a year ago is kind of irrelevant and unimportant. Of course we hope this upcoming album will do great, but whether or not it sells better or worse than the last album doesn’t matter. We are proud of what we created together and we love preforming it. That’s all that matters.

What can we expect from “Make It Last”, and how did you find the process of putting it together?

The upcoming EP, Make It Last, is a tribute to all the amazing people we have met throughout our lives and through our musical endeavor. Each song is a testament to how relationships, for better or for worse, play a role shaping who we are. Every relationship and story we have heard has had a huge impact on us and continue to inspire us to be the greatest versions of ourselves possible. We really tried to not allow ourselves to be restricted by norms of our genre. We wanted to try to write something that was out of our comfort zones and push ourselves as musicians.

Can you tell me about your writing process, how you work together to create the final track, and how you know when a song is ready?

Cory generally writes the basic structure of the song and then brings it to the band. From there, we all collaborate together and get the songs about 90% done. The major leg work usually happens in the studio. Our producer, Taylor Hahn, plays a huge part in taking our songs to the next level. I think what has made the writing process so successful is that everyone plays a specific roll. We all have common vision for the band and have a deep understanding of “The Anchor” sound if you will.

Who are your musical influences, and are there any bands in particular that you model yourselves on?

Gin Blossoms, U2, Prince, and most importantly Steely Dan… ;)

Which tracks from your new EP are you looking forward to performing live?

AVOW!!! That song is super high energy and gets a crowd moving. Every time we have played it, things always end up getting a little rowdy.

How are you finding the music scene in Denver, and are there any venues in particular that you enjoy performing at?  I recently interview another band from the area that said there’s a lot of supportive venues and promoters.

We have been so fortunate to be a part of the Denver scene. We have received endless support and love from everyone in it. There is a promoter in particular, Zack Beecroft (Swinging Noose Productions), who genuinely cares about the scene and the bands in it. He always sees to it that bands are paid and well taken care of. The scene here is amazing!

I’m sorry but I have to ask; does “The Ghost Inside Makes Shepherds Pie” ever get performed live?

We learned it a long time ago when the video first came out. We regularly practiced it just in case someone requested, but it turns out that the people who come to our shows really aren’t that interested in hearing it. So we all have kind of forgot how to play it. However, bribe us with enough girl scout cookies and we’ll play just about anything.

What’s the ultimate aim for the band and where do you hope your music will take you?

There isn’t really an end goal. We plan to keep on working hard, writing music and touring. We all have such a passion for what we do and we can’t wait to see where it takes us.

Connect with The Anchor via their Website, Facebook and Twitter.

Elesa Marmo – Interview

Sunday 25th February 2018

Elesa Marmo is a singer/songwriter from Long Island, New York.  She’s been writing music since she could remember. After many years of wanting to pursue music, as well as releasing music as part of the indie duo The Wilts, Elesa most recently released her debut EP, titled “Clear Blue,” which has been produced by Greg Almeida (of alt rock band VISTA). Growing up listening to a large variety of mainstream pop artists, her original music is heavily influenced with electronic sounds and soft acoustic feels and blends those sounds perfectly.  I catch a moment with Elesa to find out how it’s all going since the release of her first solo EP.

Hello! Please could you tell me about yourself, how it all started and at what point you decided to make a career out of music?

Hello! I’m Elesa. I’m a singer/songwriter from Long Island. I’m 23 years old. I’ve always wanted to be a musician, I remember watching all my favorite pop stars when I was little perform and all I wanted was to be on stage just like them. Once I taught myself guitar and could put music to my lyrics is when it really set in that this is what I want to do. 

You have recently been part of the successful indie duo The Wilts. What was the decision behind moving away from this and pursuing a solo career?

I think we both just really wanted to make our own stuff. We made one EP together but unfortunately didn’t get to play live shows together. He’s great though, he’s got music out as his solo project called Lated and he’s in a band called Shorebreak as well and he’s so talented so definitely check him out! We will I’m sure do some shows eventually but we just wanted to kind of explore our own styles and find ourselves musically.

Your first EP “Clear Blue” was released in January. How are you finding the response to your music so far?

Everything I’ve seen has been so lovely. The responses have been so positive so far so I’m over the moon!

How did you find the process of putting your EP together, and did you face any hurdles that you had to overcome?

Everything was just so exciting and new to me having full creative control and just really finding my sound. I don’t think there were really any hurdles, I guess maybe some writers block at some points but it really just all flowed out.

What about the final track listing, were there tracks any that didn’t make the cut?

I always knew I wanted a four track EP so I really focused on making four really solid songs, I was proud of but of course as a writer I have my book of songs from when I was a kid to now of lyrics.

How did the opportunity come about to work with Greg Almeida, and how was the experience for you?

We went to college together and he did The Wilts EP and we always said during that process that we wanted to work together. The experience working with him was incredible he really knows so much about the production side and he would help me so much with writing as well and just made the songs sound exactly how I wanted and would hear things I didn’t even think of to add to them.

Could you tell me about your writing process, and how you know when a song is ready? Being a solo artist do you have anyone to bounce ideas from?

It’s different every single time. Usually it’s lyrics first for me but it can be music first. Greg really was the person I went to with lyrics and ideas and we would take it from there.

Who are your biggest musical influences, and how have they encouraged and helped you to develop your sound?

Stevie Nicks has always been an idol of mine. I love Lorde as well and her style and Carly Rae Jepsen, me and Greg listened to her while making this and we love her so much. I love Miley Cyrus too I’ve always been a big fan of hers.

What’s the music scene like in Long Island, and are there any venues in particular that you enjoy performing at?

It’s small but it’s nice. I think being near such a big city it’s great too. I haven’t performed live yet since it’s the first EP but there’s some venues of course I wanna try out!

What are your plans for the year ahead, and what live dates do you currently have lined up?

I’m currently working on getting the production ready for some live shows so that’s my focus right now. I’ll hopefully make some new music and just see where this takes me!

Connect with Elisa Marmo via her Website, Facebook and Twitter.

Nath Bravo – Interview

Thursday 22nd February 2018

Hailing from Mexico, but currently residing and performing in London, Nath Bravo has already spent a lot of time in the music industry pursuing opportunities. Having won a competition back in 2015 with an original song called “Alma Ajena” (foreign soul), Nath went on to write demos and took her first trip to London.  After 2 months in the capital she had played at over 30 venues and released her first single “Mercy” Nath was later discovered through one of her videos on Facebook and was asked to join the Vidanta group in Mexico, for which she spent 6 months as part of the team.  Following on from this Nath went back home to start focusing on her songwriting and creative journey. Now, with a brand new EP and single “Shadowman”, which was released at the end of November, she’s currently gigging all around London promoting and performing her own original music.


You have quite a musical background, and although you’re only 21 it sounds as though you’ve already spent a lot of time in the industry.  How have you found the experiences so far, and how has it helped you to develop and get to where you are today?

Well, I think it’s been a whole journey. Each phase I’ve gone through has built something different and in retrospect, it’s all been pushing me somehow till the point I’ve turned into this person. When you spend so much time and passion on something you believe in, you get the purest relationship with it, and the more I get into music, the more I get into myself. I’ve still got many many things to experience and I’m sure that in one year, they’ll bring me to another different phase without even noticing; I guess that’s how it works.

Do you feel that you have reached the point of finding the authentic sound and style that you were looking for with your music?

Authenticity is something that happens when you are truly honest on what you do, so, I think I’ve kept on being like that with everything I write and perform. That being said, I’m at the moment really happy with my sound, so I’m enjoying the feeling cause, at the end, I think it’s all about finding something that feels right. To trust your instinct and to own it is always gonna take you to a good place. I like to surprise myself.

You were born in Mexico but have spent time in London recording and performing. What is the music scene like in Mexico, and what was the decision to bring your music over this side of the pond?

I think Mexico is rich in culture and there are many talented creative souls out there, I love it. It’s interesting, different from the one here, as any other music scene, obviously, but the Mexican music has a special place in my heart. A couple of years ago, when I was living in Vancouver, a dear friend of mine recommended me to come to London to try my music out, and so I did. I came in the summer of 2016 and loved it; I guess it’s a place where I got a lot of my influences from, so, it just felt right to do it. This city is a sort of capital for music and therefore has many platforms and great opportunities for upcoming artists, which is wonderful. You should always be free to go out there and find the places and things that work for you.

Are there any venues in particular that you enjoy performing at?

I think The Water Rats has been one of my favorites. It’s such a great place to perform; intimate and nice vibe.

It’s been a few months now since the release of your EP.  How are you finding the response to your music so far?

It’s been good, I think that every time you release your work it’s a bit scary cause you are giving a bit of yourself for the world to listen and you never know what the response is going to be like, but I’ve seen that people have liked what I’m doing, so it’s been good, I’m glad!

Your latest single “Shadowman” has the most beautiful video to accompany it.  Who did you work with for the video, and where was it shot?

Thank you! It was filmed and completely made by my talented brother Aaron Bravo, mainly while on a road-trip in Iceland. I told him the meaning behind the song and the vibe, and he just instantly got it and brought his magic to the project. There’s a “male intervention” which was shot in Mexico.

Could you tell me about the single and the meaning behind it?

Well, in “Shadowman” the lyrics are quite personal, and still relatable. It’s a tribute to fear and the way I feel when it happens. I was able to experience it myself by the time that I wrote the song, so it just came naturally. It’s like you are a kid, trapped in a cage that only you can destroy, it’s a chaotic state of mind, but still, pretty fascinating as well. 

What’s your writing process?  Being a solo artist do you have anyone to bounce ideas from, and how do you know when a song is ready?

I think it depends. A song can just happen and sometimes I make the song happen. Sometimes I have a very specific idea in my mind to be portrayed, and some others I just sit in front of the piano and let it be as it emerges, and as soon as I get something half decent, I keep on working on it until I feel it’s ready; I guess I just feel it. Once it’s almost done, I send it to some good people I trust to know what they think and to know if it’s not only cool in my mind.

You were invited to join the group Vidanta back in 2016, which you were part of for 6 months. What was the decision behind not continuing with the band, and what is it about being a solo artist that has made you pursue this instead?

Well, Vidanta is a big resort in Mexico and I was invited to the group as a solo artist, so I was headlining shows pretty much every day. It was a step I needed to take in order to get more experience and I’m grateful it happened. After 6 months I just felt it was right for me to continue with my own path and project so I left to focus on my songwriting and production, but I think I’ve been a solo artist my whole life, I just started making my own thing and it’s just worked out, however I do love to collaborate with other people, to share ideas and so on.

What’s your ultimate aim and where do you hope your music will take you?

To connect with people is always gonna be the ultimate aim, I think. I hope it leads me to a point where I can inspire the audience, that’d be amazing, and I always dream about being on the road, so maybe everywhere!

Connect with Nath Bravo via her Website, Facebook and Twitter.

Irene Skylakaki – Interview

Monday 19th February 2018

Born in Greece, Irene Skylakaki studied in London before moving back to Athens to pursue music full time; an endeavour that led to her releasing two critically acclaimed albums in her native country. She has also supported such artists as diverse as Macy Gray, Jessie Ware, Beirut, Daughter, and Cass McCombs. After returning to the Capital, Irene forged her path onwards through serendipitous circumstances – she met Lola Marlin (Director of Sarm Studios), who introduced her to producer Danton Supple, while trying to retrieve a lost dog in Maida Vale. This meeting led Irene to writing an albums worth of material within two weeks, containing the songs which form her upcoming EP “Planet”.

How did it all start for you, and what was the decision behind making a career out of music?

At school I guess I was a bit immature and didn’t have a lot of interests. The only thing I really cared about was music. I studied Law in London to prove to myself (and my parents) that I was capable of academic success, but I soon realised that I was following a path that wouldn’t lead me somewhere. I always wrote songs on the side and was lucky enough to be picked up by a Greek producer who loved my music and helped me make it in Greece. Having released two albums in Greece which did well, I felt like I owed it to myself to try to pursue music on a larger scale, for a wider audience, so I returned to London and met Danton Supple, who produced my upcoming album ‘Matterless’. It all happened very quickly and quite serendipitously.

You originate from Greece, but how does the music scene compare to the UK?

The Anglophone music scene in Greece is quite small. In London it truly feels like the sky is the limit, with so many incredible talents from all over the world residing in just one city. I believe it’s the right environment for an artist to blossom and it’s really a matter of endurance and staying focused, as London can be a very hard city to survive in financially, as a rising musician.

Your debut EP “Planet” is due for release on the 16th March.  How are you feeling about getting new music out there?

I’m very excited. I’m an impatient person and I’ve waited so long for this release. As it’s a very different industry compared to Greece, I wanted to first find the right team here to support me with this effort, instead of just releasing everything and hoping for a miracle. As David Bowie had said in an interview about pursuing music, 50% is art and 50% is business. He always gave a 100% to both.

How did you find the process of putting your EP together, and were there any tracks that didn’t make the cut?

Planet is a selection of songs from my new album ‘Matterless’, which will be released later this year. I didn’t want to give too much away from the album at once. I have a friend who is an artist and has great taste in music. We sat down together one day, listened to ‘Matterless’ 30 times and rated the songs. After a couple of bottles of wine, we were able to select the songs for ‘Planet’. It was a very collegial process!

Could you tell me more about the inspiration behind “Planet” and are there any artists or ventures that have encouraged you on this release?

A feeling of isolation and romantic failure inspired ‘Planet’. I love Marika Hackman, Laura Marling, The XX, Daughter, and I feel I’ve been really influenced by their sound.

How does it compare to your previous releases?

I’m older now, so hopefully my songs are more mature. I think that songs are a representation of the person who wrote them. When I release a new song, I feel like I’m releasing myself. This album is even more autobiographical than my previous ones and I feel much more ‘exposed’. In a bizarre way, I find this process very soothing. As if by sharing something so intimate, I’m exorcizing pain by helping others feel less lonely and isolated.

Who are your biggest influences and how do you draw upon your inspirations when writing and performing?

Leonard Cohen is my god. He was a great songwriter from the beginning, but through the years he developed his art both musically and lyrically in an incredible manner. I believe in artists who have longevity and are not numbed and reassured by temporary success. Artists who have a fire inside them. Like Joni Mitchell, or David Bowie.

Who has been your favourite artist to support so far?

It’s a band and it’s ‘Daughter’. Apart from awesome musicians, they were super lovely people too. I have a little girl crash on Elena Tonra. Such a beautiful person and artist!

How are you feeling about your upcoming headlining show at The Islington, and are there any tracks in particular that you’re looking forward to performing live?

I can’t wait! I really like The Islington as a venue and I’m sharing the stage with a brilliant greek artist and friend of mine Katerine Duska, who is travelling from Athens just for this show – it’s going to be a great night. I can’t wait to perform one of my new songs called ‘It’s Getting Darker’, which, as the title gives away, is darker and quite intense when performing live.

What have you got planned next, and where do you hope your music will take you?

I’m recording my next EP at the moment with Andres Mesa, sound engineer of Phil Manzanera, and planning more gigs for the following months. I hope my music will take me to another planet and I’d love to take you with me!

Connect with Irene Skylakaki via Facebook, Instagram, and Spotify.