Music Q&A:
Nerina Pallot

After spending 2014 releasing one EP a month the singer returns with a new LP, The Sound and The Fury, a politically driven, self-confessed mid-life crisis album

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Why did you choose to highlight the refugee camps in Calais in the music video for The Road?
While I was looking for a video director to work with on the video for the song, I met the filmmaker Damian Weilers, and it was his idea to go to Calais and film what was going on. He felt – as do I – that we were only being told one side of the story and the situation for the refugees was only presented as a political one. The humans at the heart of it were being pretty much forgotten. I didn’t write The Road about the migrant crisis – it is really a song about self-determination and keeping your head together while everybody else is losing theirs – but Damian understood that and felt that it was in some way telling the same story as that of a refugee trying to escape a terrible situation and make something of their life.

Do you think it is important for musicians and artists to address current political issues?
It depends on the artist really. If it’s done overtly and political issues are shoehorned into work then I think it can actually be detrimental. But yes, as far as I’m concerned, it is vitally important. If you plan on making creative work that reflects the world you live in, then how can you not address these things? I think if you do it with integrity and intelligence it can really help make a wider audience aware of difficult subjects and even help change people’s minds about things.

Last year you released one EP every month in an attempt to get out of the cycle of recording, releasing and touring albums. How does it feel returning to that traditional model with The Sound and The Fury?
Well, from my point of view and that of my hardcore fan base, this is the final part of breaking out of the usual cycle. A lot of what has become the new album started life on the Year of EPs project and so this is it coming to fruition. A casual listener wouldn’t be aware of this, so for them it probably appears like the traditional model. Having said that, the music industry and media landscape is in the middle of a massive shift, so I don’t think anybody really knows what the traditional model is anymore, or what the new one will be either!

You’ve returned to your own label to release this album. Having experience of both major label and DIY which do you feel is better for recording artists?
It depends so much on what kind of artist you are and what kind of music you make. I don’t think I’d be able to sustain a career as an independent artist if I hadn’t benefited from the marketing power and spend when I put records out on major labels, especially as the music I have made has tended to be more pop than indie. Personally, I think I really thrive when I do it my own way – I’m able to do things much more quickly, have a direct relationship with fans and be in control of what I do. It works for me, but it’s very very tough out there if you’re a new artist starting out. I was lucky when I started out on my own label – it really was very DIY, running a label from my kitchen table, flying by the seat of my pants and touring my arse off for years, but I shifted enough copies of my second album to attract major label interest and the marketing that came from that gave me a bigger audience that allowed to me to go it alone again eventually.

Why have you described the album as a midlife crisis album?
Ha ha. Yeah, that sounds a bit dramatic! And I don’t want to go all gloom and doom, but for me the crisis has been about really looking at the world and worrying about it. I have a small son, and it sounds like a cliché, but more than ever I would like to leave a world for him and his generation that is better than the one I grew up in. And yet, it doesn’t feel that way. I’ve lived in London for over 20 years now and when I look around, I see more inequality, not less, and when I travel around places on tour, I meet a lot of people having a tough time out there. Making music is my way of making sense of the world so I guess this album is much darker than anything I have made previously, because although I feel OK in terms of my wellbeing, the world has made me melancholy.

Antonia Charlesworth

Nerina Pallot plays Liverpool, Hebden Bridge, Sale and Sheffield as part of a wider UK tour next month.

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Nerina Pallot

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