The London duo return with new album Another River and a headline tour. They play Manchester’s Soup Kitchen, 17 Feb.
What informs your music and songwriting?
Lots of things inform the writing process day to day, but I would say life experiences and raw emotion are the main influences. With the new album Another River, we made sure we were really honest with the lyrics. This was so important to us. We are always fascinated by other people’s journeys and stories too. We are often deeply intrigued by what other people have been through and learn from their wisdom.
How has the band evolved over the years?
In lots of ways I suppose. On a personal level we have both grown up a lot and had to become resilient and brave, believing that what we are doing is OK and that we should keep going and forging our sound. As you experience more in life and grow older, naturally your sound develops, as it reflects how you feel and what sounds instinctively make sense. With Another River we went back to our roots of what we grew up listening to. Which was lots of R&B, soul and hip-hop. So in a funny way, we went backwards in order to create a sound that we hoped would move us forward.
What are you up to at the moment artistically?
We are rehearsing for our European tour in the spring. This is the first time we’ve really toured the UK and Europe so we’re really excited to get out and play our new record live. We’re also working on some very special new videos that will be coming soon. In between we are also writing our next album, so it’s all go.
What’s it like to operate in the music industry today?
Times have really changed from when we started out in 2010. People aren’t buying albums like they used to. But we love making albums and we love being in the studio so we will continue making records as long as we can. We have always had a long-term vision and that in itself can be difficult in an industry that is, as a whole, structured around fast-moving and big money-making acts. We have to constantly remind ourselves that it is OK to build at our own pace. This industry is tough and you have to be prepared to be knocked down a few times. But it will make you stronger – you will write better songs and meet amazing people along the way.
What’s on your rider?
Nothing that exciting. Sometimes we ask for weird crisps and socks. That’s probably as out there as we get!
Tell us your most embarrassing or surreal experience.
Our show in Paris in 2014 was probably the most surreal experience we have had so far as a band. We were asked to play at Silencio, which is David Lynch’s club. We had heard various things about how exclusive it was so we were pretty excited to go inside, let alone perform there. To summarise, a mime act went on stage before us and this French 1970s icon called Arielle Dombasle headlined the night. She is married to a famous philosopher who attended and she had an entourage of incredible looking people following her around, including one guy who seemed to be assigned to carrying her handbag. She sang a series of songs with a fiddle player. Then to top it off, we ended the night talking to an astrology expert who was fascinated by our star signs. It’s safe to say we were blown away by the weird and wonderful vibe of it all.
What’s your worst lyric?
Our worst lyric is probably in a song we haven’t released so it’s not coming to mind that quickly! We are really intense about lyrics and try to make sure every line is something we believe in. We try and avoid any lyrics based around lines such as “the stars and moons above”. It’s hard to create anything original or un-cheesy around those words.