ALL PHOTOS: Laura Meek
THERE are some songs that intrigue the senses and cause…
the listener to conspire and dream. We Make Do is one such number and one I was keen to talk to Martha Ffion about. She discusses the background to the song and the upcoming album, Sunday Best. I ask whether her work has evolved since last year’s (E.P.) Trip and what comes next; the highlight of her year – and what it was like growing up in a Catholic household.
I ask the talented songwriter about the new artists she recommends; whether there are going to be any gigs coming up; how her week has been - what themes and ideas are explored on Sunday Best.
Hi, Martha. How are you? How has your week been?
I am good, thank you. It’s minus-six-degrees outside - but it’s nearly Christmas and I’ve just announced my album release.
So I’m very happy.
For those new to your work; can you introduce yourself, please?
My name is Claire Martha Ffion McKay and I am a songwriter. I grew up in Warrenpoint, Northern Ireland – but I now live in Glasgow.
My music is inspired by both classic songwriting and Indie music.
Sunday Best is your latest album – out early next year. What can you reveal about the sort of themes that you explore on the record?
An overriding theme is ‘what does it mean to be good?’ - in terms of both the expectations of others and of society as a whole and how that pressure affects us.
We Make Do is the new single from the album. What is the origin of that song?
It came out of a conversation I had with a family member...
I was feeling a bit overwhelmed - as certain things weren’t going well for me or for them and they sort of told me to toughen up a bit. The song is both expressing frustration at that stiff-upper-lip culture - but also accepting the idea that sometimes ‘just getting by’ in the face of adversity is good enough.
Your reputation has increased and strengthened following the last year’s E.P., Trip. Have you noticed yourself grow as a songwriter?
I hope so. I do feel I’ve grown into my identity more as a writer and have more confidence in what I like.
You were raised a Catholic in a small-town part of Ireland. Was it quite frustrating growing up, wanting to see more of the world? Was there a need to break from it and see the bigger world?
I loved where I grew up. It’s beside the sea and really beautiful. To be honest; I was pretty sheltered and generally content. It wasn’t until I turned eighteen that I started to get itchy feet and felt I had to move away.
Now, I’m shocked by how little I knew about the world.
IN THIS PHOTO: Spinning Coin/PHOTO CREDIT: Stuart Macintosh
Can we see you perform anywhere soon? What gigs do you have lined-up?
I’m playing some dates in March:
Cardiff - Clwb Ifor Bach on 7th
London - Waiting Room on 8th
Edinburgh - Sneaky Pete’s on 9th
Glasgow - Mono on 10th
Newcastle - Think Tank on 11th
Looking back at this year; has there been a moment that stands as a highlight for all of you?
Howlin’ Fling festival on the Isle of Eigg. It was one of the best festivals I’ve ever been to and one of the most fun I’ve played. It was a memorable weekend.
Also; recording the album was an amazing experience.
Finally, and for being a good sport; you can name a song and I’ll play it here (not one of yours as I’ll do that).
Kevin Morby - Dorothy (because everyone should hear this song!)
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