EVER since she put out her first song, it seems, there has been…
PHOTO CREDIT: @saulwodak
a huge wave of affection and respect for Hero Fisher. The video for new single, Sylvie, has a low-cost horror feel – sort of like The Blair Witch Project. It is a fascinatingly eerie video – one that accompanies a song that is tender and emotive. I ask the French-raised, British-based artist about the song and what we can expect from the album, Glue Moon. It follows her hugely impressive debut, Delivery, and marks her as one of the finest songwriters we have in this country.
This notion is backed by the likes of The Horrors and Blur – both of whom were blown away by her debut album. She has collaborated with Boy George and opened for, among others, The Rolling Stones and Neil Young; garnered huge support and is tipped as a mainstream star of the future. Her protean, filmic music is matched by fiery and emphatic vocals – one is reminded of PJ Harvey and Patti Smith.
I ask her about influences and the albums she treasures; what gigs she has coming up and whether there are any big collaborations/surprises coming up.
Hi, Hero. How are you? How has your week been?
Hi! I’m good, thanks.
My week has been full of good things since Sylvie has been released - I’m very happy to finally get some new stuff out into the world.
For those new to your work, can you introduce yourself, please?
I’m a musician, singer and songwriter. I mainly play the guitar and piano. I’m British but grew up in France - with Australian parents.
I released my first album, Delivery, in 2015 and will be releasing singles from my second album throughout this year.
The full album, Glue Moon, will come out early next year.
Tell me a bit about Sylvie and what the track is all about. How did that song come together?
Sylvie was inspired by a character from the book, Housekeeping, by Marilynne Robinson.
She’s a strange drifter who speaks of a ghost-town hidden in the woods by the lake - a place once full of life now almost gone. There are traces of houses left and she says that if you stand still and quiet, ghost children will come out of hiding.
The song, Sylvie, was written from the perspective of the ghost children.
What was the video like to shoot? You edited and directed it, too. Was that quite a challenge to do or something you were determined to do?
We shot it up in the Lake District - a place I wasn’t familiar with. It’s very beautiful up there: it’s like something out of a fairy tale. There were only three of us so it was pretty makeshift - we just thought we’d go and film a load of stuff and see what looked good.
I spent some hours in the freezing rain that day and was really sick for the rest of our stay - which was a challenge.
Editing was the hard bit, as I’m just learning how to do that, but I’m very determined to be as hands-on as I possibly can be - on the visual side of things.
I just finished editing my next single, Push the Boat Out.
In the video, there is juxtaposition between the song’s haunting (beautiful) tones and a visual eeriness. Was it instinctual to make the video this way and were any films influential in terms of the storyline/direction?
A lot of the songs on this album are written with a particular place in mind: it's the wee hours by a lake under a big pale, green moon. The eeriness in the video comes from imagining this place for so long that it came through pretty organically.
Also, the album is more low-fi than the first - and I wanted the visuals to have more a homemade feel about them. So, anything with older film colours (like Kodachrome or graininess) seem to fit this album.
Sylvie has made its way onto Spotify’s Indie Songs for Slackers. Were you quite chuffed hearing that?
I was super-chuffed about Sylvie making Spotify’s Indie Songs for Slackers playlist!
Glue Moon is your sophomore album. What can you tell us about the record and how does it differ from the debut – in terms of style and song themes?
There’s a haziness/dreamlike quality to the general atmosphere of this album.
It feels a bit otherworldly and very colourful. It still has a melancholic feel, in keeping with most of my work, but I think there's a lightness and a sense of relief that comes through on this album.
You were born in Britain but raised in France – now back in London. How the music scenes in Britain and France differ? Any plans returning to France or playing some gigs there?
I only played in bars in Paris - never bigger venues; so I can't compare them, really.
I wasn't as extroverted with my songs back when I was living there. But now, I'd absolutely love a chance to play at L'Olympia or the Grand Rex (or La Cigale)!
So far, you have won fandom from Blur and opened for Neil Young; collaborate with Boy George and win praise from huge stars. Does it all feel like a dream or has that kind of patronage made you a more confident artist?
Meeting other bigger artists is a great motivator and reminder that making music for a living is actually possible.
That such amazing people are so supportive feels great.
PHOTO CREDIT: @julian_broad_studio
Any collaborations or big surprises coming up? What do you have planned for the next few months?
I've only been collaborating with close mates recently - but, I've been dabbling in writing for other artists as well.
I'm definitely more open to the idea of collaboration now that I've written two albums of my own.
In terms of touring; where can we come see you play?
We’ll be announcing shows very soon. Keep an eye on my Facebook page
Who are the songwriters and musicians you emulate or take guidance from? What kind of music did you grow up listening to?
The two people I look to when in doubt are Bob Dylan and PJ Harvey. I admire them both so much...also:
Are there any new artists you recommend we check out?
I’m really loving Chelsea Wolfe at the moment.
I’ve also discovered a lovely singer from the 1950s called Connie Coverse, recently…
If you had to select the three albums that mean the most to you; which would they be and why?
Nick Cave’s Skeleton Tree AND Push the Sky Away
I can’t pick a favourite between them. There’s a delicate, spontaneous feel to both these albums that is so touching - I love these albums so much.
Astral Weeks by Van Morrison
Because, it makes me really happy and reminds me of being a kid.
Blood on the Tracks by Bob Dylan
Because, discovering it, was a massive turning-point for me in how I looked at songs and how I wrote songs from then on.
What advice would you give to any new artists starting out right now?
Don't over-think things.
Everybody else feels like they’re winging it, too.
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).
We No Who U R by Nick Cave
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