THIS is a busy and hectic time for. Siobhan Wilson.
Her album, There Are No Saints, was released a couple of months ago and has been getting a huge amount of love. With the video for Dark Matter in the ether; a lot of eyes and ears will be on Wilson and her stunning music. I speak with the Scottish-born songwriter about her latest album/video and what tour dates she has coming up.
Wilson talks about the acclaim she has been receiving; spending time in Paris and whether her music has changed since 2014’s Dear God. She picks an artist we should check out and what advice she would give any new songwriters emerging.
Hi, Siobhan. How are you? How has your week been?
The best thing that happened this week was getting played on BBC Radio 2. The worst thing was that my goldfish King Alfred died.
Everything in-between has been fine.
For those new to your work, can you introduce yourself, please?
I'm a singer-songwriter, musician; artist and writer who lives in Scotland but floats about a bit in Paris, in studios - and more remote parts of Scotland.
There Are No Saints, your recent album, has been gathering a lot of press since its release. How would you define the album in terms of the themes addressed and the stories included?
I think all albums are defined by passages of time. The time they take to write; the time spent in the studio; he time when people listen and reflect; the events that inspire songs; he way the songs become a version of the past. It's like a gathering together of a few years of my life: a huge release that took a lot of work, and now, I feel like somebody new.
By the time you've made an observation, everything has changed anyway. It's a bit like a photo or like putting your hand through water and letting the sounds ripple out - you wouldn't capture everything and it wouldn't be a true representation of the real experience.
Has it been flattering seeing sites like The Line of Best Fit backing and promoting your music?
It's been a surprise: I didn't expect it.
I care a lot about the music and it makes me happy when other people do too. I just think: "Well, what else is there to do?"
BBC Radio 6 Music has compared your voice to a nightingale. It seems like they are a station that has taken you to heart! Do you hope to perform for them one day and are you a fan of the station?
I played a session on Mark Riley when Vic Galloway sat in for him. It was so much fun! I felt like a Pop star. I loved being in the studio with all the big mics - and Vic made everyone laugh. I listen to '6 Music in my spare time; so it's surreal to be there.
I've got another '6 Music session in November but I've not announced it yet...it will be epic!
Dark Matter is your latest video. What is it about the song that meant you wanted to release it as a single? Can you remember writing it and why you were compelled to put pen-to-paper?
I wrote it very fast, I think - in an hour or two one afternoon. It started off despondent and depressed: really long strums and about half the tempo. It was dragging on and boring - like everybody would drown inside the song if they listened to it for too long and the world would disappear inside itself. Chris McCrory really brought it to life with percussion and his good attitude (and good vibes).
The label released it as a single because they liked it. I like all the songs equally and always like the weirder ones. When it comes to picking singles, I'm not introspective enough to pick a song that represents me or a whole album. I let somebody pick who is good at seeing that.
The video is colourful, to say the least. What was it like filming and who came up with the concept?
Mario Cruzado did an awesome job. He's really sensitive to colour and light. He is going to do some brilliant things.
My favourite bit of the day was when I got to smash plates!
I believe, of all the album tracks, Disaster and Grace, is your favourite. Why that track?
Right now it's There Are No Saints (the title-track). It changes all the time...
Song, By Toad Records is the label you are with. What are they like to work with and are you allowed the freedom to create the music you want to release?
Yeah. You can have lots of freedom and they are clever about that. They encouraged me to put the record out and they are nice humans.
You were brought up in Morayshire but moved to Paris. What kind of music did you listen to as a child and how important and influential was that move to France?
I think more Classical and Folk music when I was a kid - then some Jazz and Electronic music in Paris.
What did you learn from that time in France and do you hope to return there one day?
I just spent most the summer there.
I go all the time but mostly just a couple days at a time. It's a total change of scene and it's not that far away from Scotland. It's a romantic place but also a practical get away for me.
it's refreshing to be somewhere new that's not too far away.
How would you say your music has evolved and developed since, say, 2014’s Dear God? Have you improved and grown more confident since then, would you say?
I don't know. I think it's hard to measure. I definitely enjoy being on stages more than ever.
What tour dates do you have coming up? Where can we come see you play?
I'm on tour for most of this month and really excited about it!
8th September - The Blue Lamp, Aberdeen
9th September - The Drouthy Cobbler, Elgin 11th September - The Castle, Manchester
12th September - 81 Renshaw Street, Liverpool
16th September - The Bothy, Glenbuchat
17th September - The Basement - Live Music & Comedy Venue, York
18th September - The Tree House Bookshop, Kenilworth Arts Festival
19th September - The Musician, Leicester
20th September - Sands Films, Tuned In London
21st September - Kitchen Garden, Birmingham
22nd September - The Hall, Lancaster
24th September - The Voodoo Rooms Bar - Restaurant & Function Rooms, Edinburgh
28th September – Tolbooth, Stirling
Do you take other musicians on the road with you? Do you have anything outrageous on your rider - or is it quite modest?
Yes, I take my friends on tour with me and I'm very happy to have them there with me. My rider is really modest and boring. I don't want anybody to make a fuss. The French have got it sorted.
When I'm in France, I do what I'm told. I appreciate really good food and when food isn't good, I'm like, "Oh well, let's not dwell on it." It's the worst thing in life - talking about the food that you're eating and how you're not enjoying it.
I'm going to start asking for five lottery tickets to bring a flash of hope to the team's eyes.
Who are new acts you recommend we check out?
The Van T's (in Glasgow) are cool.
What advice would you give to artists coming through right now?
Don't wait for other people to give you work: try to make your own. If you ever feel like you're a girl surrounded by guys: do everything you can to employ some women.
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).
Can you please play Just Like Honey by The Jesus and Mary Chain?
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