THE terrific Runrummer has been telling me about...
her awesome new E.P., Soul Wrinkles, and its inspirations; whether she has a favourite cut from the collection and what comes next for her – she selects a few albums that are very important and explains the reasons why.
I ask what sort of music she grew up around and who she’d support on the road if she could; which approach musician we need to check out and what advice she would offer to artists coming through – Runrummer picks a great song to end things on.
Hi, Runrummer. How are you? How has your week been?
Hey, Sam! My week is going very well thank you. Busy but good. Just played a headline show at the Amersham Arms and gearing up for a performance at Stockwell Studios with students from the University of Greenwich on 12th December. I’m also back in the studio working on new tunes and remixes - exciting times!
For those new to your music; can you introduce yourself, please?
My real name name is Livi Morris. I’m twenty-four-years-old and I’m an emerging Alt-Pop singer, songwriter and producer. Currently based in East London, although I grew up in a town called Bromsgrove just on the outskirts of Birmingham. Prior to embarking on my first solo adventure as an independent artist, I cut my teeth writing lyrics for EDM heavyweights like Showtek and The Chainsmokers.
Soul Wrinkles is your new E.P. What sort of themes and stories inspired the music?
The music is all very personal to me. A lot of it confronts struggles I’ve had with sexuality, gender identity; mental-health and other juicy emotional stuff. Eyes, for example, tries to tap into the feeling of being trapped by your own gender. This is something I really struggled with when I was younger. The isolation you feel and the road you have to travel down in order to find acceptance within yourself vs. others expectations.
Do you have a favourite cut from the pack? Is there a personal highlighted?
Penny Drop definitely is my personal favourite at the moment. I just really love the feeling of it. It follows the story of two lovers who realise their relationship is over - but at different points and in their own separate ways - that ‘penny drop moment’ where suddenly everything makes sense and become more clear. The coffee shop narrative is also an interesting one.
Everyone has their own place of escapism and the coffee shop tries to be symbolic of that. A place to run away and find calm on a dark, rainy evening when you feel like all hope is lost. The concept I had in my mind was very much inspired by Edward Hopper’s 1942 painting Nighthawks.
What sort of music did you grow up around? How important were your parents’ tastes regarding your music?
I grew up in a very musical household. Neither my mum or dad could play an instrument but they were always blasting the good stuff - mainly '70s and '80s. The biggest inspiration from my dad has to be David Bowie. Whenever my mum was out, we would listen to all his Bowie records back-to-back then watch some cut-throat Tarantino movie like Kill Bill (also great music on those soundtracks). I’m really inspired by anything from the '70s and '80s and, in fact, my name ‘Runrummer’ actually comes from the famous Rum Runner nightclub which helped launch classic '80s bands like Duran Duran and Dexys Midnight Runners back in the day.
I grew up with my dad talking about that place like it was a shining beacon of light on the Brummie music scene; so the name Runrummer is sort of a nod to my dad and to Birmingham as a whole and particularly the music that influenced me growing up.
You moved from Bromsgrove to London. How important was it to move to the capital? Has it opened up doors and opportunities?
London is definitely the best place to be if you’re an emerging artist in the U.K. The people I’ve met and the opportunities I’ve encountered since moving here have been quite incredible. For example, I recorded the E.P. at Cafe Music Studio which is the H.Q. of Jon Hopkins. I can tell you it’s quite surreal making a cup of tea with Jon in the kitchen, overhearing the sonic sounds emanating from his room and witnessing and development of Singularity (his latest studio album). London is also just a great place to be inspired. It’s so full of life and colour.
Two of the tracks on the E.P. I actually wrote while I was travelling on the Tube. And I also find one of the best ways to work on a new song is to listen to it on-repeat while travelling on the front seat at the top of a double-decker. An American recently told me that my music sounds very London, so the city must be rubbing off on me!
Do you already have plans for 2019?
2019 is full of exciting things indeed. I’ve just joined The Rattle which is an awesome collective of artists and start-ups working together in East London. I’ll be releasing new music, creating new videos; gigging every month and throwing myself thoroughly into the festival scene. I’m also on the lookout to collaborate as much as possible with other artists...so watch this space!
Have you got a favourite memory from your time in music so far – the one that sticks in the mind?
Getting flown out to the Netherlands to record with Showtek at their studio in Eindhoven has to be a highlight. This was back in 2012. I’d just turned eighteen, just got my braces off and just left school. I couldn’t believe my luck! It was the first time I felt like my music was worth something and that’s the best feeling in the world when you’re just starting out. Recognition and validation.
What does music mean to you? How important is it in your life?
Music means the world. Happy or sad, it’s the soundtrack to your life and I love how it can help you feel like you’re not alone. Whenever I’ve been down and out, it’s music that’s helped to pull me through. It can act as a form of escapism but it can also show you ‘Hey, other people are going through sh*t too and you can get through it together’. I’d say that’s pretty important. Can you imagine a world without music? No way!
Which three albums mean the most to you would you say (and why)?
Demon Days – Gorillaz
This is the first C.D. I ever owned. I had it on-repeat on my Sony Walkman for a good twelve months. I used to turn on MTV and wait for the music video for Feel Good Inc. to come on. I was proper-obsessed. It was unlike anything else at the time and all their stuff has definitely had a strong influence on my music and writing. I actually wrote a new song called Urban Jungle recently with Damon Albarn in mind. Would love to work with him one day.
The Whole Story - Kate Bush
I know this is a compilation album, which might seem like a controversial choice, but this is the record my mum had on vinyl when I was growing up. Kate Bush has to be one of my biggest idols of all time. She definitely influenced the E.P. and probably every song I’ve ever written. I love listening to The Whole Story. Cloudbusting is my favourite. I’m waiting for someone to make a killer remix of that one. Maybe I should just make one myself…
Aladdin Sane - David Bowie
I was tempted to say The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust... but I think Aladdin Sane is actually the Bowie album which has had the biggest and longest lasting impact on me. Lady Grinning Soul hits me hard and the whole album makes me feel things. Bowie is God.
As Christmas is coming up; if you had to ask for one present what would it be?
A music studio…wishful thinking!
If you could support any musician alive today, and choose your own rider, what would that entail?
Christine and the Queens, hands down. Héloïse Letissier is an absolute master. Have you seen her recent shows? I tried to get tickets for Victoria Apollo but they all sold out. And I’ve just seen she’s been announced to headline All Points East but I’m gutted I’ll be in Northern Ireland that weekend. Her performances on stage are incredible and I’d like to get to know her as an actual human being. What better way to know someone than to go on tour with them?
For the rider - I’ve got coeliac disease but venues never ever have any gluten-free beer, so I’d like a decent supply of that please!
What advice would you give to new artists coming through?
1. Don’t put yourself under any unnecessary pressure, especially when it comes to timescales. Yes, you have a goal and you’re champing at the bit but take your time. Only release stuff when it’s ready and make sure it’s the best it can be. You want your debut to be flawless.
2. Get a publisher - someone like Sentric who understands independent artists and tries to give you a fair deal in a language which doesn’t sound foreign. This also takes a lot of stress off you trying to get your head around the world of publishing. It can be a real headache act the start!
3. Be nice to people. Don’t stick your nose where it doesn’t belong and don’t try to talk about things you have no idea about. It will definitely come back to bite you.
Do you have tour dates coming up? Where can we catch you play?
We’ve got a very exciting gig planned for January but I’m afraid I can’t spill the beans about that one just yet. However, I can tell you we’ll be supporting our good friends Zkeletonz at the Victoria in Dalston on 22nd Feb. Plus, we’ve got a headline show in Worcester planned for March. New dates are being added all the time so follow me on the all my socials to stay in the loop (smiles).
IN THIS PHOTO: Merryn Jeann
Are there any new artists you recommend we check out?
Yes! Go check out Merryn Jeann! She’s definitely not new but still relatively unknown and deserves way more recognition I think her voice is incredible and her lyrics are flawless. The song she did with Møme called Aloha was a huge inspiration behind the making of my debut single Good for Nothing. I can’t wait to hear more from her as she grows. Definitely one to keep an eye on for sure!
Do you get much time to chill away from music? How do you unwind?
Haha. Well, music is my way of chilling! I currently work full-time as a Transport Planner at TfL. It pays the bills and I get to ride on the Tube for free. Cheeky.
Finally, and for being a good sport; you can choose a song and I’ll play it here (not any of your music - I will do that).
Solange - Losing You. What a banger!