A young songwriter who is getting stronger…
with each release he brings out; Caleb Linscombe is a promising new talent who is starting to make waves in the music industry. He talks to me about his new E.P., Pause, and how it differs from his past work – Linscombe reveals the artists that compel him and whether a mix of British and American sounds go into his own music.
He tells me about his ambitions for the coming months and what his favourite memory from music is; which three albums have hit him hardest; which song from his latest E.P. stands out to him – Linscombe talks about his plans to move to London.
Hi, Caleb. How are you? How has your week been?
Ya, thanks. It's been great. Quite a hectic one. I've got a record to release, a different country to move to and a graduation to do - all within a few days of each other…so it's been non-stop for some time now.
Probably, the busiest week of my life if I'm being honest.
For those new to your music; can you introduce yourself, please?
Well, hello! I'm Caleb. I'm the guy who can't sit still without having an instrument in his hands and is constantly humming and banging on objects. If I had to assign titles it would be songwriter, producer; artist and lover of beautiful vibrations through the air.
Pause is your new E.P. Can you tell me the story of stories and moments that inspired it?
So. Pause was all written in a hammock in the forest behind my flat. There's, like, this beautiful lake there with territorial swans and rivers all about. It's wonderful. So. I sat there writing these songs about my childhood and teenage memories, mostly with this girl, but they were all coming out as if the setting was in that forest.
The words were raw and felt right though, so I kept it all. When I pieced them together later, they all made this big, wonderful story that moves through different locations in the forest.
It sounds like a departure and different direction for you. Did you feel, artistically, there was a need for something new and unexpected?
Yeah. That was a big part of it. I never want to make two projects that sound the same as each other. My fans definitely helped me arrive at my decision, though. Every time I performed stuff like this, the applause was always five times louder than before and people would undoubtedly stick around to tell me they wanted to hear more like it. It's sometimes hard to hear your music through your own ears; so I just took this advice and went with it…and now I couldn't be happier.
Do you think the abandonment of American musical ideals and an attachment to British sounds enforced your decision?
Oh, it completely did. The first record was definitely more commercialised and I feel a bit too much of my Pop songwriter side came out. This one, however, I feel has its roots in all the classic British singer-songwriters that I grew up on. It's the E.P. I've always wanted to make…and I finally have.
Would you say there is a single track from the E.P. that stands out to you – the one that seems most personal?
From the very start, Love always stuck out to me. It's quite different in the sense that it's got heavy, compressed drums with guitar tapping layered atop - I've just never heard anyone do that before. It's also the most personal one I've got. I feel, as soon as you start telling a deeper and more heart-wrenching story, then it slowly becomes more and more personal to you. It's harder to share all the pain and regrets than any happy moment you experience.
Is it true you are moving to London to pursue music full-time? What was the reason behind that? Are you excited to come over here?
Yes. That's very true and it's becoming more surreal the closer it gets. I'm just a few days away now! I don't know; it was one of those things I always dreamed of doing as a kid. Everyone one of my musical role models has a huge connection to the city so I thought: ‘One day I'm going to do that to’. Then, as the years went on, I realised just how flourishing the music scene was and the reasons why it was a hub for all these artists.
I've been playing throughout Paris this past year and feel like I've done it all but, when I look at these opportunities in London, the list never ends. I haven't a place to stay when I'm there so it's a bit daunting but, yes, I'm beyond ecstatic. I’ve never been more excited about something!
How did music come into your life? Were there particular artists who lit that fuse?
Music was a big part of my life from the very start. My parents have all these photos of me holding a guitar at like the age of three. I didn't know how to play it, but the love for it was there and I figured it out not much later. I don’t know that anyone lit the fuse, but some that kept it burning were Damien Rice, Ben Howard and Ed Sheeran.
Can we see you tour this year? What gigs do you have coming along?
Yeah. For sure. I’ll be in London, mostly but I’ll be coming back to Paris often and possibly Colorado. So, between those three places there’ll be a lot of shows happening, so make sure to check the site. I plan to play a gig every day at least - so lots of opportunities to see me live!
What do you hope to achieve in 2018?
2017 was quite a lonely year for me, as I never really got out of the studio - apart from open mics and gigging. I find it much harder to connect with people when you’re in a country where you’re mother tongue isn’t theirs. So, when I move to London, I’m looking to collaborate with as many people as possible.
I want to have writing sessions, studio sessions and just time to hang out with other producers and make loads of music for the fun of it. My music has always been me doing one-hundred percent of the work. But, this next year, I want to trust everyone with their craft and work with some new people every day.
Have you got a favourite memory from your time in music – the one that sticks in the mind?
Some of the best memories that I’ve had in music come from my first year in high-school. I’d go to school in the morning and then drive all my friends back to my grandma’s house afterwards. We’d pick up food, go into my studio and just make beats; chill, and talk ‘til four in the morning. That’s still what I do today but it’s just not the same when you’re by yourself. That’s why I’m so keen on getting back into some collaborations.
Which three albums mean the most to you, would you say?
Ah. That would have to be Ed Sheeran’s +; Ben Howard’s Every Kingdom and Take Care by Drake, believe it or not.
What advice would you give to new artists coming through?
Don’t try to copy people because you like their sound: you’re never going to be better than them at their own sound. So, find your strengths and figure out how to use those to your advantage. As for your weaknesses: patch them up, get someone else to do the job or work your socks off at making them stronger.
IN THIS PHOTO: RYVOLI
Are there any new artists you recommend we check out?
Definitely make sure to check out a duo named RYVOLI. I’ve known one of them for around ten years and she was one of the first to introduce me to open tunings. Even if I’d never met her, I’d still listen to them day in and day out. They’ve got a project coming up this summer I’m very much looking forward to.
Do you get much time to chill away from music? How do you unwind?
Not really, no. I almost feel a bit awkward and unproductive if I’m not holding an instrument or working in a DAW. I make music when I’m happy, I make music when I’m sad and, if I’m pissed off, I’ll bang on some drums. But, to give you a real answer, I’ll sometimes go on a bike ride with my sister in the woods.
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).
Ah. This one’s got some crazy imagery. Let’s go with You Don’t Dance by Ryan McMullan
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