It came out of the blue.
Actually, it came out of the ether.
I want to interview you about Row out to your ship of dreams.
How could I refuse (he was so polite)?
So here it is;
When did the project begin? and How did you meet yourselves?
I guess it all came together quite quickly in 2013. I was gigging and being asked if I had a CD – I didn’t. Then I was playing a song with a friend just for the heck of it at a music retreat when we heard beautiful voices joining in. Next thing we know we’re on stage together and joy and enthusiasm just sort of swept us into the studio.
What song of yours is the one you like the most?
Ship of Dreams. It sums up so many things in one song; I had been going through so many things in life and it gives hope that real strength comes from within, the process of creating that song is typical of the way ideas seem to germinate and grow almost by themselves, and it wouldn’t be the song it is now without Julian Ward on guitar.
Ship of Dreams
Go out to your ship of dreams
Time to leave the shore
Row out to your ship of dreams
Don’t stand there waiting for your ship of dreams for ever more
If you have a song, A song you’d like to sing.
Just step right up and share it with the world
There’s music in your dreams
And soul in every note and every word.
If there is a soul, Someone in your heart
Do they know how much they mean and how you feel
Why hide behind your fear
You’ll often lose a soul that’s never told
If there is a place, A place within your heart
A place that brings some meaning to your world
Start making travel plans
And the journey will be just as great a part
You may find your ship of dreams, In your heart and in your soul
In your own distant horizon that’s inside
Leave the fools gold
Only your ship can reach your rainbow’s end.
How do you write your music?
Most times it is a long process, that often starts while lying awake at night. Things and nothings churning round in my head. Sometimes they morph into a snatch of melody, a line or two, little more than a fragment. Perhaps a verse and chorus. I know it will be gone by morning, leaving nothing but a will-o-the-wisp to taunt me for my folly in not making a record of the song or tune.
So I get up and literally sing into my phone, maybe type a few lines as well. I use an app called Evernote that synchs with my lap top.
And there the idea will sit. For a day, a few months, maybe even years, until a few more ideas or fragments are added and there’s enough to work on. That day, out comes pen, paper and often a guitar. Things usually come quickly from there and I have a complete song.
But it isn’t finished, oh no !
I don’t just write songs. I rewrite them. Sometimes several times. I am a writer by trade so working on lyrics comes naturally, but it still needs attention and I am getting better at melody. Maybe. And sometimes you just need to gig a song quite a few times and gauge the reaction – it’s all part of honing the performance and the piece.
I talk to other musicians who write their new songs then go straight into the studio. Personally I think songs are much better after you have taken them on the road a few times.
What influences do you have?
Growing up in England, it was definitely what was on BBC Radio 1 and what my friends were listening to; pretty much everything except disco music. I was even lead singer in rock bands at college.
Then a friend dragged me along to a historical reenactment group and a whole world of friends and folky music dawned. Everything from traditional ballads to sea shanties, to singer songwriter (Dylan) to folk rock (Fairport Convention, Steeleye Span etc). We played each others records, went to gigs, sang at parties, in the minibus on the way to events, in pubs and rounds camp fires.
I think now I realise that the biggest influences have often been the closest friends.
What´s the best experience you have had with your project?
Actually recording the CD and working on it. Robbie Duncan is both a genius of acoustic recording and one of the loveliest people around. He believes in capturing a little essence of magic in a recording rather than sterile purification. That meant up to four of us essentially ‘live’ rather than laying down tracks individually.
Each session was exhausting but fun.
What plans do you have this year?
We have some gigs and festivals coming up around New Zealand as a four piece – essentially the four on some of the tracks on the album but now a headline act in its own right called Parryphonalia. And we’re off the France for a few weeks too.
That and some solo gigs. Oh, and I play percussion in Awesome Gurdy Machine, a relatively new venture and the only 3 hurdy gurdy band in the Southern Hemisphere but beginning to attract some attention.
We would like to be back in the studio later this year, but commitments mean it’ll have to wait until 2016.
Actually, that’s more of a ‘to do’ list. My plan is to demo more of my own songs. Just a plan, let’s see if I find the time 🙂
Mention something you don´t like about your project.
I actually feel a bit weird when someone comes up and asks me to sign their copy of the CD. Like I’m some kind of rock star or something. And before you ask; No, I wont wear tight leather pants either.
Mention the biggest sacrifice you did for your project.
I missed out on a awful lot of daylight. I would spend hours with Robbie Duncan mixing the recordings in the dark studio, then emerge blinking into the evening sunlight.
Probably just as well, I don’t tan easily and it might have saved me from sunburn.
What band, music project or soloist from your city do you like? Why?
Helen Dorothy. A solo singer songwriter from just up the road, she weaves a magic spell of story telling in perfect melody and a creatively hypnotic guitar style all her own. Actually, not just city, probably the best you’ll hear in New Zealand, the country I chose to call home.
If your project was a word, what would it be?
Almost all the songs on the album Row out to your ship of dreams are actually stories, and all of the songs have stories behind them.
Reproduced with kind permission from MusicSound music news and blog.