Tell us about:
Your latest single you have released:
Expertly balancing insight into the less travelled road of gender dysphoria, with the relatability of the human compulsion to self-medicate, ‘Alchoffeine’ offers the listener the story of a day in the life of a trans person. Told with lyrical candour and conversational melody, against a backdrop of world building sound bites and underpinned by heart-speeding Drum ’N’ Bass beats, the record places you directly into the shoes of the narrator while reminding you of times you’ve walked a similar path. Played live at 2022 festivals in western and eastern Europe, ‘Alchoffeine’ is a concept a wide variety of audiences connect to. Encapsulating the paradox of darkness and festivities, ‘Alchoffeine’ is perfect for your winter soundtrack.
Your first single and how you felt when it was released:
‘Body Language’ came out in September and was the first song I released from the album. I was nervous to release a song through a lesser seen trans lens but also felt like I’d been sitting on all of these songs through the pandemic so it was time! I tried to encapsulate the nerve-shaking co-existence of fear and pleasure in those situations. The response of many people being able to relate to navigating body issues while celebrating the joy of finding the person that it finally all clicks with, has been so rewarding to me as a writer, and to me as an artist when they sing a long with the chorus at the shows.
Your favourite song that you have created that is an album track:
My favourite song from the album changes every day dependant on mood, blood sugar and the way the wind is blowing! Excluding the singles I would have to say ‘The Architect’. It starts as a single emotive piano piece before the vocal comes in as a message left on the answer phone at the gender clinic. Eventually the narrator (me) gets increasingly frustrated while chanting the literal and figurative line ’There’s no getting back to me’, before eventually exploding into spoken word over distorted guitars. I’m really proud of the combination of vulnerability and creativity in this song, and feel lucky to be able to write about a subject that hasn’t been discussed so much in songwriting.
Your favourite song to play live:
An upcoming single called Jet Lag. We all just groove along to it with harmonies, finger snaps and saxophone lines!
The song that was the longest to write and why?
The longest to write was probably ‘Hymn’. I knew there was no way to tell a complete story about my transition without tackling religion, after growing up in a Christian household. I wanted to find a way to explore the paradox of exclusionary religion versus the idea of a loving God. I had the title and the idea to find a sample of ancient christian music. My co-writer Will suggested Miserere Mei Deus by Gregorio Allegri which was composed in the 17th century and means have Mercy on me God.
We made a track but as it’s unusual for me to start with music, it left me stuck for where to go lyrically. We wrote down every book of the bible and a bunch of christianity related words on one page, and as LGBT words on another, then cross referenced them to find commonalities. This created a great bank of words but still no strong concept. We started this before the pandemic and 18 months into lock down, we were still not much further after countless Zoom writing sessions. Will leant me the book Sapiens by Noah Yuval Harari, in which I read the story of Benjamin Franklin’s kite experiment and the line ‘he disarmed their Gods’. That struck a chord with me!
The song then flowed out before we rearranged the sample around it. I think the reason this one took so long was because it was so important to me to get it right. It only took two years, a patient co-writer and a premium Zoom subscription but it was worth it.
Your most emotional track:
Hold Your Own. It’s about family and how complicated that can be for anyone LGBT+. That subject plus four part accapella harmonies has definitely had multiple frogs in various bandmates throats!
The best lyric you have ever written:
It’s too hard for me to pick from the album but I write songs for other people too, and recently co-wrote a song for an artist with the lyric ‘It takes a lover to know an enemy’s mind’. I love that.
Describe the feeling you get when you walk on stage to do a show:
When I walk on that’s pure terror! Followed by focus and catharsis during the show, then relief, pride, exhaustion and motivation to do it better next time. If there’s no nerves, there’s no buzz after. If you’re not nervous, that’s the real worry as you probably don’t care anymore.
The hardest track to play live:
Alchoffeine. It’s a ‘sing/rap’ storytelling narrative, over drum and bass with a full live band. Super fast paced and wordy to reflect drinking through dysphoria. A good work out on stage!
Essential items you always take on tour with you?
I always take my laptop as I’m constantly writing on trains, planes and automobiles!
Describe your fans in three words:
Passionate, Dedicated, Supportive!
A song by another artist or band you wish you had written:
A Change Gonna Come – Sam Cooke
What we can look forward to from your band in 2023:
My debut album ‘Present in the Post’ which you can catch at shows, music festivals and of course Pride festivals!