FolkWords 'Current Interviews' - here are thoughts and opinions from folk that write the music, sing the songs and help to make folk happen. A big 'thank you' to the people kind enough to talk to FolkWords, discuss folk music and offer their views. Thank you for your thoughts and your time, it's much appreciated. The most recent interviews are shown below. Short extracts from previous interviews are shown on the bottom on the FolkWords Interviews page (Go back to FolkWords Interviews). To see the full text of each interview shown here click the Read more ... links below each interview.
Chris Wade is a Leeds-based musician, writer and illustrator - and were that not enough to occupy his time, he’s also the force behind progressive folk-rock project Dodson and Fogg. The second Dodson and Fogg album ‘Derring-Do’ was recently reviewed by FolkWords.
FW: So is ‘Derring-Do’ folk rock, psyche folk or is it something else? CW: It’s so simple - music has an essence whether it’s totally contemporary, a modern take on old music or an exact reproduction of traditional music. The point is that it’s music and it doesn’t have to fit perfectly into any category. From my point of view it’s also perfectly acceptable for music to live across any number of genres – folk, rock, blues, whatever – it doesn’t matter. The more labels you add the more restrictions seem to get put in place. My philosophy is simple - I make the sort of music I like. The influences are my life and experiences. They make my music what it is. How other people see that is entirely up to them.
FW: Well we agree on that point. Where did the influence for Dodson and Fogg come from? CW: There are numerous roots in there, some that go back into the sixties and seventies. I’ve always played guitar and messed around with music but I never seriously concentrated on writing music until last year. Until then I’d been writing fiction and non-fiction books and audio books. I suppose the sound comes from music my dad used to listen to and I grew up with that. The music I really like is from the sixties and seventies. I think in many ways that music has become part of my psyche.
Listening to their idiosyncratic and more ‘folk-oriented’ EP ‘Boat and I’ FolkWords decided to talk Heg Doughty songwriter, keyboard player and vocalist with Heg & The Wolf Chorus to find out more about their dramatic, narrative choralesque style.
FW: Heg & The Wolf Chorus have a style best described as ‘different’ ... tell us about it. HD: Originally, I wrote music for just me and the keyboard but in my head I had a sound I wanted to develop and knew that meant adding voices and instruments. The allure of a ‘choir of voices’ was always there. The way the band formed was Natalie and Anita joined first and we started to explore ideas and created more layered harmonies in the arrangements to add drama to the stories.
We had worked a little bit with a choir and some of the individual voices blended really nicely so we decided to get them involved and work with them. Then as we added those voices and different people that combination of musicians changed and developed the music with each adding their own influences and styles. Our style, whether it’s folk or not is an amalgam of all those parts.
FolkWords talks to multi-instrumentalist, composer and instrument maker George Stevens about his music, making Renaissance instruments and his debut album‘A Toad in the Hand’
FW: What prompted the choice of instruments you play on ‘A Toad in the Hand’? GS: “A couple of tunes on the album go back 20 years or so when I was at college on an instrument making course. One of my colleagues in another workshop was selling a bouzouki and I bought it with the intention of accompanying Irish music. He had it tuned ADAD as an open chord and I kept it like that. It makes you play in a certain way and enables me to play partial chords and melodies. That is not so easy on a long scale instrument tuned in fifths because the stretches are too long to play fast melodies when you have to keep getting up to the fifth or seventh fret. So I left well alone.”
“The bagpipes I’ve only been playing for five or so years in earnest. The first track I recorded was ‘Gallows Birds’, which appears on the album, using two sets of bagpipes the Hummelchen and Border Pipes. I used the Hummelchen to get a contrasting drone sound. The melody is played on Border Pipes with the Hummelchen Pipes used to get a fifth across the drone - the Border Pipes are mainly a G drone with the Hummelchen in D. Although in practice it’s not quite as simple as that because I’ve got a three-part chord going on with the Border Pipes with two Gs and a D in the middle, strengthened up with a D coming from the Hummelchen.”
FolkWords talks to David Eagle from The Young'uns about 'When Our Grandfathers Said No' and traditional folk music
FW: First can you tell us what set you off on the traditional folk route? DE: Good question. Mike and Sean knew each other since their school days, I met them through a mutual friend. One day we met up at this pub - we were only 16. Now it happens that the first person we met in the pub was Mike’s just-retired headmaster who told us we shouldn’t be there as we were underage. Thankfully we managed to convince him that he’d got our ages wrong ... I will answer your question in a minute. So we sat down for a drink and chat when this guy stood up, gave an enormous yelp, which then transcended into a song quite unlike anything we’d heard before. We thought any second now the landlord is going to come over and throw him out.
Then what happened was everyone else just started joining in and we were the only ones not singing. As soon as that guy finished everyone applauded. Then another guy stood up and called for another song and someone else got up - it just went on like that all evening. We thought what on earth is this? There were songs about a mining disaster, love and death and then a comedy song about a local hero ... we had stumbled on a folk club. So the answer to your question is pure coincidence really.
FolkWords talks to Greg Ireland of Green Diesel about ‘Now Is The Time’
FW: It’s a question I have to ask, the similarity – although tenuous – between the cover art of ‘Now Is The Time’ and Angel Delight, an homage or accidental? GI: It wasn’t a deliberate decision but as Angel Delight is one of my favourite albums perhaps it was lurking somewhere in the back of my mind and seeing the statue triggered off a memory. The photograph was taken in our accordion player’s garden. There were all these great statues there and when we saw them we thought one would look good on the album cover.
FW: How did Green Diesel come about as a band? GI: Some of us had played together in various bands for years one way and another and as we did so various people were drawn into the circle. We experienced a fluctuating line up for a while, which then solidified into the six of us that recorded the bulk of the album. There has always been a musical connection between the various people in the band. It all came together in a roundabout way rather than as the result of a conscious decision to form a band. It just came about as we played music together and messed around with song ideas. Three of us have played together for years – myself, Colin my brother on drums and Ben on the bass. We used to play in a blues band with another friend when we were at school, then other friends slowly moved into that group.
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