When did you begin making music, and did you ever ponder a different career?
I was 10 years old when I first sat at a piano and tried to play, but I hated it. Too much practice. I gave up altogether on the idea of music until a friend asked if I wanted to start a Beatles tribute band. The fact I got to choose which Beatle to be felt like too good an opportunity to pass up on (I was John, naturally), and that pushed me into playing guitar. I fell in love with the feeling of being in a band, and when I was 17 or 18 I began writing my own songs. I did study law at University, but that was a mild diversion for five years. After graduating I got down to the real nitty gritty of preparing for a life of destitution and critical rejection. Much better than being a lawyer.
How would you describe your music?
I’m influenced by all sorts of music. Bob Dylan was my first love, and will be my last, but in between I have been partial to some Springsteen, Warren Zevon, Arcade Fire, The National, Wilco, Big Star and many more. My music sits somewhere in between all these artists, simply because they seem to form part of my musical DNA. If I had to describe my music though, I’d say it’s kind of magnificent-shaped.
What have you been up to so far and what can we expect over the coming months?
I’ve been recording an album with my band The Lonesome Fire. We spent a month in a studio in Scotland, plus some time making noise in a local church, then we finished it in London. It was an amazing experience, and we pushed ourselves as hard as we could, both in the writing of the songs and the performance. We worked with Danton Supple, who produced XnY for Coldplay, and it broadened our horizons massively. It’s our first proper record as a band and we’re very proud of it.
If you could duet with anybody who would it be and why?
I’ve been lucky enough to duet with a few artists in the past that I respect massively, but I’m currently obsessed with an artist called Agnes Obel. She writes and sings the most hauntingly beautiful songs, entirely on piano, and I think she’s amazing. I’d love to sing with her.
What’s your desert island disc and why would you take this one album?
I’d have to be boring and say Blood On The Tracks by Bob Dylan. It’s heartbreaking, introspective, lyrically sublime and takes you on an incredible journey from start to finish. Out of all the records I listen to time and time again, it’s the one I come back to the most. Genius is genius, no messing.