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Tamara Schlesinger Interview July 2012

Lisa Ward


With her debut solo album, The Procession due for release on the 6th August, we caught up with Tamara Schlesinger to find out about the future of 6 Day Riot and what pulled her in a new direction.

MTTM: Why did you decide to launch a solo project and what’s the future for 6 Day Riot?

Tamara Schlesinger: After releasing our 3rd album I began to co-write with various artists as I didn’t feel like writing another 6 Day Riot album straight away. The most successful co-write was with Deadly Avenger (we wrote the trailer music for 127 hours) and that process influenced me to start writing in a different style. The music I was writing was not right for 6DR and it also didn’t fit the style of music I was writing with Deadly Avenger, so I decided to create a solo project. I applied for funding from Creative Scotland and that was when the project became a reality, as I was able to get into the studio and record the work in Glasgow. 6DR is still very much alive and kicking, we are still playing a few gigs this year (most of the band are joining me on stage for my album launch show in London). And I am sure we will start writing a new album together in the next year.

MTTM: How does the sound of your solo work compare to that of the band?

TS: My solo project is mainly based around acapella vocals, and is quite ethereal and dreamy, whereas the band’s music is very lively and upbeat. My album was also very studio lead, it was layered and developed during the recording process, but with the band we always rehearse all the tracks live and record the backing tracks of the album as a 4 piece band. It is probably a more personal album to me as well, because I wrote all the sections of the tracks myself and was in complete control and I feel like I have opened up a little more lyrically, so it is less about storytelling and more personal emotions.

MTTM: You collaborated with other musicians on the album, who did you work with and how did this contribute to creating the final sound?

TS: I didn’t really end up collaborating fully with the musician’s until I got up to Glasgow and began the recording process, the first 3 days were just me and the engineer in the studio, layering vocals and the backing tracks to all of the songs. I had spent months working out all the parts and making sure I knew what we were going to do, so that no time was wasted. We laid the bass track first and then Toby Shippey (who plays with Salsa Celtica) and Ross Hamilton (who plays with Sharleen Spiteri and sometimes Isobel Campbell) each came in for a full day of recording. They had been listening to the demoed tracks for quite a while and they really got what I was trying to do, they added just the right ideas to the album and I really think it helped to create a strong identity to the whole sound. Then we added strings and that really put the finishing touches to the record. It was a great experience.

MTTM: Do you think your Scottish roots influence your style of music, and if so, in what way?

TS: I guess so, in a roundabout way. I wouldn’t say I have a particularly celtic influence to my sound, but inevitably I ended up listening to Scottish bands whilst growing up in Glasgow and for example I love Belle and Sebastian and Teenage Fanclub. Although they are not direct influences to me as such, some of the musicians that played on my solo album have also worked with those bands.

MTTM: You’re doing album launches in both Glasgow and London, what prompted you to do one in both cities?

TS: Well, I live in East London now and so it would have felt strange for me not to launch the album down here, but I recorded the album in Glasgow and received funding from Creative Scotland, so I wanted to ensure that I played in my home town and that the musicians that played on the album could also be involved in the launch. So most of the guys that played on the album will be on stage with me at the Glasgow show and I am really looking forward to both of gigs.

MTTM: What can we expect from you over the next few months once the album is released?

TS: I will be continuing with more promo and probably a few more gigs, I also have a festival to play with 6DR (along with the welcome party for one of the teams competing at the Olympics) and I have started writing some more music already too. So either a new 6DR album or some more solo tracks, let’s just see how this release goes.. it is always nerve-wracking starting something new and I am looking forward to seeing where this album takes me.